Frock Flicks Free-for-All July

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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!

We’re heading off for our summer blog break next week, so watch this space for some choice reruns from the archives. Hopefully we’ll catch up on our stuff-to-watch queue too.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisle - catskills swimsuit

 

What’s on deck for your summer?

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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.

32 Responses

  1. Coco

    Has anyone been watching ‘Domina,’ about the early life of Livia, wife of Caesar Augustus? It’s on Epix, which I only can watch because I helped my parents set up access to their cable account, and I honestly think they have no idea what channels they pay for.
    Apparently the show was filmed on location in Rome, but it can’t have that much of a budget since they conveniently time jump over all battles.

    Reply
    • Carrie

      A late reply 😊. I tore through the whole series. I have my quibbles- in prticular, the younger actors are far more compelling and I wish the show had spent longer on them. What I can say, as someone whose passion is Roman history, is that the series is astonishingly accurate. They did their research. Second, I’m thrilled to see a series set in ancient Rome that centers on women and their experiences. There are battles in Domina- but they’re fought in bed and around the dinner table.

      I would definitely rec it to anyone interested in a historically accurate and inclusive view of Roman history. Plus, they actually built a mini Rome in Cinecitta. Everything you’re seeing is real.

      Reply
      • Lily Lotus Rose

        I never heard of this series until Coco’s post. Last night I watched the first episode. I think I’m spoiled by HBO’s Rome because this show just seemed like children playing dress up more than anything else. Your assessment, Carrie, might urge me to give it a few more episodes to catch me. I didn’t know that the characters get aged up. This was a fascinating historical period.

        Reply
    • Kendra

      I don’t know why I missed that this exists, but recently got some Instagram ads for it. I might check it out – although really Sarah should, she’s more into serial killers than me.

      Reply
  2. Jose

    I wanted a post on Marion Davies she made lots of costume and even if many of her movies were silents many also have beautiful costumes
    Otherwise i’ll would also love an Danielle Darrieux one she was amazing actress with over 60 years of carreer and looots of costume pictures in her resumé

    Reply
  3. Jose

    Well as someone who has been following this blog for years and is pretty near of celebrating my birthday i would very much like to see if you could do a WCW in 2 actresses i consider the Greer Garson’s of France and Germany: Paula Wessely and Reneé Saint-Cyr they like Greer made several Period Pictures (You might be familiar with them as Renee played Empress Eugenie and Paula played Marie Luise, Napoleon’s second wife, i which i consider the only biography focused on her) there’s also Mecha Ortiz which was called the “Argentine Greta Garbo” but i wouldn’t put her as a priority because even if she done lots of pictures many of them costume ones, images from them are not that easy to find
    Ps: Another great present would be if you could give a chance to the old Polish series i find them beautiful and they restore their classics so well they look as good as new, a good start would be Queen Bona (Krolowa Bona) about a bitchy italian noble who became Queen in Poland it has beautiful reproductions of the characters clothing that were decipted on paintings
    And sorry for the size of the message

    Reply
  4. B

    Have you guys seen the pictures for the new Persuasion, the one with Dakota Johnson and Henry Golding. The costumes look soo bad like they look messy and there’s a shirt/skirt ensemble which is about 70 years too early and so wrong for Regency. I don’t have high hopes for that production.

    Reply
  5. MrsC (Maryanne)

    I watched just over half of Leonardo, mostly because of pretty frocks and pretty Aidan Turner but OMG what a bunch of absolute tripe. Darmalama enough for a Mills and Boon novel, and I suspect it is playing fast and loose with history.
    3/10. And WAY too much picking up skirts. Yetch

    Reply
    • Janet

      Ohhh no, I was afraid this would be the case😔. Through what streaming service or TV channel were you able to see this?

      Reply
      • Alexander Sanderson

        If you meant ‘where to find Leonardo’, then in the UK you can watch it free with Amazon Prime… but hummm… I am really not sure that it’s worth the effort of searching. It is horrible!!! The dialogue is painful, costumes, at times, a scary disaster and they seem to have completely missed the fact that all research leads to the conclusion that he preferred to form sexual relationships with other men – or that he was gay in modern in modern parlance. I am really not surprised that they made such a mash though: casting Aidan Turner as Leonardo should have been a warning, Leonardo da Vinci he is not!!! He, he, he.

        Reply
        • Janet

          This sounds seriously disappointing. I’ll probably need to be grateful I won’t be able to watch it. Thank you for your response. 👍🏻

          Reply
          • Lily Lotus Rose

            I have not (yet) seen this latest production about Leonardo Da Vinci, but everything about it set me on edge beforehand–beginning with the casting of Aidan Turner (an actor whose work I admire) and the subsequent stills released to the public. This is a such a shame because Leonardo Da Vinci was such a compelling and fascinating human being. When they cast Turner (as I said, whose work I admire), I suspected they would try to go the hunky-heterosexual route with this piece. That said, I will probably end up watching it eventually–just like I usually end up watching anything related to Dracula.

            Reply
        • Roxana

          Contemporary gossip certainly claimed Leonardo was homosexual and I believe he was once charged with sodomy but apparently aquitted. This is not quite conclusive since homosexuality was then a popular slur in artistic circles. There is also some reason to believe Leonardo was asexual.

          Reply
    • Kendra

      I feel like any series about Leonardo da Vinci is contractually obligated to be terrible, but maybe I have Da Vinci’s Demons PTSD?

      Reply
      • Lily Lotus Rose

        In the EARLY 90s when I was a very young teen, I fell in LOVE with a TNT mini-series called A Season of Giants. Michelangelo is the main character in this series, but Leonardo Da Vinci (played by John Glover) also has a considerable role. I mention my age because I haven’t seen it since, and naturally I would LOVE to re-watch it and evaluate it as an adult. Sadly, I don’t think it was even released on VHS, let alone DVD. Anyway, I was very impressed at the time by everything–costumes, set (it was filmed in Italy with primarily Italian actors), and the storyline. A Season of Giants–along with several other TNT historical costume dramas from the early 90s–was one of the productions that put me on track to becoming a lifelong fan of historical costume dramas. This series also sparked a lifelong fascination with the Renaissance in general and with Michelangelo and Da Vinci in particular. Anyway, my point it is: I think A Season of Giants is worth viewing if you can find it.

        Not a series, but a movie: I really enjoyed the Leonardo Da Vinci character inserted into Drew Barrymore’s feminist take on Cinderella called Ever After.

        If I had to complain about anything on this thread it would be about what I can’t watch more so than what I can. I would LOVE it if those early 90s era TNT historical costume dramas were released on a streaming platform or even on DVDs. Also, as an avid reader who enjoys historical fiction, I feel like I’m always coming across stories I long to see adapted for film–yet sadly those books haven’t been optioned and/or made. I think that’s one reason why I like this blog so much–it sheds light on the historical costume dramas that I CAN see but had probably never heard of. Keep up the great work!

        Reply
  6. Michael McQuown

    The Outlaw; intro for Jane Russell, directed by Howard Hughes. Russell’s outfits weren’t even close to being period. A Discovery of Witches: great in the first season, but when they got to Jacobethan England, the SOS: leather pants for the men, open-necked shirts, no hats for the star, yada, yada, yada,,,

    Reply
  7. Saraquill

    I’d like to make a shameless plug for CosTuber Claire Zhang. Not only has she made a bustle gown matching the New York Public Library, she’s also starting a series on stylish women’s wear in 1920s China.

    My other shameless plug is for Not Your Momma’s History, a YouTube channel focused on Black American history. It has a new series with reenactments of various enslaved people, their roles and world in colonial America.

    Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      We’ve mentioned Not Your Momma’s History before & support her on Patreon. Her work is amazing. That said, 99.99999999999% of the rest of YouTube can suck rocks IMO :D

      Reply
  8. Kaite Fink

    Hoping I’ll get to see The Duke with Broadbent and Mirren. I would watch these two in anything. They could sit on folding chairs reading microwave directions and I would be pleased.

    Reply
      • MoHub

        But you have to go back to “Hobson’s Choice” and move forward from there. Lots of “40s and “50s stuff as well, and we should never forget “Mapp and Lucia.”

        Reply
    • The Scrivener

      Yes! Watching the 1984 BBC Mapp and Lucia — great costumes all around (I don’t know if they are accurate, but they certainly evoke different classes in 1930 provincial England) and there are some great bits where THEY do historical pageantry, so you get to see the 1980s’ take on the 1930s’ version of 1580s…. chefs kiss

      Reply
  9. Joni

    I’ve been bingeing on Austen flicks (I’m going to Jane Austen festival! In costume! I SHALL DIE OF ANTICIPATION) and I just got done with the 2005 P&P. I know, I know, it’s the one everyone hates, but hear me out, I have some THOUGHTS about Collins.

    Firstly, I will never not like a character played by Tom Hollander, he’s just so CHARMING. Secondly, and more important, I noticed some aspects that I’d never noticed before. He openly admits to the fact that he practices ahead of tine what he’s going to say, and it’s super obvious when he’s reciting from his internal script. He avoids making eye contact with others, he has no social awareness, and he just Recites Facts like they are a totally normal thing to do in conversation. I have an autistic teenage son, and he does ALL of those things (although his random facts he’ll insert into conversation have to do with geopolitics and not how much the window glazing cost at Rosings, but it’s the same thing, really.) So yeah, I’m sorry, but in this version at least, I LIKE Collins. And if you watch Charlotte’s face when she’s watching him speak at church, guess what, she likes him too!

    Reply
    • Karen K.

      I love Tom Hollander in everything, he really nails Mr. Collins though he’s nothing like Austen’s description of him. And I will never not think of him if I see any reference to a boiled potato.

      Reply

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