Eva Green can do no wrong in my book. The Penny Dreadful star consistently knocks her roles out of the ball park and knows how to perfectly play up her sultry strengths. She even managed to completely lord and mistress over a testosterone fueled film like 300: Rise Of An Empire.

So it turns out when the MPAA got a look at the new Ava Lord character one-sheet she’s featured on for Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, draped only in a generously sheer white gown, they nixed approval citing it as being too racy.

Needless to say, the film’s studios Dimension Films and The Weinstein Company made sure the original one-sheet image below made the online rounds today before Green's ample assets get retouched to meet the MPAA’s standards for theatrical placement.

I know "out of the ball park" is being used metaphorically here, but it doesn't seem to mean "beyond the amount of money suggested or available", as suggested in the dictionary.

Does "play up" here mean "make good use of"?

Is "lord and mistress over" coined by the author to metaphorically mean "play a sexually dominating role in"?

As for the last bold part, can I say "a generously white sheer gown" or "a white and generously sheer gown" instead?

enter image description here

3 Answers 3


This story is written in a breezy colloquial style which is content to say approximately what it means, which is not so intellectually demanding that it demands precision.

  1. To "knock it out of the park" is a figure drawn from baseball. There it means to hit a home run—the most productive action a batter can perform—and in other contexts it means to achieve a noteworthy success.

  2. To "play up" a quality means to emphasize it, to make it more than ordinarily evident. Here the writer has blended it with the phrase "play to one's strengths", meaning to adopt a strategy which relies on one's superior abilities.

  3. To "lord it over" someone means to act as if one is someone's lord—to act commandingly and even domineeringly. The writer marries this to a feminine equivalent of "lord", mistress, and in the process manages to drop the it.

  4. Generously here is, to my mind, a mistake—there is no sense in which sheer can be qualified by generous. I think what the writer has in mind is that the sheerness of the gown is excessive, and he and Ms. Green's fans are inclined to be grateful for it.

This is not a style you should worry too much about parsing strictly, and you should not try to emulate it or to build on its expressions unless you plan on a career as a Hollywood publicist or journalist.

  • Is it possible that a sheer gown is a very thin one? (So generously sheer might mean it's so thin, generously thin for the target audience.) Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 17:02
  • 2
    @Damkerng That's exactly what I was suggesting - but it is not the gown or the sheerness which is generous, but the producers. Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 17:14
  • Yes, "sheer" = "of very thin or transparent texture". I take "generously sheer" to mean "particularly transparent, showing even more than a 'normally sheer' gown would".
    – Hellion
    Commented Jun 13, 2014 at 17:17
  • You say "That's exactly what I was suggesting". What about "That's exactly what I suggested"? Is it the same? @StoneyB
    – Kinzle B
    Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 11:24
  • @ZhanlongZheng More or less. I employed the progressive to acknowledge that I had not been entirely successful in my suggestion. Commented Jun 14, 2014 at 11:52

"Out of the ballpark" has two meanings, and you've apparently latched on the wrong one.

We sometimes say that something is a "ballpark estimate", meaning a very rough approximation. Like if you said, "A ballpark estimate of the cost of this project would be about $2 million", then if it came out to be $2.5 million or even $3 million, no one would say that you were wrong. If it came out to $20 million, then people would say you "weren't even in the ballpark".

But another usage is this: In the game of baseball if a batter hits a ball so that it literally flies over the fence and out of the ballpark, this is an automatic home run, a very good thing for the batter to accomplish. So "hitting it out of the ballpark" is a metaphor or idiom for "achieved a huge success".

As StonyB says, to "play up" something is to emphasize it. We often say that a person "played up" some talent or ability to get a job or accomplish some other goal.

I talked about "lord and mistress" in my comment on SydneyAustralia's answer.

The word "generous" can mean specifically, willing to give to the poor. Like, "Mr Jones is very generous. He always donates 10% of every dollar he earns to charity." It can also mean more simply that there is a lot of something. Like if you said that the restaurant has "generous servings of meat", you would mean that they give large amounts of meat with the meal. In this case, "generously sheer" simply means that it is very sheer. As "sheer" means thin and see-through, that would mean that her clothes are very thin and see-through. As the picture demonstrates.


The female version of 'lord and master' should be 'lady and mistress', but that might sound a bit subservient. A woman can still 'lord' it over someone else (or everyone else). (In fact a woman can be a 'lord' (in the sense of 'someone with power over someone else) according to several dictionaries I've just checked.)

  • To someone in the Middle Ages, a "lady" was a woman of very high social standing, and possibly of high authority. But today the word has come to simply be a polite, respectful word for a woman. The same has not happened to "lord", everyone understands this to be a word for a person in authority. Similarly, "master" indicates a man in authority, but "mistress" has two meanings today: it can mean a woman in authority, or it can mean a woman that a married man is having a long-term affair with. So "lady and mistress" would have been a clear female version of "lord and master" in the ...
    – Jay
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 14:09
  • ... Middle Ages, but today it would be ambiguous. It MIGHT be the counterpart of "lord and master", or it could be taken to mean a woman having an affair. "Lord and mistress" is more clear, if technically incorrect. Though it might still bring the idea of an affair to the minds of many readers.
    – Jay
    Commented Jan 16, 2015 at 14:10

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