Tagged: 1950s

Jimmy Stewart’s Blue Suit 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

Today is the 60th anniversary of the release of Vertigo, Hitchcock’s noir-esque thriller and the last of his collaborations with James Stewart. Hitch blamed Jim for the film’s lack of success at the box office, but history would give Jim the last laugh as a 2012 reevaluation for BFI’s Sight & Sound led to a poll of critics choosing Vertigo as the greatest film of all time, beating out long-standing #1 choice Citizen Kane. Continue reading

Ray: Jamie Foxx in a Windowpane Fleck Jacket

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004)

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray (2004)

Vitals

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, groundbreaking R&B musician

Houston, Summer 1953

Film: Ray
Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

Background

Jamie Foxx became only the second actor in history to receive a Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild award for a single performance when he played Ray Charles. Though it was released five months after the real Ray Charles died of liver disease at age 73, Ray had the blessing of the real Ray Charles who had received – and approved – a braille version of the original shooting script.

Fresh off the success of his first hit for Atlantic Records, the exciting “Mess Around”, we see Ray Charles’ career shooting skyward. He endorses a group called the Cecil Shaw Singers while on-air at a Houston radio station, resulting in a lunch date with the group’s tenor, Della Bea (Kerry Washington), who is amazed that he was able to pick out her voice. Continue reading

Bing’s Navy Blazer in High Society

Bing Crosby as C.K. Dexter Haven in High Society (1956)

Bing Crosby as C.K. Dexter Haven in High Society (1956)

Vitals

Bing Crosby as C.K. Dexter Haven, jazz musician

Newport, Rhode Island, Summer 1956

Film: High Society
Release Date: July 17, 1956
Director: Charles Walters
Costume Designer: Helen Rose

Background

Happy St. Valentine’s Day! This year’s theme for the #WeekOfWeddings seems to be impromptu nuptials that find our cheeky protagonists thrust into taking the vows without a chance to don traditional wedding attire. Today, we’re following a mischievous summer weekend among the socialites of Newport, Rhode Island, in High Society, the musical remake of The Philadelphia Story.

High Society recasts The Philadelphia Story‘s leading gents Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart with the more musically inclined Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, respectively, though it’s interesting to note that Crosby is actually a few months older than Grant, making this surely one of the few times in movie history that a remake actually featured a performer older than his or her predecessor!

Katharine Hepburn’s role was recast with Grace Kelly, establishing High Society as the actress’ final film role before her retirement at the age of 26 upon marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In the spirit of marriage, Kelly wore her actual Cartier engagement ring from Rainier on screen. Continue reading

Michael Corleone’s Black Three-Piece Suit

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974)

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, cold and calculating Mafia boss

Long Island, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe, Winter 1959

Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

For #MafiaMonday, I’m exploring Michael Corleone at his most iconic, coldly receiving his siblings and family while holding court at his mother’s funeral. Continue reading

Willi Cicci in The Godfather

Joe Spinell as Willi Cicci in The Godfather (1972)

Joe Spinell as Willi Cicci in The Godfather (1972)

Vitals

Joe Spinell as Willi Cicci, slick Corleone mob family “button man”

New York City, August 1955

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 15, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

When the boss says push the button on a guy, I push the button, see, Senator?

Today’s #MafiaMonday post focuses on one of the more celebrated minor characters of The Godfather, Corleone family enforcer Willi Cicci, who stands out with his slick sense of style and laidback demeanor. Imagine if Dean Martin had grown a mustache and joined the mob… that’s Willi Cicci for ya.

Cicci best gets the opportunity to explain his short yet memorable role in The Godfather when testifying in front of a Senate committee in the film’s sequel. When we first meet him in The Godfather, Cicci is getting a shave in a hotel barbershop with an unflappable, can’t-be-bothered attitude that may trick first-time viewers into thinking he is one of the many targets that Michael Corleone has marked for death on this transformative day for the New York Mafia.

Continue reading

Cary Grant’s Navy Worsted 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, playboy socialite

Onboard the SS Constitution in the North Atlantic, December 1956

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

Background

Happy birthday to Cary Grant, the charming maverick who personifies the intersection of style and screen during the golden age of both. The erstwhile Archie Leach defined men’s style for the better part of the 20th century and his timeless sartorial sensibilities live on through his charismatic performances on screen and, most specifically, via the advice he outlined for This Week magazine (and reprinted in GQ) in the 1960s.

Simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste.

– Cary Grant on style, 1962

One of Cary Grant’s most stylish, romantic, and iconic roles was artistic playboy Nickie Ferrante in An Affair to Remember. Continue reading

White Christmas: Bing’s Powder Blue Jacket

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace in White Christmas (1954)

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace in White Christmas (1954)

Vitals

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Broadway crooner, World War II veteran, and “a lonely and miserable man”

Florida, December 1954

Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Happy holidays! This Christmas Eve felt like an appropriate time to focus on White Christmas, the most successful film of 1954 and one of the most beloved holiday classics. Continue reading