Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy

Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy (1990)

Warren Beatty in Dick Tracy (1990)

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Warren Beatty as Dick Tracy, square-jawed detective

“Homeville”, December 1938

Film: Dick Tracy
Release Date: June 15, 1990
Director: Warren Beatty
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero

Background

Ninety years ago today on Sunday, October 4, 1931, Chester Gould’s comic strip Dick Tracy premiered in the Detroit Mirror, introducing the world—or at least Detroit—to the determined detective in his trademark yellow coat.

Despite the strip’s longevity and popularity, attempts to adapt it for the screen never came into fruition for nearly six decades until the blockbusting success of Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989 proved to studios there a profitable market for comic book adaptations. Bringing Dick Tracy to Hollywood became a passion project for Warren Beatty, who starred as the title character as well as producing, directing, and attracting a cavalcade of stars to portray the colorful—and colorfully dressed—figures of the mysterious Chicago-like city where Tracy faced off against gangsters and gun molls.

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The Towering Inferno: Paul Newman’s Tan Suede Jacket

Paul Newman as Doug Roberts in The Towering Inferno (1974)

Paul Newman as Doug Roberts in The Towering Inferno (1974)

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Paul Newman as Doug Roberts, ambitious architect

San Francisco, Summer 1974

Film: The Towering Inferno
Release Date: December 14, 1974
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Paul Zastupnevich

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Alongside disco and bell-bottoms, one major cultural trend that emerged during the 1970s—for better or worse—was the disaster movie. True, the genre had existed since the early days of film, but the ’70s saw a boom in these high-budget, star-studded dramas that introduced as many calamities as the decade’s most popular celebrities could handle. After conquering air (Airport), earth (Earthquake), and water (The Poseidon Adventure), the Hollywood gods—specifically Irwin Allen—turned their attention to the one remaining element.

Thus, on the eve of National Fire Prevention Week, let’s take a look at one of the protagonists who was trapped in The Towering Inferno!

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The Sopranos: Johnny Boy’s Red Knit 1960s Shirt

Joseph Siravo as "Johnny Boy" Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: "Fortunate Son")

Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: “Fortunate Son”)

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Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano, gregarious gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Fall 1969

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Fortunate Son” (Episode 3.03)
Air Date: March 11, 2001
Director: Henry J. Bronchtein
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The highly anticipated Soprano saga prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, will be released tomorrow, expanding on the universe of the fictional DiMeo crew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Michael Gandolfini has already received impressive notices in his portrayal of a teenage version of the role originated by his father, with Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga playing the young future capo’s parents, Johnny Boy and Livia Soprano.

David Chase has acknowledged that the prequel will be retconning some of the timeline that had been outlined in episodes of The Sopranos, specifically the flashbacks in episodes like “Fortunate Son”, which starred Joseph Siravo and Laila Robins as the parents of a pre-teen Tony (Mark Damiano II).

A veteran of stage and screen, Siravo died just over five months ago on April 11, 2021, at the age of 66. The actor had appeared in five episodes of The Sopranos as Tony’s charming but violent father.

As the first episode set after Livia’s death, “Fortunate Son” focuses on the respective roles of young men reacting to new responsibilities, including the recently “made” Christopher Moltisanti, Jackie Aprile Jr. trying to live in the shadows of his late “fawtha”, A.J. Soprano seemingly inheriting his father’s panic attacks, and Tony himself recalling the moment in his childhood when he was first made aware of his own father’s dangerous profession. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in America: De Niro’s Herringbone for a Heist

Robert De Niro as David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and ex-convict

Detroit, Fall 1932

Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci

Background

After premiering at Cannes in May and undergoing a truncated release stateside that summer, Sergio Leone’s controversial mob saga Once Upon a Time in America was finally released in the Italian-born director’s home country on this day in 1984. Leone’s final film, and the first he had directed in 13 years, Once Upon a Time in America marked the conclusion to his unofficial “Once Upon a Time…” trilogy.

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Wall Street: Meeting Gordon Gekko in Shirt Sleeves and Suspenders

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

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Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, smug and successful corporate raider

New York City, Spring 1985

Film: Wall Street
Release Date: December 11, 1987
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Tailor: Alan Flusser

Background

Happy birthday to Michael Douglas, the actor, producer, and activist born September 25, 1944, who may be most famous for his iconic Academy Award-winning performance as ruthless financier Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

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Paul Newman’s Tan Work Jacket as Butch Cassidy

Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

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Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy, affable leader of the Hole-in-the-Wall bandit gang

Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah, Fall 1898

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Release Date: September 23, 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

“He speaks well and quickly, and has been all his life a leader of men; but if you asked him, he would be damned if he could tell you why,” William Goldman introduced Robert Leroy Parker in his Academy Award-winning screenplay, inspired by the true story of Parker and his partner-in-crime Harry Longabaugh… aka Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, respectively. Continue reading

La Piscine: Alain Delon’s Windowpane Shirts and Autumn-Ready Storm Rider

Alain Delon and Romy Schneider in La Piscine (1969)

Alain Delon and Romy Schneider in La Piscine (1969)

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Alain Delon as Jean-Paul Leroy, moody ad agency writer on vacation

French Riviera, Summer 1968

Film: The Swimming Pool
(French title: La Piscine)
Release Date: January 3, 1969
Director: Jacques Deray
Costume Designer: André Courrèges

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Actually, I don’t care much for summer,” the glamorous sun-kissed socialite Marianne (Romy Schneider) explains, clarifying “just the in-between seasons.” As tomorrow marks the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, start finding your style for this transitional “in-between” season! Continue reading

Miami Vice: Tubbs in Double-Breasted Dove Gray for the Pilot Episode

Philip Michael Thomas and Sonny Crockett filming "Brother's Keeper", the pilot episode of Miami Vice

Philip Michael Thomas and Sonny Crockett filming “Brother’s Keeper”, the pilot episode of Miami Vice

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Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo Tubbs, vengeful undercover detective

Miami, Spring 1984

Series: Miami Vice
Episode: “Brother’s Keeper” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: September 16, 1984
Director: Thomas Carter
Creator: Anthony Yerkovich
Costume Designer: Jodie Lynn Tillen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week in 1984, Miami Vice debuted on NBC, introducing us to the cooler-than-ice cops Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas). Per the detectives’ duties for the Metro-Dade Police Department’s vice division, the episodes frequently included thrilling gunfights and car chases against drug-peddling foes amidst a stylish backdrop of sleek cars, sleeker clothes, pop music, and a parade of guest stars ranging from Liam Neeson, Willie Nelson, and a young Julia Roberts to… G. Gordon Liddy.

The title of the Emmy-winning pilot episode, “Brother’s Keeper”, refers most specifically to Tubbs, a New York transplant who arrived in Miami seeking vengeance on the wily drug kingpin Calderone, who killed his brother Rafael. Despite their head-butting personalities, Tubbs joins forces with Crockett, hoping to soften the tension between them by bringing coffee and donuts onto his boat as well as the results of his own surveillance on Calderone, but Crockett informs him that “down here, you’re just another amateur.” Continue reading

William Holden in Stalag 17

In recognition of POW/MIA Day, observed on the third Friday of September, let’s delve into one of the first major movies to shine a light on the POW experience.

William Holden as Staff Sergeant J.J. Sefton in Stalag 17 (1953)

William Holden as Staff Sergeant J.J. Sefton in Stalag 17 (1953)

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William Holden as J.J. Sefton, USAAF Staff Sergeant and prisoner of war

“Somewhere on the Danube”, December 1944

Film: Stalag 17
Release Date: May 29, 1953
Director: Billy Wilder
Wardrobe Credit: J. Allen Slone

Background

I don’t know about you, but it always makes me sore when I see those war pictures… all about flying leathernecks and submarine patrols and frogmen and guerrillas in the Philippines. What gets me is there never was a movie about POWs… about prisoners of war.

… and so Clarence Harvey Cook (Gil Stratton) begins his narration, setting the scene for the week leading up to Christmas 1944 when he and his fellow downed colleagues discovered a potential informant—er, a “dirty stinkin’ stoolie”—in their barracks.

After two airmen are shot trying to escape, suspicion eventually falls on J.J. Sefton, the cigarette-dealing but cigar-chomping staff sergeant whose cynicism has already rendered him unpopular with most of the Americans aside from Cookie, who serves as Sefton’s unofficial batman and describes him as “one of the most unforgettable ch-characters you’ve ever met.” Continue reading

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tom Hardy in Belstaff Sheepskin

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

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Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr, disillusioned British spy

Istanbul, Fall 1973

Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran

Background

Happy birthday to Tom Hardy, born September 15, 1977. Following his debut in Black Hawk Down (2001), Hardy’s steady work through the decade established his stardom by the time he joined the ensemble cast of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, based on John le Carré’s famous 1974 spy novel of the same name. Continue reading