SNARK WEEK: Hugh Grant Two-fer


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Oh Hugh! We do love you, but you don’t always love us. At least not early in your career. And especially not your hair. Case in point — not one, but two supremely crappy historical costume movies where someone in the hair-styling department just couldn’t figure out WTFrock to do with Hugh Grant’s hair. Actually, the costumes aren’t that great either. Let’s face it, Hugh Grant before 1990 was pretty tragic in frock flicks, Maurice (1987) being the only exception because, y’know, Merchant Ivory.

For Snark Week, we’ll take a two-fer of Hugh Grant’s first historical failures…


Rowing With the Wind (1988) – Lord Byron

Tragic hair in a truly terrible movie. I’m something of a connoisseur of these awful retellings of the Byron / Shelley relationship, and I have to say the only good thing about this one is that it semi-accurately paints both poets as the self-involved assholes they probably were. But who wants to watch that, especially with hair this bad and costumes this weak? The women get occasionally OK outfits, but nothing stunning, and the locations aren’t much of a thrill either.

Hugh Grant’s hair starts out as what is probably his own basic 1980s hairstyle and then it gets longer and shaggier. You could say it’s byronic, but that would stretch the definition of the word beyond recognition.

Rowing With the Wind, 1988

Byron’s long-suffering manservant has his own mullet to deal with, he just can’t help with his liege lord’s totally new wave ‘do.

Rowing With the Wind, 1988

This is your chance, push him into the lake and drown that plaid tailcoat forever!

Rowing With the Wind, 1988

In a big country dreams stay with you!

Rowing With the Wind, 1988

Look, my hair is just going to get worse before it gets better, so brace yourselves.

Rowing With the Wind, 1988

My little daughter, it’s come time for you to understand, sometimes, a man needs to put on a long wig and a women’s Victorian coat…

Rowing With the Wind, 1988

Mary Shelley is very upset about how mullet-y Byron’s hair has become.


The Lady and the Highwayman (1989) – Lord Lucius Vyne

This TV movie was based on a Barbara Cartland romance novel, and if that doesn’t scare you away, Hugh Grant’s mullet will. The women’s costumes are quite nice for 17th century (an era that can be easy to fuck up on screen), although everyone has 1980s makeup. Yet the women and all the men EXCEPT for Grant are wearing basically historical wigs. So the two options are that a) it’s Hugh Grant’s own hair (maybe an unfortunate trim after the last movie?), or b) Hugh Grant is wearing a mullet-wig (please do not tell me such things exist). There’s really no excuse.

The Lady and the Highwayman, 1989

Michael York, as King Charles II, gets a proper wig for the period.

The Lady and the Highwayman, 1989

Our heroine, Lysette Anthony, as Panthea Vyne, gets a proper wig for the period, even when she’s wearing a hat.

The Lady and the Highwayman, 1989

Emma Samms, as Barbara Castlemaine, gets a proper wig for the period, and there’s the king again in a proper wig, now worn with a hat.

The Lady and the Highwayman, 1989

Check out the back of the dude in yellow — that’s a proper wig for the period.

The Lady and the Highwayman, 1989

But no, our hero gets a mullet.

The Lady and the Highwayman, 1989

And a messy mullet.

Sigh Good costumes or bad, there is not escape from the crappy ’80s hair Hugh Grant displays in these frock flicks. Just gotta wait it out until Impromptu.


Are you a Hugh Grant fan? Are you still one after seeing these hair tragedies?


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21 Responses

  1. Kaye Dacus

    I watched (and recorded and kept for a couple of decades) THE LADY AND THE HIGHWAYMAN when it originally aired. That movie is the reason why I’ve never been able to take Hugh Grant seriously in any other movie he’s ever been in.

    • Trystan L. Bass

      I saw Lady & the Highwayman on TV & liked it, but for some reason, I didn’t connect the that w/Hugh Grant until very recently. I have a selective memory for crap!

  2. jenrosbrugh

    That plaid coat and hair shot looks straight from an Eighties music video!

  3. Susan Pola

    I still love Hugh. Even his mullet wig is cute. I keep remembering Maurice, Sense & Sensibility, and although it’s not a frock flick, Love Actually. He can run my country any day.

  4. Dawn

    Too bad Lair of the White Worm (1988) wasn’t a costume piece. Talk about your really bad 80s/psychedelic movies! (with a young Peter Capaldi as well)

  5. Charity

    I just… don’t think he belongs in period movies. I have never liked him in one. Modern movies? Yes, fine, bring it on. But he seems to stand out as uncomfortably awkward to me in costume dramas.

  6. Michael McQuown

    White Worm! Yeah, that was a pip. Given when it was made, perhaps it now qualifies as a period piece? I still occasionally play the VHS tape.

  7. alexandriaweb

    Actually screamed at the The Lady and the Highwayman pictures. Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!