Tagged: 1950s

Pal Joey: Sinatra’s Gray Dinner Jacket

Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1957)

Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans in Pal Joey (1957)

Vitals

Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans, womanizing nightclub singer

San Francisco, Spring 1957

Film: Pal Joey
Release Date: October 25, 1957
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Jean Louis

Background

Today marks the birth of Frank Sinatra, the Chairman of the Board himself, born on December 12, 1915, in Hoboken. This son of tenement-dwelling Italian immigrants grew to be one of the most influential, best-selling music artists in history.

Sixty years ago, Sinatra was rising as one of the biggest stars in the world when he starred as the titular Pal Joey, a performance that earned him a Golden Globe award. Originally a stage musical starring Gene Kelly as the singing and dancing anti-hero, Pal Joey was reconfigured for the screen with the character more reflective of Sinatra’s own charming yet mischievous “nice guy” persona. Continue reading

Cary Grant’s Gray Pinstripe Suit in An Affair to Remember

Cary Grant as Nickie Ferrante in An Affair to Remember (1957)

Cary Grant as Nickie Ferrante in An Affair to Remember (1957)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Nicolò “Nickie” Ferrante, socialite playboy

French Riviera, December 1956

Film: An Affair to Remember
Release Date: July 2, 1957
Director: Leo McCarey
Executive Wardrobe Designer: Charles Le Maire

Background

As many folks across the United States are wrapping up Thanksgiving travel arrangements home to be with family, I wanted to take a look at some classic films where characters are making the own familial visitations.

An Affair to Remember finds Cary Grant on a transatlantic journey with Deborah Kerr. When the SS Constitution anchors in the French Riviera, Grant takes the opportunity to introduce his new traveling companion to his aging Italian grandmother at her villa in the picturesque seaside commune of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Continue reading

Charles Bronson’s Blue Suit in The Valachi Papers

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Vitals

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi, Mafia soldier

Apalachin, New York, November 1957

Film: The Valachi Papers
Release Date: January 6, 1972
Director: Terence Young
Costume Design: Giorgio Desideri & Ann Roth

Background

“It was a glorious time, before Apalachin,” recalls Ray Liotta’s voice-over as Henry Hill in Goodfellas. For readers not mired in the history of organized crime, Henry was referring to a now-legendary meeting of the American Mafia at the Apalachin, New York home of mobster Joseph Barbara. The summit was organized by powerful New York mob boss Vito Genovese and found more than 100 mobsters from across the country gathering at Barbara’s home on November 14, 1957… sixty years ago tomorrow. Continue reading

Revolutionary Road: Frank Wheeler’s Gray Business Suit

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler in Revolutionary Road (2008)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler in Revolutionary Road (2008)

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Wheeler, disillusioned businessman and suburban dad

New York City, Spring 1955

Film: Revolutionary Road
Release Date: December 15, 2008
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

Background

Happy birthday, Leonardo DiCaprio!

As today is Leo’s actual birthday, I’m exploring the suit he wore for his character Frank Wheeler’s on-screen birthday in Revolutionary Road, the cinematic adaptation of Richard Yates’ 1961 novel that re-paired DiCaprio with Kate Winslet more than two decades after their iceberg-melting chemistry in James Cameron’s Titanic. Continue reading

Sweet Smell of Success – J.J.’s Dark Birdseye Suit

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Vitals

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker, powerful and domineering newspaper columnist

New York City, Fall 1956

Film: Sweet Smell of Success
Release Date: June 27, 1957
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Costume Designer: Mary Grant

Background

In commemoration of Burt Lancaster’s birthday today, I’m exploring my favorite of his films, the atmospheric 1957 noir Sweet Smell of Success that starred Lancaster as acerbic columnist J.J. Hunsecker to Tony Curtis’ unscrupulous PR flack Sidney Falco.

J.J. Hunsecker is a man whose legendary power and mercurial temper is meant to intimidate nearly all in his orbit. Continue reading

Dial M for Murder

Ray Milland, Robert Cummings, and John Williams in Dial M for Murder (1954)

Ray Milland, Robert Cummings, and John Williams in Dial M for Murder (1954)

Vitals

  • Ray Milland as Tony Wendice, conniving former tennis pro
  • Robert Cummings as Mark Halliday, romantic American crime writer
  • Anthony Dawson as C.A. Swann, opportunistic con man
  • John Williams as Chief Inspector Hubbard, clever Scotland Yard detective

London, Fall 1953 and Spring 1954

Film: Dial M for Murder
Release Date: May 29, 1954
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Wardrobe Credits: Moss Mabry & Jack Delaney

WARNING! Spoilers ahead! Continue reading

Jimmy Stewart’s Green Sweater in Vertigo

James Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

Vitals

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Francisco, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

San Francisco has always been a popular setting for detective movies. From 1940s film noir like The Maltese Falcon through the gritty ’60s and ’70s era with movies like BullittDirty Harry, and McQ, Hollywood has made the most of its picturesque neighbor to the distant north.

Though Alfred Hitchcock had filmed in the Bay area before, Vertigo was his first cinematic effort actually set in San Francisco and he makes the most of his setting. Continue reading