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Thursday Movie Picks: The Renaissance (14th to 17th Century)

Thursday Movie Picks is hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves. This week’s theme is renaissance movies. I rarely watch period pieces so I had researched if I was getting the time lines right. Here are my picks for the week.

Shakespeare in Love – I didn’t find this to be Oscar worthy, but I did enjoy it all the same. Joseph Fiennes always seem to appear in period roles, and this was no different. 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Judge Frollo was creepy. I haven’t watched this since its initial release, but Quasimodo had one song that I really liked. However I did not like the movie – I wasn’t a fan of the characters and the story. 

Beauty and the Beast – To fit the time period, I'm using Jean Cocteau's 1946 adaptation. I've been amazed at how the fantasy elements was incorporated in the film during that time. It isn't as glamorous as the recent English adaptation or the 2014 French film, but still a good movie all the same.  


  1. The Cocteau film is a classic and certainly one of the finest versions of that story though I still prefer the Disney Animated version of that story.

    1. The Disney animated version was wonderful, but I wanted to focus on the live action versions of the movie for this theme.

  2. I haven't seen the version of Beauty and the Beast you're talking about, but I love Hunchback and Shakespeare in Love WAS a good film. It's easy to forget that with the Oscar scandal and what not.

    1. Hunchback stressed me out back then. It was so bleak and dreary.

  3. LOVE this version of Beauty and the Beast! Cocteau gets so much out of his limited budget and settings, a really lovely film.

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who didn't think Shakespeare in Love wasn't Oscar worthy while still think it was a decent film. It's perfectly charming while not being extraordinary.

    I've never seen this version of Hunchback but enjoyed the 30's version with Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara.

    I'm a big period piece fan and have seen many so I tried to deep a little deep and find more obscure titles for the week.

    The Advocate aka The Hour of the Pig (1993)-Richard Courtois (Colin Firth) a lawyer in 15th century France tired of the chicanery and lawlessness of Paris moves to the small rural town Abbeville along with his clerk Mathieu (Jim Carter) when he’s offered a job as a public defender. This being a period when animals were held accountable for crimes with the same punishments handed out to humans he soon finds himself defending a pig accused of murdering a Jewish boy. Pitted against a determined prosecutor (Donald Pleasance) and Catholic priest (Ian Holm), Richard defends the animal and becomes enamored of its owner, beautiful gypsy Samira (Amina Annabi). Along the way he finds out about the strange goings on behind the doors of the seemingly tame townspeople. The medieval justice system and local superstitions mingle as the case plays out. A strange and quirky film this is based on the journal of an actual barrister of the period.

    Queen Margot (1994)-Dark and dire tale of the 16th century religious battle between the Catholics and the Huguenots for control of France. King Charles IX and his mother the dower queen Catherine de ’Medici (a simply sensational and scary Virna Lisi as a merciless woman whose soul has turned to dust) offer the Princess Margot (Isabelle Adjani-brilliant) to the Protestant King of Navarre in marriage as a political pawn. Trapped and unhappy Margot soon starts an affair with a soldier (Vincent Perez) as her mother orchestrates the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of thousands of Huguenots as well as murderous intrigues to place her other son on the Navarre throne. Blood splattered revenges and double crosses follow.

    Quentin Durward (1955)-Plush version of Sir Walter Scott’s tale of a Scottish knight, the Quentin of the title (Robert Taylor) sent to France by his cash strapped uncle to propose to a wealthy and titled lady, the fair Isabelle (Kay Kendall) who is at the moment at the castle of King Louis XI (the amusing Robert Morley-owner of the stupidest looking crown in any movie ever). Once arrived there is intrigue aplenty with attacks and sword fights including one where the protagonists dangle from bell tower ropes inside a burning church. Entertaining derring-do was one of the few leads that the luminous Kay Kendall had before leukemia claimed her at 33.

  4. I kind of can't believe it's already Thursday again!
    I don't think Shakespeare in Love was Oscar worthy either.

  5. I've only seen bits and pieces of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. One of these days, I'll watch the whole thing.

  6. I don't remember much about Shakespeare in Love, but I love The Hunchback of Notre Dame. To be honest, it's one of my favourite Disney flicks.

  7. he Hunchback of Notre Dame is probably the most 'adult' Disney movie. Some of the seem there were really disturbing

  8. It's a shame that Shakespeare in Love gets so much hate because it beat Saving Private Ryan because it's a decent film. Haven't seen your other picks but I wasn't keen on the recent Beauty and the Beast.

  9. I am I. Love with Cocteau's version of Beauty and the Beast and find it the best version overall and the best for fairy tales made into film. I am one as well who does not think Shakespeare In Love should have won even though I enjoyed the film. I haven't seen the animated Hunchback but have seen the others made and my favourite is the 1939 version


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