Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer with a Remington Model 8 rifle in The Highwaymen (2019)
Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer, tough Texas special investigator and former Texas Ranger
Texas and Louisiana, Spring 1934
Film: The Highwaymen
Release Date: March 15, 2019 (March 29, 2019, on Netflix)
Director: John Lee Hancock
Costume Designer: Daniel Orlandi
Following a decorated career in law enforcement that found him bravely and successfully leading investigations and captures of violent criminals, Frank Hamer is not the sort of man who should need a cultural reevaluation in his defense. And yet, it was the most celebrated victory of Hamer’s career—bringing an end to Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker’s violent crime spree—that would eventually result in the former Texas Ranger being villianized in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde that romanticized the titular outlaw couple to carry out its countercultural message.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.08: “Full Leather Jacket”)
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob chief
North Caldwell, New Jersey, Spring 2000
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Full Leather Jacket” (Episode 2.08)
Air Date: March 5, 2000
Director: Allen Coulter
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
It’s the jaaacket!
As a series centered around life in the American Mafia, it’s no surprise that the fashions of The Sopranos feature plenty of leather jackets. But there’s only one jaaacket, and it’s this piece of throwback outerwear that gives the eighth episode of the second season its name.
Gary Cooper as Cadet White in Wings (1927)
Gary Cooper as Cadet White, U.S. Army Aviation Section, Signal Corps aviator
Camp Kelly (San Antonio, Texas), Spring 1917
Release Date: August 12, 1927
Director: William A. Wellman
Costume Design: Travis Banton & Edith Head (uncredited)
Ninety years ago today, Wings won the first Academy Award for Best Picture—more accurately, the award read “Academy Award for Outstanding Picture.” Though silent movies were still the norm at the time of Wings’ release in August 1927, The Jazz Singer introduced recorded sound to film upon its release two months later, and Wings remains the only true silent film (unless you include The Artist) to take home the Best Picture prize.
Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 4.08: “The Old Ship of Zion”)
Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt Atlantic City politician and bootlegger
Atlantic City, Summer 1924
Series: Boardwalk Empire
– “The Old Ship of Zion” (Episode 4.08, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 10/27/2013)
– “White Horse Pike” (Episode 4.10, dir. Jake Paltrow, aired 11/10/2013)
– “Farewell Daddy Blues” (Episode 4.12, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/24/2013)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield
This #MafiaMonday, turn back the calendar almost a century to some spring-friendly fashions courtesy of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, the delightfully corrupt bootlegger who ruled Prohibition-era Atlantic City on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Continue reading
Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953)
Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter, musical comedy star
New York, Spring 1953
Film: The Band Wagon
Release Date: August 7, 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Mary Ann Nyberg
Today marks what would have been the 120th birthday of Fred Astaire, the renowned Nebraska-born dancer and singer whose prolific career on stage and screen extended more than three quarters of a century.
The Band Wagon (1953) is considered a highlight of the entertainer’s career, starring Astaire as a once-famous musical star who hopes to revive his career with a major Broadway production. Even if you’re not into musicals, it’s hard not to appreciate Astaire’s elegant footwork as he masterfully dances through the film’s culminating number, “Girl Hunt”, based on the novels of Mickey Spillane. Continue reading
Pedro Armendáriz as Kerim Bey in From Russia With Love (1963)
Pedro Armendáriz as Ali Kerim Bey, gregarious MI6 station chief
Istanbul, Turkey, Spring 1963
Film: From Russia With Love
Release Date: October 10, 1963
Director: Terence Young
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Kerim Bey, the gregarious head of MI6’s Station T (T for Turkey), is one of the more memorable characters from the early films of the James Bond franchise. A proudly streetwise counter to the taciturn and sophisticated agent 007, the two got on like gangbusters. It’s tragic that Kerim was designated by Ian Fleming as the story’s “sacrificial lamb” as it would have been satisfying to follow his interactions with Bond across multiple adventures à la Felix Leiter or even René Mathis, who actually returned in Fleming’s novel version of From Russia With Love, though Armendáriz’s death would have prevented this anyway. Today’s 00-7th of May post is a tribute to this charismatic character. Continue reading
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, smooth administrator of Cloud City and former “card player, gambler, scoundrel”
A Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away
Film: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Release Date: May 21, 1980
Director: Irvin Kershner
Costume Designer: John Mollo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After the recent release of the trailer for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker teased Billy Dee Williams’ return as Lando Calrissian, I wanted to celebrate the character’s debut nearly 40 years ago in The Empire Strikes Back for this post on May the 4th, casually observed as “Star Wars Day”.
With movies like Brian’s Song and Lady Sings the Blues among his filmography, Billy Dee Williams was a popular star when he first auditioned for the role of Han Solo in the first Star Wars movie released in 1977. Three years later, Williams finally found his place in the Star Wars saga with the role of Cloud City’s charismatic administrator—and Solo’s one-time pal—Lando Calrissian.