19 thoughts on “Top Five Mothers in Historical Costume Movies

    1. Our general cut-off is mid-1960s. We might talk about Mad Men, but not something from, say, 1968-69. I haven’t seen 8 Women, when is it set? Because that is hot!

        1. I agree!!! LOVE Eight Women – it’s such a great film, amazing looks – I particularly enjoy the colour-coding and the way it handles sexuality in quite a matter of fact way.

  1. I loved Karen Grassle as Caroline Ingalls. I wish she had continued acting after the Little House on the Prairie ended.

  2. Does Joan Crawford count in Mommy Dearest in the worst mother category?

    But I include Dame Judi as Queen Vic, Elizabeth McGovern as Cora Grantham, Dame Maggie as Violet Grantham, Dame (?) Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria in Edward the King, Janet Suzman as Alexandra Feodorovna in Nicholas & Alexandra and Claudie Blakely in Lark Rise to Candleford.

      1. Same here. She had the steeliness of Catherine down to a ‘T’, but also her love for Mary, her actions safeguarding Mary and the intelligence of a Queen.

      2. And she was great in One Foot in the Grave although that series was contemporary.

  3. Maybe you don’t want to be their child (or be ahead of their child in the line of succession):
    Claire Bloom as Lady Marchmain in Brideshead Revisited.
    Sian Phillips as Livia in I Claudius.

    1. Not so easy to find these days but Sian Phillips played a rather different kind of mother well in the BBC How Green Was My Valley.

  4. Eleanor of Acquitaine in The Lion in Winter. If one can have Mrs. Bennett, one has to have Eleanor.

  5. They balance it out. Mrs Bennett is scatterbrained, suffers from foot in mouth disease, is totally wrong about everything. Eleanor of Aquitaine is highly intelligent, politic and polite, and is almost right about everything. She balanced Henry II out. He had his rages. The Angevins were famous, er, infamous, both for their temperament and rages.
    Besides Anne of Brittany who was Queen of France twice, Eleanor is the only woman who was both queen of France and England.
    Patron of the arts, courtly love, troubadours, etc.
    She deserves her own miniseries.

    1. YES!!! But!

      1) Who to produce? Please, no American companies! Not History Channel or something horrible like that! Straight up BBC would do nicely.

      2) Who to write? We know her basic story, but honestly, there has been some terrible ‘historical fiction’ written about her. Some of it written by noted authors. (*koff* not going to mention the name but she has written a fair amount of English royal historical fiction, it’s just that her style drives me nuts.) And then someone would have to write a screenplay. Emma Thompson did a lovely screenplay for Sense and Sensibility, but she had Austen to work from. We can’t expect that for source material.

      And 3) Who would play Eleanor? We’d probably need more than one actress, as she was active and important for a very, very long time. Fairly tall for her time, dark hair and eyes, strong nose, striking features. Actually, in my mind’s eye, she would look very like Glenn Close. Though not so fair. (The red gold hair and blue eyes came from Henry’s side.)

      My oldest would make a fine Eleanor, but she is already 30. And too busy with my new grandson and chasing a white belt to be interested anyway. :-)

      1. I don’t know, but I really detest *cough* P Gregory’s books. What about Jane Campion as writer/director. She did a marvellous job on The Piano. Cast would probably be unknowns for early years. Maybe either Meryl or Glenn for middle and later years.

        1. Eleanor made it to her early 80s, outliving all but one of her sons. Who would portray her during the Richard and John reigns? Maybe Dame Maggie? At any rate, I’d hate to see an actress in her 60s weighed down with a ton of putty.

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