Bugsy Siegel’s Glen Plaid Double-Breasted Suit

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in Bugsy (1991). Photo sourced from Getty Images.

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, “celebrity” gangster and casino builder

New York, Summer 1945, and
Beverly Hills, December 1946

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Film: Bugsy
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

Background

Bugsy is an entertaining and stylish drama penned by James Toback, transforming the violent mobster in a suave and romantic visionary much as the real life gangster himself tried to reinvent his persona after moving out to the West Coast, choosing to rub elbows with the likes of George Raft, Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant rather than his old associates like Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano, and Joe Adonis. Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Gabardine Windbreaker and Chinos

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.

Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.

Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.

While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading

Belmondo in Breathless: Camelhair Jacket in Paris

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard and Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini strolling down the Champs-Élysées in an iconic scene from À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard and Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini strolling down the Champs-Élysées in an iconic scene from À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard, petty thief and killer on the run

Paris, August 1959

Film: Breathless
(French title: À bout de souffle)
Release Date: March 16, 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick

Background

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard from an original treatment by François Truffaut, À bout de souffle (or Breathless to us Americans) marked a defining moment in the evolution of French New Wave cinema. The lanky, youthful, and energetic Jean-Paul Belmondo shot to cinematic stardom as he became the new face of French New Wave, a term to which he charmingly admitted his own ignorance to P.E. Schneider of New York Times Magazine.

In that 1961 piece, Schneider was profiling Belmondo for a piece called “A Punk With Charm,” referring to the actor’s role in Breathless as the Bogart-idolizing Michel Poiccard, a swaggering and sociopathic walking id. Continue reading

Californication – Hank Moody’s Brown Shirt

David Duchovny as Hank Moody in “Lights. Camera. Asshole”, Episode 4.08 of Californication.

Vitals

David Duchovny as Hank Moody, womanizing novelist and screenwriter

Los Angeles, Spring 2010

Series: Californication
Episode: “Lights. Camera. Asshole.” (Episode 4.08)
Air Date: February 27, 2011
Director: Adam Bernstein
Costume Designer: Peggy A. Schnitzer

Background

It just seems appropriate to feature Hank Moody on 6/9, so today’s #NiceDay post explores one of his lesser seen outfits.

Midway through the fourth season, in the midst of Hank’s post-Mia revelation legal troubles, he is offered a gig to rewrite the shitty dialogue littering the script of a zombie movie starring his latest fling, Sasha Bingham (Addison Timlin), as a police officer.

Of course, Sasha’s request for our favorite writer turns out be more libidinous than literary, so Hank escapes this potentially sticky situation… and finds himself landing in another one. Continue reading

Dean Martin Turns 100: Dino’s Iconic Tuxedo

Dean Martin on the set of The Dean Martin Show, circa 1965

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Dean Martin, smooth and multi-talented entertainer

Burbank, California, 1965 to 1974

Series: The Dean Martin Show
Air Dates: September 16, 1965 – April 5, 1974
Director: Greg Garrison
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

On June 7, 1917, Dino Paul Crocetti was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela and Gaetano Crocetti, the latter a barber from the Abruzzo region in Italy where much of my own family hails. One hundred years later, the world remembers him as Dean Martin, the charming crooner whose legendary career spanned half a century as a major headliner from nightclubs and casinos to movies and TV shows.

Effortlessly charismatic and unflappable, Dino brought his smooth star power to his popular comedy act with Jerry Lewis and later as a leader of the Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Continue reading

Inglourious Basterds: Aldo Raine’s Ivory Dinner Jacket

Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Vitals

Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine, U.S. Army OSS officer and redneck leader of the “Inglourious Basterds”

Paris, June 1944

Film: Inglourious Basterds
Release Date: August 21, 2009
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Anna B. Sheppard
Brad Pitt’s Evening Attire: Giorgio Armani

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Inglourious Basterds kicks off a two-film spree in Tarantino’s filmography focused on rewriting history with violent vengeance. In this revisionist take on World War II, a band of Jewish-American military guerillas – think The Dirty Dozen meets The A-Team – is assigned the sole task of secretly but brutally fighting their way through occupied German territory, murdering any Nazi encountered in their wake. The two-year spree of these “inglourious basterds” who give the film its title ends up in a Paris movie theater on the eve of the D-Day invasion with an opportunity to take down the German high command, including Hitler himself, to end the war. Continue reading

Michael Caine’s Olive Sweater as Alfie

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins in Alfie (1966)

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins in Alfie (1966)

Vitals

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, charming part-time car service driver and full-time cad

Middlesex, England, Summer 1965

Film: Alfie
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie

Background

During his stay in a convalescent home earlier in the movie, Alfie Elkins (Michael Caine) befriended Harry Clamacraft (Alfie Bass, hey his name actually is Alfie!). Alfie later returns to visit Harry, who requests that Alfie give a ride to his tired-looking wife Lily (Vivien Merchant) in his Rolls-Royce.

The reluctant ride turns into a summertime seduction as Alfie and Lily make a fateful stop for “a nice cup of tea.” Continue reading