How Contemporary Hairstyles Affect Historical Costume Movies: The 1960s part 2

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There are lots of movies that aim for a historical aesthetic when it comes to hairstyles and others where it’s a mishmash. But it seems to me that when historical costume movie/TV series hairstyles vary from what WOULD be historically accurate, it’s due to current-to-filming perceptions about hair. So, working decade-by-decade, let’s look at some of these not-so-accurate films/TV series and compare the hair to what’s going on at the time of filming, and see if I’m right! See my posts about the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s in two parts, 1940s in two parts, and 1950s to find out about historical hairstyles in the movie industry’s earlier decades.

See last week’s post for part 1, covering contemporary hairstyles of the 1960s and films set up through the 18th century. Now let’s do the rest! For some reason, they were REALLY into early 20th century settings in this decade.

 

Early 19th Century Films of the 1960s

1966 Hawaii

1966’s Hawaii stars Julie Andrews as a missionary in 1820s Hawaii. Both hairstyles appear to be center parted, the bottom one looped over the ears; the top one has some volume, short bangs, and ringlets in front of the ears.

Anthelme-François Lagrenée, Portrait of Ekaterina Aleksandrovna Kologrivova, née Chelishcheva (1778-1857), 1820s, Christie's

While the ringlets aren’t totally wrong, they should be much further up the face if she’s fashionable | Anthelme-François Lagrenée, Portrait of Ekaterina Aleksandrovna Kologrivova, née Chelishcheva (1778-1857), 1820s, Christie’s

John Ender, Empress Maria-Anna of Savoy, 1820s

But since she’s a missionary, she’d probably wear something ultra-plain like this | John Ender, Empress Maria-Anna of Savoy, 1820s.

Mid-19th Century Films of the 1960s

1968 Oliver!

Oliver! (1968) drives me crazy for THOSE BANGS. Yes, Nancy is super lower class, hence the hair down.

George Cruikshank, Page from Oliver Twist, Vol 3, 1838

But here how she’s pictured in the original story’s illustrations, with her hair messy but up | George Cruikshank, Page from Oliver Twist, Vol 3, 1838

 

1963 How the West Was Won

How the West Was Won (1963) is set in several eras; here, Debbie Reynolds is a pioneer in 1851. Her hair is loosely curled, pulled back on top and long in back, with curled bangs.

Le Conseiller des dames et demoiselles, 1851-1852.

We need only look at some early 1850s fashion plates to see that her hair SHOULD be center-parted and UP.

Godey's Lady Book, 1850

Ringlets were pretty much only worn for fashionable evening styles | Godey’s Lady Book, 1850

 

1965 Shenandoah

Shenandoah (1965) is set during the Civil War. Both guys (that’s James Stewart in the middle) have side-parted hair that’s short and layered.

civil war soldiers hairstyles

Here’s an array of Civil War soldier photographs. While second from the left’s hair is pretty short, it seems like there should be a bit more length on top in the movie styles.

1965 Shenandoah

Meanwhile, Rosemary Forsyth has her hair up, with SOME volume on top, and low, full arrangements on the nape of the neck.

1860s hairstyles

The low arrangements are great, but the hair on top of the head should be center parted and as close to the head as possible (thank you whoever made this Pinterest collage of 1860s hairstyles)

 

1963 The Leopard

The Leopard (1963) is set in 1860 Sicily. The center, older gent has full, wavy hair and long sideburns.

Photos of men's hairstyles 1860

This is a look you see in period photographs, so, kudos! Various photos of 1860 men’s hairstyles culled from Wikipedia

1963 The Leopard

Claudia Cardinale’s key hairstyle is center parted and low and full on the nape of the neck.

Godey's Lady's Book, August 1860

Color me shocked, because they got it right! Just not the smokey eye | Godey’s Lady’s Book, August 1860

1963 The Leopard

This style has a braid on top, and the sides are waved.

1864 - Le Bon Ton Journal a la Modes via Wikimedia Commons

The top braid checks out | 1864 – Le Bon Ton Journal a la Modes

Late 19th Century Films of the 1960s

1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) came in right at the end of the decade, as there was a pivot towards more natural hairstyles. It’s set in 1899, but both Paul Newman and Robert Redford look VERY 1969, hair-wise.

Butch Cassidy's mugshot from the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie, 1894, via Wikimedia Commons

The real Butch Cassidy spent a little less time on his hair I think | Butch Cassidy’s mugshot from the Wyoming Territorial Prison in Laramie, 1894, via Wikimedia Commons

1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Katharine Ross plays Sundance’s wife, Etta. Her hair is mostly just pulled back, but she clearly has some shorter pieces around the face.

Sundance Kid with his wife in 1901, via Wikimedia Commons

The real Etta actually paid attention to fashion, as you can see by her waved, full style with a top chignon | Sundance Kid with his wife in 1901, via Wikimedia Commons

 

1969 Hello, Dolly!

Hello, Dolly! (1969) stars Barbra Streisand as an 1890 matchmaker in New York City. Her hair is very full on top, lists to one side, and she’s got sideswept bangs.

La Mode Française, 1890, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Here’s what she should be rocking — probably some wave, definitely curled bangs, and hair arrangement on the back of the head | La Mode Française, 1890, Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

Early 20th Century Films of the 1960s

1968 Funny Girl

Funny Girl (1968) stars Barbra again again as Broadway/film star Fanny Brice, and is set in the late 1910s/early 1920s. Barbra goes BIG BOUFFANT on top, sometimes with curls or braids, and again sideswept bangs.

Fanny Brice, 1910s (possibly early 1920s on the right), via Wikimedia Commons

The real Brice went for waves or curls, generally less bangs, and a WHOLE LOT LESS VOLUME | Fanny Brice, 1910s (possibly early 1920s on the right), via Wikimedia Commons

 

1962 The Music Man

The Music Man (1962) is set in 1912. Shirley Jones has hair artfully waved around the face with a bit of pull on top, bun on the crown of the neck, and sometimes rocks the ringlets.

La Mode du Temps, December 1915

The wave isn’t bad, but she needs a bit less puff and the hair should be more on the nape of the neck | La Mode du Temps, December 1915

Mary Pickford, 1914, Wikimedia Commons

I’m thinking the ringlets are a Mary Pickford reference? Mary Pickford, 1914 | Wikimedia Commons

1962 The Music Man

Robert Preston is also waved with a center part and some volume on top.

1912_mens hairstyles

While the side part works, his hair should be flatter on top and the top layers should be longer | 1912 men’s hairstyles culled from photographs via Wikimedia Commons

 

1962 Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) is set during World War I. Here Peter O’Toole has long layers on top and his hair slicked back and oriented to one side.

British Army File photo of T.E. Lawrence, 1918, via Wikimedia Commons

The length should probably be a bit shorter if we compare him to the real guy | British Army File photo of T.E. Lawrence, 1918, via Wikimedia Commons

 

1964 Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins (1964) is set in 1910. Julie Andrews has center parted hair, puffed and waved on top, and then in a bun on the back of the head.

1910 women's hairstyles

She probably wouldn’t have that kind of volume on the forehead if we compare to these women from that year | 1910 women’s hairstyles culled from photographs via Wikimedia Commons

 

1964 My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady‘s (1964) pivotal scene shows Eliza Doolitte (Audrey Hepburn) with a HUGE on top curled arrangement, narrow at the sides. I’m not entirely sure what year the film is supposed to be set, but I’m guessing it’s 1913, which is when the source play premiered.

1964 My Fair Lady

Her other hairstyles are mellower, some with volume at the sides, all with bangs.

La coiffure française illustrée, 1913

Hairstyles of this year tended to be rounder | La coiffure française illustrée, 1913

La coiffure française illustrée, 1913

Hair was arranged on the lower back of the head | La coiffure française illustrée, 1913

La coiffure française illustrée, 1913

And puffy waves were all the rage | La coiffure française illustrée, 1913

 

1964 The Unsinkable Molly Brown

The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964) has Debbie Reynolds as the real life Margaret “Molly” Brown. Her hair is all about volume on top, with a soft wave and a side orientation, as well as bangs.

Various photos of Molly Brown, c. 1909-12, via Wikimedia Commons

The real Molly wore her hair in the high on top style of 1909ish (top left), then various styles that are much closer to the head on top to fit under the period’s giant hats | Various photos of Molly Brown, c. 1909-12, culled from Wikimedia Commons

1964 The Unsinkable Molly Brown

This guy is too excited not to include. Compare him to the 1912 images for The Music Man above.

 

1965 Doctor Zhivago

Julie Christie in 1965’s Doctor Zhivago, set during and after the Russian Revolution. She appears to be well to do? Her hair is bouffanted on top, lists to one side, and she has bangs that sweep around the sides of her face.

Russian Revolutionaries Pavel Dybenko and Aleksandra Kollontai, c. 1920, via Wikimedia Commons

If she was down with the Revolution, she probably would have gone for something practical yet fashion forward like this choppy bob | Russian Revolutionaries Pavel Dybenko and Aleksandra Kollontai, c. 1920, via Wikimedia Commons

The People's Home Journal, 1918

Or if she was more fashionable/conventional, these full on top, curled around the ears styles | The People’s Home Journal, 1918

 

1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie

Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) is set in 1922 New York City. Mary Tyler Moore has long hair worn in ringlets, slight volume on top, and bangs.

1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie

Carol Channing has waved hair that’s long and poufy on top, shorter at the nape of the neck.

1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie

While Julie Andrews’ hair is shorter overall, brushed forward, waved, and with bangs.

1922 women's hairstyles via Wikimedia Commons

Given some or all of these women are supposed to be “modern” per the title, let’s compare to these 1922 women’s hairstyles culled from photos at Wikimedia Commons. I’m seeing tighter waves, and that specific early 1920s style that’s a bit full on top, narrow at the temples, and then puffed in front of the ears.

 

1967 Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde (1967) has Faye Dunaway with just-past-the-chin hair and long, sideswept bangs, with a little bit of volume on top.

1967 Bonnie and Clyde

Warren Beatty’s hair is in short layers with a side part.

Bonnie and Clyde

The real Bonnie and Clyde via Wikimedia Commons. Bonnie’s hair is side parted, waved, and I think tucked into her beret? While Clyde’s hair is waved, side-parted, and close to the head.

 

1965 The Sound of Music

Finally, The Sound of Music (1965) is set in 1937ish-1938 Austria. Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp has side-listing hair that’s waved and a bit high on the forehead.

1938 older men's hairstyles

He looks similar to this guy on the bottom right, while the rest of these guys have hair much closer to the head | 1938 older men’s hairstyles culled from photographs via Wikimedia Commons

1965 The Sound of Music

Eleanor Parker as the baroness. I LOVE HER HAIR, but it’s not 1930s. It’s center or side parted, high on top, and then arranged at the back/crown of the head.

1938 women's hairstyles

She should be doing something like this — either chin- to below-chin-length and flat on top with a side part, or high on top like Bette Davis (top right) | 1938 women’s hairstyles via Wikimedia Commons

 

What 1960s trends do you see in these historical movie and TV hairstyles?

14 Responses

  1. Carrie

    The past few days have been pretty rough, on a personal level, but these posts are my happy place. You are doing the Lord’s work, Kendra. If there were a Church of Snark, I’d show up in the front pew every day and twice on Sundays.

    Ok, now off to read the post!

    Reply
  2. Gray

    I love these posts.
    “The Leopard” is of course Visconti and Piero Tosi and Tirelli Costumi so it’s accurate city. No wonder the hair is right… even on the background! But still the period it was made in somehow creeps in (makeup? The actors in it). It’s inevitable.
    A project, like say “Singing in the Rain”, would be great fun: designing a period version of a period costume… how they woulda done back then back then… I think would be great fun. And with the film, Walter Plunket’s costumes of the 20s version of 18th century has the added layer of the 50s. Now there are 3 mushed up periods!

    Reply
  3. Aleko

    Ah, the Leopard . . . Personally I’m not shocked that the hairstyles are accurate, give that this was directed by Luchino Visconti and costumed by Piero Tosi! On IMDb the top hairstyling credit goes to one Amalia Paoletti who doesn’t at a cursory look seem to have specialised in historical styles, but I’m sure Visconti would have told her as soon as she was hired that he wanted authenticity, and if she didn’t already know what 1860s hairstyles looked like she should go and find out toot sweet.

    Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      Agreed about “The Leopard,” perhaps my favorite period film ever, apart from “The Earrings of Madame de…” (which really deserves a little love here on FrockFlicks). I can even tolerate Cardinale’s smoky eyes. But I must mention a hair discovery I made earlier this year: Peter O’Toole was not blond; he was dark-haired or close to it. Which is fine, but startling nonetheless, especially after that tousled yellow mop in “Lawrence.”

      Reply
      • Al Don

        I love The Earrings of Madame de…. What an impeccably made film.

        Glad to see it get some love – alongside the excellent The Leopard of course.

        Reply
  4. hsc

    I’m stunned at how many of these films I saw theatrically, either (as a child) in first run or (as an adult) in a “repertory cinema.”

    A lot of these hairdos are just basically the star’s usual look, with slight alterations like a wiglet on top or a fall in the back for an illusion of “length”– both of which were being used by fashionable women regularly at this point.

    In THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, Carol Channing and Julie Andrews were both wearing basically the same hairstyles they wore at the time, with a tiny bit of wave added in some scenes and Andrews covered by cloche hats a lot.

    (Julie Andrews had almost identical hair in THE SOUND OF MUSIC, only slightly straighter, so I guess the Mother Superior finally confiscated the curlers she had underneath her wimple.)

    Mary Tyler Moore’s hair, though, was a deliberate attempt to make “Miss Dorothy” an “old-fashioned girly girl” rather than a “modern woman”– she’s based on silent screen star Dorothy Gish, according to a contemporary account I read.

    (This may have been in the liner notes for the original release TMM soundtrack LP I used to have, which had an entire booklet on the film bound in.)

    Anyway, great job on these! Looking forward to one on the ’70s!

    Reply
    • Anna

      Julie Andrews’ character in Thoroughly Modern Millie even tries to get Mary Tyler Moore’s character to bob her hair but then she meets a man who (naturally) prefers her long curls.

      Reply
      • hsc

        Even worse, the man who falls for Dorothy is Millie’s square-jawed boss (John Gavin)– who Millie already had her eye on from the moment she walked in for her interview (she even hears Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” when she sees him)!

        Alas, despite trying to “vamp” him at one point, personal secretary Millie merely becomes his “right hand man”– he even calls her “John”– and she even has to make the calls to arrange his first date with Dorothy, which includes his choice of two dozen “pink, plump” long-stemmed roses to be sent before the dinner.

        As a brokenhearted Millie dutifully makes the calls, she intermittently sings the ’20s torch song “Poor Butterfly” (a reference to the tragic, abandoned “Madame Butterfly”). And at the very end, she breaks down and orders the two dozen “pink, plump” roses as “– on the FAT side!”

        Reply
      • Dulcima

        Julie Christie also looks super 60s in Far From the Madding Crowd (set in the Victorian era)

        Reply
  5. hsc

    “Oliver! (1968) drives me crazy for THOSE BANGS.”

    This is a great example of just taking the performer’s current look and incorporating it into a half-assed “period” hairstyle with minimal tweaking. (Debbie Reynolds also displays this, but not as obviously.)

    Shani Wallis had one of those short ’60s Vidal Sassoon hairstyles at the time of filming, and they just added some hair at the back of her head, giving her those short layers on top and “those bangs.”

    This is the way her own hair looked about six months before shooting started (that’s Sassoon with her):
    https://editorial01.shutterstock.com/wm-preview-1500/1534930a/82029539/Shutterstock_1534930a.jpg

    compared with the added hair in the film:
    https://c8.alamy.com/comp/E0T8EJ/shani-wallis-on-set-of-the-film-oliver!-1968-E0T8EJ.jpg

    So why not a full wig? Was it maybe an attempt to keep her recognizable (she was starting to catch on in the U.S. as a singer at the time, with appearances on TV variety shows)?

    Or were they– gag— just trying to make her more “relatable” to a contemporary audience’s sense of style? (It’s a precursor to the “shag” haircut sported by both sexes just a few years later.)

    This “hair-don’t” is the coiffure equivalent of the denim in MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS (2018), IMO.

    Reply

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