Welcome to FrockTalk, the web’s only costume-based movie review site. The goal of Frocktalk is to shed light on the magnificent artistry of costume design in motion pictures. Reviews on this site are written by working costume designers in the entertainment industry – people who know, better than anyone, what it takes to make it all happen. The focus of FrockTalk is not to comment on the big flashy costume dramas, but to call attention to the seemingly ordinary costume design work in film that silently and persuasively moves the audience toward understanding the characters. Costume design for motion pictures is an art form that deserves more recognition than it usually gets. Fancy, pretty costumes do not always equal effective, appropriate costumes. The art of the costume is in letting the audience know who the character is, before the actor even has a chance to open his mouth. Read on, and enjoy. ** CAUTION: ALL REVIEWS CONTAIN SPOILERS! **

The Princess Bride: Maggie’s Review!

The Princess Bride has long been a favorite movie of mine. I even remember seeing it in the theater when it first came out! (And I was about Fred Savage’s character’s age back then!) Of course, that was long before I was into costuming, but this movie has a very charming look. In some ways it’s very fairytale, but I actually don’t think it’s as dated and 80s as some other things from the period. Buttercup’s hair isn’t teased up and hair sprayed, she doesn’t have bizarre makeup or shoulder pads, etc. 🙂

I think from the start I was taken with the sweet simplicity of her and Westley’s farm costumes from the start of the film. Robin Wright (as she was billed then) is so naturally lovely, and has such beautiful hair, that she never needs heavy makeup. She’s supposed to look young, fresh, and natural, and she does. Once she becomes a “Princess”, her costumes never overwhelm her. They are fairly simple in style.  Though they are all lovely, I’m going to focus on her red riding costume, just because I think it’s so different.

Most of her other costumes are in pinks and blues and are very feminine and seem to be made to be worn by a blonde.

You don’t seem to see strong reds on blondes very often. I thought it was an interesting choice – it stands out beautifully in the green fields and in the woods – and also contrasts nicely with Westley’s black Dread Pirate Roberts costume.

The costume becomes more and more damaged as the storyline moves. She starts out with a lovely beaded Juliet cap and beaded belt. She eventually loses the cap, and the dress becomes dirty and singed in the fire swamp.

The gown itself empire-waisted with a higher piped collar and really pretty cartridge pleated sleeves, a detail that’s nearly lost.  This gown seems loosely based on a medieval style called a houppelande, though I’m no expert.

Because it’s not as girly and pink, I’m not sure it was ever a favorite until more recently, and now it’s my favorite in the film. My friends and I even each made one (in varying states of distress) for a Dragon Con group.

MAGGIE’S PICTURES – check these out you guys; amazing!!

Here is jkg_vader’s blue Buttercup dress:

PICTURES

As for the male costumes – I love the Dread Pirate Roberts look – the shirt, though black, has lovely detail on it too, including pleating. It certainly works for the character and contrasts with Cary Elwes’ blondness nicely.

The other male costumes are interesting too – Bonham’s is auctioning off a few pieces (save them).

Fezzik, Vizzini and Inigo are dressed in sort of a homespun look, with Inigo in leather pants. All appropriate costumes for their characters. Humperdinck and Count Rugen, are also appropriately attired (see Bonham’s).

PICTURES OF BONHAM’S AUCTIONS #1
BONHAM’S AUCTION #2
BONHAM’S AUCTION #3
BONHAM’S AUCTION #4

Other fun characters include Miracle Max and the Impressive Clergyman.

IMPRESSIVE CLERGYMAN – BONHAM’S AUCTION

I’m sorry I don’t have as much to say about the male costumes. What can I say? I like the pretty!

I’m still impressed that the look of the film has held up – and it’s still funny and still a favorite, no matter how many times I watch. I just wish there were more hi-res promo pictures. This movie came out long before that was common. We are spoiled these days!

— MM

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