This film is probably more appropriate for Snark Week, but if you’re looking for a strong female character in a historical(ish) movie, you could do worse than Cutthroat Island (1995) where Geena Davis as Morgan Adams basically does all the usual swashbuckling done by men in pirate flicks. The film’s byline on the promotional poster reads “From the director of Die Hard and Cliffhanger” so you know what you’re getting into — lots of shit getting blown up. But hey! Female pirate captain! Geena Davis! Married to the director! Girl power!
I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about the colossal failure this movie ended up being because Kate Dries already wrote that post over on Jezebel. Basically, the film cost $115 million to make and only earned $10 million worldwide when it was released. In other words, making this movie seemed like a really good idea at the time, a vehicle for outspoken feminist Geena Davis to prove to little girls everywhere that women can totally kick ass, but unfortunately Cutthroat Island couldn’t overcome its own shlock in the end.
The film is set in 1668, but you wouldn’t know it from the costumes, designed by Enrico Sabbatini. They’re all basically the standard Hollywood pirate fare: vests, breeches, froofy shirts, and the occasional frock coat.
That said, there’s one ball scene in the film where fancy people are shown wearing fancy clothes and dancing all fancy-like.
Are you a Geena Davis fan? Did Cutthroat Island come out at an important moment for you too?