|A Peter Ellenshaw matte painting from Mary Poppins|
But wait there are more secrets here! The movie seems fairly realistic at first (as far as breast grabbing Victorian hypnotist movies go). Slowly the audience realizes this is a world where spooks and scares are part of everyday life. Eventually werewolves crawl from the sewers, pictures move when nobody is looking and the Queen has problems finding good poltergeist-busters.
Horror is used as a metaphor for corruption and secret lives. For instance, we worry about AIDS as Victorians were once concerned about syphilis. In the Bodice Ripper's London the prostitutes are just as alarmed about vampirism, itself a metaphor for parasitic people and blood-borne diseases.
POLLUTED SETTING = POTENT SYMBOL
A Victorian London matte
painting from Braham Stoker's Dracula
The polluted air, land and water in the Bodice Ripper's London symbolizes the disconnect between the real dirty world and people's sanitized public lives. "Let's all pretend there's no shit on the ground so we can hide women's sinful bodies in hoop skirts, bodices, camisoles, knickers, petticoats ..." etc.
The most breast-shaped building in all England.
The beautiful Royal Albert Hall was featured in Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much, but some find the nearby Albert Memorial gaudy and tasteless. I say it just needs lasers.
A real Jack the Ripper murder site (above).
Note the horse shit on the road. Where is this poop to be found in historical movies? Nowhere! A period illustration (below) is moody even though it has no poop either. Call me obsessive but I'm just annoyed when there is no horse shit in period pieces. It was everywhere!
Climactic Balloon Path