Category: Sport Coat & Slacks

Matt Helm’s Blue Blazer in Murderers’ Row

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers' Row (1966)

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers’ Row (1966)

Vitals

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent

French Riviera, Summer 1966

Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday to Dean Martin, born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio! After a successful singing and acting career that included partnerships with Jerry Lewis and the Rat Pack as well as his own TV show, Dino was tapped for the role of Matt Helm, the American counter-agent at the center of author Donald Hamilton’s espionage novels.

While Hamilton wrote his Matt Helm novels with a serious tone, Dino’s characterization parodied the character as more of a playboy lounge lizard, the American satirical answer to his contemporary womanizer James Bond. Thus, the four Matt Helm movies produced in the late ’60s often starred the popular singer opposite many of the most attractive leading ladies of the decade. Continue reading

Advertisements

John Wayne’s Navy Windbreaker as McQ

John Wayne as Lon McHugh in McQ (1974)

John Wayne as Lon McHugh in McQ (1974)

Vitals

John Wayne as Lon “McQ” McHugh, taciturn Seattle PD lieutenant

Seattle, Fall 1973

Film: McQ
Release Date: February 6, 1974
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Luster Bayless

Background

Today marks the birthday of John Wayne, the American icon who reinvented his half-century image as a stalwart of Westerns and war movies by taking on a duo of contemporary cop roles, beginning with McQ in 1974 and followed up with Brannigan the following year.

Born May 26, 1907, Duke was over 60 as he watched younger stars like Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood steal the action movie thunder with urban-set police thrillers. While McQueen’s impressive wheelmanship would be incorporated into McQ, it was the “shoot first, ask later” style of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry that particularly resonated with the old-school star as the opening sequence of McQ finds Duke’s rugged Seattle detective foiling a dockside hitman with his own six-shooter. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Copper Tweed Jacket at the Track

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano with Joe Pantoliano as Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos (Episode 4.05: "Pie-o-My")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano with Joe Pantoliano as Ralph Cifaretto on The Sopranos (Episode 4.05: “Pie-o-My”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

Monmouth Park, Oceanport, NJ, Fall 2001

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Pie-o-My” (Episode 4.05, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 10/13/2002)
– “Eloise” (Episode 4.12, dir. James Hayman, aired 12/1/2002)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

In the spirit of the upcoming Kentucky Derby, today’s #MafiaMonday post features a day at the races for Jersey wiseguys Tony Soprano, Silvio Dante, Carlo Gervasi, Hesh Rabkin, and Ralph Cifaretto, whose recent purchase—a racehorse named Pie-O-My—delights the guys by coming from behind to win.

Continue reading

Richard Burton’s Gray Tweed Jacket in The Sandpiper

Richard Burton as Dr. Edward Hewitt in The Sandpiper (1965)

Richard Burton as Dr. Edward Hewitt in The Sandpiper (1965)

Vitals

Richard Burton as Dr. Edward Hewitt, self-righteous Episcopal boarding school headmaster

Big Sur, California, Spring 1965

Film: The Sandpiper
Release Date: June 23, 1965
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff

Background

Seventy years ago today, more than 500 gathered on a picturesque terrace overlooking the Pacific Ocean for the grand opening of Nepenthe, a restaurant named for the medicine of ancient Greek mythology that helped one forget their sorrows.

Development on the land began in 1925 with the construction of a log cabin. Two decades later, Hollywood royalty Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth purchased the cabin on a whim but never did anything further, selling it in 1947 to Bill and Madelaine “Lolly” Fassett. The Fassetts hired Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Rowan Maiden to expand the area into a large terrace with room for dancing, dining, built-in bleachers, and a fire pit.

After the restaurant opened on April 24, 1949, Nepenthe became renowned for its stunning panoramic views of 50 miles of Big Sur’s south coast as well as Graves Canyon and the Santa Lucia Mountains.

Artists, writers, and celebrities flocked to the iconic restaurant in the decades to follow, with newlyweds Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton a frequent presence during the production of their Big Sur-set melodrama, The Sandpiper. Continue reading

Matt Helm’s Pink Silk Sport Jacket in The Silencers

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in The Silencers (1966)

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in The Silencers (1966)

Vitals

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent and photographer

New Mexico to Phoenix, August 1965

Film: The Silencers
Release Date: February 18, 1966
Director: Phil Karlson
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

Dean Martin infused his lounge lizard persona into a James Bond-like spy for his four-film portrayal of Matt Helm, a playboy whose love for turtlenecks, womanizing, and drinking above actual spying may make him more of an antecedent for the character of Sterling Archer than of 007 himself.

With a bossa nova score by Elmer Bernstein and a hip mid-sixties sartorialism styled by costume designer Moss Mabry and the Rat Pack’s go-to tailor Sy Devore, the Matt Helm series serves as a swingin’ time capsule to the waning heyday of hi-fis and hedonism. Though it may be dated, the series—particularly this first film, The Silencers—seems perfectly content with that and, in fact, it may be an intentional way for the 1966 zeitgeist to remain intact for modern audiences. Never taking itself too seriously, packed with decent talent, and sticking to a tight, quick-paced plot, The Silencers differentiates itself from its contemporary spy spoofs like Casino Royale in that it can still entertain 50 years later.

Continue reading

Clifton Webb’s Blazer in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges in Titanic (1953)

Vitals

Clifton Webb as Richard Ward Sturges, millionaire, estranged family man, and fastidious dresser

RMS Titanic, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: April 16, 1953
Director: Jean Negulesco
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

Background

Julia: You’re up early.
Richard: I had to scratch around for something to wear. Not a bad shop, they have everything.
Julia: Dinner jackets, I trust.
Richard: Naturally. It will be ready tonight. So… life can go on.

This exchange summarizes the 1953 melodrama Titanic, one of the first attempts to tell the now-infamous story of the real-life sinking of the White Star Line’s premiere ocean liner during its maiden voyage in April 1912, sending more than 1,500 passengers and crew to their deaths as a few more than 700 spend a chilly night in uncovered lifeboats, waiting for help to arrive.

Released 66 years ago tomorrow, 20th Century Fox’s Titanic focuses more on the personal drama of the fictional Sturges family: pretentious and aloof patriarch Richard (Clifton Webb) and his strong-willed, responsible wife Julia (Barbara Stanwyck) who tries to protect their children from taking after their profligate father. Cut from the same cloth as his wickedly snobbish Waldo Lydecker character in Laura, Richard Ward Sturges delights in his children’s obvious preference for him as he showers them with a decadent lifestyle that would no doubt spoil them as adults if not for their more practical mother’s interventions. Continue reading

Belmondo in Breathless: Tweed in Marseille

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard in À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard in À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard, small-time car thief

Marseille, France, August 1959

Film: Breathless
(French title: À bout de souffle)
Release Date: March 16, 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Background

Happy birthday, Bébel! Jean-Paul Belmondo was born 86 years ago today in Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris. Following a brief career as an amateur boxer and his compulsory military service, Belmondo began acting in the mid-1950s and found international stardom after his performance in Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle (Breathless to English-speaking audiences), a seminal example of the burgeoning French New Wave cinematic movement.

Continue reading