WCW: Jenny Agutter

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English actress Jenny Agutter recently had a birthday, and as I was posting images to Frock Flicks social media, I was surprised by just how many period films/TV series she’s done! There wasn’t room to post them all there, so I thought she deserved a feature here on the blog.

The Railway Children (1970)

Her break-out role in a story of an Edwardian family whose father is accused of being a spy, so the family has to move to a run-down home near train tracks.

1970 The Railway Children

I feel like that beret may have been pivotal in some people’s lives.

1970 The Railway Children

Happy Edwardians?

1970 The Railway Children

I like mom’s outfits!

The Eagle Has Landed (1976)

A story about a fictional German plot to kidnap Winston Churchill near the end of World War II.

1976 The Eagle Has Landed

Nice piping on the sleeve cuff.

The Man in the Iron Mask (1977)

As Louis XIV’s mistress, Louise de la Vallière, in the classic 1660s-set Dumas story — with Richard Chamberlain as Louis!

1977 The Man in the Iron Mask

I think I generally like this, with some questions about the hair and the ball fringe.

1977 The Man in the Iron Mask

Richard Chamberlain!

1977 The Man in the Iron Mask

Sparkles! (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images)

China 9, Liberty 37 (1978)

An Italian-Spanish western.

1978 China 9, Liberty 37

zzzz

Mayflower: The Pilgrims’ Adventure (1979)

A TV movie focusing on romantic relationships between the pilgrims (blech). With Anthony Hopkins!

1979 Mayflower- The Pilgrims' Adventure

Clearly a high level of historical accuracy was involved.

The Riddle of the Sands (1979)

A spy thriller set in 1901.

1979 The Riddle of the Sands

I’m hoping there’s a plausible reason for the hair!

The Survivor (1981)

An Australian horror story about a man who survives a plane crash and starts having visions; I’m not sure why Agutter is in Edwardian costume here, but I’m being a completionist!

1981 The Survivor

That’s a lovely blouse!

Secret Places (1984)

A German refugee girl sent to an English boarding school during World War II.

1984 Secret Places

Shoulder pads!

Silas Marner (1985)

An adaptation of the early-19th century-set George Eliot novel.

1985 Silas Marner

Looks good, from what I can see!

Love’s Labour’s Lost (1985)

As Rosaline in the Shakespeare play, reset in the mid-18th century.

1985 Love's Labour's Lost

Nice mid-century mantua!

1985 Love's Labour's Lost

King of the Wind (1990)

About a famous 18th century horse.

1990 King of the Wind

Not my favorite hat look.

1990 King of the Wind

Whoa, a cap with lappets!

The Buccaneers (1995)

The 1870s-set story of four Americans taking on England through marriage, based on the Edith Wharton novel. Agutter plays the slightly older mistress of an English lord who gets set aside for a new American wife.

The Buccaneers (1995)

Beautiful embroidery.

Buccaneers 1995

And a lovely Japanese-esque dressing gown!

A Respectable Trade (1998)

An adaptation of a Philippa Fucking Gregory book, set in 1787 and centered on the British slave trade.

1998 A Respectable Trade

Shockingly good!

1998 A Respectable Trade

What is this madness? (Photo by Barry Batchelor – PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

Bramwell (1998)

In two episodes of this British series about a female doctor in 1895.

1998 Bramwell

Nice hat trimmings.

The Railway Children (2000)

Same story, but this time as the mom!

2000 The Railway Children

The beret has been passed on!

2000 The Railway Children

Her dress and hair are great.

Poirot: Taken at the Flood (2006)

In one episode of the 1930s-set murder mystery series by Agatha Christie.

2006 Poirot- Taken at the Flood

(Photo by Graham Wiltshire/Getty Images)

Glorious 39 (2009)

As the mother to a very complicated English family in this World War II-set story.

2009 Glorious 39

It was really hard to track down an image of her in this.

Call the Midwife (2012- )

Nurse midwives working in 1950s-60s London; Agutter plays Sister Julienne.

Call the Midwife_Series 6_EP04_Embargoed until 00.01 hours GMT on 7 February 2017

Nuns!

Queen of the Desert (2015)

As Gertrude Bell’s stepmother, writer Florence Bell.

2015 Queen of the Desert

I have zero memory of her role in this.

Tin (2015)

A story set in 1895 Cornwall, which must have something to do with tin mining.

2015 Tin

I feel like this could be interesting, at least from a costume angle!

What’s your favorite Jenny Agutter frock flick role?

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

26 Responses

  1. Kaite Fink

    Buccaneers is my favorite, though I do enjoy Call the Midwife. Plus, The Buccaneers mini series starts out with a lament about not being noticed, that they might as well be in Kalamazoo. Which is my hometown, and this makes me laugh each time I hear it.

    Reply
  2. Jalea Ward

    Railway Children (2000) seems to have fringe/bangs girl from Lost in Austen. The fringe/bangs must be contractual!

    Reply
  3. India

    The Railway Children – the first one. Simply one of the best children’s movies ever made. You merely have to quote Jenny Agutter’s line on finally seeing her father arrive back home on the train, “Daddy! My Daddy!” and at least half the British population will tear up.

    Reply
  4. Frannie Germeshausen

    I’ve never seen the Railway Children, sorry to say. She’s so beautiful and such a good actress, and I think her beauty adds a layer to her role in Call the Midwife – why’d she become a nun? She did have a true love. Anyway, I’m a huge fan of that series, one of the most feminist on TV.

    Reply
  5. Lynne Connolly

    I came here to say that. To this day, the first Railway Children movie is one of the few to bring me to tears. “Daddy! My Daddy!” is the culmination of a perfect film. If you haven’t seen it, you’re missing a treat.
    And then she’s doing Call The Midwife, which I love! The costumes for that are fab, too.

    Reply
  6. Aleko

    It’s unclear in the book of The Riddle of the Sands how old Clara Dollmann is supposed to be, but she must be mid-teens at least. However, the plot does require her to be totally innocent and unsuspecting of her traitor father’s involvement in Imperial Germany’s dastardly invasion plans, and I would guess that the decision was made to costume her as not-yet-‘out’, with hair down under simple sailor hats and tam-o’-shanters; to underline this. This was probably a smart move, because if she had been shown swanning around in fully-adult Edwardian coiffures, she might have carried less conviction as an ingenue.

    Reply
  7. Boxermom

    Not a costume flick, but my favorite of hers is “Logan’s Run”. In fact, I was just watching it the other night. Cheesy 70’s goodness!

    Reply
    • MrsC (Maryanne)

      SAME!!! I love her in everything, but Logan’s Run was just so SO. as for always whipping off her underwear, I think we know enough about the appalling treatment of women in the acting profession now to realise there’s a whole lot of yuk and probably not much agency behind that.

      Reply
  8. M.E. Lawrence

    Believe it or not, “A Respectable Trade” is not a bad book (at least, not for PFG). Good story line, strong conflicts, social conscience, etc. “Other Boleyn Girl” was when PFG starting sinking, lower and lower and dot dot dot

    Reply
    • Kelly

      I agree–very fine script, well acted, great costumes, important (and not well covered on screen) subject.

      Reply
  9. Kathleen Julie Norvell

    I’ve always like her in anything she’s done. I’m going for “The Man in the Iron Mask,” not necessarily for the women’s costumes (the second one looks like the living room drapes with the pullbacks), but for Richard Chamberlain, one of the few men who could carry off the silly late 17th century costumes without looking like a total prat. Jenny Agutter has always been a class act on the screen.

    Reply
  10. Saraquill

    I’m most familiar with her in Call the Midwife. I would like to see some of these other roles. Must search streaming services.

    Reply
  11. Constance

    Would like to suggest one of my favorites, Susan Hampshire, for WCW. She was stellar in The Pallisers, also played Becky Sharpe in Vanity Fair, Fleur in Forsyte Saga, and starred in the Grand, as well as other frock flicks. Anna Massey is another of my favorites, with her roles in Mansfield Park, He Knew he was Right and the Pallisers among others.

    Reply
  12. Claudia Trent

    Jenny Agutter was also in the 1980 miniseries, “Beulah Land”. She portrayed an English-born prostitute who became the wife of an overseer in Georgia and later, an alcoholic. The costumes and hairstyles were a mixed bag, but I can recall some of Agutter’s costumes in that production looking rather interesting.

    The miniseries was based on two novels by Lonnie Coleman.

    Reply
  13. Heather Christine Ripley

    I simply love Jenny. She is a class act and thanks for the post so I can find more of her films to watch. I watched Logan’s Run recently, and she was just so pretty. And a wacky film at that!

    Reply

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