28 thoughts on “Top Five Comedies With Good Historical Costumes

  1. I would give a shout-out to “Start the Revolution without Me.” Still one of my faves. I know you’ve discussed it elsewhere, but it’s still funny and it’s still 18th century over-the-top.

  2. Thank you for Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid! It was the first film I thought of when I saw the headline. I’d also have loved it if Young Frankenstein had made an appearance as the costumes were spot on, and on top of that, Brooks shot it on James Whale’s Bride of Frankenstein set.

    And being of a certain age, I can confirm that Hairspray got 1962 dead on.

    1. Young Frankenstein — really? I watched it about a year ago and thought about reviewing it for this site but then didn’t think there was really anything noteworthy…

      1. I really liked Madeline Kahn’s ’30s chic and the way the all makeup achieved a ’30s look as well.

  3. I don’t think Oscar Wilde adaptations fit this criteria (since while they ARE comedies, they’re also literary play adaptations?), but both Rupert Everett’s An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest had colorful costumes.

  4. Not a movie but Black Adder is a British comedy series set in several different historical periods and it always amazes me how brilliant the costumes are.

  5. The Great Race (1965, set ca. 1908), with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Natalie Wood. I’ve given up trying to count Natalie Wood’s wonderful costume changes on the road – they must pack flatter than Superman’s cape. The men have quite a few extravagant changes of costume too. Costume design by Donfeld (as Don Feld), whom I don’t know at all, but I see rec’d 4 Oscar nominations.

  6. What about the Court Jester, Corsican Brothers (Donald’s line ‘I will be queen’ has me rolling on the floor with laughter. Also Those Daring Young Me in Their Jaunty Jallopies. Nice 1920s
    I agree about Victor/Victoria and History of the World (*snorts* remembering ‘Hitler on Ice’ sequence) But I was surprised not to see Month Python’s Life of Bryan (‘Romani domus aut & ‘Blessed are the sheep…’

  7. For a very black comedy set in late Victorian England there is Kind Hearts and Coronets, (1949).

    1. Is that the one where Sir Alec Guiness plays all the male parts and some women’s as well? Line ‘I shot an arrow into the air, It fell down in Berkeley Square.’

      1. Yep. “…She fell to earth in Berkeley Square” My alternate title for the movie is ‘How to Murder your Way into the Peerage’ Dennis Price plays the protagonist, Guiness plays those in the way, and Joan Greenwood and her voice are diverting.

      2. Yes it is. It’s also the basis for the Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder musical.

  8. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum … Zero and all the gang in Roman hilarity

  9. The English ’80s comedy series You Rang M’Lord? set in 1927-’29 has wonderful costumes ,great casting and hilarious sotry during pre-great depression, also from the same writers ‘Allo ‘Allo played in occupied France during WWII brings back white socks&black shoes memories, although personally don’t find it that humorous.

  10. Among my favorites are “BULLETS OVER BROADWAY”, “SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE”, “COLD COMFORT FARM” and “TOPSY-TURVY”. Great costumes in all four of them.

  11. I love Topsy-Turvy. But then I adore G&S. But I don’t view it as a comedy. There are just too many poignant scenes.

    1. Topsy-Turvy is visually lovely, but it’s bad history, and I couldn’t watch it more than once. I’m a complete Savoyard with a shelf full of G&S books and a 40-year performing history in the repertoire.

  12. So happy for that little Blackadder shout out at the end! One of the reasons I love that show so much is their relatively accurate costumes. Love that History of the World Part I was on the list <3

  13. Thoroughly Modern Millie is quite fun on the costuming front – not perfect, but really pretty good 1960s-does-1920s for Hollywood, and I do love Julie Andrew’s outfits

  14. “Kind Hearts and Coronets”, though more of a dark comedy, is an excellent one. It’s a 1949 British movie from the wonderful Ealing Studio, and it features Alec Guiness playing about 8 different characters(all of whom are murdered). It’s great. As I recall, it has some really lovely and accurate late 1890s costumes. The Brits really do care about accuracy, bless ‘em.

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