Patreon Post Unlocked: Mary of Scotland (1936)

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I’ve given a capsule review of this, the earliest full movie by Hollywood about my favorite 16th-century queen, but Mary of Scotland (1936) deserves a deeper dive into the costumes designed by legendary Walter Plunkett. While definitely a 1930s aesthetic for the 1560s period, this film’s costumes are gorgeous and evocative of Mary Queen of Scots’ character (more so than certain recent flicks, IMNSHO).

Read all of this review of Mary of Scotland (1936) here!

Mary of Scotland (1936) - Patreon post unlocked

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9 Responses

  1. Aleko

    It’s ironic that they chose to put Bothwell into (anachronistic) Highland costume when he was 100% a Borderer. His seat, Hermitage Castle (Google it, it’s wonderfully grim and sinister) is about 5 miles as the crow flies from the border with England, and his family, the Hepburns, were routinely occupied with the problems of cross-Border cattle reiving. You’d think KH, a well-educated woman, would have known that much about her family’s origins?

    Reply
      • Aleko

        Probably not much, even on a roll of box-office success as she was at the time. Still, I like to imagine what she might have said. Hepburn was never so great as when she was riled!

        Reply
  2. Kai Jones

    I’d love to see a story of Mary’s childhood – a few years in Scotland, then to France, being raised as the poor cousin who will marry the heir to bring him inheritance rights to her country. Her mother’s cousins all in power in the French court. It fascinates me.

    Reply
    • Roxana

      Mary was spoiled and adored at the French court. She brought not only Scotland but a claim to the English throne and was the white hope of her powerful French relatives. Definitely not a poor relation!

      Reply
      • Trystan L. Bass

        I’ll keep saying it — no proper MQoS biopic has been made yet, & her life is strange, complicated, & interesting enough to do a great one! I’d like a miniseries of her whole life, starting with the ‘rough wooing’ & on to France. The 2013 Mary Queen of Scots did attempt to show her childhood/youth in France, but it’s a lot to cram into a 2 hour film (& the overall result was patchy). I admit one thing I liked about the silly soap opera Reign was that it was set in the French court for most of the run, thus avoiding the main Mary vs. Elizabeth cliches till the end.

        Reply
        • Roxana

          Mary’s cossetted childhood was a major influence on her character development. She grew up with very high self esteem, a strong sense of entitlement and an unfortunate tendency to abdicate her authority to trusted favorites. All of which served her very ill in Scotland.

          Reply
  3. hsc

    GREAT job on this one! Thanks for all the great analysis and pics of the costumes!

    It was almost certainly just repeating “glurge” taken straight from RKO press releases, but descriptions of the costumes in a ’70s book on ’30s movie costumes I have stated that the gold thistle medallions on the red velvet dress were custom-crafted by a jewelry designer — possibly Joseff of Hollywood?

    That’s not too far-fetched, but the book also made note of the eagle feather in the “Scots bonnet,” claiming that someone connected to the production insisted that a real eagle feather be used– not a turkey feather dyed to simulate eagle– because a queen would have nothing less than a real eagle feather.

    Supposedly, this resulted in having to get it from some sort of official source– a tribal council or the Department of the Interior or something (I don’t have the book handy to check)– which entailed the feather being brought to the set each day by a special representative, who removed it from its case and attached it to the cap just before the cameras rolled, then removed it after the last take and placed it back in its case and took it off the set.

    Probably BS– but then again, all the foofaraw would’ve made good publicity for the movie.

    Also, Douglas Walton may have been “very stereotypically coded” as Darnley, but that’s pretty much the way the actor looked in real life at the time and in other roles– wavy blond hair, arched blond eyebrows, rosy lips.

    He played a number of “aristocratic young men” in ’30s movies, and had recently been seen in the prologue in THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935)– where he’s Percy Shelley (though with a wig lengthening his usual blond waves):

    https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-nL6xtyL3XYg/W6x9BcsIZnI/AAAAAAAAFzM/PKJQ4QqfKJ01RWn2OQGO5VCUyOIWKm6zgCLcBGAs/s1600/douglas%2Bwalton%2Bfrankenstein.jpg

    Reply
  4. Lexy

    So interesting as usual
    I have a question: couldthe black wedding gown for her second wedding have something to do with her first wedding gown’s? She wore white, which was judged scandalous since it was considered the color of widowed queens of France, and some thought it was a premonition of her early widowhood; so maybe she wanted to prevent any bad luck this time?

    Reply

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