Our Secret Order Will Rule the Empire

What is it with secret societies and magical orders in the movies these days? The Da Vinci Code. National Treasure: Book of Secrets. . . I could go on.

Now M. and I are back from watching the new Sherlock Holmes, which felt like “screenplay by Dan Brown and Dion Fortune, from the stories by Arthur Conan Doyle.”

The villain, Lord Blackwood, is a cross between Aleister Crowley and Benito Mussolini.

Historians of costume, if you are out there: do not Irene Adler’s dresses with the elaborate bustles seem about 15-20 years out of date for the time of the movie? (I date it to the late 1880s, since Tower Bridge is under construction, assuming that is the bridge in the movie.

Good movie though, with lots of little bits of cinematic homage to “the canon,” such as the pocket watch with pawnbrokers’ marks or the steam launch on the Thames.

3 thoughts on “Our Secret Order Will Rule the Empire

  1. Thorn

    I loved the strange mashup, and Adler's bustles. Don't know that much about bustles, but the latter had to be less anachronistic than the machine at the end of the flick.

    That was my one disappointment with the romp, really – that anything Victorian now has to become steampunk.

  2. Chas S. Clifton

    I should have just turned to Google, since according to this costume-history site, Adler's dresses do indeed have an 1870s look to them.

    And the movie has to be late 1880s-early 1890s, if you go by the bridge, which is discussed at the beginning and plays a part at the end.

    Must "Victorian" necessarily mean steampunk these days? There is a long tradition of that in the movies, actually. The 1999 movie The Wild, Wild West had some steampunk elements too, before anyone ever coined that term (to my knowledge).

    And of course the father of it all was Jules Verne.

  3. Thorn

    Verne was indeed the father of steampunk.

    Steampunk as a term originated in science fiction/fantasy, I believe, with books like The Difference Engine (1990) and the Diamond Age (1995) though the sub-genre was around before then even by name, via short stories etc.

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