Frock Flicks Free-for-All September


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 September to When We All Vote, Michelle Obama’s nonprofit organization that’s working to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap. Americans, make sure you’re registered to vote and you have a plan to vote by mail or in person this year! Don’t sit this one out.

Northern California has been on fire for the past few weeks, and while the Frock Flicks staff is not in danger, we have friends who’ve been evacuated from their homes, and the air quality where we live has been awful due to smoke. So we’re even more stuck indoors than usual and in even more dire need of distraction. Where are all the fun, delightful, engaging, historically accurate frock flicks? Something we can sink our virtual teeth into?

Downton Abbey - All this endless thinking, it's very overrated


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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.

24 Responses

  1. Constance

    I fear we are going to have a bleak 2021 as far as costume dramas, due to production shut down for much of 2020…:(
    And some projects seemed stalled in limbo even before…what has happened I wonder to The Gilded Age and Brigerton… seems like both should have been complete before March…but no signs of either one?

  2. Shashwat

    Pinterest brought me across a number of stunningly gorgeous mid-Victorian fashion.But stunning and mid-Victorian don’t go together in a sentence so I did a bit of research and was least surprised discover they were Tirelli pieces created for extras.It is often the cream,white or champagne coloured gowns that get mislabelled.What causes them to mislabel the pieces despite the fact that most costumes look suspiciously brand new in comparison to antiques,with not a single stray thread or loosening tape binding in sight?
    Not to mention the silver 1910s gowns mislabelled as Regency.One of the pins went extra specific and labelled a 1916 dress as 1803.And atleast one 1660s boned bodice mislabelled as 1830s.Surprisingly not a single mantua I encountered was confused with bustle dresses.

    • susan l eiffert

      Funny, Shashwat that you raised this; I was just going to. I’m on a few antiques Fb groups and the ignorance can be really discouraging. I am specifically talking about real antique and vintage fashion and textiles in this case, but also someone posted on a movie Fb page about iconic movie clothing and Scarlett’s curtain dress inevitably came up. I had been scolded in the past for noting an old ad was not 60’s as posted, but 30’s based on clothing and hair, graphics, so I held my tongue, but that curtain dress is wildly historically wrong: the neckline, the tasselled belt (tho’ I know it was necessary to carry out the whole make-do theme) that asymmetrical shoulder cape, among others. I’m sure it’s been dealt with on FF. Someone else recently got her Edwardian dates wrong on a dress c 1912, and another commented about the nightmare of dressing one’s lady in that same dress, which is of course just one piece, pretty unstructured underneath, and the worst problem (that isn’t) is the fastening of all the different bits on bodice, waist and perhaps neckline. If one doesn’t know, one shouldn’t guess, or at least do one’s research if unsure. Sorry to run on; I feel much better now…

  3. Kathy

    I know this happened years ago, but I’m still sad 1.The Borgias was cancelled 2.It didn’t have more history. The costumes and sets were gorgeous and the cast worked so well together. Everyone in particular, including Holliday Granger, could have carried and made a more historically accurate series riveting.

  4. Saraquill

    Frock flick adjacent, I’ve been watching and rewatching “A Stitch in Time” Featuring Ninya Mikhaila on Amazon Prime. Highly recommended for the learning, gorgeous reconstructions and the host’s fashion sense.

    • susan l eiffert

      I enjoyed the STitch show, but it seems to have been short-lived? I found it fascinating. maybe too few interested?

      • Saraquill

        It’s the British Brevity effect, the tendency to have a show with a scant number of episodes. Given how much of the budget must have went into hiring Mikhaila’s studio for all those outfits, I’m not surprised it’s so short.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      Sarah managed to find a copy & review it when it first aired, but I didn’t get to see it until recently on Amazon Prime. Yes, loved it, such fun to watch! I admire Ninya’s work greatly & it reminds me how much I hate to sew, LOL.

  5. mmcquown

    People just don’t use their heads properly in most shows: specifically, I constantly see supposedly trained putting helmets on over bare heads or mail coifs — without the padded arming cap underneath. The padding is necessary to avoid shock to the brain. And mail will tangle and pull hair without an intervening layer. Not to mention that there should be padding under the body armour as well. Even a full suit of plate requires a padded doublet underneath. Also getting tired of seeing knitted-string mail. So, man or woman, if you’re arming up, don’t forget to look after the brain box.

      • MoHub

        This is a stage convention, carried over to films and TV, but nothing later than the 1950s should be excused. After that point, re-enactors brought back the making of mail, and there is not reason beyond the stage to wear spray-painted knits.

    • MoHub

      Precisely. This is why sword-wielders would go for the unprotected parts of an enemy’s body.

  6. Mizdema

    La Revolution on Netflix , in october!
    Seems weird !!!!!! as you say «tangential but interesting»
    A discovery of witches, Eiffel» movie : not before beginning 2021, still they managed to finish.
    Anna Taylor-Joy as a chessplayer during the fifties (Netflix again)

  7. MrsC (Maryanne)

    Well! I’ve been reading these fabulous books set in early 1950s Brighton, England, about a Variety magician called Max Mephisto and his friend DI Edgar Stephens. They centre around solving murders and are solid gold TV worthy. And ANYTHING to see more Brighton on TV. And 50s/60s costumes!! If anyone is interested in the books, here they are:
    Anyone else constantly wish their favourite books would be dramatised? It’s been a life long fantasy of mine!

  8. Nzie

    Just an interesting bit of history I learned recently: one of Grant’s trusted officers was a man named Ely Samuel Parker and Hasanoanda, later known as Donehogawa–a member of the Seneca tribe. He wrote out the final surrender terms at Appomattox, and later served as the first Native American Commissioner of Indian Affairs (appointed by Grant). Wikipedia of course isn’t a substitute for a real biography but he seems super interesting, and I can’t imagine the challenges he must’ve faced, not only externally (he was turned down from joining the army at first) but also internally (he apparently decreased military actions against Native Americans, but this was also a time with many being moved to reservations). I know this blog usually features women we’d like to see movies of, but I was thinking as I watched and then looked him up how interested I’d be to learn his story as a protagonist, rather than an interesting ancillary to Grant (I suppose I’ll go look into biographies at some point).

    For frock flicks coming up.. gosh I had such a great movie year last year, and this year the last one I saw in theaters was Emma, which was fun, but I feel a bit bereft of film, even though of course there are many ways to watch them. Ugh.

  9. Nzie

    Back to say, I caught Marshall on tv last night–mostly suits but the ladies’ clothes were great. Also, a really interesting and I thought sensitively done story (given the complications of the case), with a great cast.

    Also, just came across an ad for a new version of Rebecca, with go-to vintage girl Lily James–and Armie Hammer and Kristin Scott Thomas. Looks like a Netflix release? I haven’t read the novel but the comments section on YouTube seems to be pretty defensive of the Hitchcock version and the novel.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      I can’t tell from the preview if that new version of Rebecca is modern-set or a period piece. One of us will prob. take a poke at it tho since it’s on Netflix.

  10. jayoungr

    Hey, would you ever consider doing a WCW on Ginger Rogers? She got to wear some of the most amazing frocks in flicks…even some “historicals” for the time.

  11. Kelly F

    Damnnnn “Ratched” is everything y’all.

    (In the interest of full disclosure, I have only watched two episodes so it might get really absurd a la American Horror Story: Asylum, but hopefully being a prequel to One Flew Over Cuckoo’s Nest will ground it)