disguises: mistresses of disguise

Disguise makeups: Mistresses of disguise

Conwomen, hitwomen, spies and private eyes are sometimes mistresses of disguise: characters who adopt multiple disguises in the course of a movie.

The disguises themselves may involve complex prosthetics (eg Mr Magoo), mask tricks (eg Die Diebin) or simply repeated changes of wigs (eg Arabella). The excellent – and entertaining – tvtropes categorises these as: Latex Perfection with full-head masks or prosthetics; Wig Dress Accent which is not as impenetrable but is usually, at least intended to be, plausible; and Paper-Thin Disguise which ought to be transparent to the other characters.

As with all disguises in the movies, we have to play along for them to work: eg in Marnie the changes are only sufficient to tell us that the character is supposed to be disguised and who would have been fooled face-to-face by the discarded mask in Penelope.