18 thoughts on “Top Five Portrait Reproductions in Historical Costume Movies

  1. Elisabeth I Coronation Dress with robes from the Cate Blanchett Elizabeth movie. The Vermeer Girl with Pearl Earring from film with same name.

  2. Elizabeth I Phoenix Dress from 1971 BBC series Elizabeth R with Glenda Jackson would be at the top of my list . Impressive reproduction.

  3. All the recreations of Toulouse-Lautrec’s work in the original Moulin Rouge—the one with Jose Ferrer.

  4. I’ve got the DVD set of the Sissi trilogy, bought from Germany! The films themselves weren’t very concerned with historical accuracy, as you would expect from a 50’s film, I suppose. They try really hard to portray Sissi as a model Christian wife and mother and turn her relationship with Franz into a fairytale romance. The famous dress was portrayed as Sissi’s wedding dress. I know next to nothing about historical dress (even though I immensely enjoy this blog, and try to learn) but I remember some scenes annoying me because they depicted Sissi and co. wearing those off-shoulder ballgown-type dresses out in the open air, while travelling, while taking a walk in the woods etc. I’ve always had the impression that that (i.e. revealing cleavage and shoulders during the day and outside, exposing more skin than absolutely necessary to direct sunlight) was a big no-no before the 20th century, but that kind of thing is so often portrayed in films that sometimes I’m not sure.

    1. Not an expert either but from my own research you are right, film and TV producers wrong. The portrayal of young Sissi in the BBC’s Fall of Eagles series from the 80s at least attempts to be historically accurate though unfortunately the actress cast to play the older Sissi looked nothing like the younger actress which I found jarring.

  5. I saw a lot of Sissi’s stuff while on vacation in Austria and am still kicking myself for not buying the costume-jewelry version of her hair-stars. *sob*

    1. tigerb – me too! Reading this article, I started kicking myself all over again. I would wear those hair-stars in a heartbeat. I don’t know what I was thinking not to get one in Vienna as a momento …. Ah well, may just have to make another pilgrimage for that purpose!

  6. Looking at Sissi reminds me of the musical based on her life. It uses a lot of artistic license, but I’ve heard good things about it.

  7. I can’t tell from this version of the Ditchley portrait how accurate the film version was but it appears to be all white. I went to a lecture a while back (I think it was Jean Hunnisett’s lecture) and she pointed out that the dress in the Ditchley portrait is actually 2 colors – white in the front and red in the back. You can just see the back of the dress in the portrait over the wheel.

    1. Pardon my coming so late to the party, here, but the Ditchley gown in the miniseries is red in the back. You just don’t see a whole lot of it.

  8. Also I believe Elizabeth R recreated the Zuccaro Leicester portrait.

    I believe Zizi (Sisi) wedding gown can be found on Pinterest.

  9. The only things that should ever be described as “on point” are hunting dogs and ballerinas.

  10. Several costumes in the BBC The Impressionists (2006) series were designed to match those worn in paintings and are not bad though not exceptional. (That series was clearly made on a very small budget.)

  11. I believe I’ve seen the first two Sisi films,thanks to Swiss roommates.They’re kinda schlocky,but you have to love them for what they are.

  12. I randomly found the Sissi Winterhalter dress in the film “Hungry Hill” from 1947, worn by the character Fanny Rosa at a ball about halfway through. It’s available on Amazon Prime, and the dress I think is more faithful than the Sissi or Phantom versions, though overall the Sissi trilogy is a thing to behold for costumes produced on a grand scale and through a 1950s lens.

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