I just happened across a post in the blogosphere suggesting that one attempt to list 10 movies that made an impression, without thinking too hard about it. Here are a random 10 that came to my mind….
1. Amazing Grace – one can’t help feeling inspired to do something to help humanity after watching this biopic of abolitionist William Wilberforce
2. Fantasia – pure cinematic beauty, with classical music to match
3. An American in Paris – like watching a Toulouse-Lautrec painting in motion
4. Casablanca – possibly the definition of a cinema classic
5. LOTR – all three of them – the epitome of “fantasy films”, just as the books are the gold standard of “fantasy novels”
6. Italian for Beginners – a Dogma 95 semi-comedy, with all the requisite features of that Danish cinematic movement, minus the angst
7. Spartacus – almost over-the-top, but Kirk Douglas’ depiction of the gladiator’s attempt to defeat Roman tyranny packs a serious punch
8. The Princess Bride – a whole generation of us can pretty much quote it line-by-line
9. Big Night – underrated little gem of an indie movie (especially the last scene, which is one of the best film endings I’ve seen)
10. The Bicycle Thief (Il ladro di biciclette) – almost in a class by itself as cinema that is truly about real life (& is the pinnacle of Italian neo-realism)
However, my random, not-too-thought-about list of 10 memorably costumed movies would be different….
1. Persuasion – the most realistic of the Austen adaptations, complete with dirty hemlines, windblown hair, and a refreshing lack of mascara – also a “Jacket Movie”, with wonderfully authentic Regency naval uniforms
2. LOTR – see my post earlier today – when you read that the filmmakers actually made sure the scale doubles wore waistcoats with proportionately scaled-down designs on them, you know you are dealing with costuming of the highest order
3. The Secret of Moonacre – a personal favourite, but I insist that if you don’t get at least a small thrill from bustles as outerwear (to say nothing of Miss Heliotrope’s umbrella frame!), then you need to spend more time gazing at costumes 😉
4. The Young Victoria – there’s a post coming up on this soon….
5. Catching Fire – very effective evocation (via garments that are both old-fashioned and new-age) of a society that is simultaneously more advanced and more archaic than our own
6. The Golden Compass – although it never got its sequels (probably for the best), it remains a beautiful work of costuming. There were even “costume cards” issued for collectors, with fabric samples from the characters’ outfits!
7. Jane Eyre – ah, the 1840s never looked so appealing, if you go for repressed and corseted finery
8. Australia – from the equestrian jodhpurs to the 1930s chinoiserie gowns to the khaki AWAS uniforms, this is a retro treat for the eyes
9. Out of Africa – similarly to the above, there is a juxtaposition of elegant evening wear (this time from the rarely depicted “teens” into the 20s) with utilitarian khaki and safari outfits
10. Downton Abbey – okay, it’s not a movie… but the costumes are absurdly gorgeous. Really, it’s almost too much – like gorging on jam tarts!