Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Renzo and the Rolls
Marcello Mastroianni as Renzo, Italian writer
Milan, Italy, October 1963
Film: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
(Italian title: Ieri, oggi, domani)
Release Date: December 19, 1963
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Costume Designer: Piero Tosi
Car Week continues with a focus on a classic Italian comedy released 55 years ago this month.
After four movies together in the 1950s, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren reteamed in 1963 for Vittorio De Sica’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow—released in Italy as Ieri, oggi, domani—a stylish anthology about life, love, and lust. The film is split into three segments that each star Loren and Mastroianni as a different couple.
The second segment, “Anna”, is the shortest of the three and stars Loren as an industrialist’s glamorous wife—dressed to the nines in Christian Dior—as she is forced to choose between her husband’s Rolls-Royce and her unassuming lover Renzo (Mastroianni).
The film was scored by composer Armando Trovajoli, who makes a brief appearance as the driver of a red Ferrari who stops to help Anna and Renzo by the side of the road.
Trovajoli composed three tracks for this sequence with the jazzy “Descansado” providing a bossa nova background for much of Anna and Renzo’s romantic and scenic drive through the Lombardy countryside.
Released in the United States in March 1964, the movie received Best Foreign Language Film at the 37th Academy Awards while Mastroianni took home a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow also has the somewhat less significant distinction of being the last movie that I watched on FilmStruck before the streaming service ended its operations at the end of last month.
What’d He Wear?
Renzo is the most traditionally dressed of Marcello Mastroianni’s three characters in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, bridging the gap between the working-class Carmine in his untucked henleys and polo shirts and ratty striped trousers, and the opulent bon vivant Augusto Rusconi with his bespoke summer suit, blazer, and boldly banded hat.
Renzo makes his first appearance in “Anna” when he emerges from his car—a Fiat 600, of course—and walks up to the passenger side of her Rolls. He is draped in a fawn-toned glen plaid wool reversible raglan coat, a practical and understatedly stylish for a drive with his lover on a late October afternoon in Milan.
Renzo’s coat collar has a buttonhole through each leaf. The coat has five buttons from the neck down to below the waist, with an additional button under the right collar leaf. Each of the five buttons down the right side of the front is sewn adjacent to a buttonhole that corresponds to a button on the inside of the coat’s tan gabardine wool reverse side.
“The idea grew out of a makeshift coat which Lord Raglan made for himself while commanding the troops in the Crimea. To keep himself warm he cut a hole in the blanket and put his head through it,” explains the venerable Hardy Amies in his ABCs of Men’s Fashion, published in 1964 shortly after Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow was released. “Raglan now has come to mean the one-piece shoulder and sleeve that sprang from this piece of inventiveness, rather than a coat as such, although in a coat the Raglan shoulder by its nature carries with it a loose, wide, easy-fitting, and therefore an informal coat.”
Renzo’s coat has raglan sleeves that end with a short, single-button half-tab on each cuff.
Compared to the materialistic Anna in her Christian Dior ensemble of mink coat and jet black dress, Renzo comes across as earthy, grounded, and genuine in his simple but well-cut brown tweed suit, a warm and practical choice for the fall afternoon.
The single-breasted suit jacket has notch lapels that roll to a two-button front. Renzo initially wears the welted breast pocket unadorned, though he stuffs in the used white handkerchief after fussing with the crashed car. The jacket also has straight jetted hip pockets, a ventless back, and three-button cuffs that appear to be functioning “surgeon’s cuffs”, though—unlike his more rakish character in “Mara”—Marcello wears them fastened.
Renzo’s matching suit trousers have single pleats in the outward-facing or “reverse” style often associated with Italian tailoring. Worn beltless, they have straight pockets along the side seams and jetted back pockets. The bottoms are finished with turn-ups (cuffs) with a full break.
Renzo’s white cotton shirt is subtly patterned with a gray mini-grid check.
The shirt is detailed with a point collar and single-button cuffs with a steep cutaway curve. Renzo wears a solid black woven silk tie, echoing the simple yet elegant aesthetic of his iconic suits in La Dolce Vita (1960) three years earlier.
Renzo wears black calf cap-toe derby shoes with V-shaped lacing that tapers inward. His dark socks appear to be brown, possibly a thin silk.
Though he would be a Rolex wearer later in life, Mastroianni’s watch in the “Anna” sequence of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is too briefly glimpsed for a definitive ID on the maker. It has a gold case that emerges from his shirt cuff at times, flashing a round white dial and a dark leather strap.
“I don’t know these cars. My limit is a Fiat 600,” Renzo sheepishly admits as Anna forces him to take the wheel of her husband’s gray 1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III convertible. Anna doesn’t seem to listen or care, at least until she blames the inevitable accident on the fact that she “was a fool to let a Fiat 600 driver take the wheel!”
By the early 1960s, the Rolls-Royce had enjoyed six decades of an association with opulent elegance and innovative production—interrupted only by World War II—that led to stars like John Lennon, Elvis Presley, and Frank Sinatra acquiring them as status symbols. Anna’s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III is the ultimate status symbol in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.
Rolls-Royce began production of the first generation Silver Cloud in April 1955, a time that the marque was beginning to equip all of its cars with automatic rather than manual transmissions as standard equipment. More than 2,200 cars had been produced by 1959, when the Silver Cloud II was introduced with a V8 engine that was arguably more powerful but far less smooth than the previous iteration’s straight-six cylinder engine.
The Silver Cloud III made its world debut in October 1962, and production soon began on a run of 2,044 cars that would be introduced for the 1963 model year. In addition to slight cosmetic changes from the previous model, the V8 engine was also increased with 2-inch carburetors, an increased compression ratio of 9:1, and a nitrate-hardened crankshaft to accommodate the increased in power, which Rolls-Royce left characteristically undisclosed but has been estimated at around 200 horsepower. You can read more about Silver Cloud III performance and specs here.
Hyde Park bespoke coachbuilder Mulliner Park Ward, formed by Rolls-Royce Limited in 1961 after the merger of H.J. Mulliner & Co. and Park Ward, continued to style coaches with the Silver Cloud III; indeed, the ’63 Drop Head Coupe featured in Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow was designed by Mulliner Park Ward.
1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III
Body Style: 2-door convertible
Layout: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive (RWD)
Engine: 380 cid (6.2 L) Rolls-Royce 90-degree V8
Power: 200 bhp (147 kW; 203 PS) @ unknown RPM
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Wheelbase: 127 inches (3226 mm)
Length: 211.8 inches (5378 mm)
Width: 74 inches (1880 mm)
Height: 64 inches (1626 mm)
A total of 7,372 Rolls-Royce Silver Clouds would be produced across all three series of the car’s production from 1955 to 1966, when it was replaced by the Silver Shadow, Rolls-Royce’s first car to use unitary body and chassis production.
After Renzo “mishandles” Anna’s Rolls-Royce, she fetches a ride from the plaid-jacketed Giorgio Ferrario, who is speeding though the countryside in a red 1960 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder SWB, a rare sports car with less than 60 examples made, including ones owned by actors James Coburn and Alain Delon. It was a fiberglass replica of a ’61 California Spyder SWB that was famously featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Cameron’s dad had a right to be upset, as auctioned cars have picked up more than $10 million at auctions over the last few years.
How to Get the Look
With his Ivy-inspired plaid raglan coat and tweed suit, Marcello Mastroianni’s simple and timeless outfit as Renzo would look just as appropriate in Massachusetts or Merseyside as it does in Milan.
- Brown tweed suit:
- Single-breasted 2-button suit jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, straight jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and ventless back
- Single reverse-pleated trousers with fitted waistband, straight/on-seam side pockets, jetted back pockets, and turn-ups/cuffs
- White gray mini-grid checked cotton shirt with point collar and single-button cuffs
- Black tie
- Black calf leather derby shoes
- Dark brown dress socks
- Fawn glen plaid wool 5-button reversible raglan coat with side pockets and half-tab single-button cuffs
- Gold wristwatch with white square dial on dark brown leather strap
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
Versions of varying quality have been released for home video and streaming since the film fell into public domain, but consensus among reviewers seems to agree that the best version has been released by Kino Lorber Films, both on its own as well as in the Sophia Loren “Award Collection” box set that also includes Marriage Italian Style and Sunflower, two more of her 13 collaborations with co-star Marcello Mastroianni.
Great post. Thanks for sharing. Never saw this film and will definitely check it out, although it should of been assumed that Mastroianni and Loren worked together at some point.
The color photos show off the pattern of the overcoat better. I love the Tweed suit. I would have preferred a knit tie – black or brown. I’d also go with a champagne colored handkerchief to blend between the dress shirt and the suit.
That album cover for the soundtrack belongs on a wall.