Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, welder, hunter, and Vietnam veteran
Terrell County, Texas, Summer 1980
Film: No Country for Old Men
Release Date: November 9, 2007
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As the Monday after Thanksgiving marks the start of deer hunting season here in western Pennsylvania, today seems a fitting day to revisit one of my favorite hunters from modern cinema, Josh Brolin’s laconic Llewelyn Moss in the Coen Bros. masterpeice No Country for Old Men. Continue reading
Jack Nicholson as Bobby Dupea, aimless oil worker and classical piano prodigy
Puget Sound, Fall to Winter 1970
Film: Five Easy Pieces
Release Date: September 12, 1970
Director: Bob Rafelson
Wardrobe Credit: Bucky Rous
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Bobby Dupea’s homecoming leads to an existential crisis in Five Easy Pieces, one of the many triumphant highlights of Jack Nicholson’s early filmography and the second of his 12 Academy Award-nominated roles.
“When we sense the boy, tormented and insecure, trapped inside the adult man, Five Easy Pieces becomes a masterpiece of heartbreaking intensity,” reviewed Roger Ebert, who rated this four-star film to be his favorite of 1970 and went on to name it “one of the best American films.” Continue reading
Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, real-life bounty hunter
Los Angeles (among other locales), Fall 1979
Film: The Hunter
Release Date: August 1, 1980
Director: Buzz Kulik
Costume Designer: Thomas Welsh
On the anniversary of Steve McQueen’s passing, I’d like to explore his style in the final film he made before his untimely death at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980.
The Hunter starred McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, a colorful real-life bounty hunter who had reportedly logged more than 5,000 cases throughout his career including the capture of would-be presidential assassin and Manson family follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.
The concept of a bounty hunter conjures the image of a deadly serious and dangerous enforcer. The real Ralph Thorson certainly looked the part at 310 pounds and 6’2″ though Christopher Keane’s 1976 biography counters this image by describing Thorson’s many roles and talents as “a church bishop, Master bridge champion, renowed astrology, criminology alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, child nutritionist, [and] aficionado of classical music.” Continue reading
Roger Moore as James Bond, suave and sophisticated British MI6 agent
Cairo, Egypt, August 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Tailor: Angelo Vitucci
A man in a sharply tailored tuxedo meets a beautiful woman over martinis in an exotic cocktail lounge. Hours later, he finds himself – Walther PPK in hand – stalking a seemingly unstoppable metal-mouthed killer through the Egyptian pyramids. This quintessential James Bond moment is one of many iconic scenes in Roger Moore’s third 007 outing, The Spy Who Loved Me, and it’s how I remember him on his first birthday since his passing last May at the age of 89. Continue reading
Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan, tough San Francisco Police Department inspector
San Francisco, August 1972
Film: Magnum Force
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: Ted Post
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright
Earth tones are a fall favorite for many, so take a few notes for your Friday date night style from Clint Eastwood’s earthy ensemble in Magnum Force, the first of four sequels featuring the incorruptible Inspector Harry Callahan.
Continuing what must be a subconscious focus on tough ’70s cop movies from Wednesday’s Brannigan post, this scene features Harry swilling Schlitz in front of the TV with Carol McCoy (Christine White), the wife of a suicidal traffic officer. When his superiors get word of a potential grocery store holdup, Harry – who had been demoted to stakeout duty – is called into action with his trusty .44. Continue reading
John Wayne as Jim Brannigan, tough Chicago PD lieutenant
London, Fall 1974
Release Date: March 26, 1975
Director: Douglas Hickox
Wardrobe Credit: Emma Porteous
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
If McQ was John Wayne’s Dirty Harry, then its spiritual successor Brannigan was his Coogan’s Bluff, a “fish out of water” cop film that finds the Duke’s taciturn American lawman in London to secure the extradition of arch-criminal Ben Larkin (John Vernon) under the watchful – and often judgmental – eye of the quintessentially English Scotland Yard Commissioner Swann (Richard Attenborough). Continue reading
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent
South America, Spring 1971
Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
Making mud pies, 007?
Did you know that today, August 19, is National Potato Day? In Diamonds are Forever, James Bond’s hunt for vengeance after the events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service leads him to an undisclosed location in search of his enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who has taken to cloning himself in order to form a group of decoy doubles to distract 007. Part of the pre-operation procedure consists of a volunteer decoy resting in an 80°F mud bath (while armed with a revolver, for some reason), and that’s where National Potato Day comes in. Continue reading