English actress Janet McTeer has been around a lot longer, and done more frock flicks, than I realized! She’s often elegant, always emotive, and she’s 6’1″, so that makes her My Friend (team 5’11” here). Let’s take a look!
Miss Julie (1987)
An episode of “Theatre Night,” a recurring BBC show featuring stage plays. This is the 1888 August Strindberg play about the weeeeeeird dynamics between an upper class lady and her male servant.
Precious Bane (1989)
An adaptation of a 1926 novel: “The story is set in rural Shropshire during the Napoleonic Wars. It is narrated by the central character, Prue Sarn, whose life is blighted by having a cleft lip and cleft palate” (Wikipedia).
Portrait of a Marriage (1990)
The story of the real-life love affair between Vita Sackville-West (McTeer) and Violet Keppel.
The Black Velvet Gown (1991)
A TV adaptation of a Catherine Cookson novel. I’m guessing 1840s-ish?
Wuthering Heights (1992)
McTeer plays Nelly Dean, who narrates/observes much of the story’s action, in this feature film adaptation of the Emily Brontë novel.
A biopic about French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (“The Little Prince”). McTeer plays “Genevieve de Ville-Franche.”
In 1907, a professor (McTeer) goes to Appalachia to record folk music and becomes enmeshed in the lives of the people there.
The Intended (2002)
Wikipedia tells me it’s a “period” film, but I can’t tell which period, and that it’s about “a surveyor and his fiancée who arrive in a remote Malaysian trading post and encounter a close-fisted ivory trader and her ill-meaning family.”
Agatha Christie’s Marple: The Murder at the Vicarage (2004)
1950s, murder mystery, no doubt excellent costumes.
As You Like It (2006)
As Audrey in Kenneth Branagh’s weird, late-nineteenth-century-Europeans-in-Japan adaptation of the Shakespeare play.
She played English actress/singer/dancer/etc. Gertrude Lawrence in this biopic of author Daphne du Maurier.
Sense & Sensibility (2008)
She played Mrs. Dashwood, mother of Elinor and Marianne, in this decent TV adaptation of the Jane Austen novel.
Into the Storm (2009)
As Clementine Churchill, wife of British PM Winston, during World War II.
Albert Nobbs (2011)
She plays a woman living as a man in late-nineteenth-century Dublin.
Hannah Arendt (2012)
A film about German-Jewish philosopher and political theorist Hannah Arendt and her decision to write about the 1961 trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann and what she called “the banality of evil.” McTeer plays Arendt’s friend, American novelist Mary McCarthy.
Parade’s End (2012)
An ill-suited husband and wife and a suffragette have a love triangle. I hated it, but the costumes are gorge. McTeer plays the mother-in-law.
The Woman in Black (2012)
A gothic/supernatural/horror story set in the late nineteeth century. McTeer plays the local landowner’s wife.
The White Queen (2013)
As the real-life Jacquetta of Luxembourg, Countess Rivers (1415/16-72), mother of Queen Elizabeth Woodville.
A horror/thriller film set in late-nineteenth-century London that came and went.
National Theatre Live: Les Liaisons Dangereuses (2016)
An adaptation of the eighteenth-century play! McTeer played the Marquise de Merteuil to Liev Shreiber.
The Exception (2016)
She played the real-life Princess Hermine Reuss of Greiz (1887-1947), second wife of exiled German Kaiser Wilhelm II, in this World War II-set film.
Which is your favorite of Janet McTeer’s historical roles?
Re: Jacquetta of Luxembourg, I think the earmuffs hairstyle was out of date by then being a 14th century fashion and her hair shouldn’t be showing at a under her hennin. Historical images I’ve seen have the hair completely hidden under elaborate hennins and escoffions. The dress worn with the hennin is the right style though but I have my doubts about the color. And the other dresses are pure fairy-tale.
The film is fairly terrible, but Precious Bane is one of my favourite books of all time. Definitely recommend it.
Wow, those are some beautiful costumes! I’d forgotten she was in that adaptation of Sense & Sensibility but she is so good in everything. I’m not a fan of the Branagh adaptations but I’d probably sit through As You Like It just to see her and Adrian Lester. I’m adding so many from this list post my to-watch list.
I know it’s not a Frock Flick, but she was dynamite in Mrs. Pritchart as the seemingly evil, ruthless Tory MP. She was the best part of that amazing series.
Love the Woman in Black for both the costumes and the scares. Her character is supposed to be depressed/mentally ‘fragile’ after losing her son in a drowning incident caused by the titular woman so hence the wandering around with the undone hair and night clothes in the daytime (undone hair on women of a certain time period is almost always a shorthand for rebelliousness or madness). Plus bonus Ciaran Hinds.
I love McTeer in almost anything, although her performance as Vita Sackville-West might be my favorite. Also the only reason to watch “The White Queen,” if only for a couple of episodes. She reminds me at times of Fiona Shaw; has WCW every paid tribute to Shaw? (My husband would like this as well; he thinks Shaw and Thompson are goddesses.)
I’ve been fascinated by her since Precious Bane…and Portrait of a Marriage of course. Vita was of course almost as unpleasant and manipulative as Anne Lister, but so dashing in this portrayal lol
The National Theatre Live production actually starred Janet McTeer and Dominic West. She appeared in the role at the Roundabout Theatre with Liev Schrieber.
The Philippa Gregory series deserve the snark mostly, but they’ve been generally quite good at casting. Rebecca Ferguson and Jodie Comer playing title characters were casting coups, even if the material did not live up to their talents, and there have been some gifted performers like McTeer in the smaller roles. However, the casting department seems to fall down on the male leads – Jeremy Irons’ charisma-less son and a couple bland, nameless male models types.
I guess the bland male models were supposed to be make it relatable for some female viewers. I was quite disappointed by Max Irons, who was so unconvincing as a warrior king.
I’m so happy there’s a WCW post on her, I find her truly unconventionally attractive and I’ve yet to see a performance of hers I don’t like.
She is so talented. I will always have a soft spot for her as Nell in Wuthering Heights because I love that version. Like others have said, she’s fabulous in everything. Can I just say that I’m jealous of her because of the men she’s played against–Ciarin Hinds, Liev Schreiber, and Christopher Plummer (they had such great chemistry in The Exception). Great WCW choice!
She is the definitive Nelly Dean for me – and Nelly is my favorite character in WH!
Oh HOORAY!! I was so hoping you would do a McTeer WCW. I’ve loved her since The Black Velvet Gown.