This impressive 40s movie – „The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society“ – is a best selling story about finding true love and friendship. All of this in times of war and austerity – with the help of books.
This post is about the touching story of a young, free-spirited lady, starting a new life in one of England’s hardest times. An wonderful film, which is in international cinemas since April. Furthermore, I will also introduce you to the fashion and looks of main character Juliet – a beautiful styling, which can also be easily transferred into our every day lives.
Die deutsche Version des Beitrags findest du hier: 40er Jahre Film „Deine Juliet“.
About a new 40s movie – With the colourful world of literature against the horrors of everyday life in war
London in the late 1940s. The successful writer Juliet Ashton (Lily James) receives an unexpected letter from the Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman). Dawsey is asking for help, searching for a special book.
He tells her about the „Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society“ that he founded together with some friends and inhabitants on the channel island.
With the love for their books, the members of the society helped each other getting through the Second World War. Juliet is moved by Dawsey’s letter and makes the impulsive decision to visit Guernsey herself.
This movie is based on the best-selling novel by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
I am sure that many of you know the actress Lily James as Lady Rose in Downton Abbey! There are even more Downton Abbey members in this film, such as Jessica Brown Findlay, who used to play Lady Sibyl, as well as Penelope Wilton, who performed as Isobel Grey in the period drama.
Juliet with her new friends at the society – in this scene she tries the potato peel pie. Bildcredits: StudioCanal.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Piel Society
Guernsey is one of the small chain of Channel Islands suspended in the sea between France and England. It is 1941 and the island is occupied by the Nazi regime. The German soldiers commit a lot of crimes on the island – among them, the theft of the island’s lifestock to feed their army and the imposition of a crippling curfew for the nearly starving inhabitants.
In defiance of both of these, the four friends, Elizabeth (Jessica Brown Findlay), Eben (Tom Courtenay), Isola (Katherine Parkinson) and Dawsey (Michiel Huisman) are winding their way merrily home in the middle of the night. After months of hunger and isolation and fear, they have spent a precious time of laughter and conversation together.
A group of German soldiers wielding machine guns prepare to arrest the group for being out after dark. With a spontaneous idea, Elizabeth offers the suggestion the friends are merely returning home from a meeting of their book club!
She is coming up with the unlikely sounding name „Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society“. The potato peel pie is a sad example for the „culinary possibilities“ the inhabitants have been forced to create.
„The war forced people to club together in ways they wouldn’t have done before.“
The friends are lucky that the soldiers decide to let them leave, making clear the club must register their group in the morning. This is how the society with the special name was born.
The islanders take the opportunity to meet regularly and discuss every book they can lay their hands on – having a few hours time to forget the brutal existence in the war.
Juliet at her arrival on the island of Guernsey.
Meanwhile, the young, free-spirited writer Juliet is living in London. After the end of the war, she is looking for new inspiration – to write with her own, personal voice.
So the Dawsey’s letter is a great distraction. The description of the book club moves her, and so she decides to travel to Guernsey herself. She is charmed by the island, the company of the book club members and their love and passion for literature.
„I hope people will watch the film and think: ‚I wish I was in that book club.‘
It’s not your classic love story, or your classic war film. It’s an intriguing piece.“
Juliet‘s Look – About the film fashion and her simple 40s hairstyle
In this 40s movie, the popular actress Lily James plays the independent, strong Juliet. A beautiful woman, whose fashion is dominated by muted colours and pastel shades.
Costume Designer Charlotte Walter describes the 40s as a rich period in which to dress the characters.
She worked with members of her local Women’s Institute group to hand knit items from 1940s patterns and to recreate era details. She gave them the wool and original 1940s patterns. The women made an original child’s jumper, a hat or a waistcoat – just like they would have looked in the 40s.
„It’s about doing the costumes but making them look like real clothes that just happen to be 1940s clothes.“
Juliet and Dawsey.
Preparing the hairstyle
The hairstyle that Juliet wears in most of the every day- life scenes is a quite simple one. Just as practical as it had to be in these times – quick and easy.
Yet her hair looks very natural, curly and feminine.
For the preparation of all of my vintage hairstyles I always use pin curls or foam rolls in the evening before going to bed – this saves time as well as I do not need to use heat. The pin curls are a typical vintage method of curling hair, while the foam rolls are handmade by my dear friend Julia Seyfarth*, easy to use and comfortable to sleep on.
If your hair is as thick as mine, you can curl it when it’s dry. In case it is more straight or finer, I recommend doing a wet curl set. For both ways, hair mousse is helpful to make the curls last longer.
But in case you rather prefer modern methods, you could also use an iron for the curling!
Step by step to a simple 40s hairstyle
After opening the rolls or pins, I create a wide side parting.
On the right side (the broader hair parting) I select a strand and roll it to the inside towards the head, making a soft spiral. Pin it to the head afterwards.
Afterwards, I tie my hair in the back.
To hide the tie, one can roll a strand around it and pin it below the hair. Juliet uses a beautiful large hair pin in the movie, but my hair is too thick for such a piece.
Use some hairspray to fix it.
For the Juliet-inspired look, I wore my favourite 1940s vintage trenchcoat, a 40s hat, a decent swing skirt and a light blouse.
The makeup is very natural, just as it was worn in the 40s every day. In contrary to many pictures from the modern media, the women hardly wore red lips or eyeliner in everyday life. This was reserved for special occasions or the evenings.
In my post about early 1940s fashion and how to wear it today I do also give you some more inspiration for the styling!
Inspired by Juliet’s story I brought my old books by Charles Dickens and Goethe for the photos.
These beautiful pumps have been a very lucky find – a perfect fitting pair from the 1940s.
Juliet’s hairstyle can be combined with a hat or beret in a great way! Just like she wore it for her arrival on the island.
For the German premiere of the 40s on 9th august I give away 5×2 tickets on my facebook page! The giveaway lasts from 9th to 16th august and the tickets are valid in all German cinemas showing the movie (except CineStar). I am wishing you good luck!
And now, in the end, I would love to show you a litte preview. In my opinion, this scene represents the touching movie in a wonderful way!
„Maybe books have a secret instinct, taking them to their right readers.“
Further styling inspiration:
*In this 40s movie post I used an affiliate link. In case you buy something via this link I will get a small percentage of the profit. This does not change anything for you, it simply helps me to maintain my website and keep it free from banners.