Boogie Nights: Burt Reynolds’ Red Finale Safari Suit

Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997)


Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner, avuncular adult film director

San Fernando Valley, California, Summer 1984

Film: Boogie Nights
Release Date: October 10, 1997
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Although the film contains very little that I can personally relate to (other than, perhaps, margarita-fueled arguments about Star Wars), the end of Boogie Nights has always reminded me of the end of summer.

Set just before dusk on a June night in the San Fernando Valley, the finale is comprised of just two long shots: one following pornographer Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) through the hallowed halls of his MCM dream house, and the movie’s iconic final shot that finally reveals Dirk Diggler’s much-discussed money maker to the audience.

After putting most of its cast through the proverbial ringer, from gun violence to sidewalk beatings, all’s well that ends well for Jack’s “family” after they return to the relative safety of his compound in the valley. Compared to what we had just seen, everyone gets a happy—if mellow—ending, consistent with Jack’s taste in stereo systems:

I don’t want loud. I want… mellow. That’s what I want.

Scored by a reprise of the Chico Hamilton Quintet’s soft and jazzy 1955 instrumental “The Sage”, Jack works his way through the house, giving us one last moment with the cast of misfits we’ve come to care for, from the awkward Scotty (Philip Seymour Hoffman) helping to unload the cases of film outside, gregarious club owner Maurice (Luis Guzman) stinking up the kitchen, Rollergirl (Heather Graham) avoiding the mess in her bedroom, gym-rat porn star Reed Rothchild (John C. Reilly) showing Buck and Jessie’s newborn how to swim while Jessie (Melora Walters) paints the scene and Buck (Don Cheadle) tries to sell Jack on some stereo equipment.

Passing Jessie’s questionable but well-intended portrait of the late “Little Bill” (William H. Macy) in the spot where he killed himself—and arguably redefined the vibe from the free-loving ’70s to cynical ’80s—Jack takes a moment with his leading lady Amber Waves (Julianne Moore), offering “the foxiest bitch in the world” some reassurance before she films a scene with the newly returned but hardly humbled Dirk (Mark Wahlberg).

What’d He Wear?

With just a few exceptions, Jack Horner regularly wears matching shirts and trousers throughout Boogie Nights—a master of the style that has been recently revived as the “matching set” or “walking suit”. Though the styles differ, Jack typically sports his sets in all-American shades of red, white, and blue, cycling through three different red-shaded sets that appear during pivotal moments of Dirk Diggler’s career: first, a white-embroidered red guayabera while recruiting a young Eddie Adams at Maurice’s club, then a rust-shaded shirt and pants while directing the newly re-christened Dirk’s first scene, and finally this plain red safari suit during the finale.

Safari suits are a recurring style in Jack’s wardrobe, appropriately fashionable from his late 1970s heyday while also boasting enough military-inspired detail consistent with Jack’s position of authority on his sets and among his “family”. Safari shirts and jackets had emerged as function-informed sporting clothes in the early 20th century, often in shades of khaki or green appropriate for the wilderness. By the ’70s, safari clothes had been appropriated as leisure-wear, resulting in garments like Jack’s short-sleeved safari shirt-jacket and matching trousers in a bloody shade of red—impractical for the bush but befitting bold ’70s casual-wear.

Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997)

Safari shirts are ideal for navigating the bush (so to speak) of a pornographer’s estate in the San Fernando Valley.

Jack’s red safari shirt-jacket has a large point collar, which retains its stiff standing shape, likely due to hidden buttons that fasten each collar leaf to the body of his shirt. Consistent with the military influence on safari clothes, the shoulders are detailed with epaulets (shoulder straps), sewn to the top of each set-in short sleeve and with the pointed end buttoned down to the shoulder. A horizontal shoulder yoke extends across the back between both elbow-length sleeves, which are banded at the ends.

The front placket has seven red recessed plastic sew-through buttons, with the top two left undone. The shirt-jacket has four patch-style pockets pockets—two inverted box-pleated pockets on the chest, and two larger plain pockets on the hips—with scalloped flaps that each close through a single button that matches the red buttons on the placket and epaulets. Designed to be worn untucked as Jack does, the shirt-jacket has side vents aligned with the seams extending down from each armpit.

Burt Reynolds and Melora Walters in Boogie Nights (1997)

The matching flat-front trousers have side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms, cut with a surprisingly restrained degree of flair for such a ’70s-trending look.

Jack’s snuff-brown suede loafers have moc-toe stitching and tan rubber outsoles.

John C. Reilly and Burt Reynolds in Boogie Nights (1997)

Jack checks in on the youngest member of his extended family… and confirms that he isn’t peeing in his pool.

Jack’s regular assortment of jewelry is all yellow-gold, including his flat necklace and a chunkier anchor chain-link bracelet he wears on his right wrist.

On his left wrist, Jack wears a yellow-gold Rolex Datejust that Jake’s Rolex World suggests to be Burt Reynolds’ own watch, likely made sometime in the late 1950s or early ’60s due to unique details like its sword/leaf hands. The watch has a deep blue dial with diamonds at each hour index, echoing the diamonds encrusted along the bezel, and a unique gold five-piece (non-Jubilee) bracelet.

Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997)

“I don’t want loud,” proclaims the guy wearing a diamond-studded vintage gold Rolex.

How to Get the Look

Burt Reynolds as Jack Horner in Boogie Nights (1997)

  • Red safari-style short-sleeved shirt-jacket with large point collar, epaulets/shoulder straps, four patch pockets (with single-button scalloped flaps), and side vents
  • Red flat-front trousers with side pockets and plain-hemmed bottoms
  • Snuff-brown suede moc-toe loafers
  • Yellow-gold anchor-chain link bracelet
  • Yellow-gold Rolex Datejust with deep blue dial (with diamond hour indices), diamond-encrusted bezel, and gold five-piece bracelet

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the movie.

The Quote

We have got all the time we want.

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