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"It's grand to be an Englishman in 1910
—George Banks, "The Life I Lead", Mary Poppins
The long hot Indian summer between the death of Queen Victoria and the start of World War One. A time of elegant tea parties, absurd women's hats, Upper Class Wits, ridiculous Flying Machines and (mostly) unsinkable ships.
Strictly the term Edwardian Era only applies to the reign of King Edward VII from 1901 to 1910, but it is usually extended up to the outbreak of war to capture the end of an era. Sometimes referred to in America as the Gilded Age, although that also covers the entire period from the end of Radical Reconstruction to the U.S. entry in WWI, roughly 1880 to 1917 (therefore incorporating The Gay Nineties).
The subject of many nostalgic musical films featuring Gorgeous Period Dress from The Thirties through The Sixties (though The Fifties and The Sixties have many nostalgic settings featuring The Roaring Twenties), and the favorite period of the filmmaking team Merchant-Ivory. The page illustration is a good example of what the well-dressed Edwardian lady wore; note the large, elaborately decorated hats, S-curve silhouette (produced by the style of corset popular in that decade) and elbow-length white kid gloves.
(Take note, however, that there was a significant change in women's fashion about 1909 or 1910, dividing the era into two segments fashion-wise. After 1910, women's dresses tended to be simpler and more flowing in design, reminiscent of Regency-era dresses; tailored suits and dresses were very popular at this point, and the "Gibson girl" pompadour hairstyle faded away, to be replaced by simpler hairdos with a lot of curls, and bobbed hair and cloche hats were on their prototype forms. These years were the glory days of the so-called "Merry Widow" hat, the huge, elaborately decorated hats mentioned above. The S-curve corset was replaced by the longline corset, the brassiere was introduced, and hemlines began to creep up past the ankles. The sharp-eyed viewer will be able to get a good idea of when in the period a movie or TV show is set by observing the ladies' couture. You can take it as a given that any production recounting the story of the Titanic where the women are wearing puffy sleeves and S-curve corsets - unless the character in question is designated as being behind the times fashion-wise - is an example of Did Not Do the Research.)
Tropes featured in this period are:
- Dance Sensation: When a century of endless waltzing fades away, new dances like tango and foxtrot step in to the dance floor. And with ragtime as the tunes, the piano has never been more alive
- Flying Machine: Well, aircraft was at its infancy.
- Giant Poofy Sleeves
- The Gilded Age / La Belle Époque
- Have a Gay Old Time
- Hourglass Hottie: 18-inch waists, and an S-bend may give you a decent attraction.
- Of Corsets Sexy / Of Corset Hurts: your pick.
- Old-Timey Bathing Suit
- Nice Hat: bowlers, derbies, top hats, wide-brimmed and decorated ones
- Pimped-Out Dress
- Proper Lady
- Quintessential British Gentleman
- Upper Class Wit
Anime & Manga
- Fullmetal Alchemist is set in an often anachronistic alternate universe version of the Edwardian era.
- The setting of many of Charles Dana Gibson's "Gibson Girl" drawings (he actually was active from the late 1880's to the 1920's, ending his career as editor-in-chief of Life magazine just before it switched to its better-known photojournalism format, but the Gibson Girl is indelibly associated with both The Gay Nineties and The Edwardian Era). Harrison Fisher and Henry Hutt were other popular artists of the period who specialized in depicting ladies' fashions.
- The general setting of Edward Gorey's macabre illustrations.
- Late Art Nouveau and other modernist movements.
- Lost Girls. Set in 1913-1914. A crossover tale between Lady Alice Fairchild (from Alice in Wonderland), Dorothy Gale (from the Land of Oz), and Wendy Potter, née Darling (from Peter Pan).
- Finding Neverland, which is about the playwright, J.M. Barrie.
- Titanic (several versions; the Winslet / DiCaprio one, and also the ones with Catherine Zeta-Jones and Barbara Stanwyck) (also Titanic The Musical)
- Quite a few musicals and romantic comedies made in the 1940's and 1950's (also fits The Gay Nineties).
- Meet Me in St Louis (Judy Garland/ Margaret O'Brien)
- Bitter Sweet (Jeanette MacDonald/Nelson Eddy).
- The Emperor Waltz (Joan Fontaine/Bing Crosby).
- A Little Night Music (Elizabeth Taylor).
- The Dolly Sisters (Betty Grable/June Haver).
- The Merry Widow (both the Jeanette MacDonald and Lana Turner versions).
- Lillian Russell (Alice Faye, spans The Gay Nineties and The Edwardian Era).
- The Great Race (Natalie Wood, Tony Curtis).
- Yankee Doodle Dandy (James Cagney, also spans The Gay Nineties and The Edwardian Era).
- The Music Man is set in 1912.
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- My Fair Lady
- The old Gina Lollobrigida movie Beautiful But Dangerous.
- Also the 1960's comedy she made with Alec Guinness, Hotel Paradiso.
- Lady L (Sophia Loren).
- A Breath of Scandal (Sophia Loren again).
- The Prisoner of Zenda (in its several film versions).
- The Last Remake of Beau Geste.
- Arsene Lupin (the recent version with Kristin Scott-Thomas).
- Moulin Rouge (both versions).
- French Can-Can (a 1950's French movie starring Jean Gabin and Maria Felix).
- Viva Maria! (Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau).
- La Ronde (the 1950's Max Ophuls version starring Simone Signoret and Danielle Darrieux).
- The Earrings of Madame de....
- Till Marriage Do Us Part (Laura Antonelli).
- Nickelodeon (the Ryan O'Neal/Burt Reynolds film, not the television channel)
- Most of Somewhere in Time.
- The 1971 Western Big Jake, set in the year 1909, alludes to the Edwardian Era. The narrator contrasts the "civilised" Eastern United States and Europe with the American West, which is still wild and violent, though slowly becoming less so.
- The Assassination Bureau.
- Several Disney films, including Mary Poppins, The Aristocats, Pollyanna and Summer Magic.
- Walt Disney loved this era. Naturally, because he grew up in it. Lady and the Tramp is also set then.
- The Merchant-Ivory adaptations of the E.M. Forster novels A Room With A View, Maurice, and Howards End
- The early parts of Jules And Jim.
- The Spiral Staircase.
- Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, a comic retelling of the 1910 London-to-Paris air race. The movie does a good job both of recreating the early aircraft that took place in this race and the fashions of the period.
- The Michelle Pfeiffer/Kathy Bates movie Cheri, based on a novel by Colette.
- The Audrey Tautou movie Coco Before Chanel, which deals with fashion legend Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel's early career in the last years of The Edwardian Era.
- The Reivers starring Steve McQueen.
- The Wind and The Lion, starring Sean Connery and Candace Bergen.
- A Dangerous Method
- Hugo: The flashback scenes take place in the Edwardian Era and in the very late Victorian era. The story proper takes place in 1931.
- PG Wodehouse (1881-1975) began his writing career in this era; while his later stories are mostly set in an unspecified era between the two wars, they also have a distinctly Edwardian feeling.
- Late Sherlock Holmes stories (1887-1927).
- The TV movie Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady, set in Vienna during the last years of Franz Josef's reign, with Morgan Fairchild as Irene Adler.
- Part 'of 'The Irish RM series (1899-1915) took place in this decade.
- Arsène Lupin. The literary series started in July, 1905.
- The Wind in the Willows (1908), both the original and most adaptations
- The Father Brown series started in September, 1910.
- Fantomas. The novel series started in 1911.
- The novel Peter Pan (1911), at least the parts not in Neverland (it was written during that era)
- Death in Venice (1912).
- The Lost World (1912)
- Tarzan. The series of novels started in 1912.
- Tarzan of the Apes (1912). The first novel in the series.
- Carnacki, the Ghost-Finder. The original short-story collection was published in 1913.
- Fu Manchu. The series of novels started in 1913.
- Maurice. Written in 1913, though only published in 1971.
- The Monster Men: about 1913
- Pellucidar. The series started in April, 1914. Featuring modern era adventurers traveling to an underground world.
- Jeeves and Wooster. The short story series started in 1915.
- Of Human Bondage (1915) takes place in the pre-war era.
- The epilogue to The Age of Innocence (1920) is set in this era.
- Cheri (1920) features a female lead from this era.
- Much of Edward Gorey (1925-2000)'s work evokes Edwardian England through its visual style and peculiar linguistic flair, though the author himself was born and lived out his life in Massachusetts.
- Most of Betsy Tacy series (1940-1955), which begins in 1897 and ends with the protagonists' husbands getting ready to go fight WWI.
- The events of The Magicians Nephew (1955) take place in this era, at least the parts set on Earth.
- The American Girl Samantha Parkington (1986), though she's described as Victorian, is actually from this era. Her story is set from 1904 to 1907.
- The Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures novel Human Nature (1995), which was later adapted by the novel's author into the TV story "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood". The Doctor spends some time as a history teacher at an Edwardian school.
- Tipping the Velvet (1998) is set at the very end of the Victorian Era and (possibly) the beginning of the Edwardian.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events(1999-2006) seems to take version in either the Edwardian Era or in a Retro Universe based on it.
Live Action TV
- The fairly accurate Upstairs, Downstairs, showing the lifestyles of both the well-to-do and the servant classes.
- The much less accurate Lillie and Duchess of Duke Street.
- Both Upstairs, Downstairs and Duchess of Duke Street begin in the 1890s and end in the 1920s.
- Also the later episodes of Edward the King, aka Edward VII, which featured Francesca Annis as Lillie Langtry (a role she reprised in Lillie). Of course for most of his life, therefore most of the series, Edward didn't get to be king due to his mother's longevity.
- Both Upstairs, Downstairs and Duchess of Duke Street begin in the 1890s and end in the 1920s.
- In Doctor Who, "Pyramids of Mars", "Horror of Fang Rock", and "Human Nature"/"The Family of Blood".
- Casualty 1906
- Strumpet City
- Episodes of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles about the eight-year old Indy traveling around the world for two years from 1908 to 1910.
- Downton Abbey
- Manor House was the Reality Show version of the era.
- The BBC docu series Edwardian Farm.
- Little Nemo In Slumberland. First appeared in October, 1905. Both created and set in this era. This extends to the video game and the Animated Adaptation.
- Krazy Kat. Series started in October, 1913.
- Strictly speaking, it is set just after the end of the Edwardian era, but J. B. Priestley's An Inspector Calls is a classic foreshadowing of the First World War and the Titanic.
- Love Never Dies, the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, is set in 1905 New York City -- primarily Coney Island.
- Red Dead Redemption.
- Even though most of the locations the plot takes place at is visibly stuck in The Victorian Era (which is Truth in Television). It is quite interesting to, in the beginning of the game, leave the urban world of automobiles, Homburgs and federal agents and enter the rural one of carriages, pipe cylinders and cowboys.
- Bio Shock Infinite takes place in an alternate history 1912, in the flying city of Columbia. Much of the setting is based on American culture and attitudes at the time.
- Wild Life or Une Vie Sauvage
- Winsor McCay began experimenting with animation during this era, producing:
Works made, but not set, during the Edwardian era
- The Scarlet Pimpernel. The first novel of the series was published in 1905. The setting is The French Revolution.
- John Carter of Mars. First appeared in February, 1912. The events of the original novel started in 1866.
- Doctor Syn. The character first appeared in 1915. Otherwise fits with the adventure tales of this era. The series is set in the 18th century.