11 thoughts on “The Confessions of Frannie Langton (2022)

  1. We know from the life of Dido Belle that the life of a black woman in 18th century England would not be easy, even with the support of a wealthy, aristocratic family. Pretending that wasn’t so is kind of problematic. What a sham we will never know how Jane Austen intended to handle her mulatto heiress in Sanditon!

    1. Austen had started to indicate her “mulatto heiress” as a person of delicate health, but hopefully she was planning to make her a full character, rather than just “an invalid” for someone else to take care of and thereby establish their own merit– i.e., a plot device.

      Hopefully, she would’ve treated her more kindly than Thackeray treated his later “mulatto heiress” in VANITY FAIR, where poor Miss Rhoda Swartz is mostly a “buffoon” who conveniently ties a couple of loose ends together and lets Thackeray move on with the plot.

      I’d like to believe he was also using her to show the bad character of everyone who laughs at her behind her back– since he does establish Miss Swartz as one of the few purely “good” characters, even if not properly “refined” and given to mangling words.

      At the very least, though, it’s an example of what Black people who were able to mix in 19th century English society still had to face. And sadly, it’s probably far more accurate than what we’re seeing in recent “race-blind” productions.

  2. Definitely going to be watching! There are legitimate issues with the corsetry/stays in period pieces, it’s not just whiny actors. Most productions don’t have the resources to make sure the corsets/stays fit the actors well, or they’re tight-laced to make up for fit issues (or just tight-laced in general even though that wasn’t the norm). They also don’t usually have enough time to get the actors accustomed to the way good corsetry provides support. But the vitriol against historical undergarments is pretty ridiculous, I’ll give you that. It’s nice to see that this production made it possible for the actor to feel comfortable, which allowed her to be more fully engaged with how the character would have gone through her daily life.

  3. I was intrigued, but that ignorant statement from Sophie Cookson regarding period colors (pale) and that she was able to sway the design (not to mention that hair) is disheartening. Red was very popular for women at that time — cf: https://cdn.gallerix.asia/sr/_UNK/3575090783/4290586052.jpg, one of many portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence of women in rich, dark colors.

    As for the hair stylist, Marc Elliot Pilcher, his work shows a familiarity with the rather naughty drawings by Henry Fuseli of his wife Sophia — https://www.vogue.com/article/how-the-18th-century-drawings-of-henry-fuseli-speak-to-our-decadent-age. Ms. Cookson should have wanted hair like that for every moment she was on screen.

  4. Years ago, when I was in a color blind casted version of The Crucible, my then boyfriend was quick to say a “real” production would never cast like that. I’d like to rub this and Bridgerton in his face.

    1. … your ex wasn’t much of a theatre person, was he? (Even back in the day, if you really, really wanted to blow his mind – assuming he had one – you could have pointed him towards Orson Welles’ all black MACBETH of 1936).

      1. That was also a production of the Negro Theatre Unit established by the Federal Theatre Project (WPA) to give a point of entry to Black actors, writers and directors.

        It was nicknamed “The Voodoo Macbeth” because Welles shifted the location to a fictional Caribbean country and substituted Haitian vodou for European witchcraft.

        The Wikipedia entry gives a lot of info and even a brief clip from a film that included footage from the final moments of the play:


  5. She should teach a lesson to Bridgerton’s actresses who managed to get rid of the corsets for season 3!

  6. After just watching a scene in a Netflix fantasy series where the main character apparently “can’t raise her arms” because of a corset (???????), I’m very pleased that the artisans behind this film and the main actress put in the effort to be a little more understanding of how corsets work!

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