Frock Flicks Free-for-All July


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!

Well, it’s been a month … we were already planning to take next week off for our semi-annual summer break, and now we really need it.

Downton Abbey - I cannot find words for how I feel


How are you holding up?



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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.

15 Responses

  1. Brandy Loutherback

    What are your thoughts on Hotel Portofino? Is a review coming?

  2. Frances Germeshausen

    What times we live in. Really not feeling the 4th of July this year. No “1776” for the first time in decades.

    But, anyway, I do have things I wanted to say/ask.

    Hotel Portofino – is anyone else finding this a confusing mess? At the start the screen specifically states Italy 1926. We then almost immediately see a main character getting off a train looking like an extra from Out of Africa, the well-of hotel owner wearing either 30s or teens (if she took off the lacy sweater, maybe I could tell) and an annoying aunt character dressed in a more Victorian style than the Dowager Countess ever sported, but who looks maybe 40 years old. And the hair – geez! Either bob it or keep it in a bun/roll. I don’t even care about the story,

    On the other hand, the new Downton Abbey movie was, to me, a joy. The plot(s) were much more fun than the first movie, and the clothes were gorgeous. Tennis outfits! Summer whites! Movie stars! I need to stream it again.

    Stumbled on the Cazalets, set late 30s/early 40s. Yes, somewhat soapy, but the clothes seemed spot on to me (classes represented, etc.), some really nice hats, and I was impressed with Hugh Bonneville’s performance as a husband knowing he’s about to lose his wife to cancer.

    Now, on to making 2 batches of ice cream salted with my own tears.

    • Brandy Loutherback

      I know, the hair in Hotel Portofino drove me batty! To say nothing of the costumes, which were also very bad! Nothing is consistent with 1926!

      • Dulcima

        Looks like the younger actresses in Hotel Portofino just refused to bob their hair so the stylists were like “Eh, we’ll just pull it back” and Natascha McElhone’s hair looks too fluffy, like a 60s bouffant

        • Frances Germeshausen

          Thank you! That bouffant hair is bugging me, too. Way too much product for the supposed era.

          • Brandy Loutherback

            The clothes were a hodgepodge of vaguely “period” clothing! The men and a couple of the women were ok, IMO! One woman wore a suit that looked late 1910s/early 1920s!

              • Frances Germeshausen

                Kendra, I’d say Snark Week, but I’m not sure it even excels there.

    • The Scrivener

      Totally agree on Hotel Portofino. Started out strong for me, but I’m currently watching episode 4 and am SO ANNOYED at the hair and costumes that I came here to frockflicks to see what y’all thought.

  3. Saraquill

    Anyone else see the second season of Russian Doll? It’s like season 2 of the Umbrella Academy in that we get Frock Flick content.

  4. Lily Lotus Rose

    I just discovered the historical book series called The Thomas Chaloner Adventures by Susanna Gregory. I’m about 150 pages into one of the books, and I think it’s pretty good. Reading it made me realize that I’m keen to see a historical detective series that’s not already well-known and well-trod, in other words, beyond Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie. It seems like 90% of the book adaptations are of an ilk–an ilk I like by the way–it’s just that I’m hankering for more variety. This Chaloner series seems like it could be a fun property on film as well as the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris. Anyone else have a historical book or series they’d like to see adapted for film?

    • Michael McQuown

      If you want a well-researched mystery, read “The Devil In Velvet” by John Dickson Carr, the dean of older mysteries. He also wrote under the pen name of Carter Dickson. You also might want to read Dorothy Dunnett’s “The Lymond Chronicle” six novels about a Scottish border lord set in different places with chess-themed titles: “The Game of Kings,” “Queen’s Play” “The Disorderly Knights” “Pawn in Frankincense” “The Ringed Castle” and “Checkmate.”

    • florenceandtheai

      I really enjoyed the Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland. It’s set in late 17th-early 18th century Japan, during the later Tokugawa shogunate. Sano is a samurai working as a PI for the shogun, and it’s just a fascinating period. The author knows the period very well (yay for research!) and adds the right mix of details to intrigue but not overwhelm. The series does get a little silly toward the very end (Sano’s assistant develops mystical ninja powers, no really) but more the most part plays it straight.

  5. Michael McQuown

    My gripe always come to a head: either people not wearing hats when they should be or warriors not wearing any protection under an armour helmet. Either a padded arming cap at the least or more likely a mail coif over the cap and under the helmet. The coif usually has a trailing flap that overlaps the throat and laces into place. Richard I got killed because he had not closed his while looking at loot. A French crossbowman got him. And in many films, no helmets are worn at all so we can see the actors’ faces, but….that’s what heraldry and helmet crests are all about.

  6. Emily

    PUMPED for the news that Apple TV + is doing a series of Wharton’s The Buccaneers. And that Christina Hendricks signed on. She’ll look gorgeous in a bustle gown