Monday, February 9, 2009

18th Century Movie Favs

There are both not enough and too many films set in the 18th century. I say "a few" because I want more and I say "too many" when I find ones I need to see. I know we all have our likes and dislikes, but here are my top three.

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

What can I say, I'm an upstate New York girl, and both sides of my family have been there from the same time as this movie takes place and where it takes place. It still tickles me whenever they talk about desperately trying to get to Albany. The area has a rich history and it's well portrayed in this interpretation of Cooper's novel. But the big draw would probably have to be Daniel Day Lewis.

Mmmm. Not only do you need your fan handy for this multi-lingual trapper's shirtless scenes, but whose to deny he's one of the best actors. To prepare for the film, he grizzly-adamsed it in the wilderness with no contact to the modern world. To top off the great story, romantic sub plots, gorgeous scenery and cinematography, and amazing acting, the flick has one of the best soundtracks to boot. This is hands down, my favourite.


Amadeus (1984)Perhaps this was the movie that turned me onto this most awesome of centuries. This play turned movie just has all the appealing elements a movie should have: humor, drama, and some fabulous costumes. Isn't that what the 18th century is all about? Mozart was the first rock star so it is only right that there is a movie to document (even if a fictional portrayal) his life. Bonus: Mozart's works are adapted into English so for of us who are uncultured, we can now understand what they're singing. My favorite aspect of the movie would have to be Katerina What a diva. This scene captures it all.




Marie Antoinette (2006)
I know, this movie gets bashed a lot but hear me out. When it first was advertised I was deathly frightened. I never cared for Kirsten Dunst's acting, and it's still sub par in this movie. I really thought it would be a disaster. But when I sat down to watch it, I got the movie. I like Coppola's interpretation of the story and the different view she was going for. It was an aesthetic masterpiece; filmed in Versailles and the Paris Opera House, complete with stunning costumes. It focuses on Marie Antoinette's day to day lifestyle which explains her naivety and ignorance to the world around outside her palace. The soundtrack was also a risk, but it also makes sense in that in connects the 18th century with our very similar time. In fact Coppola relates our centuries together to show that they're not that different...maybe we should take heed to that warning.


So what are your top three? Or top 300? It is so difficult to choose!

27 comments:

Lauren said...

I think it's time to watch Amadeus again!!

Eliza Ward said...

Haha, our 300 favorite films? I couldn't even have named 3 18th-century films period! My favorite film ever is almost an 18th-century film, The Crucible!! Starring Daniel Day Lewis ;) and Winona Ryder (who actually does an outstanding job!) and set in Salem, 1692. It also has amazing costumes, but not beautiful ones, more like, annoyingly accurate, so you think "Ew, her dress is dirty and gross" but then think, "Right, she lives on a farm, and just walked to court in the rain". And it's a wonderful film. All of the acting is terrific. Everything is great, except the depressing subject matter!

By the way, I was disappointed with Marie A. the first time I saw it just because that wasn't what I was expecting, but it stayed in my mind, and grew on me, and I really agree with you about Coppola's statements.

Heather Carroll said...

Yes, we should make a tea party of it.

I have seen The Crucible, although its been a very long time! When I first saw the teaser for MA I was super psyched because it looked amazing and the music was edgy, I was like this is great! Then Dunst came out and I was so bummed. I was going to refuse to see it based on that but I got over myself!

Polonaise said...

I can't even believe I forgot Amadeus in my (rather lengthy) post on Lauren's site. Ack!! And I love, love, love the soundtrack for Marie Antoinette, but probably because it was the soundtrack to my high school years. I still have a hard time with her view of Antoinette, though. I think she's trying to sympathize and show why she was who she was, but I felt it still made her look like a dip. I should watch it again now that the first shock has worn off.

billy-cake said...

I love Amadeus!!! My Philosophy TA looks almost like he could be Tom Hulce's twin, so I sometimes expect him to do THE laugh :P

Jenny-Rose said...

My top three would have to be Lady & the Duke, Jefferson in Paris & Slipper & the Rose. Honorable mentions would be The Aristocrats, Amadeus & Marie Antoinette.

Vic said...

I own all three films, plus the soundtrack to the Last of the Mohicans, which is lush. Great choices.

Mrs Woffington said...

Absoultely love Amadeus; the Italian-French film, Farinelli il Castrato is also one of my favourites and well worth watching.

Heather Carroll said...

The Lady and the Duke was a beautiful film. I'm going to have to check out Farinelli il Castrato now! Actually, I have a feeling that won't be the last film I add to my netflix queue due to this post (and Lauren's)...

Ninon said...

Oh, I loved Marie Antoinette! I think it portraied the hedonistic life-style they had back then very well with all the music and wonderful costumes.

Ninon said...

Oh, and Amadeus of course, how could I forget! Although it has been called a parody of the 18th century, but still...

And I like Barry Lyndon too (especially the beautiful candle-lit scenes).

AKer said...

If Regency counts, I'd have to say the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries (just because it was the first c18 movie that inspired me as a teen), The Aristocrats, and Marie Antoinette are my top three right now. But there are sooo many others, and quite a few I have yet to see (for example Amadeus and Tom Jones). I liked Barry Lyndon, but I have to watch it again. I think I was stunned by its beauty the first time, and can't remember the plot.

Sara said...

I love Amadeus, but I never want to watch the end. I'm happy that Marie Antoinette ended when it did, because I prefer my endings to ignore the sad reality. haha. I know what happens, but I don't have to watch it in a movie! I like Marie Antoinette because it's one of those movies that you can pick up at any point and watch because there's no plot to speak of- it's a great one to "watch" while you're doing other things. And...the costumes are Awesome.
Never seen the Mohicans one...

George Hanger said...

I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned "The Madness of King George", which ought to be in every "period film" lover's library. The men's and women's outfits alike are all superb. Oh, and the hair and the hats! A costume wh---'s delight!

I found the actor who plays Fox (I forget his name) to be one of the best I've seen. I did not much find that the actor who played Mr Fox in "The Duchess" resembled him physically in the least.
But although she was depicted as too frightfully thin and that film rather unfair to his Grace, the Duke of Devonshire, I enjoyed "The Duchess" rather more than I expected to.

I don't have a third film that has not already been mentioned. I can't think of any. Should one come to mind, I will post it.

Heather Carroll said...

The Madness of King George is a close forth for me I think!

Anonymous said...

i like Valmont very much.

Margaret Evans Porter said...

Barry Lyndon--Ireland, London, Europe

Casanova (Heath Ledger, Sienna Miller)--Venice

Ridicule (Fr., w/subtitles)--Versailles & rural France

But everyone else has mentioned other favourites. Naming the Top 3 is difficulty, I have a feeling my answers might be different on any given day!

George Hanger said...

Ah, yes, the anonymous poster made me remember (thank you). I did also enjoy les liaisons dangereuses.

Heather Carroll said...

Ridicule and Dangerous Liasons are probably tied for 5th place for me! See, it's just so difficult to choose and Maragaret is right, choices changed by the day or with the mood!

Oh wait! Perfume is in there too...see, I'm asking too much!

Lauren said...

@ Polonaise - you haven't watched it again since first watch shock? Girl get on that! I find it more charming each time. It's like you pay more attention to the other characters instead of Antoinette.

Polonaise said...

I can hear the shock from here, haha! I get to see movies in theatres for free, so I resent having to actually rent a movie. But I am rightly chastened and will watch it again.

I should have kept my big mouth closed. I hope I get to keep my Tart Heart! ;)

Heather Carroll said...

You do, but now it just seems more fitting that you got the Duchess of Gordon ;) Just kidding of course!

Anonymous said...

Though not quite 18th century, Vanity Fair ought to be on the list- Becky Sharp is a first class tart, even if only a fictional one!

Heather Carroll said...

Yes that movie is quite good! You have to love a clever tart.

vanessa said...

I completely agree with your analysis of Marie Antionette. I do think that Kirsten Dunst did play the role of a spoiled, naieve girl close to perfectly though. It is one of my all time favorite movies that I can watch over and over again.

Aarti said...

I would include The Aristocrats and Dangerous Liaisons on my list! I didn't love Dangerous Liaisons as much, but I really liked The Aristocrats.

I've never seen Marie Antoinette. I don't think I want to- I really dislike Kirstin Dunst.

Heather Carroll said...

I severely dislike her and her lack of acting abilities but luckily I was distracted from it by the amazing visuals in the flick!