Patrick Bateman’s Gray Suit in American Psycho

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000).

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho (2000).

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Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, bored investment banker and possible serial killer

New York City, Spring 1988

Film: American Psycho
Release Date: April 14, 2000
Director: Mary Harron
Costume Designer: Isis Mussenden

Background

Perceived as nothing more than a bland Wall Street banker by his friends at the start of the film, Patrick Bateman’s “mask of sanity” begins slipping away as some begin to see that there’s something darker beneath the surface.

Even his friends, never directly privy to his violent secret life, show strands of doubt after an ill-humored joke at the expense of real life serial killer’s Ed Gein’s multiple victims. Bateman tries to maintain his surface as a fashionable, successful businessman, but those not enraptured in the yuppie universe of 1987 Manhattan – notably detective Donald Kimball and poor prostitute Christie – see through the designer brands.

What’d He Wear?

Obsessed with his status as a successful (even though we never see him actually working) Wall Street VP, Patrick Bateman wears his same gray wool business suit that he wears in the office to lunch at the Yale Club with the fellas, to an afternoon assignation with his closeted gay co-worker’s fiancee, and to a more sinister evening assignation with bruised prostitute Christie and his friend Elizabeth. The film drives home the point that status is all that matters to Bateman, so why would a businessman change out of his suit when not in the office?

Bateman’s gray suit has all the trappings of ’80s men’s fashion, and it is a fine example of exactly what Bret Easton Ellis would’ve had in mind when describing his Armani-dressed antihero for the novel. The shoulders are emphasized, as is common with power suits, with extra padding and roped sleeveheads. Although Bateman clearly has an athletic physique, the loose fit of the suit coat doesn’t show it.

Doubtlessly on his way to return some video tapes.

Doubtlessly on his way to return some video tapes.

The rest of the jacket is also all ’80s: large notch lapels with low gorges rolling down to a low 2-button front, jetted hip pockets, and a ventless rear. Due to the voluminous fit of the suit, the ventless back doesn’t “hug” him even with the front closed.

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Other, less dated details include a welted breast pocket and 3-button cuffs.

The ’80s also marked a comeback for pleated trousers, and Bateman’s suit trousers are no exception with their double forward pleats. They have a low rise, in keeping with the times and preventing the trousers from being seen over the jacket’s low button stance. The front is fastened through a single button on a pointed waistband tab just above the straight fly.

"Ayyy!"

Ayyy!

Although they have belt loops, Bateman ups his yuppie level by wearing suspenders (aka braces) that button to the inside of his trouser waistband with brown leather hooks. Though he wears two different sets of suspenders with this suit, the most prominently seen is the striped braces worn with his white shirt and yellow tie. These suspenders are dark navy with a salmon red stripe running down the middle. They intersect at the top of his back just below the shirt’s upper yoke, where a brown leather crosspatch eases the transition into a wider single white strap down the back. The adjusters are, like most of Bateman’s accessories, gold.

As usual, Bateman wears black socks and shoes, probably the same black leather perforated cap-toe balmorals he wears in many scenes.

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“She’s my… cousin… She’s from… France.”

Bateman wears two different shirt and tie combinations with this suit. The first instance, for lunch at Yale Club and a roll in the sack with Courtney, finds Bateman wearing a plain white dress shirt with a standard spread collar, front placket, and double side darts on his upper back. He wears gold cluster cuff links through his double cuffs.

With the white shirt, Bateman wears a slim yellow silk necktie with a recurring maroon floral print.

Bateman takes in the dignified surroundings of the Yale Club.

Bateman takes in the dignified surroundings of the Yale Club.

Later, Bateman spends a day in the office (and a night of mayhem) wearing the same suit with a blue shirt. The shirt itself is very similar to the other with its front placket, French cuffs, and lack of a breast pocket, but it has a very distinctive contrasting white cutaway collar. Bateman’s cutaway collar is short with short points and a very wide spread. In my opinion, the cutaway collar is very unflattering, even for a man like Bateman who considers himself the perfect specimen of masculine looks.

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Unlike some shirts with contrast collars, the double cuffs are the same blue color and material as the rest of the shirt. His monogram, which appears to be “P.D.B.”, is stitched on the edge of the left cuff with dark blue thread. He wears a pair of round silver cuff links with reddish-brown centers.

Aw, poor Christie. If only she would've just taken the money and run.

Aw, poor Christie. If only she would’ve just taken the money and run.

His tie, which he abandons for his “date” with Elizabeth and Christie, is another busy printed silk tie with a charcoal ground and a series of orange and cream boxes connected by abstract double cream lines.

A somewhat Brosnan-esque tie.

A somewhat Brosnan-esque tie.

Bateman is very protective of his Rolex DateJust wristwatch. Anyone who’s seen Die Hard knows that ’80s businessmen took Rolexes very seriously (isn’t that right, Ellis?), and Bateman’s Rolex would have been the ultimate status symbol for him. His particular DateJust is in a 36mm two-tone “Rolesor” yellow gold and stainless steel  case on a two-tone “Jubilee” bracelet.

Note the monogrammed cuff. Is it P.D.B.? I don't think we ever see his middle name...

Note the monogrammed cuff. Is it P.D.B.? I don’t think we ever see his middle name…

Finally, Bateman dons a pair of black leather gloves when he heads into the Yale Club’s bathroom for his… confrontation with Luis Carruthers.

Poor Luis.

Poor Luis. In so many ways, poor Luis.

Go Big or Go Home

Not knowing much about him otherwise, Bateman’s monologue about Whitney Houston and his deep admiration for her music could lead one to assume he is quite a romantic person:

Bateman: Did you know that Whitney Houston’s debut LP, called simply Whitney Houston, had 4 number one singles on it? Did you know that, Christie?
Elizabeth: (laughing) You actually listen to Whitney Houston? You own a Whitney Houston CD? More than one?
Bateman: (ignoring her) It’s hard to choose a favorite among so many great tracks, but “The Greatest Love of All” is one of the best, most powerful songs ever written about self-preservation, dignity. Its universal message crosses all boundaries and instills one with the hope that it’s not too late to better ourselves. Since, Elizabeth, it’s impossible in this world we live in to empathize with others, we can always empathize with ourselves. It’s an important message, crucial really. And it’s beautifully stated on the album.

All while “The Greatest Love of All” plays in the background, although it’s an instrumental version by the London Philharmonic Orchestra… Whitney likely didn’t want to be associated with the scene’s conclusion which leads to Bateman chasing down a hooker who kicked him in the face, screaming, “Not the fucking face, you piece of bitch trash!” before dropping a chainsaw onto her from several stories higher.

Alas, any woman who crosses Bateman’s path is typically doomed to either indifference or a far more grisly fate. The women in his social circle seem to be safe, including his (now ex) girlfriend Evelyn and his mistress, the constantly drugged Courtney Rawlinson. After a quick nooner at Courtney’s, she tries to bond with him through her haze of lithium.

Courtney: Listen Patrick, can we talk?
Bateman: You look… marvelous. There’s nothing to say.

Although the fact that he’s looking in the mirror as he says so implies that he’s talking to himself more than he’s talking to her. She wistfully asks, “Will you call me before Easter?” to which the aloof Bateman simply replies, “Maybe.”

His lack of romance also extends to his macabre sense of humor, which even his surface-level friends don’t find very amusing.

Bateman: Do you know what Ed Gein said about women?
Van Patten: Ed Gein? The maitre ‘d at Canal Bar?
Bateman: No, serial killer, Wisconsin, the ’50s.
McDermott: So what did he say?
Bateman: “When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part wants me to take her out, talk to her, be real nice and sweet and treat her right.”
Van Patten: And what did the other part think?
Bateman: “What her head would look like on a stick… “

Bateman is the only one who gets much satisfaction from the joke, but his guffaws are enough for the whole group.

How to Get the Look

Bateman’s suit alone is clearly a relic of the ’80s “power suit” era, but when he spruces it up with a contrast collar shirt and striped braces, you know you’re in for a glorious yuppie adventure.

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  • Gray wool business suit, with:
    • Single-breasted jacket with low-gorge notch lapels, low 2-button front, welted breast pocket, jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Double forward-pleated low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, and cuffed bottoms/turn-ups
  • Light blue dress shirt with a white cutaway contrast collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Charcoal silk printed tie with orange-and-cream boxes connected by thin cream lines
  • Silver round cuff links
  • Navy and red striped suspenders with brown leather tabs and gold adjusters
  • Black leather perforated cap-toe balmorals
  • Black dress socks
  • White Perry Ellis underwear briefs
  • Black leather gloves
  • Rolex DateJust in stainless 36mm case with two-tone yellow gold and stainless “Jubilee” bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

Footnotes

Anyone have idea what wine Bateman drugs for Elizabeth and Christie?

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John Wick’s Suit

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick (2014).

Keanu Reeves as John Wick in John Wick (2014).

Vitals

Keanu Reeves as John Wick, retired assassin out for revenge

New York City, Spring 2014

Film: John Wick
Release Date: October 24, 2014
Director: Chad Stehelski
Costume Designer: Luca Mosca

Background

Rarely have I ever received such overwhelming demand for a post as I had for John Wick… and I hadn’t even heard of the film before February! Somehow this flick missed my radar completely (the concussion in January didn’t help). Granted, the only movie I’ve managed to see in theaters since last summer was Birdman, but still I tend to be aware of badass action movies upon their release. Thankfully, the badasses who comment on this blog brought it to my attention and now we all have Craig, Aaron, and gunner to thank for this post!

Any preconceived notions I may have had about Keanu Reeves were tossed – or, rather, violently thrown – out the window after seeing him take out approximately 80 bad guys with advanced weaponry and tactics, all while wearing a sharp suit and driving a beautiful example of automotive American muscle.

Not only did Keanu perform about 90% of his own stunts in the movie (which few actors do even in a non-action drama flick these days), but he supposedly learned, memorized, and performed the insane nightclub fight sequence all in the day it was filmed… while running a 104° fever.

So if you’re tired of hearing about all the Fifty Shades of Grey crap and want to watch a real man literally wearing multiple shades of gray without having to tie up some poor woman, here you go.

What’d He Wear?

The Suit

Although John Wick is one of the more emotional hired killers to grace the big screen lately, you’d never know it to look at his slick, monochromatic color palette. Once he begins his puppy-driven revenge, he wears only a sharp dark gray lightweight wool three-piece suit custom-made for him by costume designer Luca Mosca.

John Wick rents a room from Lt. Daniels.

John Wick rents a room from Lt. Daniels.

(Wick also wears a brown leather jacket and jeans earlier in the film, but we’ll get to that in a later post.)

The single-breasted suit jacket has slim notch lapels that nicely roll down the front of the jacket to the 2-button front. The lapels have edge stitching and the left lapel is graced by a buttonhole.

It's been a long couple of days for John Wick, and yet he still dresses to the nines. Take notes.

It’s been a long couple of days for John Wick, and yet he still dresses to the nines. Take notes.

Wick’s suit jacket also has a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets. There are four buttons on each cuff of the same black plastic as the front buttons. The jacket is nicely fitted with natural shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and double rear vents that allow Wick quick access to his holsters underneath.

JohnWickSuit-CL-SuitRear

The suit is indeed a three-piece, but Wick only wears the vest for a few early scenes. Wick’s vest (or waistcoat) is a very modern low-fastening style with just four buttons to close, revealing much of the chest and tie beneath it. It is single-breasted with no lapels and two lower welted pockets. The notched bottom is small but high enough that Wick is able to keep his bottom buttoned fastened without sacrificing mobility.

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The suit’s matching flat front trousers rise low on his waist, but still high enough that the vest keeps his waist line covered. The side pockets are slightly slanted, and both rear pockets are jetted with a single button each to close. The fit through the leg is comfortable but straight, ending at plain-hemmed bottoms that break high over his shoes. The last thing an action hero needs is to trip over his own pants when leaping over a table during a gunfight in a Russian nightclub. (Plus, a short break allows easy access to an ankle holster!)

Some set photos help illustrate everything you ever wanted to know about John Wick's pants.

Some set photos help illustrate everything you ever wanted to know about John Wick’s pants.

As we see in an EXTREME CLOSE-UP when Wick prepares for battle, the trousers have belt loops, through which he wears a solid black leather belt with a well-shined silver square buckle.

The movie wants to make sure we know that John Wick WEARS A BELT.

The movie wants to make sure we know that John Wick WEARS A BELT.

The Accessories

We know the belt must be solid leather, as it manages to hold Wick’s multitude of holsters and pouches as he goes ballistic (pun) on the local Russian mob. His primary holster is a black leather paddle holster worn through the right rear portion of his belt, holding his Heckler & Koch P30L pistol.

Wick's P30L sits unused in his holster after he takes out a baddie by hand.

Wick’s P30L sits unused in his holster after he takes out a baddie by hand.

The P30L’s two magazines are held in a double carrier on the opposing side of his waist, also in his belt. The positioning of his pistol for a strong side draw and magazines on the left side are wise for someone employing C.A.R. shooting and reloading tactics, which I’ll get into below.

Call me crazy, but it felt like he went through a lot more than two spare magazines during this scene.

Call me crazy, but it felt like he went through a lot more than two spare magazines during this scene.

Like many action heroes, Wick wisely carries a backup pistol. He opts for the subcompact Glock 26, carried in a black IWB holster just above the left rear pocket of his trousers.

Sometiimes a BUG can be a good thing.

Sometiimes a BUG can be a good thing.

Jewelry-wise, Wick doesn’t go in for much. He wears his stainless wedding band on the third finger of his left hand, a memento of the wife he loved so dearly. Otherwise, his only accessory is a Carl F. Bucherer Manero AutoDate, worn on the inside of his left wrist. Chad Stahelski, the film’s primary director, mentioned that this military style was often adopted to protect the timepiece, and it thus seemed appropriate for a hitman like Wick. At a going rate of $3,495, it’s no wonder that Wick would want to protect it.

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Wick gets ready at 9:47 p.m.

Wick’s Manero AutoDate consists of a 42mm stainless case with a scratch resistant, anti-reflective sapphire crystal and a transparent sapphire back. The dial is white with silver-toned luminescent hands and markers and a 3:00-position date. The strap is black alligator leather.

Wick’s preference for black leather accessories extends to his feet, where he wears a pair of black calfskin cap toe bluchers with three eyelets and squared toes. A pair of thick black cotton dress socks keeps the whole black theme going.

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Remember that ankle holster that benefits from a high-breaking trouser leg? Wick straps a black flip knife onto a black holster worn on the outside of his left leg.

 

Shirts and Ties

All of Wick’s shirts are similarly styled and probably came from the same manufacturer… although I’m not quite sure which one. They all have moderately spread collars, French cuffs, a narrow front placket, and no breast pocket. The rear of each shirt has two side darts.

The first shirt he wears on his kill-crazy revenge trip is dark gray metallic, just a shade lighter than the suit. He pairs it with a similarly contrasting dark gray ribbed silk tie. Unlike denim, pairing multiple shades of a dark color works nicely with gray, and Wick plays it perfectly. He fastens the double cuffs of the dark gray shirt with silver and black squared cuff links.

Three shades of gray.

Three shades of gray.

For his foray into the nightclub, Wick wears a plain white dress shirt and a solid black silk tie. The white shirt’s double cuffs are worn with another pair of silver and black squared cuff links.

Ugh, the one time he wears a light shirt and he has to go and get blood all over it. Just... sloppy.

Ugh, the one time he wears a light shirt and he has to go and get blood all over it. Just… sloppy.

Due to the lighting in the scene and the contrast of white vs. gray, some have speculated that he wears a black suit for this scene – thus channeling the popular Reservoir Dogs/Pulp Fiction look, but this is incorrect… it is the same suit, just sans waistcoat.

The next day, Wick goes into full assault mode. He’s not playing around anymore, and his black shirt shows that he means business… and his business is death. (I felt like I was designing a poster for a bad Dolph Lundgren movie as I wrote that. Maybe one where Dolph plays a violent, jaded office drone. Let’s get back to that.)

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Wick contrasts the black shirt with a gray diagonally-ribbed Calvin Klein silk tie. The ribs fall in a left-down-to-right direction. How do I know it’s a Calvin Klein tie? A behind-the-scenes shot captured at a lucky angle shows the white rear loop with CK’s standard black lettering.

If the badass shotty is distracting you more than the Calvin Klein tie, keep reading.

If the badass shotty is distracting you more than the Calvin Klein tie (or the obvious green screen, for that matter), keep reading.

His cuff links with the black shirt appear to be silver diamond-studded rectangles with a mother-of-pearl center. I could be way off, of course.

Dammit!

Dammit!

Wick also wore the black shirt earlier to his wife’s funeral, that time paired with the solid black tie.

Some promotional photos and posters depict Wick wearing a black lightweight turtleneck jumper around this scene, but I don’t believe it appears in the finished film. I guess the turtleneck lobby lost this battle. (It’s okay, SPECTRE‘s got them covered.)

It looks badass... but he didn't actually wear it in the movie.

It looks badass… but he didn’t actually wear it in the movie.

Underoos

Wick’s preference for gray and black does not extend to his undergarments. In fact, his plain white cotton crew neck t-shirt and light blue cotton boxers are more reminiscent of Don Draper than Dolph Lundgren. (Yes, I know Don switches to white undershorts after the first episode, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make.)

Is the lump on his left buttock a microphone? I hope so.

Is the lump on his left buttock a poorly-concealed microphone? I hope so.

Go Big or Go Home

After losing his classic Mustang to a gang of Russian thugs (more on that car in the upcoming leather jacket post), John Wick doesn’t throw in the towel and say, “Aw, to hell with a nice car. I’ll take a 2002 Corolla.” Instead, he sticks with strong American muscle, switching brands by getting into the driver’s seat of a slick black 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS396.

Give me a car like that, and I'd probably forget all about revenge.

Give me a car like that, and I’d probably forget all about revenge.

Ever the diplomat, Wick honors all three major American brands – Ford, GM, and Chrysler – when he hops into a black 2011 Dodge Charger sedan for the final act. Mopar fans may rejoice at the inclusion of a Dodge, but it would’ve been nice to see the ’68 Charger in Leguizamo’s chop shop get some action in.

I'm legitimately thinking about getting a 2011-2015 Charger V8 AWD. Anyone have any experience with them?

I’m legitimately thinking about getting a 2011-2015 Charger V8 AWD. Anyone have any experience with them?

Wick stays brand savvy with his choice of phones. Anyone out there with an iPhone 5S – you’re using the same smartphone of choice as a badass ex-killer.

The blood covering Wick's hands isn't a spoiler;. this is literally from the first scene in the movie.

The blood covering Wick’s hands isn’t a spoiler;. this is literally from the first scene in the movie.

In a film with a body count of 119, John Wick wisely mixes it up so we’re seeing more than just a lot of shooting – badass though the shooting may be. Keanu must have trained pretty damn hard for this, as he whips out some traditional jujutsu that certainly looks expert to a novice like myself. Much of his fighting method consists of head throws and arm throws, leading to more than a few of the 76 deaths caused by Wick’s own hand. (To save you all some math, that means 64% of the deaths in the movie are John Wick-inflicted.)

He does have a soft spot for some things, though. Unfortunately, being loved by John Wick isn’t a good sign for your future. Wife? Dead. Car? Stolen and chopped. Puppy? Well, I don’t even want to say. But it’s sad.

Aw, Daisy.

Aw, Daisy.

What to Imbibe

Not only is John Wick a connoisseur of clothing, combat, canines, and cars, but he also knows a thing or two about good whiskey. After the nightclub gunfight takes a lot out of him – including a lot of blood – Wick is getting stitched up by an underworld doctor. When the doctor asks if he needs any pain medication, Wick raises his glass of Blanton’s, indicating that he is just fine without the relatively lacking benefits of aspirin.

Seeing a bottle of Blanton's has a very Pavlovian effect on me.

Seeing a bottle of Blanton’s has a very Pavlovian effect on me.

As a Bourbon drinker, I’ve found drinking Blanton’s to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my 25 years on Earth. Full and slightly citrusy with a hint of burnt vanilla, Blanton’s is a comfortable kick in the pants at 93 proof. The Original Single Barrel bottling is worth every bit of its $50 price tag, and it makes a great gift… especially for yourself.

How to Get the Look

It's hard to be as inconspicuous when you've got an assault carbine strapped across your chest.

It’s hard to be as inconspicuous when you’ve got an assault carbine strapped across your chest.

Think gray.

  • Dark gray lightweight wool bespoke suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted suit coat with slim notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 4-button cuffs, and double rear vents
    • Single-breasted low-fastening vest/waistcoat with 4-button front, 2 welted lower pockets, and notched bottom
    • Flat front low rise trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, button-through jetted rear pockets, and plain-hemmed bottoms with short break
  • Dark gray metallic dress shirt with moderate spread collar, narrow front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Dark gray ribbed silk Calvin Klein necktie
  • Silver & black metal cuff links
  • Black leather belt with silver-toned square clasp/buckle
  • Black calfskin leather 3-eyelet squared cap toe bluchers
  • Black thick cotton dress socks
  • White cotton crew neck short-sleeve undershirt
  • Light blue cotton boxer undershorts with elastic waistband
  • Stainless wedding band, worn on left ring finger
  • Carl F. Bucherer Manero AutoDate with stainless round case, white dial (with date), and black alligator leather strap, worn on inside of left wrist
  • Black paddle holster, worn on right rear, for full-size H&K pistol
  • Black double magazine carrier, worn on left belt
  • Black IWB holster, worn on left rear, for subcompact Glock pistol

The Guns

John Wick’s primary handgun, the Heckler & Koch P30L fitted with a custom compensator, is a relative newcomer to the big screen. Unlike many pistols which have a compact variant of a full-size model, the P30L is actually a full-size variant of the more compact P30. Wick’s P30L is chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum, as indicated on the barrel. He actually owns two, as seen when he heads into his subterranean arsenal after the attack on his home. He keeps his P30L holstered in a paddle holster on the right rear side of his belt.

Damn, son.

Damn, son.

The P30 was originally introduced in 2006 as an evolutionary descendant of H&K’s earlier USP and P2000 pistols. It was developed and marketed as the perfect police handgun, and the Zollkriminalamt (German Customs Investigation Bureau) kicked off a wave of European police adoption when it adopted the V6 variant, which uses a DAO system with a heavier trigger pull. Currently, police forces in Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and Switzerland have all begun using variants of the P30.

A standard, uncompensated H&K P30L.

A standard, uncompensated H&K P30L.

The P30 and P30L are both available in 9×19 mm and .40 S&W, carrying 15 and 13 rounds – respectively – in a lightweight 3.3 ounce box magazine. The P30L boasts a 0.5″ longer barrel (4.4″) than the P30, slightly increasing its overall length to 7.7″ and unloaded weight to 24.2 ounces. Like other H&K pistols, it has multiple variants (V0-V6) based on the action, trigger pull, and decocker.

Wick’s backup pistol is a subcompact Glock 26, also chambered in 9×19 mm. Wick keeps his Glock holstered in an IWB fastened into his left rear waistband. Like the P30L, he is also shown owning two of these pistols.

One of John Wick's Glocks. This also gives us a nice shot of the P30L's custom compensator.

One of John Wick’s Glocks. This also gives us a nice shot of the P30L’s custom compensator.

When he goes into full assault mode the day after the nightclub gunfight, Wick arms himself with a Coharie Arms CA-415 assault carbine, an American clone of the Heckler & Koch HK416. In turn, the HK416 had been inspired by the M4 Carbine, so this is essential a copy of a copy. Think #4 from Multiplicity. (Second Michael Keaton movie reference in this post!)

A conscientious shooter like Wick keeps his finger off the trigger at all times when he's not shooting, even when he wants to kill everyone around him.

A conscientious shooter like Wick keeps his finger off the trigger at all times when he’s not shooting, even when he wants to kill everyone around him.

Like the P30L, the HK416 is relatively new, having only entered production in 2005 and first appearing in films with 2008’s Hancock. James Bond notably used a found HK416 D10RS while fending off Silva’s henchmen in the final act of Skyfall.

Similar to the HK416, the CA-415 takes STANAG magazines of 5.56×45 mm NATO ammunition, fired in either semi-automatic or fully automatic mode. Much information about the CA-415 comes from IMFDB, which places the overall length at 36.9″ with a 16.5″ barrel and total weight of 7.9 pounds. Wick’s model has a shorter barrel and is fitted with an EOTech 553 holographic sight and a vertical foregrip. A second Coharie weapon, the MP-10 submachine gun in 9×19 mm, makes a brief appearance in the hands of one of Viggo’s doomed thugs.

During the same gunfight, Wick commandeers one of the unique Kel-Tec KSG shotguns used by the thugs. The KSG is a very distinctive pump-action shotgun developed in 2011. Its double tube magazines under the single 18.5″ barrel give the weapon a total capacity of either twelve or fourteen 12-gauge shells… as well as the misconception that it is a double-barreled weapon.

The Kel-Tec KSG: Not your granddad's 12-gauge.

The Kel-Tec KSG: Not your granddad’s 12-gauge.

The KSG shotguns seen in John Wick have EOTech sights.

Center Axis Relock Shooting

John Wick has become noteworthy in the firearm community for prominently featuring the Center Axis Relock (C.A.R.) shooting system, which was developed by Paul Castle to increase performance of close-range combat, particularly with semi-automatic handguns. The goal is to use the shooter’s condition under duress to his or her own advantage, eliminating stability issues by focusing on natural focal points and movements. The stable firing grip improve a shooter’s recoil control, thus increasing the rate of accurate fire. According to an article at Aimed Point Shooting (APS), this can be up to four center mass shots in less than one second. The system was also developed to improve one-hand weapon retention and allow the support hand more freedom for non-shooting related movements like opening a door or pushing something away.

You can make whatever face you want while shooting, but this is definitely a grimace worth recommending.

You can make whatever face you want while shooting, but this is definitely a grimace worth recommending.

Another benefit of the C.A.R. system is that it saves time. Not only is it “strong, stable, and flexible” – as noted in the APS article – but it allows quick target acquisition and reloading. APS notes two stances that are bases for C.A.R. system action:

  • The High Position, used for moving, confined spaces, and from cover. The shooter fires from a semi-bladed stance, holding the weapon near the chest and reducing the silhouette to form a “circle of control and defense”.
  • The Extended Position, used for entry, combat, assault, and from a vehicle. The shooter holds the weapon naturally but at a reading distance – rather than full arm extension – to rely on the shooter’s natural focus point.

With the support hand freer due to the reduced stress on the shooting hand, reloading or clearing a jam can be performed much quicker with a rapid return to shooting. All actions should be performed close to the body using short movements. The C.A.R. system also relies on two different types of reloading:

  • The Combat Reload, when the pistol is empty. Use the free hand’s thumb and index finger to draw a front-facing magazine while simultaneously lowering the gun hand’s elbow, keeping the gun in place. The empty magazine should be ejected by operating the weapon’s release and quickly flicking the wrist out and back. The free hand’s index finger will then quickly guide the fresh mag into the pistol, pressing it in with the free hand’s palm. John Wick does this a good number of times to great effect.
  • The Tactical Reload, typically when the pistol isn’t empty. Use the free hand’s index and middle fingers to draw a magazine, bringing it up to the gun as the gun hand’s elbow lowers. Operate the mag release as the new magazine approaches the gun, then pull out the partial mag with the free hand’s thumb and index finger. In one flowing motion, press in the new magazine while letting the top-heavy partial mag fall into the free hand’s palm.
Wick benefits from a lightning fast reload afforded him by the CAR technique.

Wick benefits from a lightning fast reload afforded him by the CAR technique.

Keanu Reeves talked about his weapons training in an October 2014 interview with The Sag Harbor Express:

I’ve had some movie gun training in the past, so some of the techniques I was familiar with, but each character I play requires something different so I worked for a while with a gentleman from LAPD SWAT.  I also worked with a guy from the army, because I would be doing different kinds of weapon and tactical techniques.  So it was basically reacquainting myself with weapons and techniques while training new things on the job and trying to get it right under the circumstances. One thing I needed to get right was a tricky holster!

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Do I look civilized to you?

Footnotes

Mr. Mom. Now I’ve mentioned three Michael Keaton movies in this post.

I want to go to there.

I want to go to there.

Clyde Barrow’s Charcoal Chalkstripe Suit (2013 Miniseries)

Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (2013).

Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (2013).

Vitals

Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow, amateur bank robber with “second sight”

Texas, Spring 1932

Series Title: Bonnie and Clyde
Air Date: December 8, 2013
Director: Bruce Beresford
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

Background

Today would have been Clyde Barrow’s birthday. Whether it was 1909 (according to birth records) or 1910 (according to the Barrow family bible) is up for debate, but there’s no doubt that the jug-eared killer was only in his early 20s by the time he had led a group of misfits on a deadly crime spree across the Midwest and South.

Once the Depression-era crime wave – which saw guys like John Dillinger, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and Alvin Karpis dominating daily headlines – was a distant memory, the saga of Clyde Barrow and his miniature girlfriend Bonnie Parker began to assume revisionist qualities. The manipulative hoodlum with an inferiority complex became a vulnerable young man who only packed a gun at the behest of his brassy, demanding gun moll. The “Romeo and Juliet in a getaway car” concept was too much for filmmakers to ignore and the Barrow-Parker story took on several filmed incarnations, most prominently the noir Gun Crazy in 1949, the Dorothy Provine vehicle The Bonnie Parker Story in 1958, and the now classic Bonnie and Clyde in 1967.

The latter film is most responsible for romanticizing the couple, portraying Clyde as a swaggering romantic hero who overcompensates for his vague sexual issues by setting out on a career of crime for the bored and beautiful Bonnie.

While Hollywood would never permit Bonnie Parker to be anything less than beautiful, the 2013 mini-series Bonnie and Clyde came a little closer to the truth, incorporating some more characters from their lives and showing the gang’s murderous ineptitude as criminals. Clyde is more of a born criminal, and Bonnie – though still somewhat manipulative – is shown to be more fragile and prone to delusions of grandeur, which the real Bonnie’s diaries certainly reveal.

The mini-series also offers a far more accurate depiction of the couple’s looks than the famous ’67 film. Emile Hirsch is the same 5’7″ as Clyde Barrow had been (as opposed to Warren Beatty’s stately 6’2″), and the 5’1″ Holliday Grainger is a fine choice for the cute, diminutive Bonnie who never stood taller than five feet.

While the story may have some narrative issues, and it certainly deviates from history more than a few times, the 2013 Bonnie and Clyde mini-series is certainly watchable fare for fans of the genre and especially Depression-era crime historians. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the 1967 Bonnie and Clyde film and consider among my top 10 – if not top 5.)

What’d He Wear?

The Suit

Through most of his early criminal career in the film, Clyde dresses to impress Bonnie with an oversized charcoal chalkstripe three-piece wool suit. Compared to photos from the era, it’s a very accurate suit for the early ’30s and shows that costume designer Marilyn Vance was clearly doing her homework. The 1967 film incorporated contemporary fashion into its 1930s setting to make its romantic leads more appealing and relatable to 1960s audiences, but the 2013 miniseries thankfully chooses the route of historical accuracy in the costumes.

We first see Clyde’s chalkstripe suit in March 1930 when, flush with cash from a few recent heists, he escorts Bonnie out on a date to a local speakeasy, where he impresses her by whipping out his saxophone and joining the band in leading them with some raucous jazz. It’s hard to imagine the real Clyde Barrow – shy when not violently in control of a situation – doing something so extroverted, but it’s a nice nod to the historical Clyde’s preferred musical instrument.

Clyde prepares for his appearance on Arsenio Hall.

Clyde prepares for his appearance on Arsenio Hall.

He wears the suit through most of the gang’s early enterprises, including the famous photo session that led police to know their identities and led the public to believe that Bonnie smoked cigars. Now, let’s break down the suit itself.

The large-fitting jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels and a 3-button front, although the wide lapels roll over the top button to create a 2-button effect. The padded shoulders serve to create an even larger effect on Clyde. He has a welted breast pocket and jetted straight hip pockets. The jacket also features roped sleeveheads, 3-button cuffs, and a ventless rear.

Bonnie and Clyde had one of those sweet romances where they were both happy with either idyllic springtime walks or gun-toting photo sessions in front of a stolen car.

Bonnie and Clyde had one of those sweet romances where they were both happy with either idyllic springtime walks or gun-toting photo sessions in front of a stolen car.

The matching vest has six buttons that appropriately rise high on the chest, and he correctly leaves the bottom button unfastened. The vest has four welted pockets and a notched bottom.

One of Clyde's many encounters with Dallas's finest.

One of Clyde’s many encounters with Dallas’s finest.

Clyde’s trousers are one area where the large fit is most noticeable. Not only was such a baggy fit fashionable at the time, it makes sense that a budding but ultimately petty criminal like Clyde looking to impress would get an off-the-rack suit that doesn’t offer him a perfect fit. The trousers have a low rise, allowing the vest to fall above his waistline and his shirt to puff out between the two garments.

I doubt this would be a very practical defensive shooting method. Luckily for Clyde and Bonnie here, there appear to be no actual police around.

I doubt this would be a very practical defensive shooting method. Luckily for Clyde and Bonnie here, there appear to be no actual police around.

The trousers have a flat front and thin but high belt loops for Clyde’s thick leather belt. The side pockets are slanted, and the rear pockets are jetted without a button to close. The cuffed bottoms have a very full break, to the point where they may even get caught under his shoe once in a while.

Shirts and Ties

The first shirt Clyde wears with this suit is both a sign of the times and clearly part of his “dress to impress” campaign. The shirt itself is white with blue stripes of alternating thickness, and he wears it with a white detachable club collar. Despite the detached collar, his rounded button barrel cuffs are attached to the shirt. His tie for this scene (the aforementioned “saxophone” scene) is dark red with a large cream-colored fishbone pattern.

Clyde enjoys both the hospitality (left) of a speakeasy and the eventual risk (right) of patronizing one.

Clyde enjoys both the hospitality (left) of a speakeasy and the eventual risk (right) of patronizing one.

The series uses an image of Clyde in this shirt for his “DALLAS 6048″ mugshot. In reality, this mugshot was taken four years earlier when Clyde was busted on a stolen car rap that may or may not have just been a rental misunderstanding exacerbated by Clyde’s impulsiveness and fear of getting into the trouble.

Although the attire itself is off, the showrunners clearly did their homework by not only giving Clyde the same booking number but by actually using the image of his 1926 booking card above his head.

Although the attire itself is off, the showrunners clearly did their homework by not only giving Clyde the same booking number but by actually using the image of his 1926 arrest card.

Detachable collars were standard for men’s dress shirts up through the early 1930s as it wasn’t until 1929 that Van Heusen introduced the first attached-collar dress shirt. The timing was fortuitous as the Great Depression hit the same year, and men would not want to be dishing out extra dollars for both a shirt and a collar. Detachable collars were quickly phased out by all but the dandiest or most old-fashioned gentlemen.

Not being a dandy, an old-fashioned gentleman, or even any kind of gentleman, the rest of Clyde’s shirts all sported a slim attached point collar. Other details, such as a breast pocket, front placket, and button cuffs were also universal across Clyde’s dress shirts.

Shortly after breaking out of jail to join Bonnie – and during a chance encounter with his eventual hunter, Frank Hamer – Clyde wears a plain white dress shirt. To combat the Texas heat, Clyde removes his coat and vest and rolls up his sleeves.

Clyde meets Frank Hamer. In reality, the only time the two were this close to each other was when Hamer's BAR was spitting bullets into Clyde's corpse.

Clyde meets Frank Hamer. In reality, the only time the two were this close to each other was when Hamer’s BAR was spitting bullets into Clyde’s corpse.

The image of Clyde with his sleeves rolled up to reveal his tattoos up each arm is almost certainly inspired by a photo of the real Clyde doing the same, as found at Frank Ballinger’s excellent and thorough Texas Hideout site.

Clyde’s silk necktie with this shirt has a bright red silk ground and an abstract, art deco-style series of cream bubbles that you just have to see to understand. This shirt and tie combination was also used in most of the promotional photography for the series.

Although the promotional photography colored Clyde's shirt to be more sepia to fit with the rustic feel of the proceedings, the real shirt in this scenes was a more grayish tone of white.

Although the promotional photography colored Clyde’s shirt to be more sepia to fit with the rustic feel of the proceedings, the real shirt in this scenes was a more grayish tone of white.

While out walking with Bonnie, Clyde wears a pale blue shirt that perfectly matches the pale blue pocket square poking out of his jacket’s breast pocket. It’s even possible that both are constructed of the same material. With this shirt, he wears a dark brown silk tie with a tan and gold “egg”-shaped motif.

Not much is seen of this shirt and tie, but the photo at the top of the page features the outfit nicely.

Not much is seen of this shirt and tie, but the photo at the top of the page features the outfit nicely.

During the gang’s notorious photo session, Clyde sports another striped shirt. This time, it’s a light blue shirt with red-shadowed white stripes. He wears another loud silk tie with this shirt; this one has an indigo ground and a pattern of maroon and cream swirls.

Richard Avedon he was not, but Clyde certainly had an affinity for that camera.

Richard Avedon he was not, but Clyde certainly had an affinity for that camera.

The early ’30s was clearly not a very conservative era for neckties; Pierce Brosnan’s Bond would have felt right at home.

Everything Else

Clyde wears two different fedoras this suit, each one indicative of his relative success at the time. His first hat is a cheaper-looking olive brown felt version with a thin olive ribbon.

Date night with Bonnie and Clyde.

Date night with Bonnie and Clyde.

As his criminal exploits become more lucrative, Clyde upgrades to a sharper gray felt fedora with a wide black ribbon that would have been equally at home atop the head of a successful businessman of the era.

Now a full-fledged gang leader (sort of), Clyde wears the hat of a much more successful man.

Now a full-fledged gang leader (sort of), Clyde wears the hat of a much more successful man.

For any of his sartorial faux pas, Clyde can’t be faulted for matching his belt and shoes… even if belts aren’t always the best with three-piece suits. The real Clyde favored a thick belt, though, and that is certainly reflected in the series with Hirsch’s wide black leather belt with stitched edges along the top and bottom and a large squared silver buckle. Proud of his heritage, Clyde’s belt clearly indicates the “Don’t Mess With Texas” spirit. Plus, it provides a fine stabilizer for his shoulder holster.

Clyde's belt may say "don't mess with Texas", but the arresting cops actually enforce it.

Clyde’s big belt may say “don’t mess with Texas”, but the arresting cops actually enforce it.

Clyde’s shoes are a pair of black leather perforated toe balmorals, worn with black socks.

Given the Barrow Gang’s constant time spent in tourist courts and motels, it makes sense that Bonnie and Clyde would show us plenty of both Bonnie’s (yay!) and Clyde’s undergarments. Clyde favors a sleeveless white ribbed cotton undershirt and a pair of light blue cotton boxer shirts with a 2-button fly.

Clyde was never the type to be caught with his pants down, but this would have been a prime opportunity for police to strike.

Clyde was never the type to be caught with his pants down, but this would have been a prime opportunity for police to strike.

Go Big or Go Home

For all of their faults, Bonnie and Clyde certainly understood the value of a good photo. Unfortunately for them, so did the cops. It was the undeveloped rolls of film, discovered in the gang’s abandoned apartment in Joplin, Missouri after an April 1933 gunfight, that led to the couple’s positive identification… as well as their romantic followers in the newspapers. No matter how many people Clyde and his gang mowed down with BARs, the public still loved the couple for their “innocent” young love.

Though several takes of the same photo are shown in the series, this one best reflects the original.

Though several takes of the same photo are shown in the series, this one best reflects the original.

Despite this, Bonnie received an unwelcome reputation as Clyde’s brassy “cigar-smoking gun moll” that she took every opportunity to repudiate. After the killing of Constable Cal Campbell on April 6, 1934, the gang briefly kidnapped the local police chief, Percy Boyd. During the tense car ride, Boyd learned that the gang was less concerned with the murder of an upstanding policeman than they were with their reputation. Bonnie insisted to him that she wasn’t a cigar smoker, as “nice girls don’t smoke cigars”.

Holliday Grainger is able to make Bonnie's cigar scowl much more charming.

Holliday Grainger is able to make Bonnie’s cigar scowl much more charming.

Bonnie was telling the truth, in this case, as her known smokes of choice were Camels. She had only been given the cigar by Clyde to give the photo some comical value. The mini-series correctly depicts her choice of Camels, earning it a few more points for accuracy.

A more demure Bonnie, cigarette in hand.

A more demure Bonnie, cigarette in hand. Praise is also due to Vance for her spot-on reconstruction of Bonnie’s attire for the photo shoot.

But speaking of accuracy… the series did earn plenty of unwelcome shouting from car enthusiasts for replacing the Barrow Gang’s now infamous dark green 1932 Ford V-8 B-400 convertible sedan (as seen in all the authentic photos above) with a yellow “GLASSIC” replica of a ’31 Ford Model A 2-door Phaeton.

“Glassics” (or “Replicars”) were replicas of Model A Fords manufactured in Florida from 1966 to 1981. The GlassicAnnex site is a great resource for people curious about these cars. It’s understandable why a recent production, especially a relatively low-budget one, would use the newer Glassics… after all, 9 out of 10 people are going to see a 1930s-looking car with a Ford emblem and say “Hey, an old Ford!” However, swapping out such an iconic (for some of us) car during such a crucial scene is borderline heresy for crime historians.

Note the initials inscribed on the driver's door. This could be explained away by saying Clyde often drove stolen cars... but the fact that the replica he's driving didn't exist for more than thirty years after his death isn't so easy to look past.

Note the initials inscribed on the driver’s door. This could be explained away by saying Clyde often drove stolen cars… but the fact that the replica he’s driving didn’t exist for more than thirty years after his death isn’t so easy to look past.

However, anyone who has driven a Model A knows that it can be quite an ordeal for a non-expert to learn. Not only is starting the car a complicated process to those used to simply turning the ignition, but the process of driving – which includes double-clutching – can be frustrating for even someone who knows how to drive a manual transmission. My final ruling? The use of Glassics was justified in this production… but an original should have been used for this scene.

How to Get the Look

Due to constantly being on the road, it makes sense that Clyde would be wearing the same suit quite often. However, a fashion-conscious guy like him knows to switch up his shirts and ties if he wants to keep his stylish girlfriend happy.

A promotional photo of Bonnie and Clyde, threatening their potential audience with a 12-gauge.

A promotional photo of Bonnie and Clyde, threatening their potential audience with a 12-gauge.

  • Charcoal chalkstripe wool three-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with wide notch lapels, 3-roll-2-button front, welted breast pocket, jetted straight hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Single-breasted 6-button vest with four welted pockets and notched bottom
    • Flat front low-rise trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, jetted rear pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
  • White dress shirt with slim point collar, breast pocket, front placket, and rounded button cuffs
  • Red silk necktie with deco-style abstract cream pattern
  • Gray felt fedora with wide black ribbon
  • Black thick leather belt with large silver squared buckle
  • Black leather perforated toe balmorals
  • Black dress socks
  • White sleeveless ribbed cotton undershirt
  • Light blue cotton undershorts with 2-button fly

The Guns

Although these scenes depict the start of his criminal career, Clyde doesn’t spend much gunplay in this suit. He is photographed crouching in front of his car with a pair of his BARs (Browning Automatic Rifles), as he was in real life. (All of these photos – and many, many more – can be seen at Frank Ballinger’s Bonnie & Clyde’s Hideout site.)

One famous photo, which I have framed in my home office, also shows Bonnie holding a shotgun on Clyde. The real photo showed Bonnie holding Clyde’s preferred shotgun, a semi-automatic 16-gauge Remington Model 11. The mini-series replaces the Remington with a pump-action Stevens Model 620 with a sawed-off barrel and stock.

Bonnie/Holliday gets the drop on Clyde/Emile.

Bonnie/Holliday gets the drop on Clyde/Emile.

Although not known to be favored by the Barrow Gang, the Stevens shotgun is still an accurate choice. It had been produced from 1927 to 1953 as an upgrade to the Stevens Model 520. It was indeed available in Clyde’s preferred 16-gauge, as well as an even smaller 20-gauge, but the version used in the mini-series is likely 12-gauge. A standard Model 620 can fit five shells in the tubular magazine under the barrel. The U.S. military eventually partially adopted the Model 620 for use during World War II, modifying a “trench gun” version with a perforated heat shield over the shortened barrels.

When Bonnie takes her infamous “cigar pose” photo, Clyde hands her a .38-caliber Colt Official Police revolver. Developed in 1927, the Official Police would have been accurate for the era… except the version shown in the film is the heavy-barreled variant not developed until after World War II.

Clyde proudly poses with his armory.

Clyde proudly poses with his armory. The mini-series photo shows him with two BARs and the Stevens shotgun, while the real-life photo interestingly has no BARs. Instead, the real Clyde poses with a Krag-Jørgensen bolt-action rifle, his Remington Model 11 semi-auto shotgun, another shotgun, a Single Action Army revolver, a Colt double action revolver, and – on the car’s decorative hood ornament – a Smith & Wesson “Triple Lock” .44 taken from Tom Persell, a Springfield, Missouri motorcycle cop, in late January 1933. At the time of the photo, Clyde would have been carrying Persell’s revolver for about two months. It was later found among the gang’s possessions abandoned in Dexfield Park, Iowa on July 24 of that year.

If you’re interested in learning more about the weapons used in the mini-series - as well as the 1967 movie – I screencapped and wrote the majority of both articles on IMFDB about them.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the series.

Casino – De Niro’s Blue and Yellow Plaid Sportcoat

Robert De Niro as Sam "Ace" Rothstein in Casino (1995).

Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein in Casino (1995).

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino executive and mob associate

Las Vegas, Spring 1977

Film: Casino
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: John A. Dunn & Rita Ryack

Background

Spring is coming, and that means bright colors… a color palette that few movies have mastered for men’s fashion as well as Scorsese’s epic Casino.

As top handicapper and Vegas casino runner “Ace” Rothstein, Robert De Niro wears more than fifty different costumes, all generally a series of colorful suits and sport coats. Some who don’t know better have criticized the film for this, unable to take the man seriously for his wardrobe. However, Ace’s costumes are a reflection of the wardrobe of his real life counterpart Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal. In fact, costumer Rita Ryack mentions in an interview that the real Lefty’s clothing was even more extravagant than De Niro’s.

(The few photos available online of Rosenthal indeed show some lively attire, but a good example is this YouTube clip of his short-lived variety show from the ’70s where he is wearing a lavender suit. Interestingly, his guests are Frank Sinatra and Don Rickles; Rickles would star in Casino as Rothstein/Rosenthal’s right-hand man and casino manager, Billy Sherbert.)

While some men might look clownish in these bright pastels, De Niro still looks as intimidating as ever, coolly firing a Norm MacDonald-lookalike for his undeniable incompetence before terrorizing a poor pastry chef with his impossible demands for the perfect blueberry muffin.

What’d He Wear?

For Ace Rothstein, nothing is an accident. Unlike most of the gamblers from whom he benefits, every move is a calculated risk from his love life to his wardrobe. Such a pragmatic manipulator is the perfect person to run a Las Vegas casino. Like the city itself, his clothes may look garish and flashy from the outset, but taking a closer look shows a tightly-run system.

More about those muffins later...

More about those muffins later…

On this day in the casino, Rothstein wears a colorful wool plaid sport coat. The base is a light gray and cream check that blends to form a taupe solid-looking ground. The double-layered overcheck consists of a thin mustard yellow triple check and a light blue windowpane. The blue windowpane creates a “block stripe” effect as each of the yellow checks intersects on every other stripe. (If you can’t figure out what I’m talking about, just look really hard at the picture. Or ask your tailor – he’ll know how to describe it better than I do.)

Despite the mass variations in colors, fabrics, and styles for all of Ace’s sport coats and suit jackets, almost all of them are tailored in the same fashion: single-breasted with a 2-button front and 1-button cuffs. This jacket is no exception with its two light brown horn buttons and single decorative button on each slightly flared cuff. Ace’s preference for this fit – and his ability to incorporate it across the board – is yet another sign of his meticulous nature.

Having an insult comic around is one thing, but an insult boss...?

Having an insult comic around is one thing, but an insult boss…?

One place where we do often see variation with Rothstein’s jackets are his lapels. Throughout the film, he wears notch lapels, peak lapels, and an odd cross between the two slightly resembling Don Corleone’s “cran necker” lapel (for example: the salmon pink sportcoat when his car blows up). On this plaid jacket, he wears standard notch lapels with no buttonholes. Despite the era’s notorious sartorial excesses, Ace is a man of moderation and his lapels remain a standard width.

The sportcoat has straight jetted hip pockets and a welted breast pocket, where he wears a folded sky blue display handkerchief to match his shirt. The shoulders are slightly padded with roped sleeveheads, and the double rear vents extend about 12″ high to his natural waist. Although a neutral fit overall, the slight flare of each cuff and the long double vents are undoubtedly elements of ’70s fashion.

Ace gives an employee what-for.

Ace gives an employee what-for.

And speaking of the ’70s… he wears a delightfully yellow pair of polyester flat front trousers! The trousers are actually part of another suit that he wears earlier in the film when “ejecting” a rude cowboy from Nicky’s crew out of the casino by his head. They are fitted to his waist with an extended squared tab that closes in the front with two concealed hook closures. The plain-hemmed bottoms flare out slightly, but the generous fit of the trousers keeps them from looking too Welcome Back, Kotter-ish.

A general rule for men’s clothing is to match the socks to the trousers to continue the leg line before the shoes. Ace Rothstein, however, takes it a step further and matches his shoes to his trousers by sporting a pair of hip yellow leather loafers, likely with a pair of cream or (god help us) yellow socks. We only get a glimpse of them as he leads Kevin Pollak into the bakery kitchen, but they’re undeniably yellow and certainly well-shined.

Ace's lower half brought to you by Country Crock®.

Ace’s lower half brought to you by Country Crock®.

Since the yellow check of the jacket is picked out by the trousers, it’s only expected of Ace that the sky blue shirt (and its matching pocket square) would perfectly emphasize the jacket’s blue overcheck. This shirt, another sign of the times with its large collar, is clearly meant to be a casual shirt worn open as there’s no collar button. It has white plastic buttons down a plain front and a breast pocket that closes with a matching button on a pointed flap. The 1-button cuffs are mitred.

Casino28-CL-shrt

Flashy though his wardrobe may be, Ace keeps his accessories relatively toned down. His only piece of jewelry is a gold ring with a white diamond on his right pinky. Being a meticulous, analytical man, there’s no way he wouldn’t wear a watch; in this scene, he wears an all-gold square watch with a link bracelet on his right wrist.

He's not really a gangster, so don't expect much bling.

He’s not really a gangster, so don’t expect much bling.

The maker of the watch is still undetermined, by me at least. Due to the millions of dollars of Bvlgari jewelry that Ace buys for his wife, many assume that Bvlgari also provided Ace’s watches. So far, there’ve been no confirmations. Luckily, one or two of this blog’s readers know quite a bit about watches!

Go Big or Go Home

Unexpected conflicts are natural at work, and poor Ace is given two of an afternoon! The first, and arguably the worse of the two, is his dumbass slot manager’s inability to recognize that his own machines were rigged despite the billions-to-one odds of three four-reel machines making three jackpots in a row.

It cannot happen, would not happen, you fuckin’ momo! What’s the matter with you? Didn’t you see you were being set up on the second win?

And here, Ace makes a decision to fire the man on-the-spot. Insultingly, of course, as Ace has no tolerance for anyone with an IQ below his own.

Ace: Listen, you fuckin’ yokel, I’ve had it with you. I’ve been carrying your ass in this place ever since I got here. Get your ass and get your things and get out of here.
Don: You’re firing me?
Ace: I’m firing you. No, I’m not firing, I’m firing you, ya…
Don: You might regret this, Mr. Rothstein.
Ace: I’ll regret it even more if I keep you on.
Don: This is not the way to treat people.
Ace: Listen, if you didn’t know you were being scammed you’re too fuckin’ dumb to keep this job, if you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you’re out! Get out.

Thus, poor Don Ward – the “fuckin’ momo” slots manager – is forced to leave the casino with his tail and his diamond-embellished bolo tie between his legs. Serenading him on his exodus is Cream’s “Those Were the Days” from their 1968 album Wheels of Fire.

The musical mood shifts for the next scene as we see Ace conversing with Philip Green (Kevin Pollak) in the casino’s tiki lounge about his firing Don earlier in the day. Of course, it’s not the potential implications of firing a county commissioner’s brother-in-law that’s getting Ace’s goat, it’s the lack of blueberries in his muffin compared to the veritable harvest in Green’s muffin. Ignoring Green’s warning, Ace heads into the kitchen and demands the milquetoast baker:

From now on, I want you to put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin…An equal amount of blueberries in each muffin.

The nonplussed baker is only able to respond, “Do you know how long that’s going to take?” This is one of the funniest line readings in the movie, and the actor – Jack Orend – deserves some recognition. Jack, wherever you are, excellent job.

Ace just thrusts the unsatisfactory muffin into his hand and brushes off the concern:

I don’t care how long it takes. Put an equal amount in each muffin.

The comedy of the situation is underlined by Lee Dorsey’s upbeat 1966 single “Working in the Coal Mine”, penned by Allen Toussaint and now famous as a Walmart jingle.

Of course, readers of the book Casino know that this was a real situation. One morning, a frustrated “Lefty” Rosenthal was sitting in the Stardust’s restaurant when he noticed his blueberry muffin devoid of flavor. Instantly, he marched to the kitchen and demanded that the baker place at least ten blueberries in each muffin. As Casino‘s author Nicholas Pileggi told the New York Times after Lefty’s death in 2008, “He was a fascinating guy. Really smart, a real ‘Rain Man’ type with numbers; he didn’t need an adding machine. He wasn’t a gangster, really, but he was part of a world where that was the means of control.”

How to Get the Look

Don’t be afraid to let your colorful side shine… you may just leave casino managers and muffin bakers quaking in their boots.

Casino28-crop

  • Taupe, yellow, and light blue plaid single-breasted sport coat with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, jetted straight hip pockets, 1-button flared cuffs, and long double rear vents
  • Yellow polyester flat front suit trousers with an extended waistband tab, frogmouth front pockets, slightly flared legs, and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Sky blue polyester shirt with large casual point collars, flapped breast pocket, and mitred button cuffs
  • Yellow leather loafers
  • Cream dress socks
  • Gold wristwatch with a square case and link bracelet
  • Gold pinky ring with diamond stone, worn on the right pinky
  • Sky blue display handkerchief, folded into the jacket’s breast pocket

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. And, for Ace’s sake, eat a well-endowed blueberry muffin!

The Quote

Everybody out here with cowboy boots is a fuckin’ county commissioner or related to a county commissioner. I’m fuckin’ sick of it.

The Boondock Saints

Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery as the MacManus Brothers in The Boondock Saints (1999).

Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery as the MacManus Brothers in The Boondock Saints (1999).

Vitals

Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as
Connor MacManus and Murphy MacManus (respectively), Irish-American blue-collar vigilante brothers

Boston, MA, March 1999

Film: The Boondock Saints
Release Date: January 22, 1999
Director: Troy Duffy
Costume Designer: Mary E. McLeod

Background

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

For most of us, St. Patrick’s Day is a celebration full of green beer, corned beef, and bad decisions. For the MacManus brothers, two cheeky but religious meat packers in South Boston, it usually means the same thing. Even Murphy MacManus uses the holiday to welcome a trio Russian mobsters to the neighborhood bar:

Yeah, it’s St. Paddy’s Day, everyone’s Irish tonight. Why don’t you just pull up a stool and have a drink with us?

Unfortunately, the Russkies aren’t as willing to throw a few back and celebrate, so the holiday leads to an eruption of violence that evolves the MacManus brothers into “The Boondock Saints”.

Although it didn’t receive much attention at the time of its admittedly limited release, The Boondock Saints has become a cultural phenomenon thanks to word-of-mouth and posters in college dorms. Pretty good for a movie made on a budget of only $6 million (in movie budget terms, that’s like $1.98).

What’d He Wear?

The brothers dress very similarly throughout the film, with very very few deviations.

The brothers arrive in mecca.

The brothers arrive in mecca.

The Pea Coats

Throughout the film, the staples of the brothers’ wardrobe are their matching dark navy blue pea coats in the classic U.S. military style. Duffy purchased the coats for the second film from Sterling Wear, but – given the limited resources of the first – it’s likely that these coats are secondhand or military surplus.

Good thing they had that rope!

Good thing they had that rope!

The pea coats have six of the classic anchor design buttons in a 6×3-button double-breasted layout, although the MacManus brothers always wear the coats open. They’re constructed from heavy wool (or a wool/nylon blend), wisely keeping out the cold of Boston in March. Edge stitching is present about 1/2 inch from the edges of the coats’ large lapels.

The coats have two slash handwarmer side pockets and a single rear vent with a parallel tack.

Connor and Murphy in action.

Connor and Murphy in action.

The short-fitting pea coat is a variation of the familiar “badass long coat” trope in action movies, appropriate given Connor’s clear fandom of cinematic badasses like Charles Bronson and John Wayne. The snugger pea coat is a wise choice, providing a more comfortable fit in a city with an average high just shy of 46°F in March.

In fact, The Boondock Saints averts the badass longcoat trope by placing its dopiest lead character in a long overcoat.

In fact, The Boondock Saints averts the badass longcoat trope by placing its dopiest lead character in a long overcoat.

The Jeans

Both Connor and Murphy wear bootcut denim jeans in a medium blue wash. As extra blue-collar guys who don’t own much in the way of clothing (or anything), these jeans show a lot of natural distress, especially around the hems. Each brother wears a thick black leather belt with a square brass buckle.

The Shirts

When Connor and Murphy are on a “mission”, they wear identical black lightweight cotton turtleneck jumpers.

Although the jumpers are sadly ruined after a gunfight - excuse me, a FIREFIGHT - with Il Duce.

Although the jumpers are sadly ruined after a gunfight – excuse me, a FIREFIGHT – with Il Duce.

Other than their dark Archer-approved assault turtlenecks, the brothers’ shirts are the only pieces of clothing that differentiate one from the other. Both wear short-sleeve lightweight t-shirts when not in badass mode. Connor’s t-shirt is a black with gray stitching around the sleeves and the slight v-neck. Murphy’s t-shirt is a gray crew neck shirt which, like Connor’s, has a lighter-colored stitching around the neck and sleeves.

Most men come away from a night in jail with the lesson to not commit additional crimes. Murphy and Connor, on the other hand, realize that it's their fate to kill as many bad guys as possible after an inspiring night in the clink.

Most men come away from a night in jail with the lesson to not commit additional crimes. Murphy and Connor, on the other hand, realize that it’s their fate to kill as many bad guys as possible after an inspiring night in the clink.

For their night out on St. Patty’s Day, the brothers sport loose-fitting long-sleeve sweaters. Connor’s is a brown v-neck lightweight jumper, and Murphy wears a noticeably oversized black wool v-neck jumper with a ribbed collar and cuffs.

After a fortifying shot of whiskey, the brothers prepare to show a group of Russian mobsters why they should've made like a tree and g-g-gotten the f-fuck out of the bar.

After a fortifying shot of whiskey, the brothers prepare to show a group of Russian mobsters why they should’ve made like a tree and g-g-gotten the f-fuck out of the bar.

Footwear

The MacManus’ brothers choice in footwear is another call-back to their blue-collar roots. They wear matching work lace-up boots made of well-worn brown leather with seven brass eyelets up the throat to the top opening. The boots have lighter brown laces and thick dark brown rubber soles with slightly raised heels. There is a small finger loop on the back of each boot opening.

Come on, with all the angles covered like this, someone has to be able to identify them!

Come on, with all the angles covered like this, someone has to be able to identify them!

I’ve been unable to specify the maker of the boots; I’ve read both Timberland and Harley online but I’m unconvinced in both cases. Each brother also appears to wear black socks.

Accessories

All of the brothers’ accessories serve some sort of purpose. On some of the unseasonably sunny days – and when an additional cool factor is needed – they wear matching pairs of black plastic wraparound sunglasses, similar to the Ray-Ban Balorama. The choice may not be a coincidence given Connor’s love of action movies and Baloramas being the preferred eyewear of “Dirty Harry” Callahan.

BSaints-CX-sunglasses

To fit each brother’s religious needs, they wear a set of iconic brown maple rosary beads around their neck, each with a large 3″ wooden cross through a silver-toned ring at the bottom. The Boondock Store, the official brand online store, is currently selling replicas of the beads for $89 a pop.

According to The Boondock Saints, you can kill anyone you want as long as God is on your side!

According to The Boondock Saints, you can kill anyone you want as long as God is on your side!

For their deadly outings, the brothers wear black ribbed wool ski masks with two holes for the eyes and one hole for the mouth.

Being relatively inexperienced as hitmen, it's lucky that Connor and Murphy didn't get a "we shot Marvin!" moment with "Jaffar".

Being relatively inexperienced as hitmen, it’s lucky that Connor and Murphy didn’t get a “we shot Marvin!” moment with “Jaffar”.

They also wear a pair of black leather gloves that stop at the wrist.

Connor on Die Hard detail.

Connor on Die Hard detail.

The brothers keep their Berettas in a black nylon double shoulder holster rig that strap both around the back and shoulders and to the waist. Although a logo is visible on the rear support strap, I’m unable to determine the exact manufacturer. The holsters would have had to have been customized for the film, as I’m unaware of any companies that make holsters to fit suppressed pistols.

Papa Joe's henchmen were nice enough to let Connor and Murphy keep their holsters on during their interrogation.

Papa Joe’s henchmen were nice enough to let Connor and Murphy keep their holsters on during their interrogation.

And, finally, each brother wears a pair of light cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistbands. This is the only other part of their wardrobes where they differ from the other; Connor wears blue boxers while Murphy sports a pair of light gray shorts.

Go Big or Go Home

I would love to ask a tattoo artist how many times they've had to ink this.

I would love to ask a tattoo artist how many times they’ve had to ink this.

The most admirable trait about the MacManus is their fierce loyalty and devotion to each other. While they may disagree at times, the friendship that developed between Reedus and Flanery shows through on screen as the brothers have a strong rapport that leads one to believe that they really would do anything for each other (including dropping a toilet from five stories up and then following it down… while in handcuffs).

Being the badasses that they are, the brothers choose tattoos rather than friendship bracelets to symbolize their devotion. On Connor’s left hand and index finger he has “VERITAS” (Latin for “Truth”) tattooed as Murphy has “AEQUITAS” (“Justice” in Latin) on his right index finger.

What to Imbibe

The MacManus have the same taste in seemingly everything: they both have the same clothes, same job, same sunglasses, and they even both smoke Marlboro Lights. When it comes to drinking, they’re both able to put away quite a few pints without seeming overly reckless… unless you count antagonizing a Russian mobster by lighting his ass on fire to be reckless.

Strangely, no Irish whiskey is prominently featured in the film. When the brothers and Rocco are drunkenly playing pass the bottle (and pass the Beretta), it is with a bottle of Wiser’s De Luxe, a tasty Canadian whisky.

Well, I guess it would be more surprising to see two proud Irishmen drinking Scotch?

Well, I guess it would be more surprising to see two proud Irishmen drinking Scotch?

I should also stress that the MacManus brothers both drink a lot of Pepsi, and the film is sure to make sure that we know they drink Pepsi because Pepsi is cool and refreshing. (This post paid for by Pepsi.) (Not really, but that would be nice for me.)

Did I mention that the MacManus brothers drink Pepsi?

Did I mention that the MacManus brothers drink Pepsi?

How to Get the Look

Don’t be the Rocco in your crew of vigilantes. Keep it clean, professional, and MacManus-style.

BSaints-crop

  • Dark navy blue 6×3-button double-breasted heavy wool pea coat with slash handwarmer side pockets and single rear vent
  • Black lightweight cotton turtleneck jumper
  • Dark short-sleeve t-shirt with white-stitched collar and sleeves
    • Connor wears a black v-neck t-shirt
    • Murphy wears a gray crew neck t-shirt
  • Medium blue wash denim bootcut jeans
  • Black leather belt with brass squared buckle
  • Dark brown leather lace-up work boots with brown laces (7-eyelet) and thick dark brown rubber soles
  • Black socks
  • Black plastic wraparound sunglasses
  • Brown maple rosary beads with silver spaces and 3″ brown maple cross
  • Black ribbed wool ski mask
  • Black leather gloves
  • Light cotton boxer shorts with elastic waistband
    • Connor wears blue boxers
    • Murphy wears light gray boxers

You don’t have to go all-out; most of these items can be purchased for just a few bucks. A good pea coat is worth dishing out a few hundred, though.

The Guns

When the brothers are unleashed in the IRA armory (Come on, that guy was IRA, right? They never say it, but… come on), they pick up a staggering amount of firearms. Despite the quantity and variety they take, both Connor and Murphy stick to the Beretta 92FS as their firearm of choice.

Murphy and Connor are probably Pulp Fiction fans.

Murphy and Connor are probably Pulp Fiction fans.

Both brothers carry two Berettas, often suppressed, in their black nylon shoulder rigs. Once Rocco joins the team, even he gets his own pair of Berettas!

Continuity errors lead to some shots swapping in the nearly-identical Taurus PT92 for some scenes, especially during the gunfight at the “Sick Mob Man”‘s house. To tell the difference between a true Beretta 92FS and the Brazilian copy made by Taurus, note the difference between the external safety mechanisms; the Beretta has a slide-mounted decocking safety while the Taurus has a frame-mounted slide stop safety.

A Beretta 92FS (left) and a Taurus PT92 (right). Besides some cosmetic differences such as slide markings and magazine butts, note the difference in external safeties.

A Beretta 92FS (left) and a Taurus PT92 (right). Besides some cosmetic differences such as slide markings and magazine butts, note the difference in external safeties.

Otherwise, the Taurus PT92 is virtually identical to the Beretta pistol. Developed in 1983 just as the Beretta was gaining its market, the PT92 can carry up to 17 rounds of 9×19 mm Parabellum in a magazine. At least ten variants exist, differing based on size, caliber, and finish.

Astute BAMF followers will recall that the Beretta 92F/FS was prominently featured as the handgun of choice by both Martin Riggs (the Lethal Weapon series) and John McClane (the firs three Die Hard films). In other words, it was the pistol to own for a badass in the ’90s… bet Buzzfeed won’t tell you that!

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. I’ve never seen the sequel so I can’t speak to its quality or its costumes, but it looks like the brothers are wearing generally the same outfits.

The Quote

Most people would go with the prayer, but I prefer the film’s comedy to its religious overtones, so…

Aye, they're good!

Aye, they’re good!

Murphy: That was way easier than I thought.
Connor: Aye.
Murphy: You know, on TV you always got that guy that jumps over the sofa.
Connor: And then you gotta shoot at him for ten fucking minutes, too.
Murphy: Aye.
Connor: Christ.
Murphy: We’re good.
Connor: Yes, we are!

Goodfellas – Henry’s “Half Mick, Half Guinea” Green Suit

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990).

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990).

Vitals

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, New York mob associate and club owner

Queens, NY, June 11, 1970

Film: Goodfellas
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

Background

As Morrie Kessler’s favorite “half mick, half guinea”, it’s nice to see Henry Hill channeling his Irish side with a green suit while out at a bar. In particular, his bar – The Suite Lounge in Queens. (In reality, the scene was filmed at the Lido Cabaret at 7320 Grand Avenue in Maspeth.) Unfortunately for us, it wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day, and unfortunately for Billy Batts, an angry Joe Pesci was around.

This scene, one of the most iconic of the film, marks the shift in tone between the “glamour” of the wiseguy era in the ’60s and the harsh and violent reality of the ’70s as it all comes crashing down. The first portion of the film may explain why Henry’s biggest ambition was to be a gangster as we see an endless parade of sharp suits, champagne on the house, and big-haired and bosomy mistresses.

After Billy Batts, the suits are replaced by prison uniforms (or worse, polyester disco shirts), the champagne becomes drugs, and the mistresses become strung-out coke whores who stab you in the back. The scene and its repercussions teach us an important lesson: don’t kill, kids.

What’d He Wear?

For Billy Batts’ release party (and subsequent murder) in his bar, Henry Hill wears a green suit with a distinctive shine that implies either silk or possibly a mohair/silk blend. The suit is a two-piece with moderate features appropriate for 1970, a sartorial transition period between the ultra-slim ’60s and excessively wide ’70s.

The suit jacket is single-breasted with notch lapels that roll down to the low 2-button stance. Both the buttons on the front and the two buttons on each cuff are constructed of dark plastic, likely black. The shoulders are slightly padded with roped sleeveheads.

Obviously, Henry's attempts as a conflict mediator leave something to be desired.

Obviously, Henry’s attempts as a conflict mediator leave something to be desired.

Henry’s suit coat has a welted breast pocket and two flapped hip pockets that slant slightly back. The double rear vents rise to Henry’s natural waist.

The flat front suit trousers rise high on Henry’s waist with a straight fly and sharp creases down each slightly tapered leg to the plain-hemmed, full break bottoms. The slanted side pockets are visible, but Henry only removes the jacket when digging Batts’ grave so it’s hard to determine the rear pocket situation. He wears a slim black leather belt through the trousers’ belt loops.

Henry's suit is illuminated as Jimmy takes care of the Billy Batts situation.

Henry’s suit is illuminated as Jimmy takes care of the Billy Batts situation.

Henry wears a black shirt, a popular choice for a casual suit on a night out. He leaves the top two white plastic buttons undone; the rest are buttoned down the front placket. Broken white edge stitching is visible on the shirt’s wide placket in close-up shots.

Poor Henry looks so tired, and then Jimmy and Tommy make him go and dig a grave.

Poor Henry looks so tired, and then Jimmy and Tommy make him go and dig a grave.

The shirt’s long sleeves close with a single button, and the straight hem is revealed when Henry untucks the shirt to dig Batts’ grave. The material is hard to determine, but it appears to be polyester.

His leather shoes are also black, and – although they don’t receive much screen time – they appear to have a cap toe and a lace-up throat. He also appears to be wearing black socks, which I think is a good choice as the green suit isn’t neutral enough to warrant green socks.

GF61170-CL-feet

The gold watch on his right wrist is supposedly a Rolex Day-Date, although I can’t tell for sure from the angles we are given. It is certainly a gold case with a round white dial on a flat gold bracelet; I have typically seen Day-Dates worn on thicker link bracelets, but it’s possible that this was swapped out for Henry.

Henry's watch is best seen as he goes to investigate the rumbling from his trunk.

Henry’s watch is best seen as he goes to investigate the rumbling from his trunk.

Henry sticks with gold jewelry, also wearing his usual pinky ring on his right hand and his plain gold wedding band on the third finger of his left hand.

Underneath, he is likely wearing one of his usual white ribbed cotton sleeveless A-shirts.

Go Big or Go Home

Since Henry doesn’t actually do any killing in this scene (glossing over his enabling, clean-up, and other general accessory duties), it’s fine to have a Henry Hill-style night out. We’ve already got the outfit down, so now all you need is the right cigarettes, the right car, and the right music.

And, of course, the right breakfast.

And, of course, the right breakfast.

Henry’s smokes of choice are soft packs of Winston Full-Flavor filtered cigarettes with a gold lighter. At the time, Winston was the most popular cigarette brand in the United States, holding its position from 1966 until 1972 when it was eclipsed by Marlboro, who has remained the market leader to this day. It’s also somewhat telling that Henry’s cigarette brand was in its prime whenever he was… and it lost its popularity once things got bad (prison, drugs, killings, witness protection, etc.).

I know it’s not Car Week, but I have to show my appreciation for Henry’s fine choice in American machinery. For the bulk of the film, Henry drives a dark brown 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix with a white hardtop.

Henry's '68 Pontiac, parked in front of his goomah's place.

Henry’s ’68 Pontiac, parked in front of his goomah’s place.

’68 was a special year for the Grand Prix, a transition between the first two generations of body styles and the final year for the B-body platform full-sized Grand Prix. Since the convertible model had just been discontinued, the only option was the 2-door hardtop coupe, which Henry drives here. Engine options were the standard 400 cubic inch V8 with 350 horsepower, but an optional 428 was available with base 375 horsepower or a High Output (HO) 390 horsepower version. In reality, Hill drove a new 1970 Buick Electra, but all that you really need to take away from the scene is that the trunk was pretty much ruined after hauling Batts’ rotting corpse back and forth.

And finally, the music. Goodfellas has one of the greatest soundtracks of any movie, and this scene features two classic songs that nicely indicate the scene’s tone-changing effect on the rest of the film. The party is seen in high gear to the upbeat 1963 track “He’s Sure the Boy I Love” by the Phil Spector-produced group The Crystals.

Hours later, when Tommy returns to kill Batts and set the crew on its fatal course, the darker and deeper “Atlantis” by Donovan is used to punctuate the brutal murder.

Bonus points to anyone who can quickly – and correctly – pronounce Barabajagal, the name of Donovan’s 1969 album that contained the song.

What to Imbibe

Billy Batts: Give us a drink. And give some to those Irish hoodlums down there.
Jimmy Conway: Only one Irishman here, Billy.
Billy Batts: On the house. Salud.
Jimmy Conway: Top of the mornin’.

Whiskey is the order of the night for Jimmy and his crew, although he, Henry, and Tommy are more often seen drinking Crown Royal (Canadian), Cutty Sark (Scotch), or J&B (Scotch again) than anything Irish. Since Jameson will likely be flowing at your local bar on March 17th, feel free to down a shot or two with your local Irish hoodlums.

St. Patrick's Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so it's unclear whether or not to bring your wife (Saturday) or your mistress (Friday).

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, so it’s unclear whether or not to bring your wife (Saturday) or your mistress (Friday).

Now go home and get your fuckin’ shinebox.

How to Get the Look

Henry keeps his night out look flashy but simple using only three colors: green, black, and gold.

GF61170-crop1

  • Green silk suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped slanted hip pockets, 2-button cuffs, and double rear vents
    • Flat front high rise trousers with belt loops, slanted side pockets, and plain-hemmed tapered bottoms
  • Black polyester shirt with white buttons, white edge-stitched front placket, and button cuffs
  • Black cap toe leather laced shoes
  • Black dress socks
  • Black slim leather belt with small silver square clasp
  • White ribbed cotton sleeveless undershirt
  • Rolex Day-Date with a gold case, white round dial, and flat gold bracelet
  • Pinky ring, worn on right pinky
  • Plain gold wedding band, worn on left ring finger

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster. To me that was better than being president of the United States. To be a gangster was to own the world.

Footnotes

Curious about what really happened to Billy Batts? It’s not that different from what Goodfellas shows us, although the film wisely condenses the action to one night rather than over the course of a couple weeks. As found on Tommy DeSimone’s Wikipedia page

Scorsese directs Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and Frank Vincent. Interesting to note that Vincent is wearing jeans with his suit coat, shirt, and tie.

Scorsese directs Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, and Frank Vincent. Interesting to note that Vincent is wearing jeans with his suit coat, shirt, and tie.

In the book Wiseguy, Henry Hill said they threw a “welcome home” party at Robert’s Lounge, which was owned by Jimmy Burke, for William “Billy Batts” Bentvena (confused as William Devino), a made man in Carmine Fatico’s crew (the same crew John Gotti was a part of) in the Gambino crime family.

Bentvena had just been released from prison after serving a six year term for drug possession. Hill states in Wiseguy that Bentvena saw DeSimone and asked him if he still shined shoes and DeSimone took this as an insult. Hill also said that Bentvena provoked DeSimone because he wanted to impress some mobsters from another crime family. A couple of minutes later when that issue was going to be forgotten, DeSimone leaned over to Henry Hill and Jimmy Burke and said “I’m gonna kill that fuck.” Hill saw that he was serious about it. A couple of weeks later, on June 11, 1970, Bentvena went over to “The Suite” owned by Hill in Jamaica, Queens to go drinking with DeSimone’s crew, including Hill, DeSimone, and Jimmy. Later that night DeSimone took his girlfriend home and Burke started making Bentvena feel comfortable. Twenty minutes later, DeSimone arrived with a .38 revolver and a plastic mattress cover. DeSimone walked over to him at the corner of the bar and attacked Bentvena. Before Bentvena was attacked, Jimmy Burke tightened his arms around Bentvena and he was pistol whipped with the .38 revolver. He was so inebriated that he couldn’t defend himself.

In the book Wiseguy, Hill said that before DeSimone started to beat Bentvena, DeSimone yelled, “Shine these fucking shoes!” DeSimone killed Bentvena not only because he had insulted him, but also because Burke had taken over Bentvena’s loanshark business while Bentvena was in prison. According to Hill, Bentvena had been complaining to Joseph N. Gallo about getting back this racket. Not wanting to return the business to Bentvena, Burke knew sooner or later Bentvena would have to be killed. After the beating, the three men put Bentvena into the trunk of Hill’s 1970 Buick Electra and later while the three men were driving on The Van Wyck Expressway, they discovered that Bentvena was not dead. Later, they visited DeSimone’s mother’s house to get a knife, lime, and a shovel. Later in the drive, closer to their destination, Hill said it had been an hour of DeSimone driving and he kept getting mad about the noises in the trunk and finally slammed the brakes and leaned over for the shovel and that Burke and DeSimone “didn’t actually shoot him, they just stabbed him, thirty or forty fucking times, fucking horrible.”

Hill does not mention a knife, but claims Burke and DeSimone finished Bentvena off by beating him with a tire iron and the shovel, respectively and the men later buried him under a dog kennel. At the time of the murder in 1970, Bentvena was 49 years old and was a respected and a feared made man in the Gambino crime family, as well as a personal friend of future Gambino boss John Gotti. Murdering a made man without the official consent of his family’s leadership was an unforgivable offense in the Mafia code of omerta, especially by a rival family and a mere associate such as DeSimone, and it was this murder (after the Gotti crew definitively tied DeSimone to the killing) that led to DeSimone’s own murder as retaliation.

Thomas Crown, the “Boston Wrangler”

Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, millionaire playboy and heist mastermind

Boston, Summer 1968

Film: The Thomas Crown Affair
Release Date: June 19, 1968
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine

Background

In an edgy move given the city’s recent history, The Thomas Crown Affair‘s soundtrack composer Michel Legrand named a track from the album “The Boston Wrangler”*. The track in question centers around a brief two minute scene where Crown, under heavy surveillance at his home, manages to sneak out and incapacitate a guard, all while cheekily puffing away on a stogie. I’m not sure if there was any initial blowback from the track’s name, but the instrumental itself is a fine example of the jazzy ’60s cool that defined the movie’s style.

* In case you’re not a criminal history person, the track’s title is a pun on the “Boston Strangler”, a serial killer who had recently been convicted for multiple murders.

What’d He Wear?

Although he’s as dapper as they come in his three-piece suits, Crown is no stranger to casual attire when it comes to non-business activities. When it comes to sneaking around at night, Crown avoids his genre contemporary James Bond’s poor choice of wearing all black and opts for shades of blue to better blend in with the night.

In place of a shirt, Crown wears a casual blue lightweight windbreaker. The front zips closed with a white diamond-shaped metal slider over wide white tape. The standing collar, which he wears open, can close with a white plastic button through a white-stitched buttonhole.

TC68-9-CL-jkt1

There are three external pockets on Crown’s jacket. The two patch pockets just above the waistline have rounded, white-stitched flaps that close with white plastic buttons. There is also a patch pocket on his upper right sleeve that has a white horizontal zipper across the top. The sleeves also close with a single white button through each cuff’s pointed end.

Crown takes care of a privacy issue.

Crown takes care of a privacy issue.

White stitching is present throughout the jacket, from the pocket flaps to the yoke on the upper back. Both the right and left sides of the waistband have a short adjustable tab that closes on one of two white buttons; Crown wears the jacket looser on the further front of the two buttons.

Crown’s pants are a pair of very dark blue wash denim jeans with a straight leg and plain hems. They break high over his blue canvas sneakers, which have thick white rubber soles and wide white laces. He wears dark socks, likely black.

TC68-9-CL-feet

To inconspicuously shield his face, Crown wears a plain dark blue baseball cap.

Definitely less conspicuous than a ski mask. Plus, it's not an easy to smoke a cigar when wearing a ski mask.

Definitely less conspicuous than a ski mask. Plus, it’s not an easy to smoke a cigar when wearing a ski mask.

Steve McQueen also wears his usual gold St. Christopher pendant on a thin gold chain.

Go Big or Go Home

While other movie characters might handle this situation more violently, Crown carries it out with an easy brand of cool that looks more mischievous than criminal… much like his bank robberies. The fact that he does the whole job with a thin cigar and Michel Legrand’s funk-tacular jazz in the background makes it all the cooler.

How to Get the Look

Crown dresses comfortably and inconspicuously for his late night jaunt.

  • Blue casual lightweight windbreaker w/ white zip front, button-fastening standing collar, flapped button-down patch pockets, zip upper right sleeve pocket, 1-button cuffs, and adjustable 2-button side tabs
  • Dark blue denim straight leg jeans
  • Blue canvas sneakers with wide white laces and thick white rubber soles
  • Black socks
  • Dark blue baseball cap
  • Gold pendant on thin gold chain

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the film. Or just check out the sequence in particular here.

Footnotes

The sequence was influential enough to receive an homage on House, M.D. in the 2011 episode “Two Stories”. Although not an exact replica, Dr. House’s version of McQueen’s attire is pretty damn close.

Hugh Laurie channels Steve McQueen.

Hugh Laurie channels Steve McQueen.