Frock Flicks Free-for-All January

62

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!

It’s somehow 2022. We can sum up our feelings as such:

Another Period - scream

 

 

How are you doing in this new year? Looking forward to anything good?

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About the author

Trystan L. Bass

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A self-described ElderGoth, Trystan has been haunting the internet since the early 1990s. Always passionate about costume, from everyday office wear to outrageous twisted historical creations, she has maintained some of the earliest online costuming-focused resources on the web. Her costuming adventures are chronicled on her website, TrystanCraft. She also ran a popular fashion blog, This Is CorpGoth, dedicated to her “office drag.”

62 Responses

  1. Michael McQuown

    Historical battle scenes. Even though there is plenty of information on how battles were fought, more often than not, we see two groups of armed and (badly) armoured men rushing at each other in a mob with no hint of tactics. And as for the armour, often totally inaccurate; in Vikings, for example, the Saxons are wearing helmets that don’t exist until the 15th century.

    Reply
      • Jamie J LaMoreaux

        I did research on Henry V and he was a right mean little bastard. what happened at Rouen was horrific. even for then.

        Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      Which leads to my snark about a PFG show (“White Queen”), of which I watched one episode for free: Many British kings used to lead their troops into battle, and fight. True, they had superior equipment and war horses, but they fought. (I wish modern leaders had to do that.) Max Irons resembles a frat bro, and doesn’t seem capable of controlling a terrier, yet he’s cast as a famously successful warrior and battle strategist.

      (Thanks. I’ve been wanting to say that to someone, and my husband is tired of hearing this sort of thing.)

      Reply
      • Frances Germeshausen

        OMG, in the White Queen, Richard III leads his army through the snowy woods for the battle of Bosworth, which was fought on August 22 on open fields. This is when I start throwing things at the TV . . .

        Reply
      • spanielpatter14

        Look at it this way; Max Irons did seem believable in the scenes when he’s drunkenly fooling around with Jane Shore and various other ladies; and believable when he’s trying to seduce Elizabeth Woodville Grey. So he’s reasonably attractive and taller than many of the other actors and looks okay on a horse – qualifications for playing Edward IV, I guess. I do enjoy The White Queen quite a bit, but there are many times I have to bite my lip and remind myself that it it is a very liberal reinterpretation of history, not a documentary.

        I still get annoyed when the White Queen gets angry at her husband for deciding that their two-year-old son and heir to the throne is going to be taken from her care and given his own household under her brother’s supervision and she wasn’t consulted; and she starts ranting about how she should be the one who decides how her son is going to be raised and educated – I wondered what century she thought she was living in? Even in the 21st century, if both (normal) parents had custody of a child, one parent would not normally have the right to make a sole decision on the education of a child. Among medieval and renaissance European royalty; kings (or other male guardians) made the plans for their sons’ educations; not the time to throw in a feminist undercurrent (it was the 1470’s, not the 1970’s!), because Elizabeth would not have been so stupid as to openly prate about being in charge of her son’s education/rearing; if she’d wanted her way, she’d have waited until she and Edward were alone and talked him into it, with or without sex as an inducement.

        Reply
    • Kendra

      I can’t stand how it’s always 10-20 actors shot in closeup! I know, digital effects are expensive, but these battles would have been thousands against thousands!

      Reply
    • Gray

      I wonder how accurate the battle scenes in Kubrick’s Spartacus are. He’s usually a stickler for detail.

      Reply
      • Saraquill

        Saul Bass planned the battle formations. He wanted the Romans to seem mechanical and thus heartless, hence the geometric formations. The audience was supposed to empathize with the rebellion, so they were grouped in a more freeform and thus human way. No idea how period accurate that is.

        Reply
        • Jamie J LaMoreaux

          not very, the slaves were lead mostly by Gladiators who were trained fighters and often fought in formation. also there were some former legionnaires on their side. both sides fought in formation, barbarians fought willy-nilly.

          Reply
  2. florenceandtheai

    I’m still a hot mess, but I genuinely appreciate the laughter prompted by reading the posts here.

    Reply
  3. Elizabeth W Traylor

    Husband and I have started binging the “Poirot” series with David Suchet (who is delightful). The art direction (including costuming) is pretty good! But it’s funny to notice how they need to set everysinglestory in an Art Deco or Moderne building. You’d think to look at it that London was razed to the ground in 1916 and everything had been built back since in the new style.

    Reply
    • Janet

      So agree, not every single household (even if they belonged to the middle-class or even lower upper-class) went for an Art Deco home or interior. Because I believe Poirot didn’t really mingle with the “lower” /working-class to solve their murder cases.
      And amongst the general population did this new fashion only translate into their clothing or accessories.
      It took many years for Art Deco to seep down in everyday living and more affordable home décor.✌🏻

      Reply
      • MrsC (Maryanne)

        Yes! There’s this one amazing house that was also used in the recent Blithe Spirit movie. But what grinds my gears is that to be used in a contemporary setting it would only be recently built yet it is clearly really dirty and shabby, being plain and white, and looks every bit its age. Coulda given it a scrub down.

        Reply
      • Gray

        It also seems a bit contrived when all the furniture and bric-a-brac is deco and 30s. Even wealthy people don’t decorate like that. There are hand-me-downs and antiques.
        But, y’know, the art director is trying to create an atmosphere.

        Reply
      • Boxermom

        My favorite! Although, I’ve come to appreciate Peter Ustinov (Suchet is still my favorite). :)

        Reply
  4. Carolyn

    Anyone here watched Underground Railroad? Anyone understand why the costumes in ep 2 are 1880? Drove me batsh*t crazy.

    Reply
    • Eileen

      The book and the show have elements of magical realism to them. I interpreted Griffin as having a veneer of post-slavery America, so the costumes reflected the hope of the Reconstruction era. Though, like Reconstruction, it was all illusory.

      Reply
  5. Janet

    Have any FF fans, who have access to watching the BBC, already watched the 4 first episodes, which aired, of ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ with David Tennant? Really curious to hear/read what other people think of it so far….

    Reply
    • Karin

      See my comment below – I clicked “reply” but it ended up being posted at the bottom

      Reply
    • Jamie J LaMoreaux

      I’ve seen the first episode on PBS. BORING. just do the book, or better still read the book. don’t PC it up and change things around. I love David Tennant’s acting, he’s brilliant but his Mr. Fogg is so very BORING, painfully BORING. if Hollywood/BBC can’t get that the book is a mockery of the English Empire and “the sun never sets on the English Empire” mentality that’s a problem! and Miss Fixx is a problem with proper Victorian Sensibilities! a young woman traveling solo with TWO non-related men!?!? vapers ensue.

      Reply
  6. Boxermom

    We have a snow day here in New England, so I might just see what Amazon Prime has to offer…

    Reply
    • Boxermom

      …and here I am, watching The Age of Innocence. Depressing, to be sure, but those costumes: TDF. :)

      Reply
        • Boxermom

          Which one do you like the most? For me, it’s the purple gown that May wears for their first dinner party. Stunning. :)

          Reply
  7. Brigit Zent

    Can I bitch about historical flicks using modern day slang, aphorisms, etc? Nothing ruins my mood while watching a otherwise great historical flick than someone saying something that is totally inappropriate for the time period.

    Reply
    • susan l eiffert

      Brigit, Yes, yes, yes, yes! That and modern accents ruin the illusion we expect from the movies and tv.

      Reply
    • Eileen

      I had an interesting conversation about the anachronistic swearing in Deadwood with the son of western writer Louis L’Amour. He was of the opinion that period swear words would not have the same impact on a contemporary audience, and I agreed with him. It’s almost impossible to completely recreate historical dialogue with accurate accents and period slang. The BBC accent in a Shakespeare play is possibly as anachronistic as an American one. Having the dialogue too formal in a historical piece can be just as wrong as having it too informal, depending on the situation of the character. Since the language of a film or tv show is at the center of what it’s conveying, it must be understood by the audience, even if they don’t understand all the details of the setting and costuming.

      Reply
      • Brigit Zent

        True enough. But “Ok?” That’s one they could drop and we would all still understand what they were saying.

        Reply
  8. Marcy

    I was amused to read an article by a botanist about how he and his friends go crazy seeing trees and plants that are totally wrong for the place and time in movies. “Redwoods! In medieval England!!!!!” I hadn’t thought about all the other details that must drive other people crazy.

    Reply
    • Saraquill

      There’s an anime that allegedly takes place in Victorian England. Our noble, surnamed Phantomhive, owns the Hope Diamond. Cue me yelling at the screen how the diamond at this vague time still belonged to the Hope family, and the thing was never emerald cut like it is in the anime.

      Then in a live action show featuring a heist of Marie Antoinette’s jewelry, and the prop is way too sparkly for 1700 style diamond cuts. Then, then, then….

      In short, I’m way too familiar with gems to roll with these inaccuracies.

      Reply
    • Colleen Crosby

      Re: wrong plants, I like to watch episodes of Psych, which supposedly take place in modern day in Santa Barbara, CA. They are filmed in Victoria, BC. It’s hysterical when they drive, like, 15 minutes from SB and end up among giant redwoods.

      Reply
    • Kendra

      Ha! I notice when things are filmed in Southern California but supposed to be somewhere else. This reminds me of my favorite, the horse people, who pop up on posts to talk about how the bridle is completely anachronistic or put on by someone who doesn’t know horses etc. It’s like what listening to us costume people must be like!

      Reply
      • Frances Germeshausen

        I heard a bit of an interview with a birder on NPR, complaining about generic bird songs dropped into things and, based on locations, they’re the WRONG BIRDS. And, thunder sounds as the universal code for “it’s raining?” If something is set in San Francisco, it’s the WRONG WEATHER.

        Reply
  9. Saraquill

    This morning, I saw a brilliant “frock flick” on YouTube. It’s a Saturday Night Live skit called Lesbian Period Drama. If you haven’t seen it, go forth and enjoy the trope skewering!

    Reply
  10. Barbara the W

    I know y’all won’t do a Paul McGann MCM. If I get my head together enough to do one, would you run the thing?
    ’cause that lovely, lovely Scouse man needs a spotlight and the DW tv movie is Not His Fault.

    Reply
  11. Karin

    I watched the first two episodes and then noped out. I love David Tennant, but this did nothing for me. I get that they have to “reinvent” it to a certain part, but the first episode left me aggravated with them walking into the Commune thing in Paris and with Fogg being shown as more than hapless, and then the second episode… eyeroll – can you be so in your face with the whole “believe in your dreams” thing, and the whole drama of getting the train across the bridge and Fogg suddenly knowing everything. It was just too much of everything for me. And we’re no further yet than Italy! I’m not going to keep watching, to be honest.

    Reply
  12. Patricia Carson

    Canadian here – with FAR too much experience of all the varieties of snow. I am annoyed when I see films purporting to depict the very worst ofwintry blasts and always blurt “Humph! – that is SO clearly WARM snow”.

    Reply
    • Kendra

      Ok, that’s hilarious! Because I’m a native Californian, so despite 3 years on the east coast, I have no idea what different kinds of snow look like!

      Reply
  13. MrsC (Maryanne)

    I just tried to watch Babylon Berlin, because Germans making a fabulous series on Weimar era, why would you not! The dubbing killed my brain. SO BAD. But also the infamous scene in the club where the audience all join in the actions, the dancers are all dressed as Josephine Baker, doing a number TOTALLY unrelated to the goddess. WHY. It’s the stupidest combo and that combined with the horrific American accent cartoon cop dubbing broke my brain.
    On a similar vein, Maigret with Rowan Atkinson is in my opinion (never humble) just chefskiss in many ways, UNTIL the episode where they are in a strip club, in 1950 Paris, and all the workers are in modern underwear.
    The message I get from all of this is: it’s hard enough having to brain about womenz in shows, don’t expect us to give a f@ck about accurately protraying women of “low virtue” because they’re only in it to give some titillation, not to have their lives and experiences represented with care.
    AND BREATHE….

    Reply
  14. Brandy Loutherback

    I found the first season of All Creatures Great and Small delightful and I’m excited for round two on Sunday.

    Reply
    • Frannie Germeshausen

      I love All Creatures Great and Small, and I’m so happy to have it back.

      Reply
  15. Damnitz

    Are you able to write your impressions about “Delicious”? I wrote a review myself on our blog but without a siginficant number of photos. 1780s should be the period, but the story is very poor and very much “those evil aristocrats” stuff… Thank you for your great work.

    Reply
  16. Kaite Fink

    It’s always fun watching people that know the history and all that discuss stuff like this. It’s like my friends and I with shows/movies with laboratories and stuff. Easy as breathing. I’m not sure what I’m looking forward to, as there are so many streaming options, so I don’t like getting my hopes up until I know I’ll be able to see it.

    Reply

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