Casino – Ace’s Ivory Western Suit with Red-on-Red Silk

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, Summer 1977

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

Background

By the mid-1970s, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal appeared to have it all. Having tried his hardest to leave his mob affiliations behind him back east, he was now running the Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas with a beautiful ex-showgirl wife and a massive wardrobe pull of bespoke suits and sport coats.

Unfortunately, his mob affiliations were chasing him to Vegas in the form of vicious Chicago enforcer Tony “the Ant” Spilotro; he still didn’t have a license to legally be managing his casino; and his troubled wife Geri was still in contact with her shitty ex, Lenny Marmor.

Twenty years later, Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi teamed up to tell Lefty’s life story, starring De Niro as Lefty’s cinematic counterpart Sam “Ace” Rothstein. Tony Spilotro, Geri Rosenthal, and Lenny Marmor became Nicky Santoro (Joe Pesci), Ginger Rothstein (Sharon Stone), and Lester Diamond (James Woods). One scene in the film depicts a real-life incident where Ace tracked down his wife handing a stack of cash to her ex-lover in a Vegas diner. Ace saunters in, tossing a matching stack of cash on the table before threatening Lester’s life. Lester takes the hint and scrapes up his dignity before swaggering outside, where he is beaten and left in his blue ’76 Eldorado.

What’d He Wear?

Ace knows what’s going to happen before he even enters the diner, and he dresses to convey confidence and power. It takes a confident man to wear a white suit at all, and the red shirt and tie evokes the blood that will be spilled that day… and both Ace and Lester know it’s not going to be Ace’s blood.

CASINO

Ace wears an ivory polyester Western-styled two-piece suit. The Western styling is most evident on the pinch-back jacket with pointed “V” chest yokes that wrap over the shoulders to form a center pointed “V” in the back. Below that rear point is the single pleat that gives the “pinch-back” jacket its moniker. The pleat extends down to the half-belted back. Below the back is a long single rear vent that falls on the same vertical axis as the pinch-back pleat.

CASINO

Ace escorts Ginger out of the restaurant… and into his yellow ’78 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz.

The front of the jacket is single-breasted with two steel buttons. The inset hip pockets close with a steel button on a “V”-pointed flap that matches the chest yokes above them. The three buttons on each cuff are the same flat-faced steel as the buttons on the front and on the pockets.

CASINO

Ever the gentleman, Ace greets his wife’s lover with a handshake… even having the courtesy to transfer his cigarette to his other hand.

Ace’s matching suit trousers are flat front with an extended waistband tab that closes on the right with a concealed hook. Not much else is seen of the trousers, but they have a large fit and flared bottoms.

Ace provides a strong contrast against his ivory suit by wearing a dark red silk shirt. It is styled like the rest of his super-’70s shirts with a large point collar and the distinctive tab cuffs that close on a single button. This was a very popular cuff style in the late ’70s and even made its way on to a few of the Frank Foster-made shirts for Roger Moore as James Bond in films like Moonraker.

CASINO

Ace takes a quick second to register that yes, he has indeed been betrayed, before going into charismatic badass mode.

The wide silk necktie he wears is the same shade of dark red as the shirt, a monochromatic palette that gained a brief revival in the early 2000s when Regis Philbin started his own clothing line after his matching metallic shirts and ties on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? evidently resonated with audiences.

Ace would later wear this same shirt and tie combination when he escorts Ginger to dinner after she attempted to kidnap their daughter and run off with Lester. Perhaps he wears the same shirt and tie as a subtle reminder for Ginger as to what he was wearing the last time he caught her with Lester? (For the later dinner scene, he wears a blue and green plaid suit.)

We don’t see Ace’s footwear at all during this scene, and I would suspect that he would be sporting one of his many pairs of white shoes. However, the now-popular poster that includes an artistic rendering of all the suits De Niro wears in Casino shows him wearing a pair of dark red shoes that would match his shirt and tie. While this may just be artistic license, part of me wonders if artist Ibraheem Youssef knows something I don’t…

There’s much less ambiguity with Ace’s ever-present gold accessories, expressly chosen in this scene to match his red shirt and tie. His flat gold wristwatch has a plain red dial on the rectangular case and is fastened to his right wrist by a gold link bracelet.

CASINO

A close-up from a DVD featurette provides even greater detail of Ace’s outfit-specific jewelry.

On the pinky of his same hand, Ace wears a gold ring with a ruby stone. Again, Bvlgari showed up plenty as the provider of Ginger’s jewelry, but I still haven’t received any confirmation as to who made De Niro’s many watches and rings.

Go Big or Go Home

What’s a classic diner without doo wop on the jukebox, right? This scene is scored by The Velvetones’ 1957 version of “The Glory of Love”, a nice juxtaposition to the three people who are being ravaged by love rather than feeling its “glory”; Ace is betrayed, Ginger is conflicted, and Lester just gets his ass beaten.

The song had been written more than 20 years earlier by Billy Hill when it became an instant hit for Benny Goodman and his Orchestra – with Helen Ward on vocals – in May 1936. Coincidentally enough, the real Geri McGee Rosenthal was born in 1936!

How to Get the Look

Ace’s outfit is a strange combination that blends gangster style with the cowboy influence that was present when Vegas was initially founded.

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  • Ivory polyester Western-styled suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted pinch-back jacket with edge-stitched notch lapels, 2-button front (steel buttons), pointed-flap hip pockets (w/ steel button closure), 3-button cuffs (steel buttons), and pleated half-belt back with single rear vent
    • Flat front trousers with extended waistband tab and flared bottoms
  • Dark red silk dress shirt with large point collar, front placket, and button-tab cuffs
  • Dark red silk necktie
  • Gold wristwatch with a rectangular case, red dial, and flat link bracelet
  • Gold pinky ring with ruby stone

If you want to wear a white suit in Vegas but this ain’t your cup of tea, check out Rusty Ryan’s white striped ensemble from Ocean’s Thirteen.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

From my recollection, aren’t you the card shark, the golf hustler, the pimp from Beverly Hills? If I’m wrong, please correct me ’cause I never knew you to be a heist man. But if you are, you know what? Here, take mine too. Go ahead, take it, ’cause you already have hers… But if you ever come back again – ever – to take her money, next time bring a pistol. That way you got a chance. Be a man, don’t be a fucking pimp. Now, you wanna do me a favor? Get outta here. I wanna be alone with my wife. Get up and get outta here.

The Wolf of Wall Street: Leo’s Floral Swimwear

I’m off to the beach for my annual vacation! I’ll have my phone, but I eschew technology when surrounded by sun, sand, water, and books, so I’ll be less responsive to comments and e-mails than usual (and I know I already need some improvement in that area!)

There’ll be a few posts planned for the course of this week, but here’s a quick snippet of a BAMF in relaxation mode that we should all try and emulate.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie as Jordan and Naomi Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie as Jordan and Naomi Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, swaggering stockbroker

New York City, Summer 1993

Film: The Wolf of Wall Street
Release Date: December 25, 2013
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

How to Get the Look

The Wolf of Wall Street gives us a quick look at Jordan and Naomi relaxing on his yacht. He doesn’t have a care in the world as he lays next to his beautiful wife and wears:

  • Navy blue short-sleeve linen shirt with six white buttons down plain front and straight-hemmed bottom
  • Light blue “Hawaiian printed” polyester swimming trunks with a palm tree and orange floral print

His Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses with black acetate frames, a fine choice for a successful young fella on holiday, sit on the back on his head against the pillow.

If you’ve got a special lady friend with you who also would like some shades, Margot Robbie is wearing a pair of brown plastic-framed Versace 477/B 915 sunglasses with gold Greek key temple logos.

Supposedly, Jordan’s swimwear is a pair of vintage-inspired Tommy Bahama board shorts, but I haven’t found confirmation of that. Belfort himself mentions a pair of “blue nylon” swimming trunks in his follow-up book, Catching the Wolf of Wall Street.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. Belfort’s original book was one of my beach reading materials during this trip last year, and it’s definitely an entertaining read.

To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant’s Gray Summer Blazer

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955).

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief (1955).

Vitals

Cary Grant as John Robie, retired cat burglar and jewel thief

Cannes, French Riviera, Summer 1954

Film: To Catch a Thief
Release Date: August 5, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Summer is officially here!* Anyone looking for a way to stand out in your summer duds should take a cue from Cary Grant, which is never a bad idea when it comes to style.

Grant himself never understood why he was regarded as such a fashion icon, as he explained to GQ during his now-classic editorial from 1958:

I’m often asked for advice or an opinion about clothes, and I always try to answer the best I can, but I’m not inclined to regard myself as an authority on the subject. Many times during my years in films, some well-meaning group has selected me as best-dressed man of the year, but I’ve never understood why. The odd distinction surprises me: first, because I don’t consider myself especially well dressed, and, secondly, I’ve never, as far as I can compare the efforts of others with my own, gone to any special trouble to acquire clothes that could be regarded as noticeably fashionable or up-to-date.

Perhaps it’s just his modesty talking, but it’s damn near impossible to watch any Cary Grant film without wanting to add a few more well-tailored suits and sport coats to your wardrobe. One of my favorite films that shows off Grant’s impeccable style is To Catch a Thief, one of Hitchcock’s most charming flicks due to its relatively low stakes and the pairing of two of his favorite leads – the debonair Cary Grant and the elegant Grace Kelly. Both Grant and Kelly get a chance to show off their comedic and romantic chops against the stunning backdrop of a summer in the French Riviera.

Grant brings his style A-game to some of his outfits in the film, including a fine gray business suit and a sterling example of black tie for an evening of gambling and romancing. One of his most unique and remembered ensembles is the gray blazer, day cravat, and slacks worn for his day out with Grace Kelly.

* At least it’s summer for us folks up in the Northern Hemisphere…

What’d He Wear?

Do I have any special do’s and don’t’s about clothes? I can’t think of any rules about clothes, since there really aren’t any…

… and thus spake Cary Grant himself, again from the 1958 GQ editorial. If any man deserves to be a snob about clothing, it’s Cary Grant, and here he is saying just the opposite as he follows the Outback Steakhouse maxim of “no rules, just right”.

Still, just because he’s no snob doesn’t mean he’s a slob. John Robie dresses for his excursion to the beach – and subsequent scenic picnic – in a gray flannel blazer, white cotton shirt over a dotted day cravat, tan slacks, and tassel loafers. This distinctive look is both masculine and timeless, following Grant’s own sartorial maxim of dressing like a man for all ages.

TO CATCH A THIEF

The gentleman’s gentleman.

Robie’s gray blazer is constructed from a lightweight flannel. Summer-weight flannel can be difficult to find on modern clothing, so a comfortable hopsack woven blazer would also work nicely.

The blazer is single-breasted with sharp notch lapels – with a buttonhole in the left lapel – and three gold buttons on the front.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Robie avoids the tourist swimmer’s dilemma of walking through the lobby soaking wet by changing his clothes at the beach.

Grant causes some controversy among sartorial purists by the way he buttons his blazer in this sequence. The decided “rule” for 3-button jackets is “sometimes, always, never” from top to bottom. Grant spends the first few scenes in the Carlton Hotel with all three buttons fastened. This becomes especially noticeable and awkward when Robie wears his hands in his trouser pockets in the Stevens’ hotel room and bunches all three buttons together.

One might be tempted to criticize this gesture, but one should also keep in mind that:

a) Grant did say “there really aren’t any” rules about clothing, and
b) Cary Grant will forever be a classic example of the charismatic and romantic leading man that makes every woman’s heart flutter. Neither you nor I have any room to talk.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Grant brazenly ignores some major sartorial “rules” while a disapproving John Williams looks on behind him.

As I mention in my North by Northwest post (which, as my first post, could use some serious revision!), Cary Grant had a habit of placing his hands in his pockets and thus preferred double vents on his suits. This blazer isn’t helped by its short single rear vent when Grant keeps his hands in his pockets in the hotel room – as seen in the above screenshots.

The blazer sleeves have roped sleeveheads and two gold buttons at the end of each cuff. The natural shoulders have a slight concave like the “pagoda” shoulder structure.

TO CATCH A THIEF

In keeping with its informal context, the blazer’s three external pockets are all large patch pockets with rounded bottoms – one on the left breast and one on each hip.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Thanks to Grant’s long torso and 6’2″ frame, the blazer bunching doesn’t look as bad when he’s standing up.

Grant wears a plain white cotton shirt underneath his blazer with a front placket and rear side darts. The cuffs are very large and close with a single centered button with no button on the open gauntlet. Although he advocated wearing subtly elegant links on French cuff shirts, Grant was also a believer in the simpler button cuff, saying in his GQ editorial:

Button-cuffed shirts are simplest to manage…

TO CATCH A THIEF

Grant goes cravat-less when alone in his suite.

The shirt’s large collar is structured with a moderate spread and elongated points, though not to the extent seen on shirts earlier in the decade. Some sources believe Grant wore a button-down collar shirt in this sequence due to how well the collar stays contained under his jacket, but it is clearly a standard collar that keeps in place without the help of buttons or tabs. The length of the points and a little bit of TLC is all that the shirt collar needed.

TO CATCH A THIEF

A pensive John Robie.

Under his shirt collar, Grant radiates a sense of countryside cool with a dark navy blue day cravat. The day cravat adds subtle elegance – the key to Grant’s timeless style – while practically serving to catch any sweat. Essentially a loosely-tied scarf worn under the shirt, the day cravat is the most comfortable and casual form of neckwear that adds a gentlemanly devil-may-care touch to any outfit.

John Robie’s day cravat is dark navy with small white pin-dots. Primarily only the dots are seen under the collar, but occasionally the cravat slips up on his neck and the white diagonal stripes (left-down-to-right) are seen peeking out under the dots.

TO CATCH A THIEF

The lower half of Robie’s resortwear retains the simple sophistication of the top. The stone-colored trousers rise fashionably high on Grant’s torso and appear to be a comfortable and soft summer-weight material like a linen twill blend. Grant himself advocated cotton poplin suits and trousers, as specified in the 1958 editorial:

During summer, I’ve taken to wearing light beige, washable poplin suits. They’re inexpensive and, if kept crisp and clean, acceptable almost anywhere at any time, even in the evening… Learn to dispense with accessories that don’t perform a necessary function. I use belts, for example, only with blue jeans, which I wear when riding, and content myself with side loops, that can be tightened at the waistband, on business suits.

TO CATCH A THIEF

These double forward-pleated trousers may be the very style that Grant had in mind with the belt-less waistband that fastens on the sides with button tabs. The extended waistband in the front also closes on the right with a double-button closure.

The trousers also have four outer pockets: a deep, slightly slanted hand pocket on each side and two jetted rear pockets that close through a button.

TO CATCH A THIEF

I wish we had gotten a scene of Cary Grant water-skiing as the SKI NAUTIQUE sign advertises. That would’ve just been cool.

Grant’s trousers have a luxurious roomy fit throughout the hips and legs with slightly flared bottoms that add a gentle swagger to his walk. The bottoms are cuffed despite Grant’s personal belief against their practicality:

A tip about trousers. Trouser cuffs seem to me unnecessary, and are apt to catch lint and dust. However, whether you prefer cuffs or not, ask the tailor to sew a strip of cloth of the same material, or a tape of similar color, on the inside at the bottom of the trouser leg where it rubs the heel of the shoe. It will keep your trouser-bottoms from fraying.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Robie and Francie enjoy a nice stroll down to their local villa.

Robie wears brown loafers, specifically a pair of apron toe tassel loafers in saddle tan calfskin leather with interwoven leather lace on the sides. Grant was known to be an advocate of softer-heeled driving moccasins, but these are standard loafers with hard leather soles. He wears them with a pair of tan ribbed cotton dress socks that nicely carry the leg line between the trousers and the shoes.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Robie forgets he has no brake pedal on the passenger side.

Robie’s single accessory is a thin gold chain around his neck with a round gold pendant. Due to the day cravat, we only see it when he’s swimming.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Conjugating a few irregular verbs…

And while he is swimming, Robie sports a pair of beige cotton bathing trunks with an elastic waistband. The shorts are longer than the skimpier mens’ swimming trunks of the era, and they still rise high to Grant’s belly button. Although cotton swimming trunks aren’t very common these days, you can still find vintage pairs like these similar Jantzens.

TO CATCH A THIEF

Evidently, both Cary Grant’s and Grace Kelly’s outfits from this scene were auctioned by Debbie Reynolds for Profiles in History in 2011, described as “key costumes by Edith Head, from the romantic scenic drive in a convertible overlooking Cannes,” although I haven’t been able to find the results or any additional auction details.

A few parting words from Grant himself:

Don’t be a snob about the way you dress. Snobbery is only a point in time. Be tolerant and helpful to the other fellow – he is yourself yesterday… If a man wears the kind of clothes that please him, then – providing they’re clean and don’t shock society, morals, and little children – what is the difference as long as that man is happy?

Go Big or Go Home

If To Catch a Thief were remade sixty years later, the contemporary title would probably be #FirstWorldProblems. An infamous ex-cat burglar who now lives tending vineyards in France is forced to go on the run… to the French Riviera, of course, where he stays at the exclusive Carlton Hotel in Cannes. The Carlton Hotel is still thriving with rates ranging anywhere from $1,500 to $7,600 for a single night.

TO CATCH A THIEF

They’ll leave the light on for you.

While at the hotel, the burglar meets a glamorous American socialite, Frances Stevens, and her wealthy mother. After an impromptu kiss (which makes Robie declare he was “awed by its efficiency”), Francie takes Robie down to the beach where she memorably trades barbs with his jealous teenage French accomplice, Danielle:

Robie: Say somthing nice to her, Danielle.
Danielle: She looks a lot older up close.

Francie decides that this fella ain’t so bad, even if he is a cat burglar (as she quickly deduces) and takes him out in her blue Sunbeam Alpine roadster for a car chase and subsequent picnic.

TO CATCH A THIEF

After she deftly dodges a pursuing car, Francie stops at a beautiful spot overlooking Alpes-Maritimes where she confronts her date with the knowledge that he is, in fact, John Robie the jewel thief and that she, in fact, doesn’t care. (Despite having the most jewels of anyone in the Riviera!)

TO CATCH A THIEF

Not the typical American tourists…

Putting any serious discussions aside, Francie pulls out some beer and fried chicken to have a decidedly American picnic. Despite being unmasked as a career criminal, Robie can’t help but to dig in.

TO CATCH A THIEF

…although they are enjoying a typical American lunch.

My knowledge of 1950s beer bottle labels isn’t what it should be… does anyone know what brew Cary and Grace are sipping here?

How to Get the Look

Especially in later films like To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant always showed off his sense of style with timeless clothing. With the help of legendary costume designer Edith Head, Grant shows off an ideal resortwear outfit for his daytime outing with Francie.

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  • Gray flannel single-breasted blazer with 3 gold front buttons, patch breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 2 gold cuff buttons, and short single rear vent
  • Stone-colored double forward-pleated summer-weight high rise trousers with front waistband double-button tab, button-tab side adjusters, slanted side pockets, button-closing jetted rear pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • White cotton shirt with large point collar, front placket, rear side darts, and rounded button cuffs
  • Dark navy blue pin-dot day cravat
  • Saddle tan brown calfskin leather apron-toe tassel loafers
  • Tan ribbed cotton dress socks
  • Small gold pendant on thin gold chain

Cotton swimming trunks are pretty rare these days but a light color – like the beige pair worn by Grant at the beach – is a nice way to show off a strong tan.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Don’t let the robbery spoil your day. It’s only money, and not even yours at that!

Gangster Squad – Jerry’s Brown Double-Breasted Suit

Ryan Gosling as Sgt. Jerry Wooters in Gangster Squad (2013).

Ryan Gosling as Sgt. Jerry Wooters in Gangster Squad (2013).

Vitals

Ryan Gosling as Jerry Wooters, dapper LAPD detective-sergeant

Los Angeles, August 1949

Film: Gangster Squad
Release Date: January 11, 2013
Director: Ruben Fleischer
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres

Background

Continuing BAMF Style’s recent string of neo-noir period film posts following a swaggering L.A. detective decked out in period attire, I decided to take another look at the recent movie Gangster Squad.

Described (by me) as L.A. Confidential for the video game crowd, Gangster Squad is loosely based on the true story of LAPD detectives John O’Mara and Jerry Wooters’ team that took a head-on approach to breaking Mickey Cohen’s rackets in the ’40s and ’50s. Although stylish, well-casted, and full of thrilling action pieces, Gangster Squad received some criticism for its lack of character development and condensing the multi-decade efforts of these detectives into just a few months in late 1949.

Facts were played with, narrative structure was ignored in favor of on-screen action, but the end result is still an entertaining, glossy look at the gangster-era L.A. we want to remember. Plus, I’ll never complain when a movie contains plenty of sharp vintage suits, alluring dames with dangling cigarettes, and nonstop Thompsons blasting away at each other.

Ryan Gosling plays Jerry Wooters, one of the real-life detectives assigned to the “Gangster Squad”. He is established early on as a Jack Vincennes-type, cynical about his police work, shifting his focus to getting laid and getting paid by any means necessary. This scene, set at Slapsy Maxie’s, establishes both of those end goals in the forms of Grace Faraday (Emma Stone) and Jack Whalen (Sullivan Stapleton), two of Cohen’s associates. Whalen was indeed a career criminal who worked as a mob contract killer and had actually served in the U.S. Army Air Force during WWII, but Grace was developed to give the film its needed femme fatale and give Gosling someone to hop into bed with.

What’d He Wear?

Mary Zophres has a fine reputation as a master of period costuming, accurately updating classic looks to convey both character-specific traits and modern appeal. With a resume that includes O Brother Where Art Thou?Catch Me If You CanNo Country for Old Men, and True Grit, Zophres has transcended genres and eras to prove that she can nicely outfit a rough Westerner or a sleek ’60s con man with equal aplomb. Her inspiration for Jerry Wooters came from “classic but stylish” leading men of the era like Clark Gable and Errol Flynn, as she explained to Entertainment Weekly. Wooters is easily the most fashionable of the main cast, fitting for his personality. Josh Brolin and his character John O’Mara evidently both approach clothing with the same utilitarian view and just wear what’s needed for the job. The others are equally well-outfitted from Robert Patrick’s old-fashioned lawman wearing a throwback duster to the heavily made-up Sean Penn taking Mickey Cohen’s fashion obsession to a new level of vanity.

Zophres used vintage examples to create the men’s suits. As she told British GQ in an article from the film’s release: “If you use a real suit that has been around for 60 years that isn’t in great shape – you can’t put Ryan Gosling or Josh Brolin in a suit with holes in the pockets. So we found original suits from the time period to get the general silhouette – sometimes it was the trouser from one pant and the jacket from another –  and then we would tailor it to the actors. We used Pae & Kim’s Custom Tailoring in LA, then we would duplicate it.”

Zophres continued, mentioning this suit and its specific role in Wooters’ evolution:

At one point early on, Ryan wears a three-piece double breasted. I was obsessed with that. At that point he has one foot inwith the gangsters and one foot as a cop. He is the only one of the Gangster Squad who wears double-breasted – but by the end, he’s wearing a three-piece single breasted suit. For Ryan’s sport coat, there was a couple of rolls of fabric we found in a store in LA called International Silk & Woolens. There were a couple of rolls of an old wool that was from the fifties, and we had enough for me to make six sports coats for Ryan.

The “three-piece double-breasted” suit mentioned is a sharp brown wool suit with a subtle blue pinstripe. Zophres created most of her suits with English wool, wisely telling British GQ that “you can’t find great wools in the United States”. Nothing thinner than a 10 oz. wool was used with 10 oz. and 12 oz. providing the majority of the suits plus some even heavier wools when texture and thickness were required. As cited in a People magazine article, Gosling himself told reporters at a Beverly Hills press event that: “The wool was quite itchy, so I had a rash… I channeled that irritation into my hatred for the gangsters.”

GANGSTER SQUAD

Wooters doesn’t have much hatred for gangsters early in the film as he enjoys a steak and a Scotch with Jack Whalen.

Wooters’ suit exemplifies the roomy, post-war fit that became fashionable as men broke away from the restricted (and restrictive) styles offered during the war; servicemen naturally had to sport their itchy uniforms everywhere while men at home were reduced to wearing old suits or the scanty, tight-fitting suits produced during the war’s fabric rationing. After the war and the rationing, men embraced long and loose jackets, vests, and pleated trousers. Hats grew larger while loud shirts, ties, and display handkerchiefs shouted out that the war was over and hedonistic comfort was in.

With casual attire also growing in popularity, men put much attention into the way they would dress up. Wooters’ suit jacket shows off the strapping profile that a man would desire with strong, padded shoulders with roped sleeveheads – emphasized by long peak lapels – a suppressed waist, and a long flared skirt for an athletic “hourglass” effect.

GANGSTER SQUAD

I won’t blame you for paying more attention to Emma Stone than the fit of Gosling’s suit. It took me some time before I even realized he was in this photo.

Zophres expressed her own appreciation of the post-war style in her interview with British GQ:

I also happen to think the shorter suit that is happening in men’s fashion right now is fine for the likes of Ryan Gosling but it’s not necessarily a look for the older gentleman. Maybe this movie will help make a little longer jacket come back – it’s a very flattering look.

Wooters’ brown pinstripe suit jacket has a low 6×2-buttoning double-breasted stance to accommodate both the length of the jacket and Gosling’s long torso on his 6′ frame. The three dark brown buttons on each cuff match those on the front. The jacket also has a welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, and a ventless back.

GANGSTER SQUAD

Wooters oozes confidence as he mixes casually with gangsters and shoeshine boys alike.

The large, wide peak lapels serve a double purpose of emphasizing the luxurious, sweeping fashions of a post-war suit jacket and emphasizing the strong shouldered silhouette. The lapels have slanted gorges on a seam that is relatively short given the length of the lapel points. There is a buttonhole on each lapel, and Wooters proudly pins a large white carnation on his left. “I miss that as I think it’s such a way to evoke confidence and romance in a man,” explained Zophres to British GQ. “You hardly ever see a guy with a boutonnière any more.”

GANGSTER SQUAD

Do you ever wonder why you leave the bar alone? Wooters doesn’t leave alone, and he’s sporting a boutonnière in his lapel. Make the connection.

Little of the rest of the suit is featured in this scene under the large jacket, but we get a few looks at the single-breasted matching vest with its five widely-spaced buttons with the lowest button correctly left open over the notched bottom.

GANGSTER SQUAD

A classy move like this never fails… although few nightclubs allow smoking these days >:-(

The trousers are likely pleated with a roomy fit through the legs down to the full break cuffed bottoms. The only aspects clearly seen are the side pockets and the turn-ups, which are not only appropriate to the era, but they had also served a surprising purpose for the real life Sgt. Wooters, as Gosling explained to People magazine:

While researching, the actor met with the family members of the man he plays, and learned about some of his character’s quirks. “His kids came to the set and told me a lot of stories and a lot of great details. Like, when he would ash his cigarette, he would ash into the cuff of his pants,” Gosling explained. “Then at the end of the day, he would dump out his cuffs, dump out all the ashes.”

Appropriately for the luxurious-fitting suits of the era, we see little of the shirt and tie underneath; thus, a fashion plate like Wooters works to ensure that his shirt and tie get noticed despite the suit’s best efforts. His sky blue silk dress shirt is printed with a distinctive geometric pattern that resembles a series of bird’s eyes. (NB: The shirt is not made of birdseye cotton cloth, which is much different.)

GANGSTER SQUAD

Wooters’ shirt also has a fashionably long point collar and rounded button cuffs.

GANGSTER SQUAD

Wooters’ rayon tie is surprisingly understated with a few sporadic white and blue floral spots on a russet brown ground.

GANGSTER SQUAD

Although most of the outfit was custom-made by Zophres and her team from period examples, the brown and cream perforated leather spectator shoes briefly featured in this scene were truly vintage according to a story that Zophres told British GQ:

There was a vendor named Ardis up in San Francisco who had these original shoes from the forties – he finds them in old estates. There was a pair of shoes that were two-tone, perforated, just beautiful. They don’t make shoes like that any more! And they just happened to be in Ryan’s size. He saw them and went “Oh my god, those are amazing.”

It’s good to know that Ryan Gosling appreciates fine style as much as his character does.

GANGSTER SQUAD

Despite the hubbub surrounding them, this is the only glimpse the scene gives us of Wooters’ vintage spectator shoes.

Wooters’ wide-brimmed fedora is another example of a true vintage product that made its way into production. The hat is brown felt with a thin, matching grosgrain ribbon and a pinched crown. It is unlined with the manufacturer’s silver logo printed on the underside of the crown.

Zophres worked hard to find and create the right hat for each character other than Wooters. Her interview with British GQ (which, as you can tell, was very helpful!) expands on that:

We made a lot of hats for everybody – it’s important to find the right one for each actor. Fit is so important. For Josh’s hat, he has a bigger head so we tried fifty hats on him. To tell you the truth, in the end we took the crown from one hat and the brim from another and had Optimo make his hats in the perfect medium brown. Whereas Ryan wore all original hats – we only made duplicates because he needed some doubles. Then we made Sean Penn’s at Optimo also, on a pattern of hat made in the Twenties.

GANGSTER SQUAD

Gosling struts around the set in his vintage fedora, which ironically gets its most screen time when he takes it off.

As one might expect from a flashy celebrity cop who takes pride in his appearance, Wooters accessorizes on each hand. He wears a gold ring with a large dark brown stone on his right pinky, and a stainless dress watch with a yellow rectangular dial is fastened to his left wrist on a brown leather strap.

GANGSTER SQUAD

Wooters subtly shows off his accessories.

Zophres concluded her discussion with British GQ with:

Two things. Firstly, that tailoring is hugely important. If your waist is a little big, fix it. If your shoulders are drooping down, it can be fixed with an easy alteration. The second and the biggest thing is when wear a suit, don’t be afraid to dress up. I think it’s become cool to dress down, but there’s nothing more handsome than a man in a suit.

This is coming from a Hollywood costume designer, fellas. Suit up.

How to Get the Look

Wooters’ nightclub suit is a great example of updating classic fashion to appeal to modern men without sacrificing accuracy. Comfort and class – with hints of indulgence – defined men’s post-war style, and this is a good illustration of getting that combination right.

Ryan Gosling as Sgt. Jerry Wooters in Gangster Squad (2013).

  • Brown wool three-piece custom-tailored suit with subtle blue pinstripe, consisting of:
    • Double-breasted long, loose jacket with wide peak lapels, 6×2-button front, welted breast pocket, straight flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
    • Single-breasted vest with 5-button front and notched bottom
    • Pleated trousers with side pockets and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
  • Sky blue geometric printed silk shirt with long point collar and rounded button cuffs
  • Russet brown rayon necktie with white and blue floral spots
  • Brown & cream two-tone perforated leather spectator shoes
  • Brown felt wide-brimmed fedora with a narrow grosgrain ribbon
  • Gold pinky ring with large brown stone, worn on right pinky
  • Stainless wristwatch with yellow rectangular dial and brown leather strap, worn on left wrist

For his night out on the town, Wooters wears a large white carnation on his left lapel.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Grace: What’s your racket, handsome?
Jerry: I’m a bible salesman.
Grace: Want to take me away from all this and make an honest woman out of me?
Jerry: No ma’am, I was just hoping to take you to bed.

Chinatown – Gittes’ Tan Birdseye Tweed Sportcoat

Jack Nicholson as J.J. "Jake" Gittes in Chinatown (1974).

Jack Nicholson as J.J. “Jake” Gittes in Chinatown (1974).

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Film: Chinatown
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert

Background

When not donning a more businesslike gray for his investigations in the city, J.J. Gittes shows a clear preference for earth tones. He is seen earlier wearing a cream suit around the office, and he sports a nice sandy brown three-piece when visiting the Mulwray home.

Gittes heads out to Catalina Island to meet Noah Cross, played by a charmingly sinister John Huston, for lunch. Following lunch, Gittes follows tip after tip, taking him from the hall of records to the San Fernando Valley orange groves to a dubiously-administrated retirement home. Nearly each step of his journey is met with increasing resistance, but he is luckily dressed for his long day in arguably his most comfortable outfit in the movie.

What’d He Wear?

Costume designer Anthea Sylbert had a very distinctive look in mind when she sketched Gittes’ attire for this sequence, combining a busy mishmash of patterns and fabrics to ultimately (and almost miraculously) create a timeless and fashionable – albeit somewhat anachronistic for 1937.

CHINATOWN

Anthea Sylbert’s original vision of J.J. Gittes was well-translated onto the screen.

Gittes’ outfit is comprised of a tan wool sport coat and khakis with a checked shirt, printed tie, and – like a good 1930s gentleman – fedora. The outfit nicely complements Chinatown‘s desert palette without limiting its own creativity.

CHINATOWN

Gittes’ tan tweed sportcoat is woven in a large birdseye pattern that is best described as a Deco version of a Greek key motif. It’s a distinctive and luxurious pattern that further sets Gittes apart from the “salt-of-the-earth” folks he encounters when he ventures outside of L.A. He may try to de-urbanize his wardrobe by wearing a sport coat and slacks rather than a flashy three-piece suit, but his clothing is still too stylish to let him fit in as a “man of the people”.

CHINATOWN

Don’t let the nosy fella’s bandage distract you… check out that distinctive birdseye/Greek key pattern on the jacket. Is there a better name for it than I’ve deciphered?

The sportcoat is single-breasted with a two-button front that he wears open throughout the day. The large notch lapels are a smidge too big to be ’30s (although very fitting for 1974…) with swelled edges present from the lapels to the pockets. A white linen handkerchief puffs out of his welted breast pocket. The large patch pockets on each hip have a narrow flap.

CHINATOWN

Gittes makes his way through the county records office.

Gittes’ sportcoat is another example of an “action back” tweed jacket that was very popular in the ’30s. (BAMF Style previously broke down an action back jacket as part of Warren Beatty’s tweed three-piece suit in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde. Coincidentally enough, another Faye Dunaway movie.)

The action back jacket is distinctive for its typically belted back with pleated, bi-swing shoulders that are designed to allow much greater arm movement. Sometimes, these jackets also feature a center pleat but Gittes’ jacket only has the “pleat[s] at shoulder” that Sylbert called for in her design.

CHINATOWN

Although an action back jacket won’t help you get up after you’ve been knocked out by an angry Okie’s crutch.

The shoulders themselves are softly padded with heavily roped sleeveheads and four buttons at each cuff that match the brown-toned horn buttons on the front. Like the notes on Sylbert’s sketch called for, the jacket indeed has a “half belt” back with “soft gathers on top only”.

CHINATOWN

Bonus points to the old man in the white shirt for having the greatest mustache this side of Ron Swanson.

Gittes wears a pair of medium-low rise darted front trousers in a light shade of khaki that winks at gray in certain light. They are roomy throughout the leg with a crease extending down from the first belt loop down to the flared cuffed bottoms. Gittes’ khakis have straight on-seam side pockets and jetted rear pockets with no buttons.

CHINATOWN

Gittes struts out of the Albacore Club, which is actually the Tuna Club on Santa Catalina Island.

Ever the colorful dresser, Gittes forgoes the traditional brown leather belt for a striped cotton belt. The belt consists of three equal width stripes – dark blue on top and bottom with bright yellow running through the center. The buckle is barely seen, but it appears to be brass.

CHINATOWN

Gittes sees plenty of action, both in the orange groves and in Evelyn’s bedroom. (Hey-oo!)

Gittes’ ecru cotton shirt has a fine brown overcheck. The long point collar has a narrow spread, and the shirt buttons down a front placket. The rounded barrel cuffs also close with a button.

CHINATOWN

The division between the stylish city dude Gittes and the angry Okies is further drawn by the “J.J.G.” monogrammed on the box-pleated pocket of his shirt. By the time they see it, though, they appear to sympathize with him more than on their first meeting.

CHINATOWN

A fight is no way to treat a monogrammed shirt.

Gittes’ tie is printed with a series of reddish-brown Deco swirls on a mustard gold silk ground. He ties it in a four-in-hand and wears it slightly long for 1937 as it hangs down to the waist line of his lower rise trousers. It fastens into place at mid-torso with a gold tie bar.

Gittes wears a pair of brown suede 3-eyelet medallion short-wing balmoral shoes with tan socks that nicely match the leg line of his khakis. A decade later, chukka boots (or desert boots) would come into popularity and likely would’ve been worn by Gittes had the story been set fifteen years later. Of course, that’s only speculation, but I think desert boots would work equally as well with this outfit.

CHINATOWN

Gittes extends the earth tones and desert palette to his accessories, as he should. His fedora is brown felt with a wide brown grosgrain ribbon and a high pinched crown. It’s an awfully sunny day so the relatively short-brimmed hat needs some help; Gittes also dons a pair of simple rimless sunglasses with brown round lenses held into place by thin gold arms.

CHINATOWN

How to accessorize like a snazzy private eye.

Gittes wears a gold watch on his left wrist with a brown leather strap.

So You Wanna Be a Private Eye?

This sequence is loaded with some of Gittes’ finest P.I. tricks, including a cavalier bit at the Hall of Records. After a snooty clerk prevents Gittes from borrowing a book, Gittes asks to borrow a ruler:

Yeah. The print’s real fine. I left my glasses home. I’d like to be able to read across.

The clerk, who is much more of an asshole than he should be, slaps the ruler down on the desk. Gittes smarmily thanks him and takes the ruler back to the recordbook where he lines it up against the owners’ column. With a loud cough, he muffles the sound of the ensuing rip and stashes the names of the new owners in his pocket.

CHINATOWN

Take that, big government!

Without being familiar with the scene, one might think that Gittes is the one being an asshole here, but a poster on the IMDB message board explained the beauty of the scene and the necessity of the snooty clerk:

You know what’s so great about his being such a snot, and why it works so well for the scene? It takes the edge off when Jake, a moment later, rips out the part of the page showing the land sales. We already know Jake’s a guy that bends (and sometimes breaks) rules, but Towne and Polanski cleverly make sure that we’re still 100% with him when he destroys a county document, because he’s not only getting the information he needs, he’s putting one over on the officious little “weasel.”… Like I said: clever. There’s not a detail in Chinatown that’s wasted or serves no purpose.

Gittes also gets a chance to put his quick wit to good use at the Mar Vista retirement home when he and Evelyn pretend to be seeking a nursing home for his father from the bureaucratic Mr. Palmer.

Gittes: Do you accept people of the Jewish persuasion?
Palmer: I’m sorry, we do not.
Gittes: Don’t apologize – neither does Dad.

How to Get the Look

Gittes’ look translates well throughout the decades, although the devil is in the details. Every item – from the monogrammed check shirt, Deco tie, and striped belt to the unique Greek key action back jacket – is especially distinctive to both the man and the era. Since you’re a different man in a different era, be inspired… but don’t be a copycat!

China10-crop

  • Tan birdseye Greek key tweed single-breasted “action back” sportcoat with large notch lapels, 2-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped patch hip pockets, “bi-swing” pleated shoulders, 4-button cuffs, and belted back
  • Ecru (w/ fine brown overcheck) cotton shirt with long point collar, front placket, monogrammed box-pleat breast pocket, and button cuffs
  • Mustard gold silk four-in-hand necktie with reddish-brown Deco swirls
  • Gold tie bar
  • Light khaki darted front trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, jetted rear pockets, and flared cuffed bottoms/turn-ups
  • Dark blue and yellow striped cotton belt with brass claw buckle
  • Brown sueded leather 3-eyelet medallion short-wing balmorals
  • Tan dress socks
  • Brown felt fedora with wide brown grosgrain ribbon
  • Rimless sunglasses with dark brown lenses and gold arms
  • Gold wristwatch on brown leather strap

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie. And if you’re eating fish for lunch, try it with the head… just don’t serve the chicken that way.

The Quote

Gittes: In Chinatown.
Evelyn: What were you doing there?
Gittes: Working for the District Attorney.
Evelyn: Doing what?
Gittes: As little as possible.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry – Larry’s Denim & ’69 Charger

Peter Fonda and Susan George on the poster for <em>Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry</em> (1974) as their '69 Charger blazes away in the background. People who have actually seen the film know how misleading this poster is, and that's all I'll say.

Peter Fonda and Susan George on the poster for Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (1974) as their ’69 Charger blazes away in the background. People who have actually seen the film know how misleading this poster is, and that’s all I’ll say.

Vitals

Peter Fonda as Larry Rayder, wannabe NASCAR driver and small-time robber

San Joaquin County, California, Fall 1973

Film: Dirty Mary Crazy Larry
Release Date: May 17, 1974
Director: John Hough
Wardrobe Mistress: Phyllis Garr

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Unload!

Kiss off!

While few would place Dirty Mary Crazy Larry‘s script in the same echelon with Casablanca or The Godfather, there’s no doubting that it has its place among the classic European-influenced but all-American car chase flicks that kicked off with Bullitt and tapered off somewhere in the mid-’70s as more over-the-top fare like Smokey and the Bandit took over as the gearheads’ cinematic servings. It was that brief semi-decade where the sub-genre blossomed with ennui and nihilism driving the motoring protagonists of Vanishing PointTwo-Lane Blacktop, and those of its ilk.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry was a transition between the earlier nihilist cult films and the more marketable, humor-laced movies. Larry, Mary, and Deke aren’t necessarily driving without a defined purpose, but one could argue they were just as doomed as Kowalski when they slipped into that lime green ’69 Charger. And it is with that ’69 Charger – which BAMF Style loyalists know by now is my favorite car of all time – that I’m concluding this run of Car Week.

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry‘s plot could easily be summed up as Bonnie and Clyde in Vanishing Point. Larry Rayder is a snarky small-timer with ambitions for the NASCAR circuit. He’s certainly good enough to make it (and Peter Fonda’s badass driving skills leave no doubt about that), but he doesn’t have the money he needs to get there. To make the extra scratch, he brings along his relatively levelheaded mechanic, Deke (Adam Roarke), for a bloodless and weaponless grocery store robbery. Unbeknownst to Larry, his one night stand “Dirty Mary” Coombs has tracked him down, catapulting these three young but wildly different folks across northern California, evading road blocks and police helicopters… but not trains.

What’d He Wear?

Crazy Larry’s attire can be summed up easily: lots of denim. His shirt and jeans are the same medium blue denim wash for a California-friendly variant of the “denim sandwich” worn by Luke Duke.

Say all you will about wearing too much denim, Deke's look says "I JUST COMMITTED A CRIME" just a little too clearly.

Say all you will about wearing too much denim, but Deke’s look says “I JUST COMMITTED A CRIME” just a little too clearly.

Larry’s Clothes

Larry wears a blue chambray cotton shirt with white snaps down the front and Western-stype pointed front yokes. Below each yoke is a patch pocket with a small but deeply-pointed flap; each flap closes with a white snap matching those down the front of the shirt, although Larry tends to leave the snaps open. The shirt’s large collar has long points.

Larry teaches Mary a thing or two about unloading. And kissing off.

Larry teaches Mary a thing or two about unloading. And kissing off.

The shirt’s long sleeves end with squared cuffs that close with three white snaps.

CrazyLarry-CL1-shirt2

Larry’s bootcut denim jeans have a standard five-pocket layout with two front pockets, a coin pocket on the right side, and two large patch pockets on the back with a small black manufacturer’s label sewn into the top of the right pocket. It appears to be the black Wrangler logo with “Wrangler” stitched in yellow, although the stitching across the pocket is not W-shaped like Wrangler was known for.

Any idea who the manufacturer is?

Any ideas?

Larry wears a brown tooled leather belt and a distinctive pewter diamond-shaped belt buckle. The buckle is painted with a blue enamel circle and red around the edges. “WELLS FARGO” is embossed on the blue center circle.

CrazyLarry-CL3-buckle

I’ve seen many Wells Fargo belt buckles, but almost none are multi-colored and I’ve certainly never seen this buckle’s equal.

Larry’s Racing Gear

Larry’s shoes are best seen in promotional material since the film hardly gives his feet any screen time, odd since most driving movies have at least one shot of the driver’s foot slamming on a pedal or two. He wears simple black leather high-top driving shoes with tan laces through six steel eyelets. Larry also wears black socks.

This promotional image gives us a better look at Larry's feet than we get in the whole movie.

This promotional image gives us a better look at Larry’s feet than we get in the whole movie.

It’s hard to find any high top racing sneakers these days that aren’t overly sporty with logos or velcro straps, but Cole Haan’s “Vaughn” soft leather high top sneakers (available from Jos. A. Bank) appear to be a nice throwback to the classic racing shoes sported by Fonda in the film. A true racing shoe is meant to be so lightweight and comfortable that a driver under duress doesn’t even realize he (or she) is wearing any; laced firmly to keep feet snug and under control when quickly transitioning from throttle to clutch to brake.

Details like Larry’s racing shoes and gloves show that, while he may not be a bona fide race car driver, he certainly takes driving seriously. His driving gloves are made of soft tan leather with cream cotton crocheted across the top side in a classic basket weave. They fasten on each wrist with velcro-closed leather tabs.

Larry gives Mary a loving squeeze.

Larry gives Mary a loving squeeze.

If you’re in the market for a pair of similar (and nicer!) gloves, Pierotucci offers a fine pair made from Italian nappa leather.

Larry’s Accessories

Larry’s gold cluster ring pokes out on the third finger of his left hand through the glove’s finger hole. I’m not sure if the ring is a Peter Fonda thing or a character piece, but it appears to possibly be a classic Irish Claddagh ring.

Peter Fonda poses for his senior photo.

Peter Fonda poses for his senior photo.

Further up his left hand, a slim, simple gold bangle adorns Larry’s wrist. This is likely Peter Fonda’s own bracelet, as he has been photographed wearing it on other occasions.

Larry's bangle shines out from under his shirt cuff.

Larry’s bangle shines out from under his shirt cuff.

There is a continuity issue with Larry’s watches. The best close-up we are given is toward the end, when his wristwatch appears to be gold with a red-lit LED screen like a 1972 Pulsar P1. Earlier, however, his watch is definitely stainless with a white analog dial on expanding bracelet. The stainless watch appears to be his primary one, although the long sleeves of the shirt and the driving gloves make it difficult to determine what watch he is wearing in which scenes.

Perhaps Larry has a different watch for casual getaway driving and high-speed getaway driving?

Perhaps Larry has a different watch for casual getaway driving and high-speed getaway driving?

Finally, we get to Larry’s sunglasses. He barely ever removes his shades, his best and most literal defensive mechanism to keep from showing actual emotion when Deke or Mary calls him out on something.

Larry stays focused while driving.

Larry stays focused while driving.

The frames are tortoise plastic aviators with a double bridge and a silver “O” logo on the temples. (The “O” doesn’t stand for Oakley, as the company wasn’t founded until 1975 – two years later – and the logo itself didn’t become recognizable until O-Goggles in 1980.) Larry’s sunglasses have amber gradient lenses.

Go Big or Go Home

Larry Rayder may be cocky, but he’s smart enough to at least attempt to stay ahead of the cops during his robbery. He loads a Realistic TRC-46 23-channel CB radio into the getaway cars, he has potential escape routes through the Linden orange groves practically committed to memory, and he keeps his mind clear without any drugs, booze, or other substances.

CrazyLarry-LS-RealisticCB

The Realistic radio kept in the car. Realistic is a brand name here, not an adjective.

Of course, it’s Larry’s method of “clearing his mind” before the heist that gets them into trouble. Mary Coombs isn’t content being a one night stand, and she relentlessly tracks down Larry, waiting in his car as he exits the grocery store with the stolen cash and greeting him with: “Hi, asshole.” Despite their contemptuous bickering throughout the movie, Larry grows to appreciate Mary as much as he can, singing her praises to Deke:

How can you not like someone as fulla shit as that?

How to Get the LookCrazyLarry-crop2

It’s a look that will get attention – whether or not that attention is positive or negative is up to you. As Larry spent most of his time behind the wheel, it’s safe to say he was dressing more for comfort than for looks.

  • Blue chambray cotton snap-front  shirt with large collar, pointed Western-style yokes, pointed-flap chest patch pockets (w/ snaps), and triple-snapped square cuffs
  • Blue bootcut denim jeans
  • Brown tooled leather belt
  • Pewter diamond-shaped Wells Fargo belt buckle with blue and red painted enamel
  • Black leather high-top driving shoes with tan laces
  • Black socks
  • Tortoise plastic-framed aviator sunglasses with amber gradient lenses
  • Tan leather fingerless driving gloves with cream cotton crocheted top side
  • Gold cluster ring, worn on left ring finger
  • Stainless wristwatch with white dial and expanding bracelet, worn on right wrist
  • Gold simple bangle bracelet, worn on left wrist

The Car

Right from the get-go, Hollywood knew a special car was on their hands when Chrysler rolled out its second generation “B-body” Dodge Charger in 1968. Sleeker than its predecessor with Richard Sias’s redesigned double-diamond coke bottle styling, the 1968-1970 generation of Dodge Chargers embodied aesthetic American muscle car perfection. 1968-1970 was also the apex of raw power under the hood, with Mopar’s legendary 426 Hemi and 440 cubic inch engines ruling the streets.

From Bullitt in 1968 through The Dukes of Hazzard in the early 1980s to the Fast and the Furious franchise over the last decade, Hollywood has embraced the 1968-1970 Chargers as the car for men who know what they’re doing behind the wheel. It makes sense that a racing fanatic like Larry Rayder would choose a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 as his primary getaway car.

CrazyLarry-CAR1-69DC1

By 1966, Ford and GM had cornered the performance market with sharp, powerful cars like the Ford Mustang and the Pontiac GTO. Chrysler was struggling to compete with only the Plymouth Barracuda as a possible contender. Luckily for Chrysler, it had a new secret weapon – the 426 Hemi engine. The 426 Hemi had been developed for racing two years earlier and was named for its hemispherical head. It was nicknamed the “elephant engine” due to its size and power, and now Chrysler had a street car that could use it when the first Dodge Charger rolled out of Detroit in 1966.

The first generation of Dodge Chargers took drivers by surprise. The fastback design looked relatively tame, having even been referred to as “a good-looking [AMC] Marlin”. However, the V8-only options under the hood soon changed people’s minds. The base engine was a 318 cubic inch V8 with a 2-barrel carburetor with the 426 Street Hemi taking the top spot. The next year, the 440 cubic inch “Magnum” V8 debuted as a larger and more efficient alternative to the 426 Hemi.

For 1968, the entire Chrysler B-body lineup was totally redesigned, and the most classic iteration of the Dodge Charger was born. A flat-six engine was added in mid-year as the new standard engine, but serious drivers opted for the any of the mean V8 options – ranging from the 2-barrel 318 and 2-barrel 383 to the 4-barrel 383 and 426 Hemi. The 440 Magnum V8 is seen as the perfect balance between power and practicality, offering 375 rated horsepower (compared to the Hemi’s 425) and a slightly more reasonable gas mileage… depending on the transmission and the driver, of course.

The R/T (Road/Track) trim was the highest performance honor that could be bestowed on a ’68-’70 Charger with the only R/T engine options being 426 and 440. A Charger R/T would easily top 130 mph, theoretically topping out at 143 mph for a Hemi equipped with the TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Lower tier Chargers had standard 3-speed manual transmissions, but the R/T added an extra gear for 4-speed manuals as the alternative to the venerable 3-speed Chrysler TorqueFlite.

In 1970, the last great year of the Charger, a new engine option was added with the 440 “Six Pack”, so named for its three 2-barrel carburetors (you do the math). However, Dodge was starting to cannibalize its own customer base with the introduction of the Dodge Challenger into the pony car series that same year. Plus, insurance rates and gas prices were steadily increasing, the American appetite for powerful automobiles would soon whisper away. The muscle Charger enjoyed four more years of production with a redesigned “fuselage” look like its sister cars over at the Plymouth division, but the next and last four B-body years – 1975 to 1978 – can hardly be compared to the car it once had been.

Sinful.

Sinful.

1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 Magnum

Body Style: 2-door fastback coupe

Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

Engine: 440 ci (7.2 L) Chrysler “RB”-series V8 with 4-barrel carburetor

Power: 375 hp (279.5 kW; 380 PS) @ 4600 rpm

Torque: 480 lb·ft (651 N·m) @ 3200 rpm

Transmission: 3-speed Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic

Wheelbase: 117 inches (2972 mm)

Length: 208.0 inches (5283 mm)

Width: 76.7 inches (1948 mm)

Height: 53.0 inches (1346 mm)

Three Dodge Chargers were used for production in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, all painted Limelight Yellow (appearing more florescent green) with non-factory black racing stripes painted on the side by the crew. All were fitted with classic American Racing “Sprint” wheels and California license plates 938 DAN. Of the three cars, two were intentionally damaged in the front after the Charger was to have collided with the red pickup truck.

The main car, used for most of the filming and – I believe – all of the screenshots here is a true 1969 Dodge Charger R/T with a 440 Magnum engine. A second 1969 model was used, but it was a standard Charger coupe with no R/T emblems. Finally, a 1968 Dodge Charger coupe was utilized during the chase when a police car is sideswiped into the river; the 1968 model is evident by looking at the non-split grille.

CrazyLarry-CAR1-69DC3

The camerawork makes it obvious that Peter Fonda did much of his own driving in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, and Susan George would later tell stories about being terrified riding the Charger as it hit speeds above 100 mph in the days before seatbelts.

Luckily, Fonda wasn’t driving for the Vanishing Point-esque ending. An engine was removed from one of the Chargers, and the car was in turn filled with explosives. The explosive-ridden car was connected to a towing cable, hooked up under the train tracks to a pulley system that connected it to the train; thus, the train pulled the Charger into it and blew it up.

Before the gang switches to their Charger, Larry drives a blue 1966 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan. The model year is, in fact, 1966 although it is referred to in the film’s universe as a “’68 Chevy”.

CrazyLarry-CAR2-Chevy1

Larry’s Impala is a base model 4-door hardtop pillarless sedan – model #16439 – with a 327 badge on the front fender, indicating the 327 cubic inch “Turbo Fire” V8 engine under the hood. At 275 horsepower, an Impala 327 is no slouch, but it doesn’t even compare to the power offered by a 440 Charger. Larry’s Impala is also fitted with the 2-speed Powerglide automatic transmission rather than the 4-speed manual that was optional on all V8 Impalas that year. The usual license plate is RTG 911, although there is a brief continuity error when it is seen driving up a hill.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

So help me, if you try another stunt like that again, I’m gonna braid your tits.

GoldenEye – Bond’s Tan Suit & BMW Z3 in Cuba

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995), standing next to his newly-issued BMW Z3.

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye (1995), standing next to his newly-issued BMW Z3.

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British government secret agent

Cuba, Spring 1995

Film: GoldenEye
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming

Background

Car Week continues with a second post of James Bond driving in the Caribbean, this time finding 007 “bombing around” Cuba in his sporty new BMW Z3. (Monday’s post featured the gray flannel suit and black ’57 Chevy in Dr. No.)

The scene begins peacefully with Bond driving his new ladyfriend Natalya around. Natalya lauds the Caribbean for its beauty with not another human in sight… just in time for Joe Don Baker to show up and bring sthat thought to a screeching halt.

What’d He Wear?

Brosnan’s Bond wears yet another Brioni suit for his pre-mission drive through Cuba, although this is much different than the gray and blue Brioni business suits worn earlier in the film. Made of a tan linen blend twill, this two-piece suit is perfect for a stylish man on holiday in the Caribbean. Bond is technically on a mission and not vacation, but the beautiful woman, expensive new roadster, and tropical surroundings might blur that line a bit.

This suit received an expert breakdown on Matt Spaiser’s blog, The Suits of James Bond; check out Cool in Cuba: A Tan Linen Suit for a more in-depth look. Matt explains on his blog: “the twill suiting is two-tone, woven with light brown and white yarns to effectively look tan overall.”

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See the subtle weave in the suiting?

The blend also offers the cool-wearing benefits of linen without the unsightly wrinkle. Lindy Hemming tailored the suit with a larger fit that is both contemporary to the mid-1990s and more comfortable in the warm Cuban climate as overly tight linen is uncomfortable and more prone to creasing.

Pierce Brosnan would sport a similar tan linen blend suit in The Tailor of Panama four years later as another cavalier MI6 agent stationed in – you guessed it – Panama. An earlier example of 007 in a similar suit would be Timothy Dalton’s tan gabardine suit in The Living Daylights. Dalton’s suit, worn during the first Morocco scene in the movie, is one of the few sartorial highlights of his two-film tenure.

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Bond reasonably hesitates before handing the keys to his new roadster over to Sheriff Buford Pusser Jack Wade.

Brosnan’s suit jacket is single-breasted with padded straight shoulders, roped sleeveheads, and a ventless back seen as he steps out of the BMW to greet Wade. The notch lapels have swelled edges and a buttonhole on the left lapel. The three buttons on the front and three buttons on the cuffs are all a medium brown. The coat also has a welted breast pocket and straight flapped hip pockets.

The trousers match the jacket with their generous fit, rising no higher than the jacket’s center button while still offering a roomy fit through the thighs and legs. They definitely have reverse pleats, and it’s reasonable to assume they are triple-reverse pleated like the other Brioni suit trousers in GoldenEye. The brown leather belt holding them up has a shiny brass single-claw buckle.

Bond removes the belt and cuffs up the trousers’ already-cuffed bottoms when he heads out to sit on the beach to contemplate life. This scene also shows us the on-seam side pockets and jetted right rear pocket of the trousers.

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Bond reflects on how difficult his life is. Oh wait.

Bond appears to be wearing two different white linen Sulka shirts in these scenes with only subtle differences in the stitching and material composition. His primary shirt, worn while driving the Z3, is likely a linen and cotton blend with a moderate spread collar – worn open with the top two buttons undone – plus a front placket and French cuffs. The French cuffs are a bit surprising to see in such an informal situation (especially with no tie), but this is Brosnan’s Bond, so what else would we expect? Despite this, we don’t really get to see the cuff links, and Bond’s sleeves are rolled up when we see him at the beach. The beach shirt may or may not be different, but it appears to be more lightweight and probably all-linen.

I can just imagine the argument between Bond and Natalya as he packs. “What do you need two white linen shirts for?” asks Natalya. “The all-linen shirt is for sitting on the beach, and the linen blend shirt is for driving. God, get it right!” Bond screams before storming out of the room.

The brown leather brogues he wears in Cuba don’t receive much screen time, but they appear to be the same Church’s Chetwynd full brogue Oxfords in “walnut brown” Nevada leather that he wears earlier with the dark blue blazer in Monte Carlo. If these are the same shoes, then they’re a pair of perforated medallion cap toe wingtip brogues with six eyelets. The sartorially-inclined Brosnan is probably also wearing tan or light brown socks to continue the leg line from trouser to shoe, although the full break of the trouser leg prevents us from ever knowing the truth. More information about the GoldenEye Chetwynd shoes can be found on James Bond Lifestyle.

Bond also wears a cool pair of tortoise-framed Persol sunglasses, evident by the distinctive silver temple logos.

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Brosnan channels McQueen with his Persols.

GoldenEye gives Bond an Omega watch for the first time, although the film is the only instance where the Seamaster Professional Diver 2541.80.00 with its Omega 1538 quartz movement makes an appearance before Brosnan would switch to the 2531.00 with an automatic movement in the next few films.

The Omega Seamaster Professional 2541.80.00 in GoldenEye has a blue bezel on a stainless steel case with a blue dial protected by domed, anti-reflective, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. It fastens to his left wrist on a stainless link bracelet. The watch is water-resistant to 300 meters.

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A classy watch for a classy dude.

More information about the GoldenEye Omega can be found at James Bond Lifestyle, while Dell Deaton’s extensively-researched JamesBondWatches.com offers a solid source of information that identifies all watches from the Bond series.

Go Big or Go Home

…actually don’t go home, go to a beach.

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I have yet to enjoy a business trip like this.

Puerto Rico filled in for “Cuba” with Bond and Natalya enjoying their daytime drive and nighttime tryst near the Laguna Tortuguero Nature Reserve in Vega Baja.

How to Get the Look

The perfect blend of style and comfort was always key for casual attire when it came to Pierce Brosnan’s Bond, and this outfit – with its linen blend suit and shirt – is no exception.

  • Tan linen blend twill Brioni two-piece suit, consisting of:
    • Single-breasted jacket with notch lapels, 3-button front, welted breast pocket, flapped hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless rear
    • Triple-reverse pleated low rise trousers with belt loops, on-seam side pockets, jetted right rear pocket, and turn-ups/cuffs
  • White linen/cotton Sulka dress shirt with spread collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
  • Brown leather belt with brass single-claw buckle
  • Walnut brown Nevada leather Church’s Chetwynd full brogue oxford shoes
  • Light brown dress socks
  • Persol tortoise-framed sunglasses
  • Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 2541.80.00 with stainless steel case, blue dial, blue bezel, stainless link bracelet, and 300M Omega 1538 Quartz precision movement

The Car

Pay attention, 007. First, your new car. BMW. Agile, five foward gears, all points radar, self-destruct system and naturally… all the usual refinements. Now this I’m particularly proud of… behind the headlights, stinger missiles!

Bond receives his new car, for which Q stresses he does not have a license to break local traffic laws, early on in GoldenEye after he receives his mission rundown, but it isn’t until the beginning of the film’s final act that the BMW Z3 roadster is actually revealed. Bond only drives the car briefly before swapping it out for a plane in Cuba, but the car marks a significant shift in the already prominent product placement of the Bond series as things took a more continental European turn. 007 keeps wearing Swiss watches, switching from Rolex to Omega, but his solidly English Savile Row suits are now from the Italian fashion house Brioni and the iconic Aston Martin is now replaced by German BMWs.

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Bond bombs around the Cuban countryside in style, driving a car that wouldn’t even be announced for another two months.

Although the car itself didn’t win many accolades among serious automotive fans, the BMW Z3 was so heavily promoted for its status as the new James Bond car that it won the “Super Reggie” award for best marketing campaign in 1995 (under the direction of Karen Sortio) and sold more than 15,000 roadsters before the car was officially introduced. The Z3 had been a long time project for BMW; development began under Dr. Burkhard Göschel – a German name if ever there was one – in 1991. The following July, BMW Design Team’s Joji Nagashima designed the exterior. Development continued and patents were filed, and the BMW Z3 (E36/7) was officially announced via a video press release on June 12, 1995, entering production three months later for the 1996 model year. When GoldenEye was release two months later and sat at number one in the box office, sales for the Z3 spiked.

The Z3 was a breakthrough for BMW as both their first mass-produced market roadster and the first model to be manufactured in the U.S. The “Z” in Z3 (as well as BMW’s other Z-named autos) stands for Zukunft – or “future” – and it’s clearly a car that BMW was anticipating as their gateway to that future. It was originally introduced as strictly a roadster (E36/7) with two inline-four engine options, a 1.8L and a 1.9L. A 2.8L engine was added to the lineup in 1996, and the coupe variant (E36/8) was introduced in 1999; Z3 owners who wanted a hardtop prior to that had to order a roof to that would snap onto mounts. The Z3 received a facelift and revised engine options in 2000, and the car was discontinued in 2002 to be replaced by the BMW Z4.

The BMW Z3 is a light, nimble car that weighs not much more than 2,500 pounds, although the inline-four engine is hardly a strong performer. Bond’s 1.9L model, even fitted with the standard “five forward gear” manual transmission that Q was so proud of, would take at least nine seconds to accelerate to 60 mph… even longer than the relatively slow 8.5 seconds that the classic ’64 DB5 needed to hit the same speed. Compared to the 4.2 second 0-60 time on Bond’s Aston Martin DBS in Casino Royale, the BMW Z3 is a mere toy. (Pierce would get a more comparable car with the Die Another Day Aston Martin Vanquish’s 4.3 second 0-60, but the car’s “invisible factor” leads many to disregard it as a serious Bond car.)

GE8-CAR-Z3b1995 BMW Z3

Body Style: 2-door roadster

Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)

Engine: 1895 cc (1.9 L) BMW M44B19 16-valve I4

Power: 138 hp (103 kW; 140 PS) @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 133 lb·ft (180 N·m) @ 4300 rpm

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Wheelbase: 96.8 inches (2459 mm)

Length: 158.5 inches (4026 mm)

Width: 66.6 inches (1692 mm)

Height: 49.8 inches (1265 mm)

After more than thirty years of driving almost exclusively British cars like the Bentley, the underwater Lotus, and a litany of gray Aston Martins, it’s almost refreshing to see this new take on the agent driving something produced by another country. Arguments that Bond should be driving a British car are foolish; his watches have always been Swiss and even his iconic Walther PPK is German. Imagine Bond trying to conceal a clunky Webley revolver in a shoulder holster under his dinner suit?

Some criticism is a little more accurate when directed toward the small and relatively ill-performing BMW Z3, often written off as a “hairdresser’s car” to the point of being a joke on Californication. While it’s true that Bond would have some trouble evading a better-equipped baddie in his 1.9L Z3, it’s certainly fitting that 007 would drive an innovative new model for an easy drive in the country. It’s a good thing he doesn’t get into a chase scene, either; the small car is probably too weighed down by its bulletproof metal, stinger missiles, and parachute braking system to even approach its theoretical top speed of 127 mph.

The GoldenEye car has an Atlanta-306 blue metallic exterior and a beige nappa leather interior. The single exhaust tells us that it indeed carries the anemic 1.9L inline-four under the hood.

My uncle, who is neither a hairdresser nor a secret agent, purchased a 2000 Z3 3.0i with the M54B30 inline-six engine, offering a more respectable 228 horsepower and a potential top speed of 147 mph with its 4-speed automatic gearbox. While I didn’t have it anywhere near 147 (cut that number in half), it certainly was fun to drive, although my uncle has discovered that it is a wildly impractical car for Pittsburgh’s seasonal winters.

Yours truly (with my sister) behind the wheel of my uncle's Z3 back in 2007.

Yours truly (with my sister) behind the wheel of my uncle’s Z3 back in 2007.

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Buy the movie.

The Quote

Yo, Wade. Just one thing. Don’t push any of the buttons on that car.