How, I ask you, HOW have we never done a Woman Crush Wednesday featuring Glenda Jackson? I am here to correct our oversight RIGHT EFFING NOW.
Marat/Sade (1967) – Charlotte Corday
Not really what I’d call a costume flick, but I know someone in the comments would whine about me leaving it out, so here it is. Jackson plays Charlotte Corday, the assassin of Jean-Paul Marat, who is imprisoned in the same insane asylum as the Marquis de Sade. And… It’s the 1960s, so weird shit happens that’s supposed to be scathing commentary on current geopolitical conflicts or something.
Women in Love (1969) – Gudrun Brangwen
For a movie with the title Women in Love, the film is actually about the forbidden love shared between two men who, for homophobic reasons, cannot act out on their feelings. Unless it’s a naked wrestling match by the firelight in a grand fireplace. Who says romance is dead?
Howards End (1970) – Margaret Schlegel
The classic E.M. Forster novel in its first adaptation for the BBC. Jackson plays Margaret, the centerpiece of the family drama who manages to bring peace and stability to a bunch of overreacting, petulant, and troubled relations.
The Music Lovers (1970) – Nina Tchaikovsky
Elizabeth R(1971) – Queen Elizabeth I
As far as we’re concerned, Jackson’s portrayal of the Virgin Queen is the gold standard. The series is at times so laboriously dedicated to getting the details of Elizabeth’s 44-year reign right that it can border on snooze-fest territory, but Jackson’s Elizabeth is so riveting, it’s hard to look away. Doesn’t hurt that this series has some of the best Elizabethan costuming ever put to film, courtesy of historical costuming legend Jean Hunnisett.
Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) – Queen Elizabeth I
It’s not really a sequel to Elizabeth R, more of a meditation on a fictional meeting between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots. Jackson reprises her role as QEI beside Vanessa Redgrave as the doomed Scottish queen, Mary.
The Boy Friend (1971) – Rita Monroe
Jackson is uncredited for her portrayal of the grande dame of a small-time English theatre, set during the inter-war period. The honestly-too-old-to-play-the-ingenue Rita finds herself sidelined as the romantic lead in the musical The Boy Friend, after breaking her leg. She’s forced to watch her signature role taken by her understudy, played by Twiggy. Honestly, it’s the least weird Ken Russell film ever with some lovely 1920s costumes.
The Nelson Affair (1973) – Lady Hamilton
Hedda (1975) – Hedda Gabler
The Incredible Sarah (1976) – Sarah Bernhardt
I’m hard pressed to think of a more suitable actress to play the legendary actress. Unfortunately, the script is weak AF, and the costumes are hella kitschy. Not even Glenda Jackson can salvage it entirely.
The Return of the Soldier (1982) – Margaret Grey
Not a whole lot of images online of this film. Jackson plays the former lover of a shell-shocked soldier who has lost his memory.
Salome’s Last Dance (1988) – Herodias / Lady Alice
The Rainbow (1989) – Anna Brangwen
Jackson plays the mother of the character she played in Women in Love, opposite Christopher Gable, who played the lover of the husband of her character in The Music Lovers. Not surprisingly, this is a Ken Russell film.
King of the Wind (1990) – Queen Caroline
Annoyingly, there’s not a hell of a lot of images online from this film. Which means it’s probably going to annoy me until I watch it, and it will be every bit as bad as it sounds. Jackson plays Queen Caroline, in a movie about a horse. Nine-year-old me would have been way more excited about that plot than 39-year-old me is currently.
Who else is part of the Glenda Jackson fan club?