Mad Men: Don’s Embroidered Brown Shirt for the First of “Three Sundays”

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 2.04: "Three Sundays")

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 2.04: “Three Sundays”)

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Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad man and wannabe family man

Ossining, New York, Spring 1962

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Three Sundays” (Episode 2.04)
Air Date: August 17, 2008
Director: Tim Hunter
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The anthological fourth episode of Mad Men‘s second season checks in with our regulars—particularly Don Draper and Peggy Olsen—with explorations of parenting and piety leading up to Easter Sunday 1962.

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Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Red Shirt and Herringbone Jacket

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965). As cool as those sunglasses look, Bébel unfortunately never wears them with this outfit on screen.

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Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

French Riviera, Summer 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

He may spend most of Pierrot le Fou insisting his name is Ferdinand, but we all know he’s actually Jean-Paul Belmondo—also known as Bébel—the French star born 88 years ago today on April 9, 1933!

Pierrot le Fou was the third and final feature-length collaboration between Belmondo and Jean-Luc Godard, who had directed him to worldwide fame as the criminal protagonist in A bout de souffle (Breathless), considered a seminal work in establishing the French New Wave cinematic movement.

While both of these stylish films shared themes of criminality, philosophy, and doomed love, Pierrot le Fou pops from the screen with its colorful and surreal pop art-inspired presentation of the increasingly desperate Ferdinand Griffon abandoning his family life to join his dangerously free-spirited ex-girlfriend Marianne (Anna Karina) in a life of crime and seaside seclusion. Continue reading

The Little Drummer Girl: Michel’s Green Suede Jacket

Alexander Skarsgård and Amir Khoury in The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

Alexander Skarsgård and Amir Khoury in The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

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Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker, taciturn Mossad agent, and
Amir Khoury as Salim Al-Khadar, aka “Michel”, Palestinian revolutionary leader

Athens to Munich, Spring 1979

Series: The Little Drummer Girl (Episodes 1-3)
Air Date: 
October 28, 2018 to November 11, 2018
Director: 
Park Chan-wook
Costume Design: Sheena Napier & Steven Noble

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

John le Carré was one of the most prolific espionage authors, penning more than two dozen novels including The Spy Who Came in From the ColdTinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Tailor of Panama, many of which were successfully adapted as movies or limited series that made the most of le Carré’s richly drawn worlds of deception.

Le Carré died in December 2020 at the age of 89, following in death within the month by his half-sister Charlotte Cornwall. Charlotte reportedly inspired the titular character at the center of his novel The Little Drummer Girl about a free-spirited, idealistic, and impressionable actress named Charmian “Charlie” Ross who gets pulled into the world of espionage. Continue reading

Gregory Peck as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

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Gregory Peck as Tom Rath, hardworking business writer haunted by his war service

New York City and suburban Connecticut, Fall 1955

Film: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Release Date: April 12, 1956
Director: Nunnally Johnson
Wardrobe Director: Charles Le Maire

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Born 105 years ago today on April 5, 1916, Gregory Peck enjoyed one of his most celebrated—and notably tailored—performances in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Nunnally Johnson’s 1956 adaptation of the Sloan Wilson novel of the same name.

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Miami Blues: Pink Blazer and Pastel Plaid Pants

Alec Baldwin in Miami Blues (1990)

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Alec Baldwin as Frederick J. Frenger Jr., sociopathic ex-con

Miami, Fall 1989

Film: Miami Blues
Release Date: April 20, 1990
Director: George Armitage
Costume Designer: Eugenie Bafaloukos

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I wanted to write about some pastels leading up to Easter and stumbled upon this chaotic look from Miami Blues, an adaptation of Charles Willeford’s 1984 novel that was the first in his Hoke Moseley series. “Nobody writes a better crime novel,” Elmore Leonard had once said of Willeford, who died in March 1988, two years before the novel made it to the screen. Miami Blues was only the second cinematic adaptation of a Willeford novel, following the 1974 release of Cockfighter starring Warren Oates.

Fred Ward—who also served as executive producer—starred as Moseley while Alec Baldwin (who celebrates his 63rd birthday today) played the sociopathic Frederick J. Frenger Jr., wreaking havoc through the Magic City with a badge stolen from Moseley. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Golf Club-Printed Shirt in “House Arrest”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: "House Arrest")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: “House Arrest”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Spring 2000

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “House Arrest” (Episode 2.11)
Air Date: March 26, 2000
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

It’s been almost six months since we last checked in on some of James Gandolfini’s costumes as the powerful mob boss at the center of The Sopranos. Considering that the 2021 Masters Tournament begins one week from today, which also happens to be the day Wallace Beery was born in 1885, I think the time is right to look at how Tony Soprano dresses for hobnobbing on the green during the Garden State Carting Association’s 13th Annual Couples Invitational Golf Classic!

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Warren Beatty’s Blue Levi’s Jacket in The Parallax View

Warren Beatty as Joe Frady in The Parallax View (1974)

Warren Beatty as Joe Frady in The Parallax View (1974)

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Warren Beatty as Joe Frady, maverick political reporter

Rural Washington state, Spring 1974

Film: The Parallax View
Release Date: June 14, 1974
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Designer: Frank L. Thompson

Background

Happy birthday to Warren Beatty, born 84 years ago today on March 30, 1937. A rising star through the ’60s, Beatty established himself as a forced to be reckoned with when he spearheaded production of Bonnie & Clyde in 1967, not only starring in but producing the acclaimed gangster film. Following his innovative success with Bonnie & Clyde, Beatty slowed down his career to only occasional movies, frequently going several years without acting while putting much of his energy into political activism and—more notoriously—dating his way through many of Hollywood’s hottest before marrying Annette Bening after the two co-starred in Bugsy.

One of Beatty’s most notable post-Bonnie & Clyde films was The Parallax View, the second in a trio of Alan J. Pakula’s paranoid political thrillers of the ’70s. Continue reading

James Caan in Thief: Frank’s ’80s Gray Leather Blousons

James Caan as Frank in Thief (1981)

James Caan as Frank in Thief (1981)

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James Caan as Frank, professional jewel thief

Chicago, Spring 1980

Film: Thief
Release Date: March 27, 1981
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Supervisor: Jodie Lynn Tillen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Considered by many to be one of the director’s best movies, Michal Mann’s debut Thief was released in theaters 40 years ago today. Thief established many of what would become Mann trademarks, from its “principled” yet ruthless professional character who expertly handles a .45 to the setting city elevated to a secondary character itself, particularly its less glamorous underbelly as photographed at night. (Originally titled Violent Streets, even the one-word title would become a Mann signature as evidenced by his future features AliBlackhat, Collateral, Heat, and Manhunter.)

Mann adapted the 1975 novel The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar by real-life thief John Seybold (writing as “Frank Hohimer”) for his screen debut, retaining the first name of Seybold’s nom de plume for the taciturn thief that would be memorably played by James Caan, who celebrated his 81st birthday yesterday.

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The Honeymoon Machine: Steve McQueen’s Blue Sweater

Steve McQueen in The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

Steve McQueen in The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

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Steve McQueen as LT Ferguson “Fergie” Howard, enterprising U.S. Navy officer

Venice, Summer 1961

Film: The Honeymoon Machine
Release Date: August 23, 1961
Director: Richard Thorpe
Costume Designer: Helen Rose

Background

To commemorate Steve McQueen’s birthday 91 years ago today, let’s take a look at how the King of Cool incorporated some of his personal style into one of his earliest—and least popular—movies.

Based on Lorenzo Semple Jr.’s 1959 play The Golden FleecingThe Honeymoon Machine belongs to that unique sub-genre of ’60s farce that made light of Cold War paranoia and seemed to end up with everyone throwing punches (executed suitably in The Glass Bottom Boat, poorly in the 1967 Casino Royale.)

The role of the mischievously ambitious, Nietzsche-quoting naval lieutenant Fergie Howard was originally intended for Cary Grant, however the middle-aged actor was nearing his retirement and turned the job down. Rather than casting another screen vet of Grant’s age and standing, the production went in the opposite direction and brought on Steve McQueen for what would be his third top-billed movie after The Blob (1958) and The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959).

The Honeymoon Machine turned a profit but McQueen considered it a dark mark on his career, reportedly walking out of the first public screening and vowing never to work for MGM again. Don’t worry, Steve… The Great Escape is only two years away! Continue reading

Blood Simple: M. Emmet Walsh’s Yellow Leisure Suit

M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser in Blood Simple (1984)

M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser in Blood Simple (1984)

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M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser, sleazy private detective

Texas, Fall 1982

Film: Blood Simple
Release Date: January 18, 1985
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Sara Medina-Pape

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Spring is officially here, the season of warmer weather and bright colors… though a tacky yellow leisure suit may not be exactly what you had in mind! On the 86th birthday of prolific character actor M. Emmet Walsh, today’s post explores his eccentric but dangerous private eye in Blood Simple, the directorial debut of brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

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