The Man Who Fell to Earth: David Bowie’s Hooded Coat and Coveralls

David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976)

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David Bowie as Thomas Jerome Newton, ambitious humanoid alien

New Mexico, Summer 1975

Film: The Man Who Fell to Earth
Release Date: March 18, 1976
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Costume Designer: May Routh
Tailor: Ola Hudson

Background

In the spirit of Earth Day, let’s check in with The Man Who Fell to Earth. Only David Bowie could have truly played the idealistic humanoid alien who makes a desperate voyage to Earth in order to gather the technology to save his drought-ridden home planet, only for his ageless character to succumb to the materialistic pleasures offered by the sex, drugs, and capitalism that characterized American zeitgeist in the ’70s.

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Mad Men: Roger Sterling’s First Navy Blazer (and LSD Trip)

John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men. (Episode 5.06: "Far Away Places")

John Slattery as Roger Sterling on Mad Men. (Episode 5.06: “Far Away Places”)

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John Slattery as Roger Sterling, Madison Avenue ad executive

New York City, Fall 1966

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Far Away Places” (Episode 5.06)
Air Date: April 22, 2012
Director: Scott Hornbacher
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

Background

Tomorrow may have a storied association with cannabis, but today—April 19—has been deemed “Bicycle Day”, recognizing that wild Monday night in 1943 when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann recognized the highly potent psychoactive properties of LSD during a mind-bending bicycle ride home from his Basel lab.

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Death on the Nile: Peter Ustinov’s Dinner Suit as Poirot

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978)

Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot in Death on the Nile (1978)

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Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, eccentric Belgian detective

Egypt, September 1937

Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Peter Ustinov, the brilliant dramatist and diplomat who—among his many achievements—played Agatha Christie’s celebrated sleuth Hercule Poirot in a half-dozen productions.

Fluent in multiple languages, Ustinov was easily able to glide between the English and French required to play the fussy Belgian detective and was able to provide his own voice in the French and German versions of his movies, including several of the Poirot productions.

Death on the Nile was the first—and often considered the strongest—of Ustinov’s six films as Poirot. Continue reading

A Night to Remember: Michael Goodliffe as Thomas Andrews

Michael Goodliffe as Thomas Andrews in A Night to Remember (1958)

Michael Goodliffe as Thomas Andrews in A Night to Remember (1958)

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Michael Goodliffe as Thomas Andrews, shipbuilder

North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912

Film: A Night to Remember
Release Date: July 3, 1958
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Costume Designer: Yvonne Caffin

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

109 years ago, around 11:40 p.m. on the night of Sunday, April 14, 1912, the celebrated luxury liner RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean, sinking within three hours, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,500 of the 2,200 on board.

Among the dead were many instrumental in the ship’s operations including its captain Edward J. Smith, three of his officers, and Irish-born shipbuilder Thomas Andrews, who oversaw the design of the Titanic and her two sister ships from the time they were conceptualized for the White Star Line five years earlier. Continue reading

Mad Men: Don’s Embroidered Brown Shirt for the First of “Three Sundays”

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 2.04: "Three Sundays")

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on Mad Men (Episode 2.04: “Three Sundays”)

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Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad man and wannabe family man

Ossining, New York, Spring 1962

Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Three Sundays” (Episode 2.04)
Air Date: August 17, 2008
Director: Tim Hunter
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The anthological fourth episode of Mad Men‘s second season checks in with our regulars—particularly Don Draper and Peggy Olsen—with explorations of parenting and piety leading up to Easter Sunday 1962.

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Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Red Shirt and Herringbone Jacket

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965). As cool as those sunglasses look, Bébel unfortunately never wears them with this outfit on screen.

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Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

French Riviera, Summer 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

He may spend most of Pierrot le Fou insisting his name is Ferdinand, but we all know he’s actually Jean-Paul Belmondo—also known as Bébel—the French star born 88 years ago today on April 9, 1933!

Pierrot le Fou was the third and final feature-length collaboration between Belmondo and Jean-Luc Godard, who had directed him to worldwide fame as the criminal protagonist in A bout de souffle (Breathless), considered a seminal work in establishing the French New Wave cinematic movement.

While both of these stylish films shared themes of criminality, philosophy, and doomed love, Pierrot le Fou pops from the screen with its colorful and surreal pop art-inspired presentation of the increasingly desperate Ferdinand Griffon abandoning his family life to join his dangerously free-spirited ex-girlfriend Marianne (Anna Karina) in a life of crime and seaside seclusion. Continue reading

The Little Drummer Girl: Michel’s Green Suede Jacket

Alexander Skarsgård and Amir Khoury in The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

Alexander Skarsgård and Amir Khoury in The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

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Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker, taciturn Mossad agent, and
Amir Khoury as Salim Al-Khadar, aka “Michel”, Palestinian revolutionary leader

Athens to Munich, Spring 1979

Series: The Little Drummer Girl (Episodes 1-3)
Air Date: 
October 28, 2018 to November 11, 2018
Director: 
Park Chan-wook
Costume Design: Sheena Napier & Steven Noble

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

John le Carré was one of the most prolific espionage authors, penning more than two dozen novels including The Spy Who Came in From the ColdTinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Tailor of Panama, many of which were successfully adapted as movies or limited series that made the most of le Carré’s richly drawn worlds of deception.

Le Carré died in December 2020 at the age of 89, following in death within the month by his half-sister Charlotte Cornwall. Charlotte reportedly inspired the titular character at the center of his novel The Little Drummer Girl about a free-spirited, idealistic, and impressionable actress named Charmian “Charlie” Ross who gets pulled into the world of espionage. Continue reading

Gregory Peck as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

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Gregory Peck as Tom Rath, hardworking business writer haunted by his war service

New York City and suburban Connecticut, Fall 1955

Film: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Release Date: April 12, 1956
Director: Nunnally Johnson
Wardrobe Director: Charles Le Maire

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Born 105 years ago today on April 5, 1916, Gregory Peck enjoyed one of his most celebrated—and notably tailored—performances in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Nunnally Johnson’s 1956 adaptation of the Sloan Wilson novel of the same name.

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Miami Blues: Pink Blazer and Pastel Plaid Pants

Alec Baldwin in Miami Blues (1990)

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Alec Baldwin as Frederick J. Frenger Jr., sociopathic ex-con

Miami, Fall 1989

Film: Miami Blues
Release Date: April 20, 1990
Director: George Armitage
Costume Designer: Eugenie Bafaloukos

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I wanted to write about some pastels leading up to Easter and stumbled upon this chaotic look from Miami Blues, an adaptation of Charles Willeford’s 1984 novel that was the first in his Hoke Moseley series. “Nobody writes a better crime novel,” Elmore Leonard had once said of Willeford, who died in March 1988, two years before the novel made it to the screen. Miami Blues was only the second cinematic adaptation of a Willeford novel, following the 1974 release of Cockfighter starring Warren Oates.

Fred Ward—who also served as executive producer—starred as Moseley while Alec Baldwin (who celebrates his 63rd birthday today) played the sociopathic Frederick J. Frenger Jr., wreaking havoc through the Magic City with a badge stolen from Moseley. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Golf Club-Printed Shirt in “House Arrest”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: "House Arrest")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: “House Arrest”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Spring 2000

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “House Arrest” (Episode 2.11)
Air Date: March 26, 2000
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

It’s been almost six months since we last checked in on some of James Gandolfini’s costumes as the powerful mob boss at the center of The Sopranos. Considering that the 2021 Masters Tournament begins one week from today, which also happens to be the day Wallace Beery was born in 1885, I think the time is right to look at how Tony Soprano dresses for hobnobbing on the green during the Garden State Carting Association’s 13th Annual Couples Invitational Golf Classic!

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