11 thoughts on “TBT: The Virgin Queen (1955)

  1. Elizabeth I used to dress her maids of honor in white and older ladies in black in order to set off her off brilliant costumes.

  2. Bette Davis was such a power-house of a performer and really pulled out all the stops when a role demanded… shaving her forehead was a really such a Stanislavskian ‘method’ thing to do! It certainly shows commitment and looks incredible with her in the wigs or nightcap. The costumes certainly do level over to the camp on occasion (to say the least) and all the bullet bra shaped bodices certainly make me chuckle. I think though that the fabric choices confuse me the most; they just seem so odd in regards to period, style and the general aesthetic. Sorry, but slightly off topic – I had a look through and did a search and I can’t find an article on Queen Katherine Howard on film/tv. Would you perhaps consider looking at her in the future? I know that she is quite often overlooked or simply labelled a silly tart, but I really do find her fascinating and think her hugely misunderstood. Much thanks for all your amazing work!

  3. Some of you probably already know about this, but it’s worth a mention:

    Before Davis’ hair grew back, she had to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, where she presented the Oscar for Best Actor to winner Marlon Brando.

    To hide her hair, she wore a tight-fitting cap that appears to be a glitzier recreation of one of the nightcaps in THE VIRGIN QUEEN, though not the actual item.

    She also wore a dress that had an interesting hint of period styling– two different fabrics layered in a way that suggested a stomacher and forepart– while still remaining firmly in 1950s fashion.



    In this gif of her entrance, you can see that it’s just a calf-length dress, rather than a full gown, and check out the weird way that the off-shoulder neckline is divided into peaked sections that flap in the back as she moves:


    While the cap is very close to one that’s in the film, it appears to be slightly different in shape and in the amount of decoration. This is the actual costume piece, from an auction and on display:



    The Oscars cap appears to be more solidly covered with decoration, and with a smooth edge with no overhang of the decorative overlay.

    I guess simply wearing a wig in her usual style/color wouldn’t have gotten enough attention.

  4. I hate how both this film and Golden Age seemed to picked up the mistaken idea that the Bess/Raleigh shenanigans happened in the 1580s, when very clearly it was 1592 that they were discovered and they had ahem consumated inate 1591. Maybe because they want to tie it more with the Armada period? Or just outdated scholar ship?

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