Tuesday, November 2, 2010

In celebration of stuffy British period pieces

I adore stuffy British period pieces. I seriously can't get enough of the barren countryside, the propriety and the soulful glances. These films make me want to lace myself up in a corset and run around accusing people of being impertinent.

Why do they work?
Interesting visual worlds. Costumes. Choreographed dances. Carriages sailing across the wilderness.
Thoughtful dialogue. People tended to choose their words carefully back then, or at least it seems that way in these movies. Small talk is always loaded with subtext and emotion. Letter writing is a slow, painstaking art. And when people finally do talk about their feelings, it's a big effing deal.
Themes of duty, obligation and forbidden desire. What one wants to do is almost always in conflict with what one must do. You can't just marry (or sleep with) whomever you want. You can't just get a job. And if you're a member of the royal family, you're probably miserable. Money and social status rule all.

And for whatever reason, the female characters are always interesting and well-drawn.

Here are some of the ones I've been devouring lately:

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Unknown said...

Hopefully you'll get Downton Abbey at some point then - it's a series written by Julian Fellows, perfect rainy Sunday night viewing!

Which is useful, as most Sunday nights tend to be rainy ;-)

Dan Williams said...

One of the very best courses I took in English lit was the 19th Century British Novel, for the reasons you listed.

Another terrific mini-series was "Our Mutual Friend" which was the last finished novel by Dickens.

Edward said...

I feel like girls like them because they always have strong female roles. LOL FEMINISM. After all, plenty of those attractive qualities are still in modern movies, though probably not to the same extent.

Amy Butler said...

I've just started watching The Tudors on DVD. Love it. Right now he's really in love with Anne, and I just can't WAIT to see how it all goes south!

Angel Triggs said...

You are awesome. :)