MISCELLANY

 

Costume Flicks

 

Elizabethan
Elizabeth order DVD order VHS
The early years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. It ends at the point when she decides to style herself the Virgin Queen, painted chalk-white, the way we know her from the state portraits.
Shakespeare in Love order DVD order VHS
Shakespeare's younger years - quite amusing. And romantic, too.
Baroque
Cyrano de Bergerac order DVD order VHS
The tragic story of a big-nosed poet whose optical deficiencies keep him from confessing his love to beautiful, beauty-loving Roxane. He lends his wit, feeling and talent with words to a handsome but somewhat simple-minded gallant, writing poetic love letters in his stead. Elegant, witty, romantic, amusing, sad - all in one film. The costumes aren't perfect, but quite good, end even if they weren't: It's one of my favourite films.
Restoration order DVD order VHS
The ups and downs of a doctor in the very late 17th century, from the king's palace to the slums and back. Good costumes, good story.
Rococo
Dangerous Liaisons order DVD order VHS
Based on a novel by Choderlos de Lenclos set in the 1780s, this film (with Glenn Close and John Malkovic) transports the story into the 1750s. The plot, in short, is one of schemes, seduction, pride, treachery and revenge. Very elegant and well-made costumes. The dressing scene at the very beginning is a treasure. In one scene, Close wears a perfect (save for the colour) copy of the famous green Pompadour dress.
Valmont    
Same story as above. Some like Valmont better, others the Liaisons. I hated Valmont: The costuming was so awful that it completely distracted me from the story.
Ridicule    
A member of the provincial French nobility travels to the court to ask for funding for a land development project. He becomes quite disgusted with the squabbling, scheming courtiers and their "art" of ridiculing people. The costumes are the usual "looks about right" rubbish, but the story isn't half bad.
Aristocrats   order VHS
A BBC mini-series about the lives of a noble English family, passing through all of the second half of the 18th century. The BBC seem to pride themselves on good costuming, and that's what you get to see.
Tom Jones   order VHS
Another BBC mini-series, based on Henry Fielding's 1749 novel abot the life and adventures of a foundling. Good costuming again.
Amadeus order DVD order VHS
The life and times of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, directed by Milos Forman - the same that did "Valmont". It's been a while since I've seen the flick, but a while ago I've caught part of it oin the telly and was quite disappointed by the costumes.
Sleepy Hollow order DVD order VHS
A historical horror film - quite unusual. Set in the late 1790s North America. Very atmospheric. The costumes, however, are often part fantasy (as befits the magic-and-ghost story), part from the wrong era (the famous black-and-white striped dress is in the style of the 1780s).
Pact of the Wolves    
Another historical horror film, set in the 1760s. More fantasy than history: A bit like Mad Max meets Matrix. It shows in the costumes: From an authenticity viewpoint, they are horrible. If you forget all about history, the film as such is quite good.
Jefferson in Paris    
 
Empire & Regency
Sense & Sensibility order DVD order VHS
A family piece based on a Jane Austen novel. With Emma Thompson. Good costumes.
Pride & Prejudice order DVD order VHS
Another Jane Austen adaptation. Haven't seen it.
Other
Orlando order DVD order VHS
Based on Virginia Woolfe's novel of the same title. The plot starts in the time of Elizabeth I: The queen tells a beautiful young nobleman (Tilda Swinton) that she wants him to stay young forever - and he does. At one point around 1700, he sleeps for a year, wakes up transformed into a woman and lives on until the early 20th century. A stange story, but beautifully told. The costuming is quite good, except for one scene where Lady Orlando is insulted by Alexander Pope, who died in 1744, while she wears 1770s costume.
Interview with the Vampire order DVD order VHS
As in Orlando, the costumes cover multiple eras (c. 1780-1880s) due to the longevity of the characters. Not perfect, but not bad either.
Titanic order DVD order VHS
The high costume budget shows. If what I've heard is true, the costumes weren't just replicas of surviving garments, but in some cases even the real McCoy. A feast for the eyes... at least if you keep di Caprio's face covered with a thumb. ;)

 

 


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