Thursday, May 2, 2013


Spotlight On "Courage, New Hampshire" Episode 3

Some of you may remember my interview with Mary Johns, the costumer for indie film "Courage, New Hampshire," or my visit to Riley's Farm, the amazing Southern Californian set of this pre-Revolutionary story.  (If not, read the interview here, and see pics from my visit here).

After seeing the behind-the-scenes at Riley's Farm, I'm looking at "Courage, New Hampshire" with fresh eyes, knowing all the "movie magic" that goes into it, or just plain hard work, in Mary Johns' case.  Episode 3 is particularly impressive, because she has clothed an entire country dance worth of folks, including several rather pretty silk gowns.

What I love about the costumes in "Courage, New Hampshire" is that they seem so real and lived in.  The men's clothing (which I will showcase from Episode 4, next time) is grubby, rumpled, and worn, and the women's silk gowns fit the way you might imagine home-sewn or hand-me-down, re-fashioned gowns to fit.
Top: Pretty silk gowns from "Courage, New Hampshire" episode 3, along with three similar historical references, from left to right: Portrait of Lady Grantham by George Romney, 1780-81; Striped Gown, 1785-1895 in The Chace Catalogue, acc no. 1998.6.2; Gown, 1785-95 from Philadelphia Museum of Art, acc. no. 1955-78-2

I greatly appreciate Mary John's dedication to historical integrity while having to work within the demands of a production schedule and funding constraints.  I was impressed when she told me that all the materials they use for the costumes are natural fiber - there isn't a stitch of polyester to be seen, which is the behavior of a mega-money production like "Marie Antoinette," not the typical catch-as-catch-can mindset of a low-budget independent film.

Behind the scenes on Riley's Farm - silk, cotton, linen, wool, oh my
Don't take my word for it, though.  You should watch it!  This is a series made by members of our own historical re-enactment community, with beautiful cinematography, costuming, lighting, set design, and an intriguing story to boot. :-)

You can learn more about "Courage, New Hampshire" on the Colony Bay website here.  You can watch episodes online here, and help support this small, independent, scrappy production company.  You can even visit Riley's Farm and be astonished at how the CNH crew turns California hills into convincing New Hampshire fields.


1 comment:

  1. I remember going to Riley's farm on field trips as a kid! I will check out the series.