11 thoughts on “18th-Century Quest: Dueling Catherine the Greats

  1. Clearly, our ideas of handsome men are… utterly opposed. :) Frankel completely turned me off. OTOH, I find McGann incredibly attractive–in his youth almost ethereally pretty–and he’s still sexy.
    *fans self*

  2. Review “The Scarlet Empress” 1934, just for the fun of it. Not even an attempt at accuracy but for an Old Hollywood costume extravaganza they’re divine…

  3. It seems like some sort of trade-off happened here: cut down on locations and you can afford expensive silks and antique lace for your primary actors or get Vanessa Rredgrave and dress her in polyester curtains. I’ve seen both movies but that was a long time ago and remember nothing about them.

    The difference between the painted coronation dress and the real thing is kind of shocking though because material looks so rough in comparison, like something out of the carnival aisle in the fabric store.

    1. I saw some of this–maybe about an hour or so–and I just couldn’t get into it. The production definitely had its own mood, and I’ve always wanted to give it another chance. Vanessa Redgrave is just so regal, she can’t help but be typecast like that. As recently as a few years ago, she played the older Queen Elizabeth I in Anonymous, while her daughter Joely Richardson played the younger version!

  4. Oh, Kendra…I’m both smiling and crying at this review. I saw Young Catherine when it came out, and I LIVED for it. It was PERFECT, costumes, cast, and all. (Granted, I was very young, and I think this might have been the first “real” costume drama that I saw.) I taped it off of TV, commercials and all! Like you, I think it still stands up to this day. Julia Ormond was perfectly cast. So was Vanessa Redgrave. In fact, the entire show was perfectly cast. To this day Mark Frankel is my protogype and paragon of a BEAUTIFUL man. So, I’m smiling to go down memory lane, but crying to read such a scathing review of the costumes. I can’t defend them in anyway–that you’re area of expertise–all I can say is that to me, they still hold up for beauty and nostalgia.

    I never saw the Catherine Zeta-Jones version, but from the very first picture I anticipated the points made in your review.

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