7 thoughts on “How Contemporary Hairstyles Affect Historical Costume Movies: The 1920s

  1. One of my favorites is Buster Keaton’s “the General,” which takes place during the Civil War. Buster Keaton actually looks AMAZING, with the longish, side-parted hair that’s kind of plastered down on top and kind of wings out at ear level… His large, floppy bowtie is a little more 1850s, but everything else is so spot on, I’ll forgive him. :-) Typically, though, they went for a much more trendy look for his lady-love… They at least gave her a center part, but it’s a low-foreheaded Marcel wave, with Mary Pickford sausage curls. And her dress! I swear, they took a frilly, full-skirted summer frock from 1916 and then put one single hula hoop in the hem. Ghastly!

    1. The General is such an amazing film. It also has what was then one of the most expensive scenes ever filmed, with an actual locomotive going down in an actual stream with a ton of extras.

      Gösta Berlings Saga from 1924, directed by Mauritz Stiller and featuring a pre-Hollywood Garbo, might be worth your while too. It’s based on an 1890’s novel by Swedish Nobel laureate Selma Lagerlöf, set in 1820’s Sweden, and deals with a deposed minister who drinks and seduces women, people selling their souls to the devil and stuff like that. Haven’t seen it in ages, but the costumes look pretty good on the men and so-so on the ladies.

  2. Your blog is utterly wonderful! This post was excellent, I’m off to find all of these that I haven’t watched now. Thank you!

  3. Kendra: If you ever get around to editing or updating this, perhaps you could consider removing the very offensive term ‘squaw’ from the last picture caption. It’s just rude.
    I’m very much enjoying these blogs. Thank you for all your hard work.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I try to be really careful about language, so I almost had a heart attack when I saw your comment… but then I realized, that’s the official (museum) title of the photograph. I guess my formatting doesn’t make that clear enough? I agree, it’s a very offensive term.

    2. And, I just went in and put quotes around all the official image titles, to clarify. Hopefully that helps. I’m thinking that the title of that photo may date FROM 1875, hence the offensive language.

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