Tagged: 1960s

The Grass is Greener: Cary Grant’s Velvet Dinner Jacket

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, in The Grass is Greener (1960)

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, in The Grass is Greener (1960)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, deadpan but debonair nobleman

Rural England, Spring 1960

Film: The Grass is Greener
Release Date: December 23, 1960
Director: Stanley Donen
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Today marks the 35th anniversary since the death of screen legend and style icon Cary Grant. To commemorate the actor’s prolific career, I wanted to highlight his characteristically stylish clothing from one of his lesser-discussed works, the Stanley Donen-directed romantic comedy The Grass is Greener.

While The Grass is Greener isn’t among my favorite of Grant’s filmography, I can certainly appreciate its cast and style! The execution feels a little too stagey for my liking, which makes sense as it was adapted by Hugh Williams and Margaret Vyner from their own hit play, deriving its title from the centuries-old idiom that is paraphrased by Grant’s character when he admits that “indeed, the grass is always greener on the other side of the hedge.”

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JFK: Kevin Costner’s Shirt Collars as Jim Garrison

Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison in JFK (1991)

Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison in JFK (1991)

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Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison, District Attorney of Orleans Parish, Louisiana, and World War II veteran

New Orleans, Fall 1963 through Spring 1969

Film: JFK
Release Date: December 20, 1991
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Marlene Stewart

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Jim Garrison, the Louisiana district attorney whose prosecution of New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw remains the only trial to be brought for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who was murdered in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

Born November 20, 1921, Earling Carothers “Jim” Garrison had just celebrated his 42nd birthday and was nearly halfway through his first of three four-year terms as Orleans Parish District Attorney when Kennedy was killed.

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The Killers (1964): John Cassavetes On the Run in Corduroy

John Cassavetes and Angie Dickinson in The Killers (1964)

John Cassavetes and Angie Dickinson in The Killers (1964)

Vitals

John Cassavetes as Johnny North, race car driver-turned-robber

Southern California, Spring 1960

Film: The Killers
Release Date: July 7, 1964
Director: Don Siegel
Costume Designer: Helen Colvig

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Earlier this week, I kicked off #Noirvember with a look at Burt Lancaster as the hapless and doomed “Swede” Anderson, whose murder at the start of Robert Siodmak’s seminal noir The Killers kicks off the series of flashbacks investigating what led to his decision to give in to the two armed killers.

Two decades later, the material was revisited by director Don Siegel and screenwriter Gene L. Coon, who drifted even further from Ernest Hemingway’s source material to focus on the two slick hitmen who set about learning more about the man they had been hired to kill, now reimagined as a race car driver named Johnny North.

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Love Story: Ryan O’Neal’s Sheepskin Flight Jacket

Ryan O'Neal as Oliver Barrett IV in Love Story (1970)

Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV in Love Story (1970)

Vitals

Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, newlywed Harvard graduate

Boston, Fall to Winter 1968

Film: Love Story
Release Date: December 16, 1970
Director: Arthur Hiller
Costume Design: Alice Manougian Martin & Pearl Somner

Background

If all goes to plan, I’ll be getting married exactly one year from today so it felt appropriate to revisit some of the fall-friendly fashions from one of the most famous—or infamous, if you’re so inclined—romance movies of all time, Love Story.

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw star as the Ivy League lovers Oliver and Jenny who, once she overcomes her distaste for his upper-class roots (drink every time she calls him “preppy”), defy his blue-blood father’s wishes and get married, beginning their humble lives together in a Boston apartment following his graduation.

Oliver remains defiantly bitter following his father’s rejection of Jenny, cutting off all contact. After receiving an invitation to his estranged father’s 60th birthday party, Oliver refuses to even respond with their regrets, resulting in his and Jenny’s first major argument. She runs from the apartment, sending Oliver on an increasingly desperate search from local shops to music classes, until he returns home that night to find her waiting on their stoop.

Regretting his behavior, Oliver offers his apologies, to which Jenny responds by hitting him with one of the most criticized lines in movie history:

Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

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Zodiac: Paul Avery’s Layered Corduroy and Denim

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007)

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007)

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Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery, San Francisco Chronicle crime reporter

San Francisco, Fall 1969 to Fall 1970

Film: Zodiac
Release Date: March 2, 2007
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Casey Storm

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Last week, the volunteer investigative group The Case Breakers released their research suggesting the identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer was Gary Francis Poste, adding a new suspect to a list that includes Arthur Leigh Allen, Rick Marshall, and Ted Cruz. While many experts have been quick to disprove the Poste theory, the current zeitgeist of fascination with true crime and every other podcast inspiring waves of amateur detectives encouraged me to revisit Zodiac, David Fincher’s extensively researched thriller that has been considered one of the best movies of the 21st century… despite being outgrossed by Wild Hogs during its opening weekend.

In addition to its eponymous killer, Zodiac centers around three real-life figures—San Francisco police inspector Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Chronicle crime writer Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.)—each driven to obsession by their relentless parallel pursuits to uncover the serial murderer’s identity. Continue reading

The Many Saints of Newark: Dickie Moltisanti’s Black Striped Knit Shirts

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

Vitals

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, slick gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Summer 1967 through Summer 1971

Film: The Many Saints of Newark
Release Date: October 1, 2021
Director: Alan Taylor
Costume Designer: Amy Westcott

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Pain comes from wanting things,” Sal Moltisanti (Ray Liotta) explains to his nephew Dickie, though it could have also been meta-messaging from David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and a frequent critic of the fans and pundits always demanding more from his magnum opus, be it answers (What happened to the Russian? Did Tony die at Holsten’s?) or more stories to be told.

Regarding the latter, Chase had expressed interest in prequel stories—if anything—to continue building the Soprano-verse. He returned to a setting that had intrigued him as far back as his days in film school: the race riots that swept through Newark in July 1967.

While much excitement was garnered when it was announced that the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael would be playing a younger version of the role his father had immortalized on the series, the central character of Chase’s prequel would be Dickie Moltisanti, the smooth mafiosi whose death prior to the events of the series left the hotheaded young gangster Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) desperately in search of a father figure.

After years of The Sopranos building up Dickie’s mythos, Alessandro Nivola delivers a charismatic and engaging performance that makes Dickie Moltisanti a particularly compelling character to finally meet, illustrating the magnetism that would have so entranced a young Tony as well as the internal demons that he would have transferred to Christopher.

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Easy Rider: Peter Fonda as “Captain America”

Peter Fonda as Wyatt in Easy Rider (1969)

Peter Fonda as “Captain America” in Easy Rider (1969)

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Peter Fonda as Wyatt, aka “Captain America”, freedom-loving biker

Across the southern United States from Los Angeles through Louisiana, February 1968

Film: Easy Rider
Release Date: July 14, 1969
Director: Dennis Hopper

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

When I learned the second Saturday of October is commemorated as National Motorcycle Ride Day, I realized I’d gone far too long without shining a sartorial lens on Dennis Hopper’s iconic cult classic, Easy Rider.

Conceptualized by Hopper, Fonda, and screenwriter Terry Southern, Easy Rider‘s chaotic production and controversial themes have been the product of considerable discussion since its release during that seminal summer of ’69. To some, it explores the death of the American dream through the concept of freedom, asking what it really means to be a free American.

Set to classic rock like The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, Roger McGuinn, and Steppenwolf, we follow two bikers in their journey across the United States, from the open desert of the southwest into the close-knit conservative communities of the deep South. Hopper co-stars as the the mustached hippie rider Billy, but the arguable leader of the duo is the flag-bedecked Wyatt (Peter Fonda), celebrated by his pal as “Captain America”. After all, if a red, white, and blue-blooded Captain America can’t safely and freely ride across the nation, who can? Continue reading

The Sopranos: Johnny Boy’s Red Knit 1960s Shirt

Joseph Siravo as "Johnny Boy" Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: "Fortunate Son")

Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: “Fortunate Son”)

Vitals

Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano, gregarious gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Fall 1969

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Fortunate Son” (Episode 3.03)
Air Date: March 11, 2001
Director: Henry J. Bronchtein
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The highly anticipated Soprano saga prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, will be released tomorrow, expanding on the universe of the fictional DiMeo crew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Michael Gandolfini has already received impressive notices in his portrayal of a teenage version of the role originated by his father, with Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga playing the young future capo’s parents, Johnny Boy and Livia Soprano.

David Chase has acknowledged that the prequel will be retconning some of the timeline that had been outlined in episodes of The Sopranos, specifically the flashbacks in episodes like “Fortunate Son”, which starred Joseph Siravo and Laila Robins as the parents of a pre-teen Tony (Mark Damiano II).

A veteran of stage and screen, Siravo died just over five months ago on April 11, 2021, at the age of 66. The actor had appeared in five episodes of The Sopranos as Tony’s charming but violent father.

As the first episode set after Livia’s death, “Fortunate Son” focuses on the respective roles of young men reacting to new responsibilities, including the recently “made” Christopher Moltisanti, Jackie Aprile Jr. trying to live in the shadows of his late “fawtha”, A.J. Soprano seemingly inheriting his father’s panic attacks, and Tony himself recalling the moment in his childhood when he was first made aware of his own father’s dangerous profession. Continue reading

La Piscine: Alain Delon’s Windowpane Shirts and Autumn-Ready Storm Rider

Alain Delon and Romy Schneider in La Piscine (1969)

Alain Delon and Romy Schneider in La Piscine (1969)

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Alain Delon as Jean-Paul Leroy, moody ad agency writer on vacation

French Riviera, Summer 1968

Film: The Swimming Pool
(French title: La Piscine)
Release Date: January 3, 1969
Director: Jacques Deray
Costume Designer: André Courrèges

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Actually, I don’t care much for summer,” the glamorous sun-kissed socialite Marianne (Romy Schneider) explains, clarifying “just the in-between seasons.” As tomorrow marks the first day of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, start finding your style for this transitional “in-between” season! Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: Leo’s Black Airport Attire

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lorenza Izzo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

Leonardo DiCaprio and Lorenza Izzo in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, re-energized movie and TV star

Rome to Los Angeles, Summer 1969

Film: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips

Background

I recently had the good fortune to rejoin my friend Peter Brooker on his excellent podcast, From Tailors With Love, joined by John Williams of James Bond Radio to talk about the style in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Tarantino’s ode to the movie industry at the close of the 1960s.

Though Once Upon a Time in Hollywood cycles through the orbit of real-life stars like Sharon Tate, Steve McQueen, the Mamas and the Papas, and James Stacy—to name just a few—the central story focuses on the dynamic between the fictional actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his best friend, the laconic stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

The movie begins with Rick coming to terms with his “washed-up” career, his desperation leading to a meeting with talent broker Marvin Schwarz (Al Pacino), who suggests spaghetti westerns as the gateway to the next phase of Rick’s career. Following Rick’s impressive performances on episodes of The F.B.I. and Lancer, Schwarz books him four back-to-back gigs in Italy, where he also meets and marries the beautiful starlet Francesca Capucci (Lorenza Izzo) as his stardom climbs to new heights. Continue reading