Tim Purtell
November 13, 1992 AT 05:00 AM EST

Like many historical epics, Far and Away goes to great lengths to ensure accuracy. Still, even the best intentions can be undone by the wrong hairstyle. While Nicole Kidman’s locks look 19th century, Tom Cruise’s appear positively contemporary, which only proves that most period pictures are really about the period in which they were made, not the one in which they’re supposed to take place. Consider these notable hair-don’ts:

*Claudette Colbert in The Sign of The Cross (1932). Colbert’s razor-thin eyebrows and hotcha flip with bangs peg her 1st-century character as a real Art Deco doll.

*Marlene Dietrich in The Scarlet Empress (1934). Great as she was, Catherine was no Dietrich, who wears ’30s hairstyles a world away from 18th-century Russia.

*Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur (1959). His Ben-Hur looks like the clean-cut all-American guy that Heston was and is, not a 1st-century prince of Judea.

*Kirk Douglas in Spartacus (1960). This epic is supposed to take place circa 70 B.C., but Douglas sports the same flattop he has worn in a dozen movies.

*Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C. (1966). Call her Ann-Margrock — one cavewoman who couldn’t survive without hairspray, pink lipstick, and false eyelashes.

*Mary McDonnell and Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves (1990). The authentic props evoke the 19th century, but the shags say 20th-century foxes.

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