10 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: Babylon Is BS 1920s Hollywood

  1. Almost like they’re afraid of making Margot look dumpy! Boardwalk Empire did it better with Billie Kent, IMNHO!

  2. Weird case of a shite movie made by a lot of talented people. In my opinion it tried and failed to be both The Day of the Locust (1975) and Cinema Paradiso (1988). Those movies work because they commit to their premise. Babylon “borrowed” the ending from the latter and tacked it on the former and that doesn’t work.

    If anyone’s interested in a movie about the seedy side of Old Tinseltown, I highly recommend The Day of the Locust. Be warned it is one of the more depressing films I’ve watched, but it’s impeccable filmmaking.

  3. Between that and Amsterdam, Margot Robbie had some major swings and misses for madcap historical films in 2022. A lot of Nellie’s costumes bring to mind some of Josephine Baker’s outfits (notably her oft-reproduced banana skirt) but those were all stage costumes and at least from the photographs I’ve seen, Baker very much a period-appropriate (or period trendsetting) fashion plate off-stage.

  4. Yikes!! I avoided this movie because the trailers made it out to be “outrageous for the sake of being outrageous” and your post confirms that feeling. That said, I had no idea Jean Smart was in the movie; she is SUCH a talented actress. Also, I loved the period photos in the post; they are so much more beautiful than what ended up on screen!

  5. As an antidote to the awfulness of Babylon, can I recommend ‘Women vs Hollywood’ by film writer/broadcaster Helen O’Hara, the first chapters of which delve into the women who directed, wrote, produced, and invented special effects for early movies? I particularly recommend the podcast version read by the author, not only for her highly listenable Northern Irish accent but for her delicate irony and general snark.

  6. Costumes are meeh, but the movie is too boring too. The cinema hall was nearly empty in the second week and not really many were looking delighted. Not too mention the stylistic device with too loud music to wake up the audience…

  7. I kind of understand (not really, but kind of) this level of anachronistic costuming in escapist, fluffy period dramas that aren’t really trying to say all that much, but it just feels weird and misguided when part of the marketing of this film was so “this is the REAL Hollywood, no holds barred.”

    Another thing that makes it weird and misguided–a lot of 1920s and 1930s clothing, especially when it comes to the high-glamor stuff, is already pretty flattering by modern standards! Low backs, sleeveless gowns, slim silhouettes! The black lace dress on Engels in the photograph above wouldn’t be out of place on a modern red carpet, and neither would the real life Anna May Wong’s costume. Wavy bobs are even in right now! It just baffles me.

  8. I get that historical hair and make-up can be a little tricky to get right, but WHY does she look so….. people in the early 2000s going to an 80s party?!?!? It is baffling.

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