Monday, January 23

Amazing Guest Post: Top Ten Torrid Moments In Period Film

In a recent post, Dasia listed my blog Yearning for Wonderland as one with which she’d most like to do a post-swap. 

I have never guest blogged. However, given that Dasia sometimes writes her posts by MASHING HER BOOBS ON THE KEYBOARD, I felt confident in writing this post as I, too, have boobs.

Also, as you can see from the previous paragraph, I have mastered her advanced blogging technique of ALLCAPS. This technique shows how EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THESE WORDS are. See, don’t they leap right off the screen?

These techniques (boob mashing and ALLCAPS) are but two of the reasons why Dasia is my blog/Twitter buddy/Siamese twin separated at birth. She is also brilliantly funny, not to mention the originator of the “Benedict Cumberbatch weequashing in crisp twilight” meme. I kid you not. 

Well, okay, I’m kidding about the separated Siamese twin thing…unless they found a way to separate us by *gasp* nine years. Time traveling Siamese twins! I think I’m onto…no, I’m just digressing.

As I pondered how to transcend my own whimsy for DHAB, I direct messaged Dasia on Twitter.

In typically Dasia fashion, she immediately popped back with:

A splendid solution - I could write a post on period films that would be too saucy for my own blog and yet likely bore Dasia’s jaggedly sophisticated readers to tiny tears of despair.

I started researching this post, if you call eating  a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and numbing yourself with endless video clips of men in tight-buttoned pants (excuse me, BREECHES) as research.

For inspiration, I stared a lot at this photo:

Then I went to the kitchen and made some nachos. I decided I needed further inspiration, so I stared awhile at this photo:

This is how you can tell I am a real writer. I intersperse my writing and research with lots of eating (hard) and daydreaming (harder).  I watched endless clips of period pornography, involving lots of glove squeezing and longing glances. I suffered, gentle reader, so you need not. 

After hours of extensive research, I blotted my now-damp forehead with a dainty embroidered cambric handkerchief (conveniently on-hand for steamy period film viewing), and offer you  TOP TEN TORRID MOMENTS IN PERIOD FILM.

My first conundrum was one of semantics: Torrid implies erotic, which implies (sorry mum) S-E-X. But there’s plenty of that in modern film. Clearly, most people who love period film do not watch it for merely the bodice ripping (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).  I believe they seek the romance, the repartee, and the barely contained passion in a framework that does not allow its expression. 

So it’s not just the muscular gentlemen in the tight-buttoned breeches (though, so help me, that can’t hurt). It’s that those gentlemen frequently cannot express their love: either the one they love is promised to another, of a different class, or merely does not return their affection. Thwarted love, for any reason, is the central theme of just about every great period film.

There is a longing that propriety does not allow them to express. Yearning is a theme that I explore extensively on my blog, wanting something that you cannot even precisely define, a dawning awareness of something beautiful and precious and sometimes unachievable.

For your edification and delectation, I bring you TOP TEN TORRID MOMENTS IN PERIOD FILM, in no particular order. (There’s that ALLCAPS again. My, it just sparkles off the page.)

1. A Room With A View – lush Edwardian landscapes, floaty Edwardian costumes and a lovely circular moment where George and Lucy end up at the exact Italian pensione where first they met.

2. Becoming Jane – This list is a little Austen-heavy, given the glut of Austen movies in the last decade.  As Becoming Jane is based on a fictionalized idea of Jane’s life, not her novels, I am not counting it as an Austen movie. I am writing this post, so I make the rules even when clearly nonsensical!

3. Shakespeare in Love – the moment where Will unwraps Lady Viola’s, um, chest bandage I find unintentionally hilarious. Gwyneth, lovely as she is, has no boobs and would not have to tape down to play a man. Therefore, I may feel superior in my boob mashing post writing abilities. Instead I included the scene following, where they exchange heated kisses behind the curtain.

** Side note: in college, I taped a photo of Joseph Fiennes to my microwave with the explanation of “He’s so hot he cooks my food”. End side note **

4. Dangerous Liasons - I must include a villainous seduction, if this list would be complete. John Malkovich as the Vicomte de Valmont is the gold standard of callous rake in period film. Also, there are no Empire waist dresses in this film, thus not Austen.
[Silly youtube won't embed! Click here to watch!]

5. Pride & Prejudice (1995) – I could probably do a top ten list with moments just from this miniseries, but I am restraining myself to the divine proposal at the end. Do yourself a favor and watch it again.

6. Jane Eyre (2011) – If I had one quibble with this version, it was that Michael Fassbender is just so beautiful that Rochester’s line “Do you think me handsome?” is absurd. This is a compilation video with spoilers if you don’t know the story. Then again, if you don’t know the story, go read it!

7. Bright Star –poet Keats finds his muse in this Jane Campion costume love fest. This is the first kiss between Keats and Fanny.

8. Gone With the Wind – the great grandfather of period films and much longer lasting than, say, Greer Garson’s Pride & Prejudice. Rhett Butler was my first period film man crush. *fan self*

9. Persuasion (1995) - One criticism of Austen is that she writes her heroes as no man would actually talk. I contest that theory, though admit I have yet to find a man to speak to me like Ciaran Hinds writes to Amanda Root here:

10.… - Well, obviously I had to leave one off. You tell me…what is your most swoon-worthy moment in a period film? Include a link to a video if you can find one and we can all use our smelling salts together.

Thanks to Dasia for the sublime opportunity!


  1. I don't watch a lot of period films, but Pride and Prejudice and Gone With the Wind are two of my favorite movies! I love Mr. Darcy and Rhett Butler! *swoon*

  2. Well if the movie Legends of the Fall can be considered a period movie then pretty much every scene with Brad Pitt in it in Legends of the Fall is swoon worthy.

    OR Shadowlands with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. Initially might seem less than swoon worthy but there are several scenes when his love (C.S.Lewis) comes across in an understated conservative way - I actually sobbed in the a very swoon-filled way!


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