Tagged: 1910s

Gary Cooper’s Aviator Uniform in Wings (1927)

Gary Cooper as Cadet White in Wings (1927)

Gary Cooper as Cadet White in Wings (1927)

Vitals

Gary Cooper as Cadet White, U.S. Army Aviation Section, Signal Corps aviator

Camp Kelly (San Antonio, Texas), Spring 1917

Film: Wings
Release Date: August 12, 1927
Director: William A. Wellman
Costume Design: Travis Banton & Edith Head (uncredited)

Background

Ninety years ago today, Wings won the first Academy Award for Best Picture—more accurately, the award read “Academy Award for Outstanding Picture.” Though silent movies were still the norm at the time of Wings’ release in August 1927, The Jazz Singer introduced recorded sound to film upon its release two months later, and Wings remains the only true silent film (unless you include The Artist) to take home the Best Picture prize.

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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

Cagney’s Cardigan in The Public Enemy

James Cagney as Tom Powers in The Public Enemy (1931)

James Cagney as Tom Powers in The Public Enemy (1931)

Vitals

James Cagney as Tom Powers, petty criminal

Chicago, Fall 1915

Film: The Public Enemy
Release Date: April 23, 1931
Director: William A. Wellman
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson
Wardrobe Credit: Earl Luick

Background

In the waning years of Prohibition, Warner Brothers met the public demand for bringing the violent daily headlines to the screen with a succession of films that firmly established the genre of American gangster cinema. One of the most enduring of these pre-Code hits is The Public Enemy, the 1931 movie that made an instant star out of James Cagney.

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Reilly, Ace of Spies: A Notch-Lapel Dinner Jacket

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 6: "Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 6: “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd British agent and anti-Bolshevik

St. Petersburg, Russia, October 1910, and
London, November 1918

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episodes:
– “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses” (Episode 6), dir. Jim Goddard, aired 10/5/1983
– “After Moscow”(Episode 9), dir. Martin Campbell, aired 10/26/1983
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Reilly: Ace of Spies fictionalizes the exploits of Russian-born spy Sidney Reilly, often cited as a real-life basis for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. While the showrunners must have been cognizant of the need to place their suave British secret agent in a tuxedo, the series’ narrative also coincided with the rise of the dinner jacket over the first quarter of the 20th century.

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Clifton Webb’s Tuxedo 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 and estranged family man

RMS Titanic, April 1912

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

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Before there was Kate and Leo, there was Barbara and Clifton.

To know me is to know my obsession with the Titanic and other maritime disasters of the early 20th century. SS ValenciaEmpress of IrelandLusitaniaPrincess SophiaTitanic‘s hospital sister ship Britannic… chances are that if it sank in the first few decades of last century, I know a thing or two about it.

It was today in 1912 that the RMS Titanic actually struck the iceberg that sank her. The collision happened around 11:40 p.m., North Atlantic time, on the night of Sunday, April 14. Compared to most of the other disasters in the previous paragraph, it took considerable time to sink, finally settling under the waves at 2:20 a.m. on the morning of Monday, April 15, 1912, ending more than 1,500 lives of the roughly 2,200 that had been aboard.

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Peaky Blinders – Tommy’s Charcoal Herringbone Suit and Model T

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Episode 2), stepping out of his Ford Model T in charcoal tweed suit and overcoat.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Episode 2), stepping out of his Ford Model T in charcoal tweed suit and overcoat.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Birmingham, England, Fall 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Season: 1
Air Dates: September 12, 2013 – October 17, 2013
Directors: Otto Bathurst (Episodes 1.01 – 1.03) & Tom Harper (Episode 1.04 & 1.06)
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie
Tailor: Keith Watson

Background

The fourth season of BBC Two’s brutally entertaining Peaky Blinders premiered last month in the U.K. and should arrive on Netflix just in time for Christmas for American fans eager to see Birmingham’s favorite crime family boozing and bleeding its way through the 1920s.

Car Week thus begins with a flashback to the show’s first season as Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and his brothers roll up to a rendezvous with the Lee family in their flivver, a beautiful black Ford Model T that coordinates with Tommy’s dark three-piece suit and overcoat. Continue reading

Lee Marvin’s Brown Shawl Cardigan in The Professionals

Lee Marvin as Henry "Rico" Fardan in The Professionals (1966)

Lee Marvin as Henry “Rico” Fardan in The Professionals (1966)

Vitals

Lee Marvin as Henry “Rico” Fardan, tough mercenary

Texas, January 1917

Film: The Professionals
Release Date: November 2, 1966
Director: Richard Brooks
Wardrobe Credit: Jack Martell

Background

Written, produced, and directed by prolific auteur Richard Brooks, The Professionals depicts a band of mercenaries hired by rancher baron Joe Grant (Ralph Bellamy) to rescue his wife. Though it is often overlooked in the shadow of its “bigger” contemporaries like The Wild BunchButch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name” trilogy of spaghetti westerns, The Professionals was Columbia Pictures’ biggest hit of 1966.

Lee Marvin starred as Henry “Rico” Fardan, a cynical weapons specialist whose experience fighting under Pancho Villa’s command makes him invaluable to the team pursuing one of Villa’s former revolutionaries who supposedly kidnapped Grant’s wife Maria (Claudia Cardinale). Continue reading

Peaky Blinders – Tommy’s Gray Striped Flannel Suit

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on the third episode of Peaky Blinders.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on the third episode of Peaky Blinders.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Gloucestershire, England, Fall 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episodes: Episodes 1.03 – 1.05
Air Dates: September 26, 2013 – October 10, 2013
Directors: Otto Bathurst (Episode 1.03) & Tom Harper (Episode 1.04 & 1.05)
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie
Tailor: Keith Watson

Background

While many will be celebrating their Irish heritage this week (whether it exists or not), fans of Peaky Blinders may be interested to know that tomorrow marks the beginning of the Cheltenham Festival, the prestigious annual four-day meeting in the National Hunt racing calendar that finds many of the best British and Irish-trained horses racing against the backdrop of the excited crowd’s “Cheltenham roar”. Continue reading

John Shelby’s Glen Plaid Suit for Peaky Blinders’ Gypsy Wedding

Joe Cole as John Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Ep. 1.04, 2013).

Joe Cole as John Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Ep. 1.04, 2013).

Vitals

Joe Cole as John Shelby, impulsive Peaky Blinder gang member

Birmingham, England, September 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episode: Episodes 1.04
Air Date: October 3, 2013
Director: Tom Harper
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie

Background

Week of Weddings continues with a look from BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders. In the fourth episode, the Shelby brothers gather the Peaky Blinders for what ostensibly seems like an attack on the rival gypsy Lee family. John, the hotheaded younger brother of gang leaders Tommy and Arthur, has recently come to his family requesting their blessing to marry the neighborhood’s most prolific prostitute. The Lees, on the other side of town, have a girl that’s “gone a bit wild”. Tommy sees the opportunity here to end things without blood. (Not including the blood symbolically drawn from each new spouse’s hand.)

On the morning of the big showdown, John shows up especially itching for a fight… until Tommy pins a boutonniere on John’s left lapel and directs him to his new wife Esme. Continue reading

Sidney Reilly’s Hunting Jacket

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in "Dreadnaughts and Crosses", Episode 5 of Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983).

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in “Dreadnaughts and Crosses”, Episode 5 of Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983).

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, Russian-born adventurer and British secret agent

Russia, Spring 1910

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “Dreadnoughts and Crosses” (Episode 5)
Air Date: September 28, 1983
Director: Jim Goddard
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

St. Petersburg is a hotbed of intrigue in the years leading up to World War I and the Russian Revolution. The English and the Germans are among those vying for inevitably valuable warship contracts from the Russian Ministry of Marine.

Ever the shrewd opportunist, Sidney Reilly finds himself in the right place at the right time and decides to forego the usual channels of submitting battleship plans. Instead, he slyly gambles against a brutish shipping executive who finds himself indebted to Reilly, thus handing a controlling stake in his firm to our hero. At the same time, Reilly has busied himself in a romance with the Minister of Marine’s lovely wife Nadia (Celia Gregory).

The events of the spring culminate in a pig hunting trip where Reilly joins the Minister, Nadia, and his cheeky pal Sasha Gramaticoff for an afternoon of angry swine and loaded revolvers. Continue reading