WCW: Pamela Brown


You will totally recognize English actress Pamela Brown, but it’s incredibly hard to find images of her in her various frock flick roles. A lot of them are likely lost films, TV plays, and early miniseries that were taped over, so footage and photos are rare. Which is such a shame, because the clips I’ve been able to find online have been great!


The Lady’s Not For Burning (1950)

This is one of those titles that comes up again and again. This was the first small-screen adaptation of the book by the same name, and it went on to be remade in 1958 (with Christopher Plummer), 1974 (this time starring Richard Chamberlain), and 1985 (Kenneth Branagh). But it’s not had a revival since…


Richard III (1955)

The costumes in this look amazing. Pamela Brown is straight out of a portrait as Jane Shore, mistress to Edward IV, but barely has any screen time.


Lust for Life (1956)

Biopic about Vincent Van Gogh’s life, co-starring Kirk Douglas as the consummate tortured artist. Pamela Brown plays his love interest, Christine.


Sir Francis Drake – “Mission to Paris” (1962)

A TV series that ran for only one season, following the exploits of the eponymous English explorer. In the 20th episode, Pamela Brown plays Catherine de Medici.


Cleopatra (1963)

Apparently there are other actors in this film other than Elizabeth Taylor, but it’s damn hard to find any images of them online (I ran into the same problem with On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, which is why it’s not listed here … every image was only of Babs). Anyway, by sheer luck, there are a handful of images of Pamela Brown as the High Priestess. Her black and god assuit gown is amazing.


Becket (1964)

I have to confess that I started watching this film but never finished it. The costumes are fabulous, though I have no idea why Pamela Brown as Eleanor of Aquitaine is wearing a costume fashionable 300 years after her death, nor why she’s stitching what looks like a Norse interlaced embroidery design. But still! Fabulous costumes!


The Importance of Being Earnest (1964)

Here she plays Lady Bracknell, the disapproving and terrifying mother of Gwendolen Bracknell.


A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)

She’s the high priestess again. See if you can spot her in this photo.


Half a Sixpence (1967)

think this is photo is from this film, but it was hard to be certain.


Wuthering Heights (1970)

Pamela Brown plays Mrs. Linton in this early-1970s adaptation starring Timothy Dalton.


Lady Caroline Lamb (1972)

This film looks like a lot. Part of me wants to see it, but the other part is terrified of what I might witness. The costumes do look pretty good, though.


Fall of Eagles – “Death Waltz” (1974)

A British miniseries that jumps around in time every episode to focus on a different point in history. In this episode, Pamela Brown plays Archduchess Sophia, mother of Austrian Emperor Franz Josef. The costumes look really good.



Are you a fan of Pamela Brown? Tells about your favorite of her historical roles in the comments!


19 Responses

  1. Caroline Macafee

    She plays a breeches part in the 1951 Tales of Hoffman – very odd. Otherwise I’ve only seen her in I Know Where I’m Going – not a costume film, but she’s rather magnificent in her supporting role.

    • Gray

      One year, sometime when I was in college (yeah, that long ago) they showed “Becket” like twice a day on the TV.
      “Richard III” is a good straight forward production. It’s fun to watch it, then watch the Ian McKellen 1930s version. (Not in one sitting)
      And I watched “Fall of Eagles” when they broadcasted it. I have it on DVD but haven’t gotten thru it all. It’s actually interesting though. I must dig it up and watch.

      • Gray

        I don’t know why this is a reply to Caroline Macafee. It’s suppose to just be a general comment. Oops.

  2. Constance

    I really want to see Lady Caroline Lamb but never can find it…

  3. Lily Rose

    The houppelande in the 1955 Richard III is belted correctly! Faints from the shock The hat’s nice, too.

    • M.E. Lawrence

      Gosh, you’re correct–belted right up there. I’d like to see that Richard again. Brown has such an odd, interesting little face: not conventionally pretty, but you can’t take your eyes off her.

  4. Sharon in Scotland

    Not frock flick related, but she is wonderful in “I know where I’m going”, which in itself is a perfect film in every particular

  5. Monabel

    Can I put in a request for a review of the Richard III? A movie I have long loved.

  6. Cheryl from Maryland

    Not flicks and totally OT, but when I was growing up in near Southern Appalachia during the 1960’s, my life was totally changed by being able to listen to Pamela Brown and John Gielgud in Much Ado About Nothing and The Importance of Being Earnest (she was Gwendolyn) on LPs. Thank you, Ms. Brown. I will always think of you fondly.

  7. susan l eiffert

    Sharon, Caroline, I love IKWIG too. Traveled out of my way to see it a second time. It was screened by our local, the eminent author Simon Winchester. And now I know where I recognize this actress!

  8. Melanie

    I Know Where I’m Going–my favorite Pamela Brown role, and one of the best of my favorite filmmakers of all time, Powell and Pressburger. Brown and Michael Powell were partners until her death.

  9. Aleko

    That is one terrific butterfly headdress. Go close-up and you could nitpick over the materials and detailing if you really wanted, but they got the general look – the shape, the weight, the proportions – brilliantly. (And all for a tiny role.) If film costume designers in 1955 could do that, why can’t they do it today?

    • Lily Rose

      Exactly! Makes me even madder about the French-hood-as-headband atrocities!

  10. SarahV

    I’m down for any portrayal of Jane Shore that renders her fabulous! She was treated like shit in RL, but I think history has been kinder to her

    (NB. she was the inspiration for Cersei Lannister’s “penance” in Game of Thrones, although GRRM did what he always does and made it as EXTREME AND AWFUL as possible)