20 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: Reconsidering Dangerous Beauty (1998)

  1. We tell our new courtesans in the Yellow Veil NOT to go by the dresses in this movie–and to READ about Franco–that this is not her life…her life was actually more interesting.

    1. Amen! So many folks take what they saw in this film as absolutely historically accurate that I had folks paving that all courtesans wrote only the color red

  2. This movie is my Gone with the Wind – I know it’s historically inaccurate and a harlequin romance to boot but I like it anyway dammit!

  3. LOVE the historical references you were able to find for some of the better costumes in this film. Story-wise and acting-wise it is utter dreck, but I have to confess, looking at the costumes–especially the fantasy courtesan costumes–is a guilty pleasure of mine. The true historical clothing of Venetian courtesans is beautiful and sumptuous, but for the sake of a film romanticizing Franco’s life, I can see how the director didn’t think they created enough of a fantasy world for the courtesans and their clients. As a feat of non-HA costuming, I kind of like it. But it should be accompanied by a disclaimer: “half of the costumes shown in this film are not historically accurate; copy at your own risk”. As sexy Renfantasy-wear, the courtesan costumes are pretty awesome. Now, why they thought romanticizing her life was necessary, I can’t understand. She certainly didn’t need a bunch of dudes to speak for her when she was hauled in front of the inquisition. But perhaps the fact that she was a prostitute could only be made socially acceptable by spinning it as “doing it all for love”.

  4. A delicious and informative read. All you ladies (Trystan, Sarah, Kendra) are marvelous writers and I’m enjoying the Snark Week offerings so much. Thank you for mentioning me in this article, Kendra — I feel famous now. And, yes, I would skull fuck Rufus Sewell through the eye socket, I love him *that* much!

    Snark on!

  5. I remember back in 2001 that I was told this movie had “amazing” costumes and I should go see it. So I rented the VHS tape from the local library and saw it. It was… okay. I thought the costumes were nice but the plot and dialogue was so insufferably cloying.

    Super cool post though; love the reference pics. I don’t know too much about this period so it’s always nice to learn!

  6. Pescucci is a Goddess. If she made those costumes for such a crappy movie, you can rely that she’s awesome. She’s probably the most historically accurate costumer of all.
    I think you’ve seen Eva Green’s dresses for Penny Dreadful. They’re amazing. They’re not just the normal colorful costume for a period drama, they’re in the character and they’re even more historical than many others.
    She surely did her best not to be fired. And she got us some wonderful costumes. She might have the actual skirt and the actual sleeves somewhere, to have her conscience clean XD

  7. I did read “The Honest Courtesan” all of it, with a highlighter, but I am weird that way. I will watch this movie over and over and over again for one small scene, “whose tears?” Jake Weber as Henry III broke my heart into a million tiny pieces and I never recovered…

  8. Another holler-out from someone who owned the “Day to Night” Barbie!
    I love your assessment here: spot on. I was the costume director for a renfair during the time this movie came out, and had to wield the Hammer of No against a lot of employees who ignored the truly decent costumes in the movie because they all wanted to be a “sexy courtesan.”

    1. Ugh, I can only imagine how hard that was! (dealing w/the fair employees, not the Day-to-Night Barbie — I only had Malibu Barbie, so I can’t relate ;-)

  9. Veronica is the cleanest prisoner I’ve ever seen in a film. Like, oh, her face is a teeny bit dirt. and her hair slightly less dressed.

    I never heard of this film before this blog. It’s a bit silly, isn’t it.

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