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!
Another Snark Week is in the books! Whew, hope you enjoyed it, but we’re gonna need a lie down now.
Have anything soothing and relaxing to recommend?
If you’re into queer romance and webcomics, I recommend Heir’s Game. More period inspired than period piece, but the outfits show way more research and care than anything on Snark Week. Also plenty of queer, PoC, and QPoC characters.
Were you goddesses planning to review The Last Duel, or save it for next Snark Week?
Not sure who, if any, of us is up to watching a rape 3x just to see some crappy costumes.
I couldn’t get that far . . .
The fiIm did an excellent job of showing how men take advantage of established patriarchy, and how laws were (and still are) written by men for the advantage of men. And how this is so ingrained in society that women often act against other women, and men justify their mistreatment of women because of the privilege of worldview. I don’t know how accurate or inaccurate the costumes are, but it’s an important film that many won’t watch because of their own discomfort with the subject matter.
Agree. You don’t really get a sense of what the movie is doing until you see all three stories unfold.
I agree. The rape scenes were awful.
I thought it was good, but I had also read the book. It ends up very much on the side of the wife.
New pics of Becoming Elizabeth have surfaced and I have questions!
The Bronte Parsonage Museum has a new exhibit of some of Charlotte’s clothes. I wonder if they MEANT to caption one picture as “Ugly Bonnet”. Link at the Guardian newspaper online https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/feb/04/charlotte-bronte-clothing-exhibition-sensual-side-parsonage-museum
HAHAHHAHAHAHHA!!! That’s glorious.
Charlotte was very happy in her brief marriage. Nichols obvious didn’t disappoint her expectations.
I feel like Julian Fellowes brought no new ideas to The Gilded Age, but then why should that suprise me? Each season of Downton Abbey played out the same way as the one before it (eg: Bates and Anna have angst, Mary and her sisters feud, shit happens to Edith, etc, etc).
As one critic has said in the past: “Julian Fellowes has been typing again.”
The history of high society life in late 19th century New York is full of great stories. Fellows doesn’t seem to have heard of any of them.
And then there’s Peggy, so obviously shoehorned in for diversity. The Black community of 1880s New York City deserves better than to be a side plot. Peggy and her story, whatever it turns out to be, deserves it’s own series.
You said it, sister! This series is telegraphed and predictable! But this series does have potential! Remember, Downton started off pretty wimpy too!
The irony is that Fellowes was supposedly inspired to write Downton by a book called To Marry an English Lord. It’s all about the “Dollar Princesses”, and full of juicy stories. I highly recommend it.
I own it and I second your recommendation!
I think the trouble with Downton Abbey, or one of them, is that nobody ever leaves. All the characters are trapped in the womb of the abbey and are never allowed to grow up and leave.
I have that book and read it until the edges tattered. I call it a gossip column in book form.
Watching it, I keep getting the strong impression that the lives of the main character’s aunts (the one who had to marry an evil man after her brother squandered their fortune, and one who presumably is an old maid) would be a far more interesting story than this one. And yes, Peggy should be the main character. And it would be way better not to focus on any of the servants as well; they don’t have enough screen time to be fleshed out, so they’re pretty one-note.
Does Fellows understand that an American servants hall would be nothing like an English one? That the majority of staff would be Irish or other immigrants and the turnover would be tremendous? The strict hierarchical culture of the English servant would most emphatically not be a feature and servants wouldn’t hesitate to quit in an instant if offended, or saw the prospect of a better post
There’s at least one Irish maid at Agnes’ house. None of the servants have been shown enough to tell what they’re like or their culture is like, which I’m OK with. I fear if the show does that, it’ll just be extra Downton-y with the plot.
Yes, Fellows is a bore. We already have the Maggie Smith smart ass snob character everyone liked so much in DA cloned for the Gilded Age. Cliches flapping in the breeze there too. Makes me wonder how much of the greatness of Gosford Park is due to Robert Altman. A lot!
I’m weirdly fascinated by the etiquette surrounding hats and gloves, probably since that all went away when I was a child. In older pictures of my mom, she often wore great hats (especially at Easter), though my dad rarely wore one.
I’ve been rereading your Downton Abbey posts and find myself wondering if this supposedly cash strapped family should really be spending so lavishly on the ladies’ clothes. And would even a titled family turn out in expensive evening gowns every evening for family dinners? I’d expect black tie on the men but perhaps a few old faithful dinner dresses worn in a familiar cycle. Of course the cutting edge fashions are very pretty for the audience but much more reasonable if they were being worn in company or in town during the season.
I got the impression that the Crawleys weren’t very good with money. The Earl made those bad investments that wasted Cora’s inheritance, & of course, he had to marry her bec. his father left the estate in bad shape. They certainly wouldn’t have been the first British aristocrats to keep spending on things like new dresses when their roof was leaking.
That’s probably it. God knows overspending aristocrats were nothing new. The trend goes back to the Middle Ages.
Ok, here are my recommendations of soothing and relaxing content:
I recently discovered the YouTube channel called Dr Octavia Cox whose tag line is All Things Classic Literature. A few of the videos I’ve watched and liked are: “Why Did Mr Wickham ‘Elope’ with Lydia Bennet?” “What CLASS are the Bingleys?” and “Mr Rochester’s Charade–Marriage, Blanche Ingram, Bertha Mason & Jane Eyre.” https://www.youtube.com/c/DrOctaviaCox/featured
As a music lover, I highly recommend streaming the music of the composers of some (or all!) of your favorite Frock Flicks. I’m a film score fanatic, but so this is 2nd nature to me, but if you’re looking for a different way to have a Frock Flicks-adjacent experience, then you’ll be rewarded by listening to their film scores and digging into those composers’ back catalogs. Some of my personal favorites soothing film scores are: Dario Marianelli’s scores to “Jane Eyre” and “I Capture the Castle”; Abel Korzeniowski’s score to “W./E.”; Adrian Johnston’s score to “Brideshead Revisited” (2008); and Wojciech Kilar’s score to “Portrait of a Lady.” Composers whose work I all-around love and recommend are: THOMAS NEWMAN; John Lunn; Alexandre Desplat; Anne Dudley; and Rachel Portman. I hope this helps some of you relax!!
I will second your recommendation of Dr. Cox’s videos.
Thanks for the recommendation! IMO Cox missed one very important point in her discussion of Charlotte Lucas. Not only is Charlotte happy with her establishment but she’s succeeded in making Mr. Collins happy too. He considers her the perfect wife and feels like they were made for each other. That is very much to her credit. Especially as she has also arranged their life for her own comfort.
Eager to see Marie Antoinette new series they are currently shooting in France. Deborah davis (the Favourite) is directing. There is only one pic so far which does not look bad (except for bridal ringlets :)
I keep waiting for them to release more pics! Fingers crossed.
Just found a few hair pics on Emilia Schüle (lead actress) ´s instagram account, one of which looks weird :)
Can I snark about a book instead? Just briefly?
It’s a historical fantasy novel I read a couple of years back for my book club. The night circus. Looking past the actual plot I was in rage every time I read a costume description; the majority of the book is set in 1880 and 1890, but there’re no pleats, no draping, no frills, no nothing, except … lace. Lots and lots of lace on ALL the dresses. And corsets worn as outer wear. And ALL the men wears the exact same thing. And the rest of the costume descriptions read more 20th century and ‘this is what I think old timey fashion were’.
It was just so very easy to tell the author hadn’t looked at ANY fashion plates or done some research into what people of the time wore. :/ I was so very disappointed in that. (And angry).
So that is me still being salty about the lack of fashion research in this book. Do your research, please.
Historical novelist ALWAYS seem to get the clothing descriptions wrong!
An exception may be Anne Perry’s Charlotte Pitt mysteries. Since the books are female centric fashion is a big deal and seems to be fairly accurate, though I written description can do The sheer complexity of 1880s fashions justice!
The Night Circus is one of my all-time favorite novels!! I didn’t pick up on the costumes because I was just so in love with the whole world Erin Morgenstern created. Everything I pictured in my mind was absolutely beautiful, guided in large part by Helen Musselwhite’s gorgeous cover art.
It’s not really a historical novel though. It’s a steampunk fantasy set in a magical circus.