Black Rain: Michael Douglas’ Leather Jacket in Japan

Michael Douglas as Nick Conklin in Black Rain (1988)

Michael Douglas as Nick Conklin in Black Rain (1988)

Vitals

Michael Douglas as Nick Conklin, loose cannon NYPD detective

Osaka, Japan, Winter 1988

Film: Black Rain
Release Date: September 22, 1989
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday, Michael Douglas! To commemorate the 76th birthday of this acclaimed actor and producer, I’m addressing a request I received from BAMF Style reader Ryan to take a look at Douglas’ wardrobe in Black Rain as loose cannon cop Nick Conklin.

Already distrusted by his own department, Nick finds himself facing more heat than ever when a yakuza killer he collared in New York escapes after Nick escorts him back to Japan. Determined to bring the gangster to justice and prove his own honesty, Nick and his more diplomatic partner Charlie Vincent (Andy Garcia) remain in Osaka as unarmed “observers” under the supervision of patient investigator Masahiro Matsumoto (Ken Takakura).

BLACK RAIN

What’d He Wear?

Nick Conklin is the kind of badass with a leather jacket for every occasion: a motorcycle jacket for spending Sundays on his Harley racing biker gangs along the New York waterfront and an oversized coat for riding along with Japanese law enforcement.

Constructed of black leather, this latter jacket is somewhat oversized, evident by the tops of each sleeve falling off of Michael Douglas’ shoulders. Styled and sized more like a car coat than a more fitted leather jacket, this casual coat has a convertible shawl collar that he wears flat in the front but turned up in the back, though it has front snaps should he choose to wear it closed over his neck. The fly front closes up a brass zipper that begins a few inches above the thigh-length hem, where there is an additional snap for secure closure.

BLACK RAIN

The sleeves appear to be in the “saddle shoulder” style, an extended variant of the raglan sleeve with wider yokes that extend across the shoulders in the front and back, where the yoke pieces are stitched together at a short center back seam that extends a few inches from the nape of the neck to just above Douglas’ shoulder blades.

Nick’s jacket has three outer pockets; the large, jetted-opening breast pocket has a zipper that closes from right to left, and there are large set-in pockets on each hip below the waistband with slanted welt openings. The back is detailed with a vertical seam down the center and a horizontal seam around the waist, meeting at the intersection with a square reinforced patch with “X” top stitching. The distressed screen-worn jacket can be seen at YourProps.

Nick's leather jacket was built for action.

Nick’s leather jacket was built for action.

This leather jacket makes its debut appearance layered over a burgundy work shirt and light heathered gray cotton crew-neck T-shirt. The long-sleeved button-up work shirt has a short point collar, front placket, and two box-pleated chest pockets that each close with a single-button flap. The shirt is detailed with matching burgundy concave plastic buttons.

BLACK RAIN

Nick is sent back stateside, but he sneaks off of his Northwest flight to meet crime boss (Tomisaburo Wakayama) and engage in a final climactic confrontation with the murderer Koji Sato (Yūsaku Matsuda). “You know me, I don’t go quietly, Mats,” he reminds Matsumoto.

For these scenes, Nick wears a gray marled knit wool turtleneck, the same as he had worn under his motorcycle jacket during the opening scene. Worn over a navy blue undershirt, the sweater has a wide-ribbed body that is further textured with an interlocking large-scaled trellis pattern over the torso.

BLACK RAIN

Aside from the epilogue that calls for a dark suit, Nick seems to exclusively wear black denim Levi’s jeans, with and without a belt. (With the burgundy shirt, he wears a black leather belt with single-prong buckle; with the turtleneck, no belt.)

Nick's brawl with Sato muddies his outfit, but the distinctive brown leather patch on the belt line of his black Levi's can still be distinguished.

Nick’s brawl with Sato muddies his outfit, but the distinctive brown leather patch on the belt line of his black Levi’s can still be distinguished.

Nick wears black leather Chelsea boots with black elastic side gussets. These boots take quite a beating over the course of Black Rain.

After tossing Nick an empty shotgun, Sugai's men scatter the shells he needs at the ground next to his Chelsea boots.

After tossing Nick an empty shotgun, Sugai’s men scatter the shells he needs at the ground next to his Chelsea boots.

To increase his cool factor, Nick frequently wears a pair of black-framed aviator-style sunglasses with dark brown lenses, similar to the style Michael Douglas would again wear as disturbed detective Nick Curran in Basic Instinct.

BLACK RAIN

These days, the product placement gods may have found an opportunity to appoint this macho cop with an oversized chronograph befitting his larger-than-life nature. Instead, Nick Conklin’s timepiece is a study in subtlety, a plain stainless steel wristwatch with a round white dial on an expanding bracelet.

Scotch, cigarettes, and solitaire for the long plane ride to Japan.

Scotch, cigarettes, and solitaire for the long plane ride to Japan.

The Gun

Having had both of his Colt revolvers impounded and even disarmed of his partner Charlie’s Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum, Nick is at the mercy of Sugai’s men to arm him for his final confrontation with Sato. He is tossed an empty pump-action shotgun—identified by IMFDB users as a Stevens Model 67—followed by a half-dozen 12-gauge shells. The weapon has been modified for combat with a pistol grip in lieu of a removed stock and the barrel sawed down to the same length as the magazine tube.

Nick heads into battle with his pistol-gripped pump shotgun.

Nick heads into battle with his pistol-gripped pump shotgun.

J. Stevens & Co. had been established by Joshua Stevens in Massachusetts during the Civil War, manufacturing rifles, shotguns, and target pistols for a half-century until it was acquired first by New England Westinghouse and then Savage Arms in the spring of 1920. For the next forty years, Savage would continue to manufacture firearms at the company’s original Chicopee Falls factory until finally shuttering operations. Savage continued to offer firearms under the Stevens brand, including the budget-oriented Model 67 pump-action shotgun that would be produced until 1989.

How to Get the Look

Michael Douglas and director Ridley Scott on location filming Black Rain (1988)

Michael Douglas and director Ridley Scott on location filming Black Rain (1988)

Michael Douglas’ go-to costume collaborator, Ellen Mirojnick, designed his distinctive look for Black Rain, anchored around leather jackets, boots, and dark jeans like classic rebels such as Marlon Brando in The Wild One, differentiating Detective Nick Conklin from the despised “suits” in his orbit.

  • Black leather saddle-shoulder car coat with convertible snap-closed shawl collar, zip-up fly front, zip-closed horizontal breast pocket, slanted-opening side pockets, and ventless back
  • Burgundy cotton long-sleeved work shirt with short point collar, front placket, and two flapped box-pleat pockets
  • Light heathered gray cotton crew-neck short-sleeve T-shirt
  • Gray marled ribbed-knit wool turtleneck sweater
  • Black denim Levi’s jeans
  • Black leather Chelsea boots
  • Black-framed aviator sunglasses
  • Steel wristwatch with round white dial on expanding bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie, which was originally meant to be a sequel to Beverly Hills Cop.

The Quote

If you pull it, you better use it.

Leave a Reply