We here at Frock Flicks HQ get a lot of suggestions for what to review. We LOVE hearing from you! We really do! But we hate to disappoint you, and I’m going to explain why we, unfortunately, will probably disappoint you. Even though that’s not our intention. I mean, really, we’re trying to make a thing you’ll read and listen to because shouting into the wind is only amusing for so long (we started out that way, and it was kind of lame). I hope this will help you understand why we write what we do.
We Have Limited Time
As much as we hate to admit it, Frock Flicks is just a hobby. The three of us don’t make any profit off this (any ad revenue goes back into website hosting and podcasting equipment). Most of us have very busy full-time jobs, we have partners and pets to attend to, dinners to be made, kitty litter boxes to be cleaned. We’re also very active in historical costume and reenactment circles, so we split our “free” time between working on Frock Flicks and actually making costumes for ourselves (which includes research, design, sewing, and even performing at events).
This isn’t meant to be a sob story, but just a recognition that we’re doing the best we can. I, for one, dream of writing, editing, and managing Frock Flicks as my full-time job (even though I do enjoy my paying job). But I know, realistically, this is a hobby, a side project, a really freakin’ awesome one that I adore, so I’m going to do my best and do it as much as I can as long as it’s fun and fulfilling. But sometimes, I have to squeeze it in after the work that keeps a roof over my head.
I should note that the time limit has the biggest impact on our ability to write about movies currently in the theaters. Many people will ask if we’re going to review the latest historical costume movie, and we’d love to, you bet! But it takes more time to go out, watch a flick, and review it versus watch at home, with the laptop at hand (or sometimes even watching something ON the computer, while writing and screencapping). So the ones we see in the theaters tend to be movies that are really big-screen experiences … or date-nights with our sweeties, heh.
We Watch and Write About Stuff That We Like Best
Because we have limited time, we have to focus on things that make us happy. We each need to get something out of this project too. There’s a fine balance between doing what yanks our own chains and what gets the clicks. We’re always riding that line, and sometimes we lean more one way than the other. If we haven’t covered your favorite historical costume movie or TV show, it could be because that frock flick doesn’t thrill us as much as you. Sorry!
A few categories that, in general, don’t excite me are Westerns, war stories, murder-mysteries, and post-1930s eras (my personal rule: if it happened when I was alive, it’s not historical. That’s why I didn’t care about Mad Men). Kendra and Sarah have their own specific categories that they’re not interested in writing about too, and this further narrows the field of what ends up on the site.
We Have and Want a Women’s Point of View
Frock Flicks is written by three women who are proud feminists, and we’re all interested in women’s history. If you’ve listened to our podcasts, then you know we’re as likely to discuss the male gaze and feminist (or queer) theory as the accuracy of a hemline or bonnet. So we often gravitate towards historical costume movies and TV series with compelling female characters and ideally stories that have a shot at passing the Bechdel Test. We’ve stated our fondness for Jane Austen and Elizabethan history precisely because of this — Austen’s novels feature complex female characters (even if they’re often concerned with marriage), and 16th-century Europe had independent female rulers like Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots (isolated though they were).
We’re not opposed to boy-centered flicks, but as women, we don’t find much to identify with on-screen. You may notice that our main male reviews are Man Candy Monday; yep, objectification by the female gaze for a change!
We Can’t Keep Up With All the Shows
Finally, even if we were interested in every possible topic being filmed, whoa, there are just way too many historical costume movies and TV shows being produced right now! This is a new golden age of historical drama, especially on TV, which is awesome, except even with three of us writing, we can’t keep up. We sometimes find guest bloggers that are interested in writing for us for free and who can meet our specific editorial expectations, but that’s rare.
In the end, it comes back to us doing this as a hobby, not a full-time gig. Maybe we could keep up if we weren’t doing anything else (but maybe not; even full-time bloggers like Tom and Lorenzo don’t cover every single thing that’s relevant to their audience). New historical TV shows seem to be coming out each season in the US and UK, adding to the zillions of classic historical costume movies and TV series we’ve always wanted to write about and podcast. Not sure we could ever catch up!
Have We Covered It Already?
By the way, please check our archives! You might have missed something we already did cover in either a full review, a capsule review, or as part of a larger article. We’ve been blogging almost every weekday since August 2014, we’ve been podcasting since 2007, plus we have nearly a decade’s worth of Kendra’s mini-reviews from her personal website. Use the drop-down menus by historical time period or theme and the search box or the tags on the right sidebar, and you just may find something about your favorite historical costume movie or TV show already.
Would love an MCM for Basil Rathbone. He may have almost always played bad guys, but I found him amazingly sexy.
I could have added Sherlock Holmes to my list of “stuff that doesn’t float my boat,” really, most mystery/who-dunnits. In addition, Three Musketeers movies/TV, even though I enjoy the costumes, the story irritates me.
Rathbone is my main reason for watching and re-watching most Errol Flynn movies. He was particularly stunning in Captain Blood, his favorite film. And his one Oscar nomination opposite Ronald Coleman is also a great costume piece.
The less said about the Holmes films—other than The Hound of the Baskervilles—the better.
I thought I was the only one who thought that the Three/Four Musketeers movies were tedious. The only thing good was watching Raquel Welch in the 1973 version but that was probably fueled by adolescent hormones… :-)
I’d love an MCM for Paul McGann. :) He’s in a number of period and period-esque films and he does fill out a cravat rather nicely. You haven’t had a chance to discuss the female gaze profiting throughout the Hornblower saga, either…
Paul McGann will always be an unfortunate American Doctor Who TV movie to me (which I don’t really accept as DW canon either, meh).
Oh, what a shame.
I saw him first in “The Rainbow” and… well. Quite lovely. Took me a bit to see him in other odd films to gather that he was the same fellow, but, after that? A fan.
I did see the Doctor Who movie, which was terrible, really, I blame the writers and the ham-handed actor they got for the Master. McGann himself does quite well, considering what he’s given. And I rather did like what he did in the webisode (though I reject the entire new series as not-canon, myself. It’s far too Batman these days.)
I hope you do re-consider (though I certainly can’t blame you if you don’t). Or at least consider the Hornblower films for their, uhm, potential. ;)
Thank Heaven there is someone else who considers Classic Who the only TruWho. It kills me that people think Doctor Who began with—and was created by—Russell T. Davies and really believe Steven Moffat is to be admired. To me NuWho is nothing short of an abomination.
And yes, McGann was pretty good despite a terrible script and Eric Roberts’ horrible Master. And he’s actually done some lovely Who audio work.
Oh, yes–quite the Big Finish fan, myself. So glad to see another ClassicWho fan, MoHub!
Confess I’m a bit disappointed that Big Finish has decided to bring in the new Who and its storyline(s). I suppose they want/need the income. Although I do wonder what the profit margin could be, considering how expensive Tennant and Tate are. But, not my problem, I suppose. I shan’t be buying them.
I am torn about the River Song/Eighth Doctor crossover. I want to have the full McGann collection–but… River Song. Ew. The actress is a lovely lady, but that character. Don’t want any of that at all.
Thanks for the clarification. I’m glad to see several of my favourites, including the fantastic Tipping the Velvet, Wives & Daughters, The Heiress (Edith Head deserves deification for making the gorgeous Olivia deHavilland look frumpy and unattractive. BTW, I have some of her sketches for the film. (on Google))
Have you seen Phryne Fisher Mysteries?
Try searching FrockFlicks.com for “Miss Fisher.”
Thanks I will.
I really love this site and think you are all doing a wonderful job. I check every day for updates and am rarely disappointed. There is only one series which I would like to add to your already daunting list, the BBC’s adaptation of Gaskell’s North and South, (2004) and of course Richard Armitage is surely a candidate for a MCM blog.
I think I also need a WCW for Mae West, a woman who made her sexy mark at an age when most actresses were considered to be on the wane.
She is totally on my list — I have a couple of her films queued up for Throwback Thursdays!
Oh man but those perfect New Look skirts in Call the Midwife???