25 thoughts on “SNARK WEEK: Top 5 Frock Flick Actresses I Don’t Understand

  1. While reading abt Billie Whitelaw I was thinking “where have I seen that face before?”, then I remembered she was in Hallmark’s Merlin (1998) playing Merlin’s adoptive mother, Aunt Ambrosia!!!
    The Hallmark miniseries is entertaining, it has a mix of late-roman, early medieval, celtic & pure fantasy costumes. Have you seen it?

    BTW I hate the look Welch & Andreas were given in those historical movies, if it wasn’t so offensive I would laugh.

    1. Same!!! Then it hit me…she also played Mrs. Medlock in Hallmark’s The Secret Garden (1987), which I watched about eleventy billion times as a kid. Guess she had a thing for Hallmark miniseries/movies.

    2. Just an FYI, Billie Whitelaw’s hair in Robin Hood was cut short because she wanted to join the band and was trying to fit in. Likewise, that’s why she’s wearing men’s clothing.

  2. Florence Pugh. Or rather, Florence Pugh in Little Women – she looked fine in Lady Macbeth, but something about her face and hair looks massively 2010s to me in Little Women. Maybe it was just very poor styling.

  3. Kiera Knightley. She can do ok in the 1920s, when the “coltish”, slouchy look was a thing, but otherwise she just seems so contemporary.

  4. The only rationale fr these castings is a high Q factor and Big Box Office. But it’s no more fair to the actress because most of them are so heavily typed they can’t sell anything else. Swank is the only one in that list who has the chops for anything else, and in something like Million Dollar Baby, she’s fantastic, and I didn’t think she was all that bad in Necklace, but otherwise she does seem to have been miscast. As for Raquel Welch, all her talent is on her chest.

      1. I remember it fondly, but I just wanted to reiterate that she bothers me in period films.

        But what about Laura Dern? Her Marmee just isn’t of the caliber of Emily Watson or Susan Sarandon.

        On another subject, what about a second post on Women and men who should do more FrockFlicks?

    1. And me. She’s competent enough, but boring, even though she obviously tries her damnedest. (K.K. as Colette. Long shudder.) And what is it about Swank, who can be marvelous in modern roles? It’s not just the features or the overall look. Insufficient direction? Doesn’t move well in the frocks? Not right for a period’s idea of beauty and elegance or whatever?

      Something I liked about the 1995 P&P was that Susannah Harker played Jane the Beautiful One, and she really did conform to the English standards of serene classical beauty, which could seem dull to late 20th-century eyes next to Ehle’s sparkle. They were a lovely sister act.

      1. I have a dislike for Hilary Swank…maybe not rational but I just do. But I only watch period as far as movies/TV so I get very specific as to which actors I like, dislike or cannot bear. I look forward to new period dramas of the eras I crave and feel such a let down if they cast the “wrong” people. :)

  5. I liked Sienna Miller in Stardust (hairpin shortage aside) but I agree that in Casanova it just wasn’t a good fit.

    I like Emma Watson both as an actress and as a person, but the few frock flicks I’ve seen her in I never feel like she belongs in that period. I think she actually has the right look for it, but it’s something about how she carries herself I think. I never forget that she’s Emma Watson, Harry Potter actress and activist. But I don’t have that problem with her modern roles.

  6. I haven’t seen it, but I discovered a few weeks ago that there was a film version of Brothers Karamazov with William Shatner (!) as Alexei. I don’t know what kind of job he did (although the costumes look generic at best, and bad many times in the trailer) but he strikes me as someone easier to believe in the future than the past.

    I also think I’d have a hard time picturing someone like Affleck in anything super historical. Maybe mid-20th he could get away with. Although maybe I’m not being fair; he has pretty good poise/carriage sometimes. Poor guy has a hard time getting past the role of an idiot he got an Oscar for writing.

    1. I saw that version of The Brothers Karamazov many years ago, so I don’t remember it well, but that was before Shatner was Capt. Kirk. He was a serious actor back then and was OK as Alexei. Nothing to write home about, but also not scenery chewing either.

  7. The pic of Raquel Welch as a slutty nun is hilarious! I actually spat out a gulp of wine when I laughed as I saw it. Ms Welch was horrendously good in The Four Musketeers; I feel that she was so bad she actually worked in the comical context of the film… but boy were her costumes terrible!

    1. I agree about the Three/Four Musketeers–Raquel Welch plays a ditzy cream puff, and with the bawdy romp-like tone of the films, it totally works.

  8. What is up with the Regency(?) hair button worn by Billie Whitelaw? Not sure what the hairdressers were thinking with that one.

  9. Sienna’s in her stays for that Casanova picture bc she and Casanova were about to be hanged. Anyway, Julia Roberts has a very similar issue to Hilary Swank for me— such a modern kind of beauty and method of acting. I remember it most clearly in Mona Lisa Smile because the majority of the actresses she was playing against have such soft, rounded faces by comparison, and she’s all angles.

    1. I feel like it worked in Mona Lisa Smile just because she was supposed to be a modernizing influence in comparison to the girls at the school who were more stuck in the past. It’s about the only period role I’ve enjoyed her in for that very reason though.

  10. I always felt Claudia Cardinale looked too contemporary in the otherwise perfect Visconti “Leopard “. Hair & costume were right but her face is so mid 20th century.

  11. Seriously, DO NOT watch The Homesman. It is depressing as fuck, and just looks bleak as all hell, literally.

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