15 thoughts on “Hallmark Does Jane Austen

  1. I think that Wickham outfit is the horriblest of all the horrible Napoleonic-era redcoat uniforms I’ve ever seen in TV or cinema. That’s a pretty low bar anyway, since no costumiers seem willing or able to grasp the basics of it; but this travesty of a militia officer’s uniform is a limbo-dancing champion. Everything about it is wrong.

    He isn’t wearing a black cocked hat or shako, and we all know that Bareheaded Out of Doors is a total no-no even for civilian Regency men, let alone soldiers in uniform. Also, if he had proper headgear on at least we wouldnt see his totally anachronistic hairstyle.
    He appears to be wearing a knotted silk cravat, instead of a leather stock.
    The coat isn’t merely several inches too wide at the shoulder – just about everybody gets that wrong – it’s too wide all the way down. Worn open like that with the sash over it – another thing that was never, ever done – it’s like a belted-in sack. The open collar, sagging and flopping backwards, gives away what cheap flimsy material it’s made of, and the gold loops on the cuffs are at least an inch too short.
    The waistcoat should be cut straight around the waist, not with front flaps, and the buttons should be gilt to match the gilt buttons and gold lace of his coat.
    He should be wearing close-fitting wool cloth breeches, not pyjama trousers of floppy material, and either stockings and buckled shoes or hessian boots (the Hungarian-inspired ones that are higher at the front, with a notch and tassel).
    He is wearing the wrong style of sword (it should be a straight gilt-hilted one like this – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_1796_infantry_officer%27s_sword), dangling at a crazy angle from the wrong kind of swordbelt. A real infantry officer’s belt was fastened at chest level by an ornamental plate with his regimental badge on it, not a clunking big buckle: and it hung to the left hip with a ‘frog’ through which the sword was slotted so it hung vertically beside his left leg, nice and tidy.
    Oh yes, and he shouldn’t be wearing his gorget for lounging about the high street chatting up girls – the gorget is a signal meaning ‘I am currently on duty’.

    1. The only point on which I might qualify your otherwise spot-on complaint against Mr Wickham (I’d say the sorry figure presented would be cashiered for sartorial insufficiency, but I’m not sure he wouldn’t be shot on sight and the incident described as a Mercy Killing) is that I believe officers of the era were known to acquire their own sidearms, not all of them complying with official regulations (Which were often treated as more guidelines than commandments, as applied to the officer class).

      1. They did indeed acquire their own side-arms, just as they had to provide their uniforms and all the rest of their equipment. Which meant that there was plenty of variety in the amount of decoration on the regulation sword, depending on taste and finances; but the basic shape was non-negotiable for subalterns. Yes, senior officers – that is, colonels and above – could and often did decide to wear non-regulation swords (after the Egyptian campaign so many of them took to wearing mameluke-style sabres that eventually they became regulation for some senior ranks), but no self-respecting colonel would have permitted a young puppy of a subaltern to make his regiment look messy by poncing around with the wrong type of sword, or even the right kind of sword carried on the wrong kind of sword-belt. Colonels typically cared a LOT about how smart their regiment looked on parade, and the impression their officers made at social events.

  2. I watched 3/4 but missed Sense and Sensibility. These are a not-that-guilty pleasure of mine (I wouldn’t defend them as excellent art but I don’t feel bad about enjoying them). For costumes, it was the sort of thing where most people wouldn’t register it (having been trained by other productions to have a very vague view of Olde Timey Clothes®). The hair in American in Austen was super annoying. It looks like it was much better in S&S.

    I’d agree that the Love & Jane was the weakest story-wise (also very typical for Hallmark, which apparently has a lot of frustrated writers exorcising their frustrations through cozy romances). An American in Austen was a nice twist in a way, with Elizabeth’s reaction to the “future” and Harriet learning to appreciate the good man who loved her not some fictional ideal (which is, you know, not groundbreaking as a life lesson but pretty rare for Hallmark). I had to laugh at the idea of how professors get hired in Paging Mr. Darcy. But the shout out to fandom was cute.

    1. Not being a fan of the genre, I was pleasantly surprised by the American in Austen & Paging Mr. Darcy ones. Not a bad way to spend the time (with a glass of wine ;). S&S suffered in comparison bec. it was trying to be more serious, since it was using actual Austen dialog w/a spotty cast, & the costumes were such a distraction!

  3. I saw Hallmark’s Sense and Sensibility. It wasn’t as egregiously modernized as Netflix’s Persuasion. The story and characters were mostly true to the novel! As for the costumes: MY EYES! Why can’t we have eye popping colors and tasteful trims, like in Emma, released in 2020? Is it really so difficult?! Sorry for the rant!

      1. Emma 2020 had color, but it was tasteful! It didn’t look cluttered and busy! Even Mrs. Elton and Miss Bates, the two most ridiculous characters, were still tasteful! I would’ve put Elinor in a dulled color palette, and Marianne in girlish, romantic colors! Show the difference in the sisters and have them meet somewhere in the middle at the end! WTFrock is going on with Hallmark’s S&S? Why can’t Emma be the standard, along with the inclusivity of Bridgerton? I was rooting for this adaptation!

  4. I missed these shows in real time, and they had been on my radar as, not-exactly hate watches, but wary-watches. On a break from errands I caught 15 minutes of Sense & Sensibility in progress. OMG!!! WTF!!!! The HORRENDOUSLY UGLY, INCORRECT, and ILL-FITTING costumes were a complete distraction. There was one dress that was even uglier and more ill-fitting than the ones pictured above. I would bet money that it was made of upholstery fabric. I honestly felt SO SORRY for the actors. The women seemed to be doing their best with the material (when I could manage to concentrate on their acting) but, in the few minutes I watched, all of the male actors seemed to be totally miscast. These costumes looked like what a high school student would come up with when given access to craft store trims. This was such a missed opportunity. Wow! Just wow!!

  5. Sad trombone indeed. The conference film looks like our local Jane Austen evening in SoCal. The costumes range from spot on uniforms and ballgowns to nothing near period bridesmaids dresses and rented tuxes. It’s cool – people are there to either dance or see and be seen. I think the Darcy impersonator in “Paging Mr. Darcy” is in a bit of trouble. His frock coat looks Victorian. The Regency men’s coats were cut short at the waist for day or night in most cases, and as a rich man, Fitzwilliam Darcy would have had the best, most fashionable tailoring. As it is, I avoid Hallmark like the plague, so thanks for the snark. Fun post.

  6. Sorry, but these remind me of all the Regency romance novels written by American authors who have little idea about the time period,society, behaviour or language.

    Specifically commenting on the costumes. Bright colours are okay, but some of the prints are atrocious: much to large and garish. And there isn’t just a lack of petticoats: the corsets are wrong or completely lacking.

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