i was faced with a conundrum when Outlander, the famous series of books Diana Gabaldon began writing 20 years ago, was turned into a TV show – because i hadn’t read them and i have always wanted to. i was saving it for one of those holidays where you devour 5 books in a week while lying on the beach and in between afternoon naps. but i can’t resist a good period drama, especially a steamy one at that.
i felt like these deserved a re-post! you see, i have been going through my archives and i rediscovered these Period Drama vs Street Style colour comparisons that I did way back in 2011 for Hila (you can see the original posts here and here). i never actually posted them all here so i thought i’d share. and, damn, i did pretty well if i do say so myself! Hila and I share a great appreciation for period dramas, she even wrote a book about screen adaptations of classic literature. she also wrote this marvellous post for me in 2012 about the locations of some of her favourite period films.
i haven’t watched a really awesome period drama in a long time. i sort of dabbled in Mr. Selfridge which i found average at best, and completely gave up on Downton Abbey (they really should have stopped while they were ahead). i have also heard of The Paradise, but i haven’t watched it yet. any period movies / series you can recommend?
The Piano // Street Peeper
Marie Antoinette // Peter Stigter
Atonement // Citizen Couture
Cranford // Mr. Newton
Downton Abbey // Vanessa Jackman
Sense & Sensibility // Style Sightings
Emma // Facehunter
Pride & Prejudice // Citizen Couture
Brideshead Revisited // Citizen Couture
King’s Speech // Refinery 29
The Duchess // Café Mode
Shakespeare in Love // Café Mode
Upstairs Downstairs // The Locals
Out of Africa // Sartorialist
Lark Rise to Candleford // Jou Jou Villeroy
Little Women // NY mag
Cold Mountain // Vanessa Jackman
Boardwalk Empire // All the Pretty Birds
man oh man, when Hila sent me this guest post i actually squealed like a little girl. one of my favourite things about her blog is when she talks about films, and quite a few of those are period dramas. we have actually done a couple of comparisons projects that fall into this category, so we are kindred spirits when it comes to our love for a good costume drama. plus who wouldn’t enjoy getting another look at colin firth as darcy?
Hello, I’m Hila from the blog, le projet d’amour. When Diana asked me to contribute a guest post, I wanted to compile a special one to thank her for her own fabulous guest posts on my blog last year. When I asked her to do these posts, I was in the middle of writing my book (and very, very stressed). I recently finished this book and sent it off to my publisher. A few days later, I started getting all sentimental about the process of researching and writing the book. So I thought it would be nice to share one of the loveliest aspects of my research here.
My book is on film and television adaptations of famous literature. Along the way, I’ve delved into the various locations where these period and costume dramas were shot. Here are a few of my favourite locations …
In Joe Wright’s 2005 version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Darcy dramatically proposes to Lizzie in the grand Temple of Apollo in Stourhead Garden. This shooting location seems like a good nod to the Regency period in which Austen’s novels were originally set, because neo-classical buildings such as this one were quite popular during this time. Austen’s society had a bit of a craze for the style, architecture and fashion of ancient Greece and Rome, and many Regency buildings imitated ancient classical temples.
The latest 2011 film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre directed by Cary Fukunaga was partly filmed at Haddon Hall, which served as the setting for Rochester’s family home in the book, Thornfield Hall. There were many, many other period dramas filmed in Haddon Hall, including Elizabeth (1999), Franco Zeffirelli’s Jane Eyre (1996) and the BBC’s 2006 production of Jane Eyre with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. I personally think though that Fukunaga made the best use of the impressive space of Haddon Hall to highlight the original Gothic undertones of Brontë’s novel.
Lyme Park is the famous location for Darcy’s heart-stopping lake swim in the BBC’s 1995 television serial of Pride and Prejudice. I think we can all agree that this lake scene with Colin Firth will go down in history as one of the best moments in period drama. They just don’t make sexy British repression like they used to.
Saltram House is the shooting location for Norland Park in Ang Lee’s version of Sense and Sensibility (1995). This is my favourite adaptation of the novel, and Saltram House seems to encapsulate the Regency’s ‘Era of Elegance’ with its cool white exterior, harmonious architecture and perfectly manicured grounds. And while we’re speaking of Lee’s Sense and Sensibility, you really have to go read these hilarious extracts from Emma Thompson’s personal diaries while shooting the film. You can thank me later.
Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle was one of my favourite novels when I was growing up. When it was turned into a film in 2001 by Tim Fywell, I was instantly smitten yet again. The eccentric Mortmain family’s castle home is set in Manorbier Castle in Wales, although many of the interior scenes were shot elsewhere. But there is a unique romance to the rugged exterior scenes and crumbling castle.
Nearly every single film and television version of Emily Brontë’s classic novel, Wuthering Heights, features sweeping shots of the Yorkshire moors. Although the moors cover vast areas of England, when most people refer to ‘the moors’ they’re usually speaking about the landscape known as ‘Brontë country’ in West Yorkshire, England. I was lucky enough to visit the village where the Brontës lived and wrote for my research, staying in a house that was the former residence of their doctor. It was just lovely (but cold!).
Agnieszka Holland’s beautiful adaptation of The Secret Garden (1993) was filmed on location at Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire. I remember reading The Secret Garden when I was younger, loving all the small details about plant life and the natural environment. I think Holland’s film homage to the novel is a loving and sumptuous visual interpretation of such passages in the book.
I hope you enjoyed my mini period and costume dramas tour!
All images are screen-grabs made by me from the following films and serials (top to bottom): Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, I Capture the Castle, Wuthering Heights and The Secret Garden.
Hila picked Cracks for our next comparisons project – a film I have been meaning to watch for ages but just never got round to. i actually find myself watching less and less films these days, as any available tv time is dedicated to my series addiction (cough game of thrones cough). so this was a great “excuse” to indulge in some eva green action – one of my favourite actresses who has a knack for playing seriously unhinged characters.
i’ve been seeing screenshots of Cracks floating around on various blogs and other places on the web since it was released, which painted the film as being quite dreamy and beautiful. i felt the complete opposite while watching it, however, something you will probably understand if you have seen the film yourself. i can’t say i enjoyed it. not that it matters – that’s not the point of this exercise.
i paired scenes from the film with paintings by post-impressionist Moise Kisling – there’s an underlying sense of unease in his work, especially his portraits… something that i felt throughout the film. Hila’s poem follows.
edit: felt i needed to add a post-script after Kate’s comment below, i only found out that the film was based on a book after i had watched it. not only that, but it is written by south african born author sheila kohler and set in a south african boarding school (nogal)
words by Hila Schachar
paintings from top to bottom: untitled ; les enfants du docteur tas, louis et zoucha ; portrait de femme ; ofelia ; nu couchi dans les feuillages ; les mains ; tulips ; untitled ; l’attente ; eve ; la naufragée
here is the second part of my period drama / street style colour comparison series over at le projet d’amour. man, i really enjoyed doing these! i just finished watching the new upstairs downstairs, which was such a hit for the bbc that it is set to return in 2012 with 6 more episodes. recommended viewing if you miss downton abbey.
click through to see sources, credits & the rest of the series.
kate winslet. period drama. miniseries. SOLD! will need to see mildred pierce as soon as possible.
whenever my friend and i watch a period drama the same discussion will always ensue. she’ll lament that we were born in the wrong era and talk about how happy we’d be if we could live in those times. i’ll try to convince her that we’d be bored out of our minds with just sewing and wandering around in gardens to keep us occupied. she’d rebut with the opinion that if sewing and garden wandering was all we ever knew we’d be content. i’d remind her that you’d have to be (a) rich or (b) married rich to actually enjoy worry free sewing and garden wandering. she’d say that being rich is a positive, not a negative. i’d remind her that we’d have to play lots of card games and that she hated them. she’d remind me i loved card games. and so it went on.
i secretly agreed with her though, living on a country estate in those days must have been pretty damn sweet. IF you were rich and got to picnic all day and other people made your meals for you.
on that note, did anyone watch the latest glee with gwyneth? i thought it very cringey. what happened glee!
my new tv obsession is boardwalk empire, which is not surprising since mad men just ended (sad face) and i needed another period drama to fill the void. set in prohibition era atlantic city, the story revolves around nucky thompson – played by the ridiculously awesome and surprisingly… dare i say attractive steve buscemi – and the various gangsters, government agents and ordinary folk whose lives are influenced by the fortunes and misfortunes of bootlegging and other illegal activities…
the characters are interesting, the acting is top notch, there’s plenty of nudity and sex (something i always felt mad men kind of lacked, he he) and it is also super violent (scorsese / gansters – what do you expect?) certainly the most impressive thing for me is the set design & the effort that went into recreating atlantic city in the twenties.
the set, which features a 300ft “period-perfect rendition” of Atlantic City in the early 1920s, took three months to build includes depictions of storefronts, cars and the boardwalk itself. after filming, digital effects were used to add details like skylines, billboards, piers and beaches, whose looks were based on vintage postcards.
the costumes are also to die for – look out for the scenes in the dress shop and all the outfits the ladies wear.
has anyone seen cracks yet? i’ve been wanting to watch it mostly because of eva green (i don’t like the term girl crush because it’s kind of annoying… but yes, girl crush).
the movie looks really intense, but has stunning visuals & the costume design looks impeccable.