film: bright young things

The Bright Young Things, 1920s

“What about the attention to… well, young people always pay attention to their appearance but it seemed to be, not excessive but they had a lot fun with it didn’t they?”

“Oh absolutely and there’s certainly a sense that girls were dressing as boys, boys were dressing as girls. There was a massive influence of Hollywood, so everyone slicks their hair down like Rudolph Valentino.”

- Reel History of Britain

I always see these vines of celebrities with pics of them in their younger years and the song “you ain’t really fuck with me way back then but how bout now?” and they’re fun or whatever but I saw one recently of the SPN guys and I’d just like to address this for a second because uhm





…I’d damn sure fuck with that.

Just sayin’.


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, New York, July 31, 1924

What this article fails to mention is that Lois Sturt supposedly had a passenger in the car when she was pulled over - the Prince of Wales, future King Edward VIII.

The lower image, from the Springfield Missouri Republican, August 31, 1924, shows the future king playing “Chasing Clues” and slumming with a Tallulah Bankhead.

@ebaeschnbliah I found another Bohemian reference in BBC Sherlock, re: your Wenceslas post - but now I mean bohemian, as in a lifestyle context.

JOHN: Are you still at Bart’s, then?
MIKE: Teaching now. Bright young things, like we used to be. God, I hate them!

You know who the Bright Young Things were?

The Bright Young Things […] was a nickname given by the tabloid press to a group of bohemian young aristocrats and socialites in 1920s London. They threw elaborate fancy dress parties, went on elaborate treasure hunts through nighttime London, drank heavily and used drugs—all of which was enthusiastically covered by journalists such as Tom Driberg.

Among them were Cecil Beaton, Arthur Jeffress, Oliver Messel, Beverly Nichols, Stephen Tennant (go take a look at him, isn’t he gorgeous), Evelyn Waughn, the Midford sisters, Sylvia Townsend Warner and many others.

Is the mention of the Bright Young Things here a reference to Sherlock Holmes’ bohemian side: drugs, music, ‘moods’ - that ACD describes? 

Let it also be noted that one feature of the Bright Young Things that made them both fascinating and a source for gossip and scandal was their sexual ambiguity and sexual experimentation: many men and women in this circle conducted same-sex relationships (at least for a while).

So, we have Stamford talk about Bright Young Things at Bart’s - and in the next scene, John meets Sherlock there.

I leave you to your deductions…

Ok, I can’t - take a look at Stephen Tennant and tell me this did not influence how Sherlock was portrayed in the BBC version… fight me!

The Impersonation Party, 1927.
Back row: Elizabeth Ponsonby, in wig as Iris Tree, Cecil Beaton on her right.
Seated: Stephan Tennant, as Queen Marie of Rumania, Georgia Sitwell, with false nose, Inez Holden, Harold Acton.
Foreground: Tallulah Bankhead, as Jean Borotra.

Photo & caption featured in Bright Young People: The RISE and FALL of a GENERATION 1918-1940 by D.J. Taylor


I found some awesome photos of Stephen Tennant I have never seen before on some Russian blog. I really love the one of him in profile wearing the leather coat. He wore this coat while posing for Cecil Beaton. The one with the polka dot background is very striking also. I have no information on these photos, however I have an inkling the polka dot background one was most likely taken by Cecil Beaton as part of the series that was taken of him for his 21st birthday.