Sneakers: Redford’s Varsity Jacket and Karmann Ghia

Robert Redford in Sneakers (1992)

Robert Redford as Martin Bishop, seated in his Karmann Ghia in Sneakers (1992)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Martin Bishop (formerly Martin Brice), digital security consultant and fugitive hacker

San Francisco, Fall 1991

Film: Sneakers
Release Date: September 11, 1992
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Robert Redford looks like he’s having a great time in Sneakers, Phil Alden Robinson’s 1992 crime comedy about a gang of professional computer hackers. Redford stars as Martin Brice, a digital “sneaker” who has spent more than 20 years on the lam legitimizing his talent to become a security consultant, re-christened Martin Bishop. His background leads to recruitment by two men claiming to work for the NSA, forcing Martin and his team to take on a dubiously legitimate job.

Despite its subject matter, Sneakers never feels excessively dated as it focuses less on the technical aspects of digital hacking and more on the camaraderie among Redford’s motley band, consisting of Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, River Phoenix, and Mary McDonnell. Redford’s character zips through the City by the Bay in a classic Karmann Ghia convertible, weathered but reliable like the then-56-year-old actor himself. Continue reading

Wild Card: Jason Statham’s Corduroy Car Coat and Ford Torino

Jason Statham as Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Jason Statham as the Ford Torino-driving Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Vitals

Jason Statham as Nick Wild, tough security consultant and bodyguard-for-hire

Las Vegas, Christmas 2013

Film: Wild Card
Release Date: January 14, 2015
Director: Simon West
Costume Designer: Lizz Wolf

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Car Week continues into December with a little-discussed action movie that—like The Bourne Identity and Three Days of the Condor—is set during against a Christmas backdrop complete with carols on the soundtrack, though the holiday timing has little impact on the plot. (I don’t include Die Hard in this category because, as many have argued, Christmas is the reason for the whole plot!)

Reviving a role originated by Burt Reynolds in William Goldman’s 1986 movie Heat, Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a “security consultant” for Las Vegas lawyer Pinchus “Pinky” Zion (Jason Alexander), who makes his daily commute from a seedy motel in a snazzy ’69 Ford Torino. Continue reading

Detour: Tom Neal’s Borrowed Clothes and Borrowed Lincoln

Tom Neal as Al Roberts in Detour (1945)

Tom Neal behind the wheel of a ’41 Lincoln as Al Roberts in Detour (1945)

Vitals

Tom Neal as Al Roberts, hitchhiking nightclub pianist

Across the United States, especially Arizona to California, Spring 1945

Film: Detour
Release Date: November 30, 1945
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Wardrobe Designer: Mona Barry

Background

On the last day of #Noirvember, let’s also kick off #CarWeek with a look at one of the best examples of “road noir” with Detour, the enduring B-movie that saw a limited release 76 years ago today on November 30, 1945, just over two weeks after its initial premiere in Boston.

Martin M. Goldsmith worked with an uncredited Martin Mooney to adapt his own 1939 novel of the same name into a screenplay. Known as “the King of PRC” for his reputation as an efficient director working for the Poverty Row studio Producers Releasing Corporation, the Austrian-born Edgar G. Ulmer filmed Detour in less than a month in the summer of 1945, with a shoestring budget of less than $100,000; for comparison, this was less than 10% of the final budget for that year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, The Lost Weekend. (Perhaps overstating his efficiency, Ulmer would later cite that he made the movie in six days for $20,000.)

Detour was my gateway to film noir, thanks to a multi-pack DVD that I was gifted in high school that included many pulp classics like D.O.A.The HitchhikerQuicksand, and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, many of which—like Detour—were regularly available in budget-friendly home video releases as they had fallen into the public domain. Clocking in at just over an hour, the story may be simple, but it contains all the characteristic noir themes and stock characters, including the femme fatale (and how!) and the wrongly accused man whose questionable ethics and unfortunate circumstances launch him headway into increasingly dangerous circumstances.

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The Grass is Greener: Cary Grant’s Velvet Dinner Jacket

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, in The Grass is Greener (1960)

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, in The Grass is Greener (1960)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, deadpan but debonair nobleman

Rural England, Spring 1960

Film: The Grass is Greener
Release Date: December 23, 1960
Director: Stanley Donen
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Today marks the 35th anniversary since the death of screen legend and style icon Cary Grant. To commemorate the actor’s prolific career, I wanted to highlight his characteristically stylish clothing from one of his lesser-discussed works, the Stanley Donen-directed romantic comedy The Grass is Greener.

While The Grass is Greener isn’t among my favorite of Grant’s filmography, I can certainly appreciate its cast and style! The execution feels a little too stagey for my liking, which makes sense as it was adapted by Hugh Williams and Margaret Vyner from their own hit play, deriving its title from the centuries-old idiom that is paraphrased by Grant’s character when he admits that “indeed, the grass is always greener on the other side of the hedge.”

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Dennis Haysbert’s Brown Plaid Jacket in Far From Heaven

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven (2002)

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven (2002)

Vitals

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father

Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957 into Winter 1958

Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Todd Haynes’ 1950s-set Far From Heaven paid homage to Douglas Sirk’s visually stunning mid-century melodramas like All That Heaven AllowsImitation of LifeMagnificent Obsession, and Written on the Wind, addressing themes of love, class, and race, often against stunningly idyllic autumnal backdrops that belie the intense personal dramas beyond those white picket fences and manicured lawns.

After years of semi-satisfied suburban life, well-to-do housewife Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) finds herself in a maelstrom of conflict after discovering her husband’s homosexuality as well as her own feelings for Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), the son of her family’s late gardener whose race has her “friends” and neighbors clutching their proverbial pearls in reaction to the developing relationship between the two. Continue reading

Cheers: Sam Malone’s Thanksgiving Madras Plaid Jacket and Knitted Tie

Ted Danson as Sam Malone on Cheers (Episode 5.09: "Thanksgiving Orphans")

Ted Danson as Sam Malone on Cheers (Episode 5.09: “Thanksgiving Orphans”)

Vitals

Ted Danson as Sam Malone, bartender and former baseball star

Boston, Thanksgiving 1986

Series: Cheers
Episode: “Thanksgiving Orphans” (Episode 5.09)
Air Date: November 27, 1986
Director:
James Burrows
Created by: Glen Charles, Les Charles, and James Burrows
Costume Designer: Robert L. Tanella

WARNING! Spoilers ahead! 

Background

Happy Thanksgiving! This iconic episode from Cheers‘ fifth season aired 35 years ago this week on Thanksgiving 1986 and has often been included on lists ranking the greatest TV episodes of all time.

Decades before your friends started hosting Friendsgiving celebrations, Carla Tortelli (Rhea Perlman) hosted the Cheers crew at her home, filling the void left by her many children, most of whom are spending the holiday with their dad, Nick; indeed, the fact that we don’t get any Turkey Day time with Dan Hedaya’s character may be the one downside to this marvelous episode.

Of course, the rest of the gang is all here: barkeep Sam Malone (Ted Danson), his famously on-again/off-again paramour Diane Chambers (Shelley Long), her lonely ex Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), honorary barstools Norm (George Wendt) and Cliff (John Ratzenberger), and novice bartender Woody Boyd (Woody Harrelson), who frequently urges “this is gonna be the best Thanksgiving ever!” Continue reading

Brad Pitt’s Thanksgiving Style on Friends

Brad Pitt as Will Colbert on Friends (Episode 8.09: "The One with the Rumor")

Brad Pitt as Will Colbert on Friends (Episode 8.09: “The One with the Rumor”)

Vitals

Brad Pitt as Will Colbert, commodities broker

New York City, Thanksgiving 2001

Series: Friends
Episode: “The One with the Rumor” (Episode 8.09)
Air Date: November 22, 2001
Director: Gary Halvorson
Creator: David Crane & Marta Kauffman
Costume Designer: Debra McGuire

Background

Whether it’s Ross fighting his way out of a pair of shrinking leather pants or Joey layered like a snowman in his roommate Chandler’s clothing, Friends isn’t exactly the first series that comes to mind when thinking of stylish menswear. On the other hand, the show’s female cast—particularly Jennifer Aniston as the boutique-obsessed Rachel—was a major influence on fashion of the ’90s, whether that meant an enviable wardrobe or an iconic, era-defining haircut.

From the beginning, Friends was meant to depict that period in people’s lives where we build our own “family” of chosen friends, particularly when living away from home. The first season’s Thanksgiving episode found the six leads enjoying Turkey Day together, the first time for many without their family, echoing the “Friendsgiving” traditions that would emerge among real-life groups of friends shortly after the series ended.

Thanksgiving episodes became a tradition on Friends as well, with memorable moments like the impromptu men vs. women football match in the park, Chandler telling Monica he loved her… while she was dancing with a raw turkey on her head, and Rachel’s revolting trifle that also included the ingredients for shepherd’s pie thanks to a sticky cookbook.

And then there was The One with Brad Pitt. Continue reading

JFK: Kevin Costner’s Shirt Collars as Jim Garrison

Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison in JFK (1991)

Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison in JFK (1991)

Vitals

Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana, and World War II veteran

New Orleans, Fall 1963 through Spring 1969

Film: JFK
Release Date: December 20, 1991
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Marlene Stewart

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Jim Garrison, the Louisiana district attorney whose prosecution of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw remains the only trial to be brought for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was murdered in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Born November 20, 1921, Earling Carothers “Jim” Garrison had just celebrated his 42nd birthday and was nearly halfway through his first of three four-year terms as Orleans Parish District Attorney when Kennedy was killed.

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Justified: Raylan’s Wool Coat and Double Denim

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 6.11: “Fugitive Number One”). Photo by Prashant Gupta/FX.

Vitals

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal

Harlan County, Kentucky, Spring 2010 to Fall 2014

Series: Justified
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designers: Ane Crabtree (Season 1) & Patia Prouty (Seasons 2-6)

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Justified is one of my favorite fall shows (despite the fact that each season originally aired in the spring), and I always like to revisit the tangled, moonshine-soaked underworld of Harlan County every autumn.

The first episode established the series-long conflict between Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), who dug coal together in the mines of eastern Kentucky before their diverging career paths as Raylan rose through the ranks of the U.S. Marshals Service tracking down criminals like Boyd, who started the series as the explosives-loving leader of a gang of bank-robbing white supremacists.

Both Raylan and Boyd have frequently been the subjects of requests from fans of the series as the series costume designers neatly established each man’s signature style: Boyd, somewhat fussy for a country criminal, with his layered sport jackets, waistcoats with dangling pocket watch chains, and shirts buttoned to the neck; and Raylan, who blends old-fashioned cowboy aesthetics into his modern business apparel. Continue reading

The Great Gatsby: Sam Waterston’s Tan Cashmere Sweater

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Vitals

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, impressionable bachelor and bond salesman

Long Island, New York, Summer 1925

Film: The Great Gatsby
Release Date: March 29, 1974
Director: Jack Clayton
Costume Designer: Theoni V. Aldredge
Clothes by: Ralph Lauren

Background

To celebrate Sam Waterston’s 81st birthday today, I wanted to return to the actor’s breakthrough performance as Nick Carraway, the central character in Jack Clayton’s stylish The Great Gatsby, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel of the same name.

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