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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Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, smooth private detective and “a chap worth knowing”

San Francisco, Spring 1941

Film: The Maltese Falcon
Release Date: October 3, 1941
Director: John Huston
Costume Designer: Orry-Kelly (credited for gowns)

Background

Now considered a seminal film noir, The Maltese Falcon celebrated its 80th anniversary last month. Dashiell Hammett’s excellent 1930 detective novel had already been adapted twice for the screen—once as a “lewd” pre-Code thriller and recycled as a zanier mid-’30s vehicle for Bette Davis—before Warner Bros. finally got it right.

The Maltese Falcon was the directorial debut for John Huston, who had faithfully adapted Hammett’s source material for his sharp script and demonstrated his sense of methodical efficiency, resulting in a masterpiece that benefited from the formula of director of photography Arthur Edelson’s low-key cinematography and a perfect cast led by Humphrey Bogart as the wisecracking gumshoe who “don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.” Continue reading

Devil in a Blue Dress: Easy’s Champion Aircraft Jacket

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Vitals

Denzel Washington as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, laid-off aircraft mechanic and World War II veteran

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Devil in a Blue Dress
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Like a man told me once: you step out of your door in the morning, and you are already in trouble. The only question is are you on top of that trouble or not?

With its dark themes and moral questions, film noir emerged as a cinematic sanctum for depicting the struggles of returning World War II veterans. Movies like Crossfire (1947), Act of Violence (1948), and Thieves’ Highway (1949) showcased the psyche of servicemen who had been to hell and back, depicting them not solely as one-dimensional heroes but as three-dimensional humans whose postwar life requires them to come to terms not just with the trauma encountered overseas but also the impact of returning to a changed home. (I recommend reading more about the connection between veterans and noir in James Barber’s recent article “How the Struggles of WWII Veterans Came to Life in Film Noir” for Military.com.)

Protagonists made cynical by their experiences continued as a theme through the development of neo-noir, whether that’s J.J. Gittes trying to put Chinatown out of his mind or Easy Rawlins, whose lifetime has seen his mother’s early death, his father forced to leave, racial inequities, the scars of wartime service, and—where we find him at the start of Devil in a Blue Dress—just having lost his job at the Champion Aircraft assembly plant. Continue reading

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981): Nicholson’s Navy Striped Murder Suit

Jack Nicholson as Frank Chambers in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

Jack Nicholson as Frank Chambers in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as Frank Chambers, dangerous drifter

Southern California, Spring 1934

Film: The Postman Always Rings Twice
Release Date: March 20, 1981
Director: Bob Rafelson
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After posting about John Cassavetes in the 1964 remake of The Killers last week, I wanted to focus on another color remake of classic film noir: the 1981 adaptation of The Postman Always Rings Twice starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange, reuniting Nicholson with director Bob Rafelson following their earlier collaborations in Head (1968), Five Easy Pieces (1970), and The King of Marvin Gardens (1972). Continue reading

Roger Moore’s Tracksuit in A View to a Kill

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Roger Moore as James Bond in A View to a Kill (1985)

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Château de Chantilly, France, Spring 1985

Film: A View to a Kill
Release Date: May 22, 1985
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Well, now I’ve really gone and done it. After writing about the goombahs’ tracksuits in Goodfellas and The Sopranos over the last few years, I finally decided that this 00-7th of the month called for me to scribe my ode to Old Man 007 dressing himself in Paulie Walnuts’ finest in my least favorite James Bond movie, A View to a Kill.

Continue reading