Period TV shows/movies that got the look all wrong
I haven't seen "Pan Am" or "The Playboy Club" but both shows look like they went a long way in getting the look of the era right.
But I grew up in the 70s/80s when shows set in the past barely bothered making an effort to look authentic. "Happy Days" looked somewhat authentic in the early seasons but by the end you'd be hard-pressed to know the show was supposed to be set in an earlier era. Same with "Laverne & Shirley."
I never watched "The Waltons" as a kid but I've seen some of the reruns on Hallmark Channel recently and I laugh out loud at what apparently passed for post-Depression/World War II era styles. Feathered hair, designer jeans, tight T-shirts.
What are some other examples of TV shows or movies that shouldn't have even bothered being set in a different era?
|by Anonymous||reply 157||11/09/2012|
It's especially hard to get the hair right for periods before WW2, because everyone's hair was so ugly and dirty to our modern eyes.
Boardwalk Empire is among the few shows to get period hair right, perhaps a bit easier because the Roaring 20s were a bit more focused on style anyway.
|by Anonymous||reply 1||09/28/2011|
Little House on the Prairie is one big Prell commercial.
|by Anonymous||reply 2||09/28/2011|
MASH was so very 70s looking.
|by Anonymous||reply 4||09/28/2011|
Yeah MASH didn't remotely capture the 50s. Loretta Swit's lousy acting was usually upstaged by her lousy hairdo.
|by Anonymous||reply 5||09/28/2011|
Waltons was similar to Happy Days, the earlier seasons, the pre-WWII, were more authentic. In many of the westerns in the later 60's, you would see many women with their hair down in a very 1960's, early 70's fashion. The men's jeans were also tight in a much more modern style (not that I am complaining.)
|by Anonymous||reply 6||09/28/2011|
Why to the earlier seasons seem to get it right? Or at least try harder to? Do the production teams just get lazy?
|by Anonymous||reply 7||09/28/2011|
I think a lot has to do with the actors. The first season of HAPPY DAYS definitely looked like the 50s, not so much after. It's like the Cunninghams stepped into a time machine. I remember on one of the later episodes, Ted McGinley wore a pair of spandex bike shorts.
|by Anonymous||reply 8||09/28/2011|
Michael Landon had 70s hair on Little House (1970s hair, not 1870s hair!)
|by Anonymous||reply 9||09/28/2011|
[quote]In many of the westerns in the later 60's, you would see many women with their hair down in a very 1960's, early 70's fashion.
To wit: Linda Evans's look on [italic]The Big Valley.[/italic] More go-go girl than 1870s frontierswoman.
|by Anonymous||reply 10||09/28/2011|
[italic]The Cincinnati Kid[/italic] - Lots of it looks good, Depression-era clothing and street scenes. However, Steve McQueen and Ann Margret's hair and clothing is so off that I had trouble placing the era the first time I saw the movie. The movie starts with a funeral in New Orleans at which Steve McQueen meets a street kid. McQueen's hair was cut in a 60s style and he was wearing a 60s era jacket. In Ann Margret's first scene, she has teased and sprayed hair, again very 60s. It was Rip Torn's rounded collars that made me realize it was supposed to be set much earlier than the 60s.
|by Anonymous||reply 11||09/28/2011|
[italic]Funny Girl.[/italic] 'Nuff said.
|by Anonymous||reply 12||09/28/2011|
Star Trek - set in the distant future but the hairdos and short skirts were pure 1966. But who knows, maybe in the 23rd century all that will be in style again.
|by Anonymous||reply 13||09/28/2011|
I just noticed this very thing about the Waltons when I caught an old episode while channel surfing. NO padded shoulders and even the hats were from the 70's! My god, the women's hair would have had pompadours and rolls, at the very least. It's like they had some rinky dink rum dum costumer who grabbed anything from the 70's that REMOTELY looked "old fashioned." I totally agree that when the show was stil set in the 30's, they did a much better job with Depression era fashions. But once WWII rolled in? Forget it.
|by Anonymous||reply 14||09/28/2011|
I'm sure I don't know what you mean.
|by Anonymous||reply 15||09/28/2011|
^ LOL. It's like she stepped into this straight from [italic]Walk on the Wild Side[/italic] without missing a beat.
|by Anonymous||reply 16||09/28/2011|
r15, that is a hoot! The teased and sprayed hair, the blouse - ha!
|by Anonymous||reply 17||09/28/2011|
They don't even try for authenticity with hair and makeup because "nice" women did not wear makeup before the 20th century. Unplucked eyebrowns and flat hair--unless it was naturally curly--was the norm.
Yes, a little face powder was acceptable and curling irons were used but that's a long way from the expertly made up faces and hair styles you seen on screen. Even when the actress doesn't look like she's wearing makeup, there will be subtle indicators that contradict the era of the film.
A lot of it is a failure of objectivity. We have a hard time "seeing" something that is currently in style because it looks so normal.
|by Anonymous||reply 18||09/28/2011|
In the movie Lymelife which has Alec Baldwin in it, it's set in the late 70s and they're talking about the Falklands conflict and star wars movies that were not even around until the 80s.
|by Anonymous||reply 19||09/28/2011|
PAN AM is laughable.
In 1964, there would have been a thick cloud of smoke in those planes.
People smoked everywhere.
Thanks to P.C. revisionist history, you don't even see a cigarette.
|by Anonymous||reply 20||09/28/2011|
That 70's Show in no way captured the 1970s. Even the tone of the show was all wrong.
What bothers me about actors today is that they are all muscled. Back in the 1970s there were many skinny, non-muscled men walking around.
|by Anonymous||reply 22||09/28/2011|
I remember a veteran Hollywood costumer telling me how good designers would diligently research a period (based on artwork, old fashions, and photos, when available), and create authentic designs... only to be told by producers that contemporary audiences would reject them as too "weird, ugly, and alienating."
So there's a long showbiz tradition of bastardizing historical detail with up-to-date hairstyles, make-up, and sexed-up clothes. To make it (cough) "more relatable."
|by Anonymous||reply 23||09/28/2011|
Any 1960s western with heavy mascara, false eyelashes, and big hair.
|by Anonymous||reply 24||09/28/2011|
r23, that happens in theater as well. I was involved with a production of Golden Boy for a theater that was very comfortable financially. The costume designer brought in several pairs of shoes for Lorna, but they were all deemed "too clunky" and so she was put into a pair of skinny heels that looked from the 1960s.
|by Anonymous||reply 25||09/28/2011|
That 80's Show. Everything.
|by Anonymous||reply 26||09/28/2011|
When I was a kid, there were daily reruns of HOGANS HEROES. What really aggravated me was that the women all had 60's hair and even mini-skirts! I just thought it ruined the authenticity of the show. LOL Imagine a little gay boy worried about the historical authenticity of women's fashion on a show about American prisoners-of-war in Nazi Germany who had an underground bunker beneath their barracks!
Westerns are notorious for this. I just watched the original TRUE GRIT with John Wayne. God only knows if men in the wild west wore such tight jeans, tight shirts and sexy cowboy hats as Glen Campbell (in his prime) wore, but the little girl had a 60's bob right out of the Brady Bunch! Only John Wayne seemed remotely realistic in a fashion sense.
|by Anonymous||reply 27||09/28/2011|
R21 yes it's a movie. I saw it on TV awhile ago. Linked info about it below.
|by Anonymous||reply 28||09/28/2011|
Most movies made since the 50s but set in the 1940s didnt bother with 40s fashions in hair or clothes as it was too alienating. Ditto in westerns where the women all wear modern hairstyles.
|by Anonymous||reply 29||09/28/2011|
Aside from R20's comments, "Pan Am" has a number of inaccuracies simply related to the aircraft flown. The Clippers of that era were 707s, but in the pilot you could clearly see the emergency exit instructions for a 747 (which didn't start flying commercially until the '70s) in the seat pockets. Also, they used the same set for Heathrow that they did for the JFK Sky Port (which, to be fair, looks realistic), never mind that the Heathrow of the '60s was cramped and dank.
Even "Mad Men" isn't fully accurate. All the secretaries use IBM Selectric II typewriters, which didn't debut until the early '70s. Matt Weiner's on record saying they couldn't source enough Selectric I's for the set, so they decided to go with a slight anachronism. Also, there is no chance an upwardly mobile couple like the Drapers would choose to live in Ossining, which was (and still is) largely blue-collar and industrial; they'd realistically live in a nicer part of Westchester County (e.g. White Plains or Mt. Vernon) or Connecticut (e.g. Greenwich or New Canaan).
|by Anonymous||reply 31||09/28/2011|
[quote]I remember a veteran Hollywood costumer telling me how good designers would diligently research a period (based on artwork, old fashions, and photos, when available), and create authentic designs... only to be told by producers that contemporary audiences would reject them as too "weird, ugly, and alienating."
Sounds just like on PR, with veteran Bert correcting Viktor about "Victorian" style, and young Viktor flying into a big snit over it.
|by Anonymous||reply 32||09/28/2011|
The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
|by Anonymous||reply 33||09/28/2011|
Emma Stone's frizzy Toni home perm in The Help.
|by Anonymous||reply 34||09/28/2011|
They all do. Every single one gets the look wrong in one way or another. And in the case of shows set in the 50s or 60s, or shows like The Waltons, it's simply inexcusable since there are so many old TV shows and movies to see what the clothing and hair styles really looked like.
|by Anonymous||reply 35||09/28/2011|
[quote]Thanks to P.C. revisionist history, you don't even see a cigarette.
Point taken, but there is *one* cigarette in the show (one of Kate/Roger scenes).
|by Anonymous||reply 36||09/28/2011|
The Waltons started off very authentic, then towards the end the women on the show all started looking like 1970's bimbos, like these two whores for example.
|by Anonymous||reply 37||09/28/2011|
I'm in the industry, and when I saw the makeup/hair for Playboy Club, I was aghast- the makeup/hair is too contemporary. I asked around, and apparently the show runners wanted everything to look "sexy" (as if that period look wasn't sexy). Apparently they've gone through 2 Chicago glam squad crews and had to fly an L.A. crew in.
|by Anonymous||reply 38||09/28/2011|
Uf anyone truly expects "historical realism" when watching a movie or TV show, then you wouldd see nothing but toothless smiles and pock marked faces since most people lost their teeth by age 35 and skin care was non-existent.
|by Anonymous||reply 39||09/28/2011|
When were bras invented? I don't recall seing "Half-pint's " boobs bounce around when she ran down the hill in the closing credits of Little House On The Prairie.
I know there had to be some king of futuristic support mechanism to stop her jugs from jiggling .
|by Anonymous||reply 40||09/28/2011|
R37 = Corabeth Godsey, the biggest whore of them all
|by Anonymous||reply 41||09/28/2011|
I always thought the Drapers' living in Ossining was pretty blatant symbolism- they're all imprisoned by various aspects of their roles, genders, class, time.
Somewhat Similarly, although The Wedding Singer does the usual mishmash of a whole decade into one short period, I've always assumed they deliberately gave Drew Barrymore a 90s look so she'd stand out/appeal.
|by Anonymous||reply 42||09/28/2011|
r41 You've benn into "The Recipe" again haven't you Dear?
|by Anonymous||reply 43||09/28/2011|
[quote]What bothers me about actors today is that they are all muscled. Back in the 1970s there were many skinny, non-muscled men walking around.
True. That annoys me too. But I'll have to take a little issue with your terminology. The ones you refered to as "skinny" were not skinny at all. They were NATURAL bodied actors. Hollywood is in full-time propaganda mode as usual, and the recent theme is getting people to accept the idea that non-natural bodies built by weightlifting are somehow the norm.
|by Anonymous||reply 44||09/28/2011|
If the Waltons were all "simple Virginia hillfolk" how come mone of them ad accents ? They all spoke with the standard "California neutral" accent with the exception of a few of the supporting character actors like the Baldwin Lezzies or Corabeth Godsey?
|by Anonymous||reply 45||09/28/2011|
R40, bras were around in Half Pint's time. Not ones you'd recognize, but they were there. Either heavy cotton or linen vests, or boned monstrosities were available to flatten, push, lift or restrain.
|by Anonymous||reply 46||09/28/2011|
Laura Ingalls was too POOR to have a bra . She used two of her Pas' old straw hat sewn together, for support.
|by Anonymous||reply 47||09/28/2011|
Was that the first shitbra?
|by Anonymous||reply 49||09/28/2011|
One show that's been absolutely excellent is BOARDWALK EMPIRE. They have the look of 1920 America down very well. The biggest problem they've been having is that everything looks too new and shiny, but that's always a problem for period pieces.
|by Anonymous||reply 50||09/28/2011|
I think "The Wild Wild West" wins this thread.
It was supposed to be in the 1870s but all the women had huge bouffants and false eyelashes, and then there were Robert Conrad's super-tight pants and bolero jackets. I guess he thought an authentic frock coat wouldn't show off his ass well enough.
|by Anonymous||reply 51||09/28/2011|
Yeah, [r50], I love the styling on that show...the fabrics alone...
|by Anonymous||reply 52||09/28/2011|
I think "The Big Valley" was worse than "The Wild Wild West" - Barbara Stanwyck wore tight pants.
|by Anonymous||reply 53||09/28/2011|
[quote]Was that the first shitbra?
Two poke sacks filled with horseshit with the drawstrings tied together. When Laura misbehaved Ma would say, "Don't make me get my shitsacks!"
|by Anonymous||reply 54||09/28/2011|
Deadwood got the filth and dirt of mining boomtowns down well and the women were not overly made up.
|by Anonymous||reply 55||09/28/2011|
Barbara Stanwyck was fond of wearing a turtleneck shirt under her blouses. She and Audra also wore calf-length culottes (when the hell were THOSE ever fashionable?!)
Those boys were just disgusting, they NEVER changed their clothes!
|by Anonymous||reply 56||09/28/2011|
I beg to differ about That 70's Show, though. I LIVED then and they had the clothes (they used REAL 70's FASHIONS found in thrift stores for chrissake) and hairstyles down pat. The polyester pants and gaucho boots and vests. The feathered hair Platform shoes. Wrap dresses. Bellbottom jeans. A short sleeve sweater OVER a long sleeve blouse. What DIDN'T they get right? Everything was accurate.
The "attitudes" were for a SITCOM, though. Whoever that dumbass poster was who said they got it wrong, um, no, everyone was NOT "happy" and "funny" with snappy one liners because THAT IS NOT REAL LIFE. Happy Days wasn't "really" what the 50's were about, either. There was all kinds of repression and depression and sadness, etc. LIKE REAL LIFE. But these are sitcoms. If we are just talking about the "look," then That 70's Show is one of the most accurate shows depicting a period that I have seen. I suppose that other poster thinks The Ice Storm was more what his reality was like. People sure are strange.
|by Anonymous||reply 57||09/28/2011|
I agree, R57. I always thought That 70's Show was spot on with regard to fashion and hair styles.
|by Anonymous||reply 58||09/28/2011|
Great responses! One that hasn't been mentioned is Melinda Dillon's hair in "A Christmas Story." I think there was a big debate over that awhile back with some people arguing that hairstyle wasn't truly anachronistic and others saying it was. My dad loves the movie but says that is one aspect that always takes him out of the time period.
|by Anonymous||reply 59||09/28/2011|
Every military movie gets it wrong. The haircuts are always way too long (you can almost guess the credit order--the longer the hair the higher the billing), and the actors are usually at least 10 years older than they should be for the ranks they hold.
Cars are what bug me though. If a movie is set in 1955, that doesn't mean that every fucking car on the street should be either a 1955 Chevy Belair, a tail fin Cadillac, or a red Corvette. Every 50's movie winds up looking like American Graffiti.
|by Anonymous||reply 60||09/28/2011|
Streisand's "Great Day" Bob Mackie gown in Funny Lady. The dress is amazing on her, but it looks like something Cher would have worn to the Oscars in the late 80s/early 90s.
|by Anonymous||reply 61||09/28/2011|
R60, I tend to think those are more widely available because people cared to preserve them.
|by Anonymous||reply 62||09/28/2011|
P.S. R60, I also hate how the military is portrayed. They always look more like the Nazi Volkssturm than American military.
|by Anonymous||reply 63||09/28/2011|
[quote]Every military movie gets it wrong. The haircuts are always way too long (you can almost guess the credit order--the longer the hair the higher the billing)
Stripes-Bill Murray and Harold Ramis are the only ones in their little boot camp class not totally shaved.
|by Anonymous||reply 64||09/28/2011|
That reminds me, [r60]- I worked on Cinema Verite (where they NEEDED to get the period look down flat), and my Department Head said to me, "I dislike most period movies because almost everyone in the movie has hair/clothes/makeup from the same exact year, whereas in real life, you would have people with styles from up to 20 years old, depending on their economic and social status".
She kind of ruined period movies for me, because that's all I see now.
|by Anonymous||reply 65||09/28/2011|
[quote] "I dislike most period movies because almost everyone in the movie has hair/clothes/makeup from the same exact year, whereas in real life, you would have people with styles from up to 20 years old, depending on their economic and social status".
Exactly, I went through my family's old high school year books the other day, and the teachers (especially the males) were almost exactly 10 years behind the times as far as haircuts and fashions were concerned.
In 1970, the popular look in the teacher's lounge was flat top haircuts, white shirts and those skinny black ties IBM Salesmen made famous (one guy was still sporting a duckbill!).
|by Anonymous||reply 66||09/28/2011|
[quote]I think "The Big Valley" was worse than "The Wild Wild West" - Barbara Stanwyck wore tight pants.
They loved to put her in leather girl gear, too. My strongest memory of the show was Barbara clad in black leather, cracking her whip.
|by Anonymous||reply 67||09/28/2011|
I agree that That 70s Show got the look right. I was there, too, and the characters were the age of the older kids we looked up to. Short-sleeved sweater over long-sleeved blouse- exactly!
|by Anonymous||reply 68||09/28/2011|
R64 - just saw Stripes again the other day and was laughing at Murray and Ramis's "haircuts". Ramis prancing around chanting "Hare Krishna" afterward just makes it more ridiculous.
|by Anonymous||reply 69||09/28/2011|
I was in high school in the 70's and I remember wearing those clothes and hairstyles. They did a good job. Another okay job was the movie Dazed and Confused.
|by Anonymous||reply 70||09/28/2011|
I love the movie and her performance, but Faye Dunaway's hairdo in BONNIE AND CLYDE always bothered me. The real Bonnie had those permanent waves that most women were sporting at the time, but Faye had this shoulder-length mod look swept to the side. In fact, her entire wardrobe was an anachronism. She looked like a 1960s fashion model than a 1930s gun moll.
|by Anonymous||reply 71||09/28/2011|
Joanie Cunningham's perm (late in Happy Day's run) owns this thread.
|by Anonymous||reply 72||09/28/2011|
"Grease" had fairly good costumes and hairstyles, up until the end when Olivia Newton-John went full seventies - from hair to shoes!
|by Anonymous||reply 73||09/28/2011|
The black bunny at the Playboy club is not authentic to the culture of that time. There would have NEVER been a black bunny. Janitor maybe.
|by Anonymous||reply 74||09/28/2011|
I was wondering about that R74. Also, I understand that ABC banned smoking by the main cast members in the Pan Am show. How can you do a period piece without smoking?
|by Anonymous||reply 75||09/28/2011|
re: GREASE... Travolta having his shirt unbuttoned so low at the dance seemed very '70s.
|by Anonymous||reply 76||09/28/2011|
On the other hand some films and TV shows get it far more right than wrong - anyone like to start a thread?
|by Anonymous||reply 77||09/28/2011|
BBC usually gets it right for the most part. P&P was okay.
|by Anonymous||reply 78||09/28/2011|
From what I've read of former Bunny accounts back then, many Playboy clubs did have a black Bunny. Just one though.
|by Anonymous||reply 79||09/28/2011|
"Also, there is no chance an upwardly mobile couple like the Drapers would choose to live in Ossining, which was (and still is) largely blue-collar and industrial;"
Like much of "Mad Men", the Ossining location of the Drapers' residence is an homage to John Cheever.
|by Anonymous||reply 80||09/29/2011|
Excuse me. But our hair is very authentic to the 1870s, thank you.
|by Anonymous||reply 81||09/29/2011|
In Westerns there are always far too many horses and not enough mules and oxen. A horse was a luxury, the mules pulled the wagons and plowed the fields back then.
|by Anonymous||reply 82||09/29/2011|
Happy Days tried to use the right kind of shirt fabrics for the guys but the collars were huge 70's size instead of the conservative 50's ones.
|by Anonymous||reply 83||09/29/2011|
[quote]re: GREASE... Travolta having his shirt unbuttoned so low at the dance seemed very '70s.
I think that was okay, in a Johnny Stompanato, guido sort of way.
|by Anonymous||reply 84||09/29/2011|
I noticed in "Terra Nova" teens 200 years in the future are dressing the same as teens today.
|by Anonymous||reply 85||09/29/2011|
The Tudors. All I could think of were how many modern upholstery fabrics were being used as clothing fabrics. Not to mention a very slim and hardly aging Henry VIII.
|by Anonymous||reply 86||09/29/2011|
Not to mention the light switches, radiators, doorbells, zips and velcro R86
|by Anonymous||reply 87||09/29/2011|
I've always thought the Coen Brothers', "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", got it right.
If you look closely, they do have that mix of 20s and 30s Depression era styles seen in newsreels of the time.
If you haven't seen it, take the chance, it's wonderful.
|by Anonymous||reply 88||09/29/2011|
Carnivale on HBO got the ugly look of the poor in the 30s right. So many shots seemed to be right out of Dorothea Lange photos.
|by Anonymous||reply 89||09/29/2011|
I was watching some BBC production, Mansfield Park maybe, and there was a scene that showed a girl changing her gowns and they had tapes in the back like the real fashions of the time. Very nice little detail.
|by Anonymous||reply 90||09/29/2011|
Another vote for the Tudors, but for the look of KIng Hal. He's supposed to be a strapping 6'4" hulk, not a wispy 5'5" meth-faced sissy boy.
|by Anonymous||reply 91||09/29/2011|
[quote]"I dislike most period movies because almost everyone in the movie has hair/clothes/makeup from the same exact year, whereas in real life, you would have people with styles from up to 20 years old, depending on their economic and social status".
Yes. Same with cars. In any given year, some people were still driving what would have been old cars for that year. In the 60s, some people were still driving 40s models etc. Yet in period films and TV shows, everyone has a car model from the year in which it's set.
|by Anonymous||reply 92||09/29/2011|
So there were never any black bunnies.
|by Anonymous||reply 93||09/29/2011|
[quote]Yet in period films and TV shows, everyone has a car model from the year in which it's set.
Yes, and they are ALWAYS clean and shiny and sport wide white-wall tires. No one ever drives a beat up Chevy on blackwall tires.
|by Anonymous||reply 94||09/29/2011|
I also lived in the 1970s and I remember long hair and lots of facial hair, none of which I saw on that show. All high school senior guys had some facial hair, even if it was just the beginnings of a mustache or beard.
The early 1970s had that "dirty hippie" look that carried over from the late 1960s. Only in the late 1970s did it switch to a neater look with feathered hair.
|by Anonymous||reply 95||09/29/2011|
"Camelot" (the 1968 movie), although, like most period films of the time, I think it was intentional. They were obviously trying to start some kind of "medieval mod" fashion trend. All the women (and some of the men)wore heavy black mascara, David Hemmings was dressed in some sort of biker suit, Vanessa Redgrave was done up as a free-loving flower child, and Franco Nero sported sideburns and Beatle hair.
|by Anonymous||reply 96||09/29/2011|
THe 2007 version of “Hairspray” definitely showed a generation gap in fashion, and an income and status gap, too. The square adults were dressed in 50s styles (or shapesless housedresses), while the kids and fahionabsle adults were sporting bouffants and good 1962 styLes.
THe one error they made was at the finale, when Tracy turns up in a mod trapeze dress and white go-go boots, looks that wouldn’t become popular for about five years. Well, some of us care about these things!
|by Anonymous||reply 97||09/29/2011|
[quote]"Camelot" (the 1968 movie), although, like most period films of the time, I think it was intentional
I don't think definitive records exist of the styles and fashions worn in England in the year 500 AD.
|by Anonymous||reply 98||09/29/2011|
The armour in Excalibur looked more like football padding/armour than actual medieval armour. And they wore it constantly, which makes no sense. I hate that movie.
The punk rockers in Summer of Sam looked like punks/goths from the nineties because they just cast present day punks/goths for the scenes at CBGB. At least Spike Lee acknowledged that on the commentary of the UK DVD of SOS. Both Adrien Brody's hair (the liberty spikes as I think they're called) and the facial/tongue piercings of the punks didn't show up until later. Some posters at IMDb, who were around back then, have written a lot about how punks in the late 70's more or less just wore jeans and a t-shirt, not all the elaborate chains and stuff.
r60, I remember reading an interview with Allen Coulter, the director of Hollywoodland. He said that during the research for the movie he found out that people in the late fifties still wore suits from the forties and there'd be cars from the twenties in the streets, so he included that. Unfortunately you can see a fridge from the seventies (or younger) with a magnet door. Frigdes in the fifties had a mechanical closing mechanism. And my father (who was a child in the fifties) complained to me, as we were leaving the theatre, about the hair length...not all the men had the right haircut, according to him.
|by Anonymous||reply 99||09/30/2011|
A Christmas Story is just about flawless in the way it portrays the late 30's/early 40's. From the father's nondescript Oldsmobile and his battles with the coal fired furnace, to the wonderful Chinese restaurant they eat Thanksgiving dinner at, the movie never drops the ball.
|by Anonymous||reply 100||09/30/2011|
Hair & make-up: usually the dead giveaway of period pieces that are off.
Plenty of teased hair and wing-tip mascara even in classics like Dr. Zhivago, A Big Hand For The Little Lady, and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Lots of feathered male hair in ALL Robert Redford period pieces - from The Way We Were to The Sting; from The Great Gatsby to Havana. It's almost like his contract stipulated he would walk if his hair was not blown dry to perfection.
And no matter what century Montgomery Cliff's movie took place, he always applied that little dab that did him.
|by Anonymous||reply 101||09/30/2011|
[quote]The one error they made was at the finale, when Tracy turns up in a mod trapeze dress and white go-go boots, looks that wouldn’t become popular for about five years.
That also bothered me, r97. But you may have overshot the year discrepancy.
The original Hairspray (which is the only guide we have to pinpoint the exact year because of the soundtrack songs) was 1963. We have to assume the musical, even with its way-too-updated soundtrack style (now there's an anachronism to enjoy!), took place at around the same time.
Trapeze dresses & go-go boots were the rage already in 1966, giving us a total differential of 3 years.
|by Anonymous||reply 102||09/30/2011|
[R53] Stanwyck had to have pants to hold up her dick.
The Prell comment is hysterical. It just reminds me of "Bouncing and behaving hair!"
|by Anonymous||reply 103||09/30/2011|
When I worked as a newspaper reporter about 10 years ago, two 20-something women were assigned to do a special section on retrospective fashions.
Apparently they were given the assignment because the managing editor thought they were the most fashion-conscious people in the newsroom.
Unfortunately, they didn't bother to do real research and just assigned fashions to the years/periods they thought seemed right to them.
The whole thing was so full of errors it was an embarrassment to the newspaper. The stupidest part of the whole endeavor was they didn't use the appropriate files in our own morgue that would have shown them styles in ads and community photos for every year possible.
|by Anonymous||reply 104||09/30/2011|
Movies and tv show set in the 20s where every woman is portrayed as a flapper dressed in short, fringed gowns and feathered headband. In reality, many women back then wouldn't have looked out of place in the Victorian era with their long hair and skirts.
I've also yet to see a realistic looking perm in any modern show or movie set in the 1920s-40s. It's always frizzy messes like Renee in "Chicago".
|by Anonymous||reply 105||09/30/2011|
Cars in period pieces are always too shiny and new-looking because they are borrowed from collectors who won't allow them to be tampered with or dirtied up in any way. (That doesn't explain why they're never from an appropriately wide date range, though.) In real life, some cars would have been kept in spotless condition, others would have been beat-up looking, etc.
It also bothers me in a show set in, for example the 1950s, every homeware will be from that exact era. In a real house, there would be homewares, kitchen utensils, books from parents and grandparents.
The other thing is men's hats...they never look right, usually they're pulled too far down and the brim isn't bent/adjusted, just worn totally flat. And pants are worn far too low- even ultra-cool movie stars in the 1940s had trousers practically up to the armpits.
|by Anonymous||reply 106||09/30/2011|
Hollywood has trouble doing "poor." If you look at photos from the Depression, the people are wearing worn out clothes, but they're making a real effort to look their best. The guy might be broke but he's still wearing a jacket, and his shoes might have holes in them, but they're clean.
The same is true with houses. Those people might not have had the money to paint the place, but, by God, the weeds would have still be pulled and they could find a nail to fix the fence with. Hollywood does poor by putting trash in the yard, and that's not accurate. Poor doesn't equal ugly.
Hollywood can't seem to capture the dignity those people had, although someone mentioned O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and that's an example of where they got it right. Paper Moon also did a wonderful job.
|by Anonymous||reply 107||09/30/2011|
The Prell syndrome is happening in The Playboy Club as well.
"Sexy" hair in the 1960's was teased and sprayed with the rough stuff to within a millimeter of its breaking point. There was no bounce or fluff to it - just a beautiful silhouette made of hair hard enough to crack egg shells.
Even girls blessed with soft baby hair teased it so much it was not possible for it to flow smoothly the way it does for the Playboy cast. Joey Heatherton's wild dances where she'd mess up her hair are a good example - it was not sprayed but would stay frozen wherever she tussled it because of all the teasing.
|by Anonymous||reply 108||09/30/2011|
When there was a Bell System AT&T published "The Telephone Storyboard" for movie and TV producers with photos of phones by decades, to prevent a pink Princess in the bedroom at the Joads's Oklahoma farmhouse.
|by Anonymous||reply 109||09/30/2011|
[quote]A Christmas Story is just about flawless
Melinda Dillon's hair-style is one of its few anachronistic flaws.
|by Anonymous||reply 110||09/30/2011|
"Melinda Dillon's hair-style is one of its few anachronistic flaws."
So a question for stylists. Can we believe that her curly hair-do could have been that she just didn't have enough money to go to the hairdresser or do we assume it's just anachronistic? We never actually see the mother having a life outside of the house, and the chinese restaurant scene at the end was a last minute emergency decision, so maybe she just let her hair go natural.
|by Anonymous||reply 111||09/30/2011|
Speaking of anachronistic curly hair: not once did they make Emma Stone's hair in THE HELP look anything like what a woman would have had in 1963.
|by Anonymous||reply 112||09/30/2011|
"The same is true with houses. Those people might not have had the money to paint the place, but, by God, the weeds would have still be pulled and they could find a nail to fix the fence with"
You're making assumptions. A lot of people had messy homes and yards in the "good old days" - I know plenty of people in my neighborhood certainly did
"Speaking of anachronistic curly hair: not once did they make Emma Stone's hair in THE HELP look anything like what a woman would have had in 1963."
It's not like women with naturally curly hair didn't exist in the 60s. Isn't the character described as having curly, messy hair in the book?
|by Anonymous||reply 113||09/30/2011|
r22, that's a point about That 70s Show, but I recall the show as starting circa '75 and moving forward, which makes a difference. The cleaner looks were definitely what many younger teenagers would have been sporting by then.
|by Anonymous||reply 114||09/30/2011|
Not "period," but I'm sick of seeing palm trees where they don't belong.
Last night, I saw them in Scranton, PA. (The Office), Long Island (Revenge) and NYC (Ringer).
|by Anonymous||reply 116||09/30/2011|
You'd think they'd just digitally remove them, R116.
|by Anonymous||reply 117||09/30/2011|
O Brother was kind of a strange mixture of getting the styles and feel right, but giving it a whimsical, story book feel. You really felt that you were looking at a different time and place filtered through the passage of time.
On the other hand, great movie, but I felt like to Kill a Mocking Bird had more of a 1950's feel to it than the 1930's.
|by Anonymous||reply 118||09/30/2011|
In the 1970 movie TORA! TORA! TORA! which is set on the eve of the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941 there's a bar scene where a young blonde lady has Twiggy's hairstyle.
|by Anonymous||reply 119||09/30/2011|
[quote]She and Audra also wore calf-length culottes (when the hell were THOSE ever fashionable?!)
In the early-to-mid seventies, and they were called Gaucho skirts, worn with skin-tight Mary Tyler Moore boots.
|by Anonymous||reply 120||09/30/2011|
Kojak passed palm trees as his NYPD squad car went down a street and turned a corner.
|by Anonymous||reply 121||10/01/2011|
Last episode of Playboy Club had a bunny saying she was acosted by a "homeless" man.. honey in 1961 they were BUMS.
|by Anonymous||reply 122||10/01/2011|
Saw a few minutes of "Camelot" on the Starz channel. One female character's hair looked like a modern day blow out.
|by Anonymous||reply 123||10/01/2011|
Mom was born in '29 and she loves A Christmas Story, but does think that the mother's hair was very wrong. I often go through my Depression era parents' old snapshots and magazines and no one had hair like that. Mom's college/sorority pics look a lot like Mona Lisa Smile. I've never asked her if anyone looked like Julia Roberts, though.
Another thing mom notices is the relative scarcity of "crippled" people these days. It's a good thing, but noticeable to someone who grew up living amongst WWI vets and polio survivors.
One last hair note... Do these crispy-eighties-hair-40-somethings understand that they are now the "beehive lady" that we all knew growing up in the 70s and 80s? Just let it go!
|by Anonymous||reply 124||10/01/2011|
What about accents? Has anyone else noticed accents that don't belong in the period being portrayed? I've been annoyed when women/girls speak in that silly ditsy way that you hear a lot now, but never heard before say, 1980. Sometimes it's quite subtle but I still notice it.
|by Anonymous||reply 125||10/01/2011|
R120, the only women who EVER wore culottes/split skirts/gaucho skirts and boots were Bree Daniels and Tammy Faye Bakker.
|by Anonymous||reply 126||10/01/2011|
R122, good catch. IIRC "homeless" entered the lexicon in the late 70s, when NYC was at its nadir. Which reminds me, I've heard actors say "Hispanic" and even "Latino" in period pieces when the average American would have just said "Spanish" or maybe "Latin" (as in "Latin lover") unless he knew the person to be Mexican, Puerto Rican, etc.
R126, grammar-school girls definitely wore them. I don't know about anyone else.
R125, I notice that as well. One thing I liked about Mona Lisa Smile was that the girls didn't speak that way, even Kirsten Dunst's spoiled bitch. They didn't scale up at the end of their sentences.
|by Anonymous||reply 127||10/01/2011|
[r124]- Don't you know if a person is "stuck" in a specific hair/makeup/clothing look, that usually means that was the happiest time of their life? It was their glory years.
|by Anonymous||reply 128||10/02/2011|
Was "Tales of the City" (the 1st miniseries) flawless SF 70s? It was to my untrained eye.
|by Anonymous||reply 129||10/02/2011|
It does look pretty good and on a low budget, R129, as I recall. The clothes and hair were well done.
I remember one blunder, though, was seeing a desktop PC at Maryann's ad agency. Not in 1976, kids.
|by Anonymous||reply 130||10/02/2011|
The women of the Ten Commandments.
Need I elaborate?
|by Anonymous||reply 131||10/02/2011|
r130 - the most amazing 1970s recreation I've seen on a budget was an independent movie called VIVA. The woman that wrote, directed and starred also did the costumes and the sets, and everything looks like glossy magazine ads for liquor and cigarettes.
This still from VIVA is better than anything in PAN AM...
|by Anonymous||reply 132||10/02/2011|
[quote]I remember one blunder, though, was seeing a desktop PC at Maryann's ad agency. Not in 1976, kids
A lot of mainframe dumb terminals had the look of the early PC's. I worked with computers in college in the 1970's that, save for the lack of a work space console, consisted of screens and keyboards that looked exactly like those of an early PC.
|by Anonymous||reply 133||10/02/2011|
Sorry - this is the pic I meant to show
|by Anonymous||reply 134||10/02/2011|
[quote]"I dislike most period movies because almost everyone in the movie has hair/clothes/makeup from the same exact year, whereas in real life, you would have people with styles from up to 20 years old, depending on their economic and social status".
So, so true. My one big complaint about period pieces, no matter what year it takes place, is that everybody (even the background extras) are all in up-to-the-minute styles from whatever year it was. Real life doesn't work that way.
For example, in the 1980s there were still a TON of people who were still in the styles of the 70s and even the 60s. Everywhere you went in the 80s, you saw women with Farrah Fawcett 70s hair and women over 40 with 60s bouffants. Also, the early 70s hippie look was still very much around back then as well. Not everybody had teased hair and shoulder pads back then.
|by Anonymous||reply 135||10/03/2011|
" The first season of HAPPY DAYS definitely looked like the 50s, not so much after."
Once they got rid of the brother, Chuck, I guess they figured they could get away with anything...
|by Anonymous||reply 136||10/07/2011|
Gangs of New York - It's the early 19th Century in a New York slum and there's Cameron Diaz with her bleached blonde hair and red carpet make-up job. Took me right out of the damn movie.
There are just some actors who absolutely cannot do period films.
|by Anonymous||reply 137||10/10/2011|
r125 - that sort of thing is particularly noticeable in British films/TV where NO-ONE and I mean NO-ONE UNDER 45 can do "posh". They all put on what passes for an "educated" accent these days, but if you are doing any kind of period piece that is wrong, wrong, wrong.
I think part of the reason is because they aren't given proper elocution lessons at dramam school any more and everyone is meant to be "proud" of their regional accent, but in the process this has really diminished their ability to be convincing.
One of the biggest shifts here in the past 30 or 40 years is that the upper and upper-middle class accents seem to have switched (listen to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak, he is the one using all the slang, etc and she prounounces all her words precisely). In Downton Abbey they have really got that wrong as Matthew and his cousins have these switched about accents...before the 1990s they would have been the other way around.
Also, senior household members with strong regional accents to denote they are "servants" - in the early-to-mid 20th century at least people like butlers and ladies' maids would have adopted RP as much as possible.
|by Anonymous||reply 138||10/11/2011|
[quote]There are just some actors who absolutely cannot do period films.
Yep. Can you imagine if they had cast Julia Roberts in Shakespeare in Love (she was up for the part)? I can just see her hoofing around like Secretariat with her slouched posture and cackling in an Elizabethan ruff.
|by Anonymous||reply 139||10/11/2011|
LOST IN SPACE could not have been more wrong about 1997. I mean... velour??? And turtlenecks???
|by Anonymous||reply 140||10/11/2011|
[quote]Also, senior household members with strong regional accents to denote they are "servants" - in the early-to-mid 20th century at least people like butlers and ladies' maids would have adopted RP as much as possible.
I really don't know that much about English accents but it seemed that "The Remains Of The Day" did a good job with this.
|by Anonymous||reply 141||10/11/2011|
"Yep. Can you imagine if they had cast Julia Roberts in Shakespeare in Love (she was up for the part)? I can just see her hoofing around like Secretariat with her slouched posture and cackling in an Elizabethan ruff."
She was terrible in Mona Lisa Smile
"I think part of the reason is because they aren't given proper elocution lessons at dramam school any more and everyone is meant to be "proud" of their regional accent, but in the process this has really diminished their ability to be convincing."
You sound really bigoted, making people feel ashamed for their regional accents. Do you even understand what acting is all about? I notice you don't complain about actors with "posh" accents being unable to do regional accents...
|by Anonymous||reply 142||10/11/2011|
The miniseries John Adams had at least one thing right. Both John and Abigail's teeth were rotting and black by the end.
|by Anonymous||reply 143||10/11/2011|
This isn't an example of a show or movie that got the look wrong, but it made me realize just how wrong our perception can be about styles and attitudes from certain time periods:
A couple of years ago I saw a clip online of The Ed Sullivan Show from the late 60s, and he had on the cast of the musical Hair, performing Age of Aquarius. At first it seemed like what you would expect from the late 60s, as the performers all had long hair and were dressed like hippies. Then, near the end of the song, the cast started heading into the audience to dance in the aisles, and what a shock! Everyone looked like they had just stepped out of the late 50s orearly 60s: women with beehive hairdos and those cat eyeglasses, men with short buzzed hair or hats on, and horn-rimmed Buddy Holly glasses. Plus they all looked mortified, and didn't know how to react to the cast dancing all around them; they most definitely weren't hippy-dippy, free lovin', "turn on, tune in, drop out" types!
|by Anonymous||reply 144||10/11/2011|
"It's About Time" with Imogene Coca was just wrong, wrong, wrong.
|by Anonymous||reply 145||10/11/2011|
r142, I wasn't making a bigoted comment, perhaps I was just unclear.
The actors and actresses who go into period drama are a "type" so for them, having elocution lessons so they can learn to change their accent for a role would be an asset.
Having pride in your regional accent should not mean dropping this kind of training, and of course no-one should have to change their accent on an everyday basis (which is what acrtors were trained to do in the old days, some still do, I think you'll find Gemma Arterton was advised to drop her accent, and has done so).
Beyond this, the lack of training makes it hard for them to do ANY kind of accent convincingly.
The reason I used the example of "posh" accents is that they are germane to the discussion in hand, however, the same lack of training applies to actors in soap operas where they need to do a regional accent and fail miserably.
|by Anonymous||reply 146||10/13/2011|
I forgot to mention I am r138.
Previously, people would learn RP and drop their original accent because of snobbery. In the process of erasing class snobbery,they dropped the elocution lessons altogether, ignoring the fact that actors still need to learn RP for roles and that it is jarring if you're acting as an aristocrat with the wrong accent.
I don't see why they can't learn the skill and keep their accent for the rest of the time. The exception is Welsh actors who all seem to be great at mimicking accents. Michael Sheen in particular astonishes me every time: on screen he might be any variety English, or he might be American, according to the role, but the rest of the time he has a pretty strong Welsh accent.
|by Anonymous||reply 147||10/13/2011|
Hogan's Heroes for me.
'60s hair on the guys and girls ( remember Newkirk's mutton chops and Kinch's afro ? Definately non-military )
As for the clothes, the ladies sported '60s turtlenecks ( yeah, a turtleneck from the '60s looked different from the ones they had during WW2. They usually had a snugger and higher collar ), miniskirts, knee high boots and '60s style trenchcoats.
|by Anonymous||reply 148||08/09/2012|
It always bugs me the way when things are set in the 70s EVERYONE has rotary phones, whereas a lot of people had touch tone then. I remember.
Mad Men > Don has a touch tone and it's the 60s, which shows they know what they're doing and the touch tone phone has only ten buttons, also correct. Someone like Don Draper, in NYC, would have had a touch tone phone, even in 1966.
|by Anonymous||reply 149||08/09/2012|
r144 you were just noticing what a number of posters have mentioned. Not everyone in the late 60's looked like hippies. Just as not everyone in the 20's dressed as flappers. There are always early adopters of style changes and those who only adapt when they can no longer find their old style of clothing being sold anywhere. In between there is a mixture. But most period piece designers make everyone look the same and dress people as though they are all early adopters in order to set the period.
So yes, in the late 60's many, if not most, Americans did not have long hair or wear love beads. Many were still dressing as they did in the 50's, some were catching up to the London mod style, and some urban, young people looked like the case of Hair.
|by Anonymous||reply 150||08/09/2012|
Split skirts were not a fashion statement, they were used for riding horses because "nice" women never wore pants.
Although if they had been really authentic in Big Valley Audra and Victoria would have ridden side saddle, even using normal western saddles.
Women used to hook a leg forward around the horn of the western saddles. They rarely rode astride but if they did they used split skirts. They were not the tight ones seen in 60's western movies though, usually quite full and hard to tell they were split when not riding.
Curiously fifties female western clothing was more authentic than sixties westerns. The fussy tightly corseted dreses with lots of frills and apron skirts were what women had as "best" dresses. The skirts and blouses were what they wore when not dressed up.
Wagon Train was pretty good for authentic type clothing. Most settlers on the train wore non cowboy type clothing that easterners would have worn.
|by Anonymous||reply 151||08/09/2012|
About Melinda Dillon's hair in "A Christmas Story"...well, what was so WRONG about it? She looked like a woman who never went to the beauty parlor. Her hair looked like either a bad home perm or naturally unruly, curly hair that she paid little attention to. I thought her hair fit her character exactly; here was a woman who had little time and money to spend on such frou-frous as beauty parlor visits and hair styling. It was very natural-looking hair well in keeping with the type of woman she was.
|by Anonymous||reply 152||08/09/2012|
Cameron Diaz in 'Gangs of New York,' which was set in the mid-19th century. Blonde highlights in her hair and makeup so modern it could be on the cover of a fashion magazine.
I really think sometimes the actor's vanity gets in the way of historical accuracy. And if it's a big star like Diaz, she'll get her way.
|by Anonymous||reply 153||11/09/2012|
I met a woman who had been a PAN AM stewardess in the 60s. She noted that the pilots were all paunchy middle-aged World War II vets.
|by Anonymous||reply 154||11/09/2012|
In Romy & Michelle, one of them wore a Madonna costume to her mid-80s prom, but Madonna herself wasn't wearing that look until 5 yrs later.
|by Anonymous||reply 155||11/09/2012|
Grow up, that's the way it is.
NOBODY was going to watch a movie where the two main characters looked like this.
|by Anonymous||reply 156||11/09/2012|
OT, but I hate Estuary English. Lady Mary from Downtown Abbey speaks it in real life and the odious (to me, anyway) son of James Fox speaks it in the execrable Inspector Lewis show.
|by Anonymous||reply 157||11/09/2012|