27 thoughts on “Frock Flicks Guide to Lesser French Queens on Film: 4th through 14th centuries

  1. I’m not as knowledgeable about French queens as I am EmgliEn but I know the Merovingian ladies were colorful in the extreme ranging from saints to she wolves.

    Also beige was not a favored royal color.

  2. I mean, aside from some silly headpieces (and glued on plastic “jewels”) there are a number of “ok, that works” costumes in this bunch. I had to laugh at “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn this way.” Where’s the tits out tag? :-)

    Different note, I wonder why medieval books so often feature women standing so curved. I mean, I’m down with an era where maybe having a bit of a belly rounding out is popular, but I have a hard time imagining that being the common way of standing.

    1. This reminds me of a video I saw a couple of years ago by an instructor at the Barnau-Tachov History Park, a German educational park about the esrly-high middle ages, a Williamsburg for medieval times. https://www.geschichtspark.de/
      The instructor claimed people actually walked on the balls of their feet rather than the heels before the development of fixed’sole shoes. His demonstration looked a lot like the posture we see in the Illuminations and it’s likely that the women were shown in an even more exaggerated pose to reflect their high station or femininity. Unfortunately the video isn’t available any more but the text and comments on the page where it used to be are interesting. https://pictorial.jezebel.com/this-video-of-how-medieval-people-walked-is-oddly-compe-1819217663

    2. there’s a theory that if you cut the supportive under-dress in a particular way, you get the “slightly pregnant” posture. certainly that’s been my experience with over a dozen dresses on vastly different shaped women. the cut is not particularly exotic, but it does give that characteristic look (which is part of why i keep using it!)

  3. I favor Charlemagne’s second wife bc I remember seeing a French production on the life of Charlemagne with heavy photos of the Aachen baths but cannot find it again. Help?
    Also Saint Louis’s mother Blanche of Castile was formidable and deserves more screentime due to a granddaughter of great-granddaughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

  4. The 2005 version of “Les Rois Maudits” has the worst interpretation of history. The costumes are worst than Reign, and the decors look like they were borrowed from German Expressionism movies of the 1920s. The outfits they dressed Jeanne Morreau in are from the 1980s. Seriously, I watched the whole mini-series and my eyes were bleeding.

  5. Les Rois Maudit is based on a series of novels (7 books) known as The Accursed Kings by Maurice Druon. I highly recommend the whole set — the history is accurate. They are hard to find here in the US, but worth the search. If there are DVDs of the miniseries, I may pick up a copy.

    1. The entire Accursed Kings series were republished in the US by Harper Collins beginning in 2013. This includes an eighth book The King Without a Kingdom that Druon wrote in 1977 as a coda to the rest of the series. Apparently George R.R. Martin is a big fan of the books and used his influence to get them republished. The mini-series made on the books in 1972 is rather the French equivalent of I, Claudius. A low-budget but well done. Here is the first episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn96yxvUH80

    2. George RR Martin of Game of Thrones fame, which you may have heard of, cites The Rois Maudit as one of his inspirations for his series, with all the treachery and blood feuds and many, many dynamic female characters who were powerbrokers in their own rights.

      I recommend them,!

  6. Blanche of Castile is not a lesser queen. She’s quite proeminent among the French medieval queens, because she is grand-daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine, she acted twice as regent for his son ( Louis IX), one of the greatest French kings in Middle Ages and a saint. She deserved a movie for herself, but she’s a woman and not a “scandalous one”, but a very clever politician and a devout mother.

    1. Blanche definitely took after grandma. She was a very effective regent and the mother in law from hell.

  7. Lolz in the 1970s they had to take the time to stick those plastic flatbacks onto them upside down pet bowl hat things with Aleenes Tacky! Not hot glue guns for a few years yet! Oh the commitment!!

  8. Oh, my, that eye shadow on some of the ladies–and the anachronistic eyebrows! However, I do find Marisa Berenson has a good medieval look (so did Anjelica Houston in one of her early movies), even though her acting range is limited.

  9. Hildegarde is also depicted in “Charlemagne, le prince a cheval” (1993), and king’s mother Queen Berthe also features prominently. I remember there is also smaller role for Charlemagne’s last wife Queen Liutberga.
    As for the Anne of Kiev, there is alleged mural portrait of her with sisters from Kiev cathedral https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%90%D0%BD%D0%BD%D0%B0_%D0%AF%D1%80%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0#/media/File:Princely_group_portrait.South_wall_of_the_nave.-_Google_Art_Project.jpg (hope that is embedded correctly). She must be the first or second, as she was the eldest.
    There is also another film of her in the works, joint French-Ukrainian production. But it’s been filmed for several years now, and even if it comes out it is bound to be a spectacular trash, judging by a single poster with Anne in beige sleeveless I-am-kinda-roman-empress dress.

  10. Wasn’t there a Charlemagne mini-series at some point that featured several of his wives?

  11. St. Radegunda had a sister-in-law named Ultragotha, really, Ultragotha!
    As near as I can tell from Wikipedia King Clotaire I’s six wives were at least as interesting as Henry VIII’s – but much less well documented. Apparently at least three of them were living in his household at the same time. The Merovingians didn’t give up polygyny when they converted to Christianity.

  12. I would choose Josine van Dalsum in “De leeuw van Vlaanderen” as Jeanne de Navarre (1985). Perfect evil, only looking for more power and smashing nice young women… The costumes are mostly strange, although some scenes from the French court are looking as taken fout of Medieval books.
    I don’t know an English version, but you could maybe find the original film on YouTube.

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