Cary Grant’s Gray Pinstripe Suit in An Affair to Remember

Cary Grant as Nickie Ferrante in An Affair to Remember (1957)

Cary Grant as Nickie Ferrante in An Affair to Remember (1957)

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Cary Grant as Nicolò “Nickie” Ferrante, socialite playboy

French Riviera, December 1956

Film: An Affair to Remember
Release Date: July 2, 1957
Director: Leo McCarey
Executive Wardrobe Designer: Charles Le Maire

Background

As many folks across the United States are wrapping up Thanksgiving travel arrangements home to be with family, I wanted to take a look at some classic films where characters are making the own familial visitations.

An Affair to Remember finds Cary Grant on a transatlantic journey with Deborah Kerr. When the SS Constitution anchors in the French Riviera, Grant takes the opportunity to introduce his new traveling companion to his aging Italian grandmother at her villa in the picturesque seaside commune of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Continue reading

Scarface (1932) – Tony’s Fancy Basketweave Suit

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

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Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

I’m wrapping up what turned out to be a week focused on classic gangster style with a look at one of my favorite mob movies, the original Scarface released in 1932. Both the film and its source novel of the same name by Armitage Trail (Maurice R. Coons) were undoubtedly inspired by the rise and fall of Chicago kingpin Al Capone, who reportedly grew to love the film so much that the owned his own print of it.

Tony Camonte’s rise through the underworld is depicted by a Thompson submachine gun blowing through the pages of a calendar, stopping somewhere around Friday, August 26, for the action to begin. (August 26 fell on a Friday in 1927 and 1932; as the events that inspired the film occurred throughout the 1920s and production wrapped in mid-1931, it’s safe to assume that this scene picks up the action around the late summer of 1927. Anyway…)

Spectacularly attired in a bold new suit, Tony runs into Poppy (Karen Morley), his boss’s platinum blonde moll, who is getting a little warmer to Tony’s form after his repeated attempts at seduction. Continue reading

Warren Oates’ Brown Striped Suit as Dillinger

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in Dillinger (1973)

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in Dillinger (1973)

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Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber

Indiana, Fall 1933

Film: Dillinger
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George

Background

Eighty four years ago tonight – November 15, 1933. Four police cars converge on a small office building on Irving Park Boulevard in the Chicago Loop. In an upstairs doctor’s office, one of the most wanted men in the tri-state area is being treated for either a ringworm infection or “barber’s itch,” an inflammation of hair follicles, depending on which account you read. On the floor below, a cagey informant named Art McGinnis is signaling desperately to police that their quarry is upstairs. Fate, however, is on the side of the outlaw, a thirty-year-old bank robber named John Dillinger. Continue reading

Charles Bronson’s Blue Suit in The Valachi Papers

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

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Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi, Mafia soldier

Apalachin, New York, November 1957

Film: The Valachi Papers
Release Date: January 6, 1972
Director: Terence Young
Costume Design: Giorgio Desideri & Ann Roth

Background

“It was a glorious time, before Apalachin,” recalls Ray Liotta’s voice-over as Henry Hill in Goodfellas. For readers not mired in the history of organized crime, Henry was referring to a now-legendary meeting of the American Mafia at the Apalachin, New York home of mobster Joseph Barbara. The summit was organized by powerful New York mob boss Vito Genovese and found more than 100 mobsters from across the country gathering at Barbara’s home on November 14, 1957… sixty years ago tomorrow. Continue reading

Revolutionary Road: Frank Wheeler’s Gray Business Suit

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler in Revolutionary Road (2008)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler in Revolutionary Road (2008)

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Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler, disillusioned businessman and suburban dad

New York City, Spring 1955

Film: Revolutionary Road
Release Date: December 15, 2008
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

Background

Happy birthday, Leonardo DiCaprio!

As today is Leo’s actual birthday, I’m exploring the suit he wore for his character Frank Wheeler’s on-screen birthday in Revolutionary Road, the cinematic adaptation of Richard Yates’ 1961 novel that re-paired DiCaprio with Kate Winslet more than two decades after their iceberg-melting chemistry in James Cameron’s Titanic. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Brown Tattersall Sportcoat

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.11: "Cold Stones")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.11: “Cold Stones”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10, dir. Steve Shill, aired May 14, 2006)
– “Cold Stones” (Episode 6.11, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 21, 2006)
– “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17, dir. Terence Winter, aired May 6, 2007)
– “The Second Coming” (Episode 6.19, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 20, 2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers (and a rather graphic screenshot) ahead! Continue reading

Steve McQueen in The Hunter

Steve McQueen as Ralph "Papa" Thorson in The Hunter (1980)

Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson in The Hunter (1980)

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Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, real-life bounty hunter

Los Angeles (among other locales), Fall 1979

Film: The Hunter
Release Date: August 1, 1980
Director: Buzz Kulik
Costume Designer: Thomas Welsh

Background

On the anniversary of Steve McQueen’s passing, I’d like to explore his style in the final film he made before his untimely death at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980.

The Hunter starred McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, a colorful real-life bounty hunter who had reportedly logged more than 5,000 cases throughout his career including the capture of would-be presidential assassin and Manson family follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.

The concept of a bounty hunter conjures the image of a deadly serious and dangerous enforcer. The real Ralph Thorson certainly looked the part at 310 pounds and 6’2″ though Christopher Keane’s 1976 biography counters this image by describing Thorson’s many roles and talents as “a church bishop, Master bridge champion, renowed astrology, criminology alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, child nutritionist, [and] aficionado of classical music.” Continue reading