John Wayne as Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn, tough Deputy U.S. Marshal
Fort Smith, Arkansas, into Indian Territory, Fall 1880
Film: True Grit
Release Date: June 12, 1969
Director: Henry Hathaway
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins
Wardrobe: Luster Bayless (uncredited)
To commemorate John Wayne’s birthday 113 years ago today on May 26, 1907, let’s take a look at one of Duke’s most enduring roles and the one that won him the Academy Award after more than forty years making over 200 movies.
Swiftly adapted from Charles Portis’ source novel of the same name, True Grit follows 14-year-old Mattie Ross as she seeks the help of a drunken U.S. Marshal, chosen by virtue of his reputation as the meanest marshal, to avenge the murder of her father. Continue reading
Gary Cooper as Will Kane, newlywed city marshal
Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, Summer 1873
Film: High Noon
Release Date: July 24, 1952
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Men’s Wardrobe Credit: Joe King
Born 119 years ago today on May 7, 1901, Gary Cooper received his second Academy Award for Best Actor in recognition of his now-iconic performance in High Noon as a laconic lawman whose sense of duty compels him to make a lone stand against a band of dangerous outlaws.
Lee Van Cleef as Douglas Mortimer, taciturn Old West bounty hunter and former U.S. Army Colonel
El Paso, Fall 1873
Film: For a Few Dollars More
Release Date: November 18, 1965
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Carlo Simi
Where life had no value, death, sometimes, had its price.
That is why the bounty hunters appeared.
…is how For a Few Dollars More introduces itself after blazing onto the screen, underlined by yet another iconic Ennio Morricone score. Clint Eastwood returns to the Sergio Leone spaghetti western scene as one of these bounty hunters, a laconic loner referred to only as “Manco”. While his dress and demeanor would imply that this was the same character he portrayed in A Fistful of Dollars the previous year, a lawsuit actually prevented Leone from using Eastwood’s “Joe” character from that film. Thus, the “Man with No Name” was born more out of legal necessity than artistic intention. Continue reading
For something a little different, here’s a throwback in honor of vintage badass Al Swearengen from HBO’s prematurely cancelled series Deadwood. If you’re not familiar with Deadwood, you’d be doing yourself a favor to familiarize yourself.
Al’s suit may not translate literally to what looks good these days, but the attitude is there.
Ian McShane as Al Swearengen, frontier saloon owner and pimp
Deadwood, Summer 1876
Air Dates: March 21, 2004 – August 27, 2006
Creator: David Milch
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
Deadwood, one of the most underrated and criminally discontinued shows of all time, was a brilliant ensemble show that reflected larger American themes through the founding of a frontier camp. It featured well-known real life characters such as “Wild Bill” Hickok, “Calamity Jane”, and Wyatt Earp interacting with lesser-known historical figures Seth Bullock, Sol Star, and Al Swearengen. It was the latter that proved to be the breakout hit of the show, thanks to Ian McShane’s masterful performance. Continue reading