Frock Flicks Free-for-All August


You asked for it, so here’s an occasional open thread to bitch about anything tangentially related to history, costume, movies, or TV shows! Or whatever else is on your mind right now. Note that URLs are automatically held for moderation, but most anything else goes as long as you’re not bitchier than we are!

Frock Flicks is making a charitable donation for August to the League of Women Voters Education Fund to support their work registering voters and providing voters with election information. That’s always a big deal with us, extra this year.

The global pandemic has really messed with movie and TV premiere dates, so a ton of things have been postponed. Not many frock flicks on the fall calendar, just a whole lot of vague dates! Maybe it’s time to revisit some classics.

Bette Davis - I'll admit it, I've seen better days


How are you filling the hours? 



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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

23 Responses

  1. Saraquill

    I finished the second season of Umbrella Academy, which takes place in 1963. I’m sure the Team wouldn’t care for most of the outfits, BUT! Ray and Allison’s shopping spree features sharp looking suits.

    • Alison

      I thought about Frock Flicks too while watching UA. It’s always fun to see period costumes and hair on characters. The show didn’t seem to try too hard though. I read a comment that no man in 1963 would have had long hair yet.

  2. Frannie Germeshausen

    I’m gonna give the hubs a $20 bill so we can watch The Secret Garden tonight. They’d better not fuck up my most beloved book.

    • M.E. Lawrence

      Good luck. It is a marvelous book, but I don’t understand why no casting director (that I know of) has found a pale, sour-faced little girl with lank blond hair and acting chops to play Mary. Such a nasty child! I almost miss her original self when she finally attains sweetness and light.

      • Tui Hill

        Couldn’t agree more! Adorable curly haired actresses take away the whole point of Mary’s transformation. There was an old BBC serialisation that came close.

        • Frannie Germeshausen

          Before we ponied up the money, I read the article on Slate with all the changes they made to the story. I would have been irate. We’ll wait until it’s free. I don’t get why they do that to original material that’s so good to start with.

  3. Susan Pola Staples

    I’m rewatching Marshall, Harriet, Belle and of course Downton and the extended version of LOTR. Also Victoria, Wives and Daughters, Lillie, Wings of the Dove, Dangerous Liasions, Age of Innocence and Pallisers

  4. Brandy Loutherback

    I’m looking forward to Death on The Nile in October/November, and The Secret Garden. Following your post about the inaccuracies of Rose’s corset in Titanic (1997) are there any major inaccuracies in the corsets on Downton Abbey seasons 1-3? If so, could you possibly do a post on it?

  5. Gina P

    Beside movies and TV shows (currently my go to is That 70’s Show. Sorry! Need some mindless escapism right now), I watch a lot of YouTube videos. I know that you ladies are super busy, however, you could totally turn your blog into a vlog. You have tons of content and from what I understand from my favorite vloggers, they are making more money from YouTube than from their straight businesses. And two of my favs don’t even have high production values.

    Here a short list of vlogs I think Frock Flick fans might like. Bernadette Banner and Rachel Maksy create historical costumes content. Bernadette spends a lot camera time filming her Victorian inspired sewing projects. Rachel’s jam is the 1940s, but she goes all over the place from clothing, to home make overs.

    Micharah Tewers gives “tutorials” on how to make film costumes. I have to warn you that she is really silly and I wouldn’t say that her editing or videos are high quality. I found her because “Why The Costumes of Little Women did NOT deserve an Oscar” popped up on recommended videos, and after that I became hooked.

    The other one I really enjoy, that doesn’t have anything to do with costumes, but appeals to my Goth sensibilities is Dearly Departed Online, which takes you to graves of famous people. It’s pretty dark, but I love that he mixes old Hollywood and new and I find his background commentaries very interesting.

  6. M.E. Lawrence

    I tried to watch “Vikings,” on the recommendation of my daughter, a born shield maiden, but Michael Hirst epics bore me. It’s season 2 of “The Crown” now, if only for Margaret’s heavenly dresses. That silvery-grey pink sheath she wears to a wedding…

    • MoHub

      Try series 3 of Norsemen on Netflix instead. It’s a prequel to the first two seasons and explains how everything in the first two got to be they way they were.

  7. Boxermom

    My sister is visiting from out of state, and picked out a bunch of movies for us to watch. 2 of my favorites? “Hidden Figures” and “Wonder Woman”. Yay!

  8. Shashwat

    I have been killing time falling into the YouTube costuming community and Micarah Tewers(who makes great tutorials if you are adept at measuring things in hershey bars and cats and barbie).
    I tried to get a bit deeper into the fashions of 1850s and 1860s,but one of the least boring fashion decades in history did nothing for me.

  9. Lily Lotus Rose

    I’ve been reading, re-reading, and/or listening to books that were subsequently adapted into FrockFlicks: A Slight Trick of the Mind–the book that was the basis for the Ian McKellan film Mr. Holmes; The Mists of Avalon–after having watched Cursed on Netflix–another take on the Arthurian tales from the female perspective; The Phantom of the Opera and then The Phantom of Manhattan–the partial basis for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom “sequel” Love Never Dies; Sanditon; Jane Austen’s Charlotte (another “continuation” of Sanditon); and Mansfield Park. It’s been fun getting into or back into these works!

  10. Emily H

    I saw this video about the costuming of the new season of The Alienist and I’m ready to hear some snark about it. I only saw the first episode of the first season, with the corset chafing, which has gotten its blog post already, but I still want to hear more smart and snarky commentary.
    This video at least shows a clip of her wearing a chemise under her corset at some point but also the corset on bare skin. Also all the usual comments about how women’s fashion was so restrictive…
    They seem so contradictory and without deeper understanding of the time (what’s new?): Dakota Fanning’s character is a “renegade in a corset” and “strong heroic woman” but she can’t take the heat because she’s wearing gloves and “women were unable to get dressed themselves” and she didn’t waste time changing from day to evening but they show her in a ball gown (she didn’t even have “time for tea” – there’s always time for tea!); the designer “pushed the trends of the time with bigger puffed sleeves” and made it very “menswear inspired” as she worked in a world of men.
    headdesk The clothes do seem pretty well done so that they seem to have a certain awareness of history, yet it’s the same old opinions and “ooh, we’re so revolutionary and enlightened”.
    End rant.

    • Nzie

      I ordered a reprint of a sewing manual from around 1900 and the forward, written in 2000, discusses the growth of “tailored” clothes for women in a way that makes it clear menswear inspired clothes for women gained popularity long before the 1890s when that show is set. That said, some of the promo images I’ve seen look beautiful. But I am really done with gritty and lots of violence and perversion, and so as much as I find the premise interesting, I don’t see myself watching it. The corset chafing was just the cherry on top for that…

      • Emily H

        Yes, I didn’t watch beyond the first episode more because of the content than the costumes, I don’t care to see a lot of grit and violence and sex

  11. Nzie

    YouTube has been a lot of where I’m at. Now that I’m with family due to pandemic-caused displacement, Hallmark and Food Network, which are at a good level for right now.. I haven’t read much at all lately. But the costube community has been good. I follow Bernadette Banner the most, but I also like Morgan Donner and Prior Attire, and will dip in for Abby Cox and Cathy Hay. I have now subscribed to a whole bunch of new costubers I found due to the CoCovid online costube conference last weekend.. I think most videos will be up forever so if you google it you can find a lot of things on the schedule still.. I am catching up. As someone building her skills and who loves the history, it’s really good to learn more about the techniques and get a sense of how things went together, even though I’m not doing a lot of sewing right now. They also had a Reform Dress Challenge, which I didn’t do before, but am thinking about now (because I did bring a lot of fabric with me..)… So maybe I’ll start getting back into… doing things with that. And I’m trying to catch some of the FrockCon events too, which is great. :-)

  12. Katie O.

    They added the Indiana Jones movies to Netflix, so I watched Temple of Doom last night (I had watched Raiders of the Lost Ark a few days ago) and WOW. What a dud on so many levels. Racist, sexist, racist some more, terrible lazy writing, racist and sexist some more, and absolutely zero effort to make Kate Capshaw look like a woman from 1935. She had a full-on 80’s perm, and it was atrocious. I won’t say that Raiders of the Lost Ark was a historical costuming masterpiece, but I think it still gets closer.

    • Shashwat

      I won’t call it just racist,but the entire “our culture superior,rest are inferior” narrative and the nonchalant depiction of the colonial era threw me off guard.I had to check that it was depicting the Goddess Kali that we know(she is considered as the primordial ‘Mother’,and is addressed as Shubhankari,the benevolent one).The movie couldn’t decide if it wanted to depict tantriks or dacoits or thugs,and the amalgamation of the three seems like someone got confused between Popes,cowboys and pirates.
      Oh to expect an apology or even a confession from Spielberg,but what was that cattle headdress on Amrish Puri?”cReAtIvE_LiBeRtY” aside,it felt less like a mockery of the Indians,and more of the stereotyping of Native American culture.But Raiders of the Last Ark managed to be even cheesier and even even more misogynist,if not racist.

  13. VKestrel

    Total change of subject.

    OK, I was looking for scenes from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, the 1st video that pops up is Taylor Swift’s Love Story. I go what the heck. I watch the video and I swear that the gown she is wearing in the ball scene is a fairly accurate 1790’s English Nightgown. Anyone know more.