To celebrate the new year, I decided to do a retrospective of my favorite historical film roles played by Colin Firth. Few actors can wear such flamboyant costumes with such casual panache. I think that is the secret to his appeal -- even when he is wearing doublet and hose, he carries himself like he is at the Academy Awards in a tuxedo, or taking a walk in the park in T-shirt and jeans. He is always comfortable in his own skin, no matter what is covering it.
One of my favorite Firth films is this obscure 1993 movie, also called The Hour of the Pig. I love the dark humor and the attention to detail. Anyone who has dealt with building contractors or received a credit in settlement of the e-book price-fixing lawsuit will be amused at how little business practices have changed in 550 years.
Shakespeare in Love
Firth portrayed the villainous Lord Wessex, romantic rival to young Will Shakespeare. This movie was said to have inspired HRH Prince Edward, who once had a backstage theater career, to request the title of Earl of Wessex upon his marriage. Good choice. In a bit of stunt casting, Colin Firth also briefly portrayed William Shakespeare in the Black Adder Back & Forth television special.
Girl with the Pearl Earring
Firth portrayed the great artist Johannes Vermeer. I love the practical, slightly disheveled period clothing in this picture. He has his usual brooding facial expression in this picture. He is capable of a great range of emotions, but audiences love to see him brood.
18th Century - Valmont
A very young Colin Firth plays a wicked rake. 'Nuff said. I love the costumes, particularly when they start to come off. Notice that he is smiling (or at least smirking) in this picture. This could almost be the cover of a historical romance novel.
Pride and Prejudice
Firth's most famous role, leading to artistic likenesses on display at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath and (temporarily) Hyde Park in London. I adore men's fashions from that era. The brood is back. Playing billiards gives him an excuse to remove his coat. I approve.
Late 19th Century - The Importance of Being Earnest
Men's fashions changed a bit, but Colin Firth still looks just as good several years older and several decades later. What a lovely day for a stroll with an amiable escort.
The King's Speech
I do love a man in uniform. Look at all those medals! Do you suppose he is compensating for something? Surely not.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
This film will be out in February (just in time for Valentine's Day). There is nothing like a well-tailored suit to get my heart beating faster. Few men age as gracefully as Mr. Firth.