24 thoughts on “How Contemporary Hairstyles Affect Historical Costume Movies: The 1940s, Part 2

  1. Portrait of Princess Maria Carolina resembles Lady Edith Hexham. And thank you for this hair blog. My fave is The Heiress with Miss de Havilland.

  2. “Pride and Prejudice” is supposed to be set near the end of the 1790s, not the 1810s or the 1830s. Only the 2005 Keira Knightly movie and “Death Comes to Pemberly” got it right. But I still love the Greer Gardiner movie.

    1. Well, it was first drafted in the 1790s, and then published in the 1810s, so I think it’s valid to set it in either era.

      1. Jane Austen used a late 1790s calendar to support her timeline. That makes the period of the book earlier than its publication date.

        1. Nope. She reworked the novel extensively, changing it from a probably epistolary novel to a direct narrative. And she later wrote to Cassandra that at an exhibition she had seen a portrait of “Mrs Bingley” though not, to her disappointment, of “Mrs Darcy”. So she was clearly thinking of them as contemporaries.

          There has been a lot of academic discussion about which almanac she may have used, with candidates from 1797, 1807 and 1811 in the lead. Here’s a detailed article: http://www.jimandellen.org/austen/p&p.calendar.html

          The 2005 film got almost everything wrong, while I consider “Death Comes to Pemberley”, both the novel and the BBC adaptation, to be abominations. Both try to impose an 1820s/30s Romantic aesthetic where it really is not appropriate. Elizabeth on Stannage Edge is almost “Wuthering Heights” in its silliness.

  3. I am so glad you mentioned how handsome Jean-Gabriel Eynard, Portrait of an unidentified man of the circle of Eynard-Lullin, c. 1847, Getty Center is. Though he has a devilish look that somehow makes me mistrust him. lol

    M. Riffarth, Adolf Mosengel, c. 1880, Verein Kunst und Wissenschaft, Hamburg: If someone did a biopic about him about 15 years ago, Richard Schiff should have played him. Doppleganger!!!

    1. Because styles from a recent decade are considered dated and unstylish. Not old enough to invoke nostalgia.

  4. I haven’t seen The Heiress (1949) but from all my google digging it seems like a shockingly accurate film. There’s even a still of Olivia de Havilland in not only a corset but also A CORSET COVER?! and shockingly seems to always be wearing collars and cameos and appropriate jewelry and hair?! Definitely going on the must watch list.

  5. It’s something you don’t notice at the time. I bet the film makers thought they were being really authentic, and in the contemporary reviews, the critics will sometimes say that. The influence of fashion means there’s a normal look, and the creators are so used to it, that it slips into the movie. Fine eyebrows, the pillarbox lipstick look, the fringes…Or they will find a portrait that looks the nearest to the 1940s look.
    Plus, the stars would have had their basic looks created for them by the likes of Adrian and Max Factor. They wouldn’t want to deviate too far from that, because the fans expected them to look a certain way.

  6. Art is what defines a person and his thoughts and inspiration is the most important component of human’s soul. Recently, I was inspired by drawing on canvas. The other day I ordered a watercolor world map canvas from Texelprintstore.com for little inspiration… My evenings have become more comfortable and prolific. I hope everyone here will find inspiration for themselves.

  7. I have this book called “Hollywod and History: Costume Design in Film” published in 1987 for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. I grew up with it on my parent’s bookshelf and it is 100% the reason I’m interested in costume movies and costumes in general.

    Anyways, the book has this to say about why Pride and Prejudice is set in the 1830s:
    “Pride and Prejudice (1940) is set in the first decade of the nineteenth century, but the costumes are actually in an 1830s style. The designer, Adrian, persuaded the director, Robert Leonard, to place the story out of it’s time frame for two reasons. He had just finished designing costumes for Conquest (1937), also set in the early nineteenth century, and wanted to design a wardrobe for a different period. He chose an 1830s style so the costumes could be more excessive and decorative than the style of the earlier period, the classic revival, best known for the long tubular Empire dress.”

    1. I have seen a suggestion that wartime fabric rationing made the flouncier ( “more excessive and decorative”) frocks more attractive to audiences. Or so the filmmakers thought…

  8. (Once again, Kendra, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this sort of deep-dive; the images take my mind off the so-called administration in D.C., climate change, and other depressing things.)

    “An Old-Fashioned Girl” is a (very) loose adaptation of an Alcott novel, but I cannot agree with the Jean Simmons comparison. I love Simmons, and she was a great beauty as well. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0130153/

    1. (Now I feel bad for dissing Gloria Jean and Elinor Donahue, who were pretty young things, as opposed to great beauties, but who would have looked cooler without the good-girl hair and make-up.)

  9. The woman in the Madame Bovary photo looks like Jennifer Jones in the Plunkett-costumed Hollywood version.

  10. I just realized how much we need a WCW for Irene Dunne. She did a lot of period flicks, and I particularly worship her costumes in Life With Father.

  11. These hair styles are much closer to realistic than today’s where women’s hair is down or falling down – less bound than they would wear to bed.

  12. Off topic but I’m really curious about the hair of blonde Princess Maria Carolina Augusta of the Two Sicilies from the painting. (1840s films.) How would it be styled that so huge parallel curls fall to the front of the face? It looks difficult to achieve.

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