15 thoughts on “18th-Century Quest: Perfume: the Story of a Murderer

    1. Okay, but WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM? Did someone adopt him and comb him and snuggle him or is he still shivering in an alley somewhere??

      1. I got a copy of that book as a valentines’ gift years ago…one of my favorite books. the book is better than the movie but the movie is a great adaptation of the book.
        Not sure if it’s the same scene but he definitely trials his perfume making technique on the dog before he does a human.

        1. No- the dog survived, it just looks really scruffy & dirty- it’s actually integral to helping bring Gren down, because it dug something up later – it’s been a while since I last saw it, but I distinctly remember the prostitute’s dog.

  1. I absolutely love this movie on every level. I love the way everything looks so dirty and real. The screenwriters do an amazing job adapting the book which is also wonderful.

  2. The art direction and costumes were great, but after the cat was murdered by the “hero,” I had to stop watching. I hate that kind of thing. Also, the trope of the “brilliant, tragic but misunderstood serial killer” needs to die a slow death.

    1. Yeah, I wasn’t really a fan of the Jean-Baptiste. They clearly weren’t trying to make us love him, but at the same time, it was kind of squicky nonetheless.

      1. Jean-Baptiste is very much not the hero. He’s a protagonist, sure, but the book and the movie both make sure that the readers and viewers understand that he is not to be admired. I have read the book before I saw the movie, so that may have coloured my viewing but that is how I saw it. :)

  3. Re: the brown dress with the stomacher sewn on? I saw this one at FIDM – my notes from it say: “the stomacher had a sheer organza overlay, which was embroidered with lilacs. There were hook and eyes on the left side (if you are looking at it) of the bodice, and it was sewn together on the right.”

    So no backlacing, but clearly theatrical fasteners at play! :-)

    Question on terminology – is it a pet-en-lair if it doesn’t have pleats on the back like a francaise? Or is that just a carcao then? I don’t know so I figured I’d ask the expert! This jacket definitely doesn’t have a pleated back. I have one shot of the back of it. http://costumersguide.com/cr_perfume.shtml

    The stuff on the Provencal prints was really interesting, thanks for talking about this!

    Thank you! Enjoyed the post!

    1. Good question! You’re right, it’s probably a caraco if it doesn’t have the back francaise-type pleats — unless it’s a casaquin, which seems to be the early- and mid-century term for a jacket (caraco seems to be more in use 1770s onwards).

  4. I did enjoy the movie when it came, but never felt the urge to watch it again. I have read the book several times, though. It’s a big thing in it that girls with red hair has a special and extra desirable scent, so I suppose the film makers felt they had to stress it on Laura. I’ve forgotten her name, but she’s not red-haired naturally. :)

  5. It seems like commonly things aren’t as starched (if and when they are at all) when represented in costume drama as they would have been when in actual use – like the “nice lace cap, typical for the era/region”. In the painting, it’s obviously as starched and ironed as it would have been when in current use, and that makes a lot of difference in the way it lays (and anyone with tablecloths knows that starch helps tremendously on laundry day with soil – I imagine that would go double if one was laundering with an earlier method than detergent ;) ). That IS a nice cap – fifteen minutes with an iron after a soak in starch-water and it would be a fantastic cap. I know this is an ancient article, but I recently found your site and I am binge-reading it! Excellent writing and eyes for detail all around here and so many fascinating side-tangents.

  6. I like that your out to watch everything 18th century that you know! I’m actually doing the same thing now. I found many18th century dramas on your website which I didn’t know about earlier!(Thanks SO MUCH!)

    But there’s one called ‘Mozart’s Sister’ which I didn’t find on your website. It’s in French, pretty recent film. I mean it was definitely made after 2000. Why don’t you try it out? I promise it’s pretty interesting and not as unbearable as some of the movies/storylines we sit through just to ogle those gorgeous costumes!

    Anyway I’m really happy I found this website!

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