WCW: Natasha Richardson

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English actress Natasha Richardson was a supremely talented star of numerous frock flicks. She’s another daughter of actress Vanessa Redgrave and sister to Joely Richardson. Sadly she died at only age 45 after a skiing accident, but not before taking on many historical roles:

 

The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968)

A satirical film about the Crimean War. Richardson’s father directed it, which may be why a very young Natasha (and her sister Joely) appeared!

1968 The Charge of the Light Brigade

Reasonable for a little girl?

 

Ellis Island (1984)

A TV miniseries about four immigrants coming to America, and set between 1907 and 1916. Richardson plays “Young Whore,” and this sounds supremely Snark Week-worthy!

1984 Ellis Island

I can’t find any pics of Richardson in this, so please to enjoy Faye Dunaway wearing I don’t know what!

 

Every Picture Tells a Story (1984)

A film about the early life of the the movie director’s father. So, vaguely period-ish? Richardson plays “Miss Bridle.”

1984 Every Picture Tells a Story

Are we artistic or just country folk?

 

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1985)

A British TV series about the famed fictional detective. Richardson guested in one episode, “The Copper Beeches.”

1985 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Great hat! Photo by ITV/Shutterstock

1985 The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Appropriately 1890s-y?

 

Gothic (1986)

Richardson played famous Regency author Mary Shelley in this adaptation of the Romantic poets’ stay at a villa in Italy, during which she came up with the idea for Frankenstein.

Mary Shelley, Gothic (1986)

No corsetry was used or abused in this film, I’m pretty sure.

Gothic (1986)

But that’s outweighed by Julian Sands!

Gothic (1986)

 

A Month in the Country (1987)

A World War I veteran comes to terms with the war in 1920s Yorkshire. Richardson co-starred with Kenneth Branagh and Colin Firth.

Kenneth Branagh in "A Month In The Country" (1987)

Relaxed country wear.

1987 A Month in the Country

Cleary we’re just on the cusp of the 1920s, given how long her skirt/fitted her waist is!

 

Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

The story of the Manhattan Project and the U.S.’s creation of nuclear bombs during World War II. Richardson plays real-life psychiatrist/physician Jean Tatlock, who was involved with the director of the Project (J. Robert Oppenheimer).

1989 Fat Man and Little Boy

Looking reasonably 1940s, although the hair could use some oomph.

 

Suddenly, Last Summer (1993)

An adaptation of a Tennessee Williams’ play set in 1936 New Orleans, Richardson co-starred as Catharine Holly with Maggie Smith and Rob Lowe.

1993 Suddenly, Last Summer

Smith looks great, I hope Richardson just escaped from an insane asylum? LA Times File Photo

 

Zelda (1993)

A made-for-TV biopic about artist and author Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. You know I loves me some crappy TV biopics, I may have to find this!

1993 Zelda

Nicely done late 1910s wear! Love that hat she’s holding. Courtesy: Everett Collection Tanner Pictures

1993 Zelda

I’m guessing we’re all dressed up in the 1920s-30s now? courtesy Everett Collection Tanner Pictures

Widows’ Peak (1994)

In 1920s Ireland, a glamorous new woman (played by Richardson) shakes up a small Irish town. I really enjoyed it!

1994 Widows' Peak

It’s set in that early 1920s sheer romantic fashion period…

1994 Widows' Peak

And involves Mia Farrow and Joan Plowright! I’m not a huge fan of Richardson’s bandeau … or the giant cross?

1994 Widows' Peak

But this is gorge! (c) Fine Line Features.

 

Haven (2001)

“A U.S. official escorts Holocaust refugees from 1940s war-torn Europe to temporary shelter in America.” Richardson stars as “Ruth Gruber.”

2001 Haven

That dress is perfectly cut for late 1930s/early 1940s.

2001 Haven

You can’t go wrong with a 1940s suit!

 

The White Countess (2005)

An emigre from the Russian Revolution (Richardson) lives in 1930s Shanghai. Directed by James Ivory of Merchant-Ivory fame.

The White Countess (2005)

Excellently slinky!

the White Countess (2005)

Glamorous furs!

the White Countess (2005)

Drapey daywear!

 

What’s your favorite of Natasha Richardson’s frock flick roles?

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About the author

Kendra

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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.

10 Responses

  1. Bel

    Such a warm and captivating screen presence! the Ang Lee Sense and Sensibility is my favorite Austen adaptation of all time as is, but I’ll admit to always wondering about what the (rumored) proposed casting of Richardson and her sister Joely as Elinor and Marianne would have been like.

    Reply
  2. hsc

    “…Faye Dunaway wearing I don’t know what!”

    From the looks of that poster and the stills I’ve seen on Google Image, I’m guessing “industrial-strength facelift tape stretched back so tight she can’t close her eyes.”

    (And yeah, this looks like a good candidate for a Snark Week, based on checking to see if her face looked like that in the show itself.)

    Natasha Richardson is much-missed, and I have to agree that the proposed SENSE AND SENSIBILITY with the (younger) Redgrave sisters would’ve been stellar (though I deeply love the one we got).

    Reply
  3. Amy

    Oh, I adore Natasha Richardson. Fell in love with her when I saw The Parent Trap as a girl— she had so much elegance and grace. I need to see more of her frock flicks…I’ll try to find Gothic for Halloween and have been meaning to check out Widows’ Peak.

    Reply
    • Mary

      Same. Ita was The Parent Trap that introduced med to Richardson and I saw it som many times as a girl. I havent seen many of her films, but the ones I saw, I watched so many times i found myself crying when i heard she’d died.

      Reply
  4. Al Don

    I remember her being talented and quite charismatic. I should have figured out she was the great Tony Richardson’s daughter sooner than I did.

    The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968) is brilliant satire and a very interesting recreation of the period.

    Reply
  5. Jose

    Lovely Actress, With A Tremedous Talent and Presence who was taken away from Us Far too soon, I Believe Asylum (2005) was also (supposedly) Period Set In the the 1950’s I Believe, And Not Sure About Tv Movie Mastersons of Manhattan never saw it or got to see any pics but that title sounds like a Period Piece to me

    Reply
  6. Gretchen

    Loved her in Gothic, the release of which was a special event of my college years. What a weird fun film. It fostered my interest in Mary Shelley and Jane Austen and novels of that time. And Julian Sands naked on the roof in a storm. Also loved her in The Handmaid’s Tale, which has interesting dystopian costumes. Yes, in Suddenly Last Summer she has just, well, not escaped, but been released from an insane asylum.

    Reply

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