Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, ambitious English gangster
London, Spring 1979
Film: The Long Good Friday
Release Date: November 3, 1980
Director: John Mackenzie
Costume Designer: Tudor George
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is Good Friday, a liturgical observance often overshadowed by Easter but certainly not overlooked in the world of British gangster cinema thanks to The Long Good Friday. Considered among the top 25 British movies ever made in separate polls by BFI and Empire, The Long Good Friday has been a frequent request by BAMF Style readers including Dominic, Scott, and Wendi (and thank you, Wendi, for sending me the DVD copy used to source these screenshots!)
The title was intentionally chosen to suggest a tonal alignment with the works of Raymond Chandler, and our boisterous anti-hero, Harold Shand, would be a welcome presence in any noir. Specifically written for the actor, the role of Harold provided Bob Hoskins with his breakthrough performance as a London gangster seeking to take his enterprises in a legitimate direction, though he can’t outrun his criminal legacy as he finds his promising world collapsing among mob hits and bomb scares.
Together with the only person he can trust, the vivacious Victoria (Helen Mirren), Harold hosts a “hands across the ocean” party on his yacht to bring together his backers, ranging from the American Mafia to the crooked cops and city councilors who helped him rise to his position and are united in Harold’s entrepreneurial dream of building “a new London”:
Listen, sweetheart, I’m settin’ up the biggest deal in Europe with the hardest organization since Hitler stuck a swastika on his jockstrap!
What’d He Wear?
After Harold is picked up from the airport in a beige striped suit and printed gold silk tie, he changes into the more laidback springtime-appropriate outfit of an off-white striped sport jacket and open-neck shirt for an afternoon aboard his yacht with Victoria and their guests.
The creamy white sports coat is patterned with blue pinstripes and made from a napped cloth that may be a summer-weight woolen flannel, though I wouldn’t be surprised if cashmere was also part of the soft but structured jacket’s construction. The notch lapels are a restrained, moderate width, more consistent with the fashions of the following decade than the late ’70s production, and they roll to two ivory plastic buttons that mimic the small three-button cuffs at the end of each sleeve. Harold’s jacket has roped sleeveheads, a long single vent, a welted breast pocket, and patch pockets on the hips.
Harold’s light blue shirt has a sheen suggestive of silk, an appropriate shirting for a gangster suited to living the good life… and showing everyone else that he can afford it. The shirt has a long point collar, front placket, and breast pocket. Rather than double (French) cuffs, Harold’s shirt has squared single cuffs that are fastened with a set of double-faced gold chain-link cuff links.
Harold counters his flashier jacket with subdued trousers in a dark slate blue, though the flared bottoms are a concession to ’70s fashion trends.
His black leather belt has a unique gold-toned buckle with a rounded horseshoe-shaped single-prong frame hinged through a half-moon gold piece on the end of the belt strap, similar to contemporary belts issued in the late 1970s by Italian luxury fashion houses like Ferragamo and Gucci. (Interestingly, the belt is seen worn with the half-moon gold piece positioned both to the left and the right, a continuity error that would occur due over several costume changes without paying attention to what direction the belt was fed through.)
While Harold doesn’t match the color of his belt and shoe leather, he does coordinate their unique fashion-forwardness, sporting a pair of taupe leather plain-toe loafers with gold bit detailing and dark hard leather outsoles raised heels, an evolution of the original horsebit loafer that Gucci had pioneered in the 1950s.
On his right wrist, Harold wears a gold ID bracelet on a thick gold curb-chain link bracelet.
Harold wears more gold on his left hand as well, including a signet ring on his pinky. His digital quartz watch, is also gold-plated with a black display panel and green LED “always-on” display. (For additional looks at the watch, I invite horology enthusiasts who don’t mind potential spoilers to click here and here.)
Based on the shape of the case with its four gold pushers, display layout, and the gold-finished expanding band, I suspect that Harold’s watch is either a Seiko or Timex digital chronograph, specifically the 1970s version of the gold-finished stainless watch that would evolve into the modern Men’s T78677 Indiglo watch still available and affordable today (via Amazon). Of course, Harold couldn’t have worn an Indiglo as that technology wasn’t introduced until 1986, and it would have been a simple “Alarm Chronograph” (like this vintage Timex on eBay) dressing his wrist.
Update! A reader named Frank commented that Harold’s watch is a quartz-powered Seiko A128-5000G digital chronograph, produced within two years before the movie’s release.
Note that Hoskins is definitely not wearing the striped jacket in the above screenshot. Instead, after finding out that his allies are getting killed, Harold changes into a more functional beige suede raglan-sleeve blouson as he heads out with his remaining men to find answers.
The hip-length, zip-up blouson has a flat collar and single-button cuffs. The four external pockets consist of two bellows pockets on the chest that each close with a two-button flap with welted side-entry hand pockets just below them.
Harold would wear this jacket again for most action the following day, though with a green printed shirt and light beige trousers.
What to Imbibe
Yeah, Barbara’s got really religious in her old age, isn’t she? Church three times today, it’s Good Friday! Have a Bloody Mary.
Harold and Victoria prepare for their soiree by pre-gaming with a Bloody Mary each, poured from a pitcher that Harold wisely keeps within arm’s length. Also within arm’s length are the ostensible ingredients, including the requisite vodka—Smirnoff, in this case—as well as Worcestershire sauce, and… Angostura bitters?
While celery bitters are often recommended for Bloody Marys, I’d never thought of Angostura as a potential ingredient until I saw it on Harold’s bar cart. Sure enough, the Angostura site includes a recipe they christen “Bloody & Bitter” that combines gin (or rum!) and tomato juice with a blend of fascinating ingredients including mango nectar, tamarind chutney, and a quarter-ounce of Angostura bitters for what must make for a fascinating flavor profile. This is most assuredly not what Harold’s drinking, but it could be a worthy alternative to consider.
For something a little more traditional, these Bloody Mary recipes from Food Network and Sify Bawarchi call for a touch of Angostura bitters into a balance of vodka and tomato juice, supplemented by the usual Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt and pepper, and lemon.
Of course, the Bloody Mary’s charm derives from just how much it can be customized to tailor one’s tastes with any assortment of options—typically on the savory side—considered to be acceptable additions from cayenne pepper and clam juice to cheese cubes and even raw oysters. (Click here to see your humble blogger enjoying one boasting shrimp at Harry’s Grill in Anna Maria Island, Florida, last month!) As written in the Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide, “the Bloody Mary has essentially become the ‘meat loaf’ of cocktails. Almost anything goes as long as it’s recognizable in the end.”
Fortified by their vodka and tomato juice, Harold and Victoria are ready to greet their party guests, serving plenty of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut champagne.
The Moët & Chandon champagne house was established by French vintner Claude Moët in 1743 and remains one of the largest and most prestigious champagne producers more than 275 years later. The Imperial Brut champagne was first bottled in the 1860s and quickly became Moët’s best-selling brand.
Finally, when the going gets tough, Harold and his inner circle retreat to his office on the yacht, where he keeps a bottle of Teacher’s Highland Cream blended Scotch whisky.
The whisky’s appellation refers not to any origins in the world of education but rather to the family of William Teacher, who started selling whisky in 1830. After William’s death, his sons took charge of the company, registering the brand in 1884 and opening a distillery in Ardmore in 1898 to ensure having a supply of smoked peat single malt whisky to include in its signature blend. The following century saw introduction to a post-Prohibition American market and a series of mergers and acquisitions that has landed the modern Teachers’ Highland Cream brand among the vaulted lineup of spirits owned by the Beam Suntory subsidiary.
How to Get the Look
Though a proudly British gangster, Harold Shand has a clear Italian influence in his dress, from his fashion-forward leather-wear to his gold jewelry and accessories.
- Cream (with blue pinstripes) napped cashmere/flannel-blend single-breasted 2-button sport jacket with notch lapels, welted breast pocket, patch hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and long single vent
- Light blue silk shirt with long point collar, front placket, breast pocket, and single cuffs
- Gold chain-link cuff links
- Dark slate blue flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and flared plain-hemmed bottoms
- Black leather belt with unique gold-toned horseshoe-shaped single-prong buckle with half-moon frame extension
- Taupe leather plain-toe bit loafers
- Dark socks
- Gold ID bracelet with curb chain-link bracelet
- Gold signet pinky ring
- Dgital quartz chronograph watch with gold-finished stainless steel case, black display panel, and green LED “always-on” display on 18mm expansion band
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the movie.
You don’t go crucifyin’ people outside of church, not on Good Friday!