Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent
St. Petersburg, Russia, April 1995
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
I’ve been featuring a number of looks from the James Bond series lately, but I would hate to let that get in the way of the 00-7th of March! Since we’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day this month, it seems obvious to me that we should also be celebrating the Irish actor who delivered his own brand of debonair charm to the role of 007.
In his inaugural outing, GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond is relaxing in the pool of his St. Petersburg hotel when he is cornered by the alluring assassin Xenia Onatopp (Famke Janssen). Bond gets the upper hand – among other parts – and convinces Xenia to introduce him to the mysterious syndicate behind the disappearance of a missing satellite. Continue reading
Brad Pitt as John Smith, suburban assassin
New York City, Fall 2004
Film: Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Release Date: June 10, 2005
Director: Doug Liman
Costume Designer: Michael Kaplan
Pitt’s Costumer: Myron Baker
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
There have been quite a few requests from readers hoping to see some of Brad Pitt’s sharp attire from Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and I think enough time has passed since his notorious divorce from Angelina Jolie last fall that a post featuring the very movie that brought them together won’t look too opportunistic… although being posted a week after Valentine’s Day may look suspicious!
Mr. & Mrs. Smith stars Pitt and Jolie as the titular couple, a seemingly banal set of suburbanites shielding their secret side careers as professional contract killers from each other. Continue reading
Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, groundbreaking R&B musician
Indianapolis, Fall 1961
Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis
On a suggestion from a great reader of this blog, I revisited Jamie Foxx’s Academy Award-winning performance as Ray Charles in 2004’s Ray and noticed the abundance of excellent period costumes that Foxx wears as the titular virtuoso.
In addition to Foxx’s Oscar for acting, the 2005 Academy Awards also gave a well-deserved nod to costume designer Sharen Davis, who beautifully recreated the era through Ray’s natty attire both on and off the stage. One outfit that particularly stood out was the black satin-trimmed stage suit in blue flecked silk that Ray wears during a couple of early 1960s gigs across the Midwest. Continue reading
Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent
Miami and Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
It’s impossible to over-celebrate the elegant yet understated sartorialism of Cary Grant, born this day in 1904. One of my favorite of Grant’s movies is Notorious, the 1946 espionage adventure that paired him with Ingrid Bergman as a pair of American spies tasked with exposing Alexander Sebastian, a former Nazi played with charmingly evil affability by Claude Rains.
Notorious was the second collaboration between Grant and director Alfred Hitchcock, and it marked the start of a string of wildly successful and ultimately timeless movies that Hitch would direct over the next two decades. Continue reading
Cary Grant as Brian Cruikshank (aka Peter Joshua, Alexander Dyle, or Adam Canfield), U.S. Treasury agent
Paris, April 1963
Release Date: December 5, 1963
Director: Stanley Donen
Heading back to business for the first day in the new year, nothing is more appropriate for a winter’s day in the office than a charcoal flannel suit similar to the one that Cary Grant’s multi-named hero wore to the office for the finale of Charade. Continue reading
James Stewart as George Bailey, banker and depressed family man
Bedford Falls, NY, Christmas Eve 1945
Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Release Date: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson
Jimmy Stewart and director Frank Capra have both called It’s a Wonderful Life the favorite film of each of their prolific careers. Stewart cites George Bailey as his favorite character that he’s played, and Capra would annually screen the film for his own family each Christmas.
First released 60 years ago this week, the film earned mixed reviews and was ultimately considered a financial disappointment, earning only $3.3 million during its initial box office run against its considerably expensive $3.7 million budget. (It also earned the ire of the FBI for its “Communist tricks” of “represented rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture,” but that’s a whole different story.) Continue reading
Michael Douglas as Nick Curran, homicide detective with a troubled past
San Francisco, April 1991
Film: Basic Instinct
Release Date: March 20, 1992
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
There have been a few persistent requests to analyze Michael Douglas’ tailored Cerruti suits and sport jackets in the controversial thriller Basic Instinct, best known for what Sharon Stone wasn’t wearing on screen as opposed to what Michael Douglas was wearing.
Described in his book The Devil’s Guide to Hollywood as an exercise to create the lowest common denominator screenplay possible, writer Joe Eszterhas completed his script within two weeks all while reportedly listening to The Rolling Stones non-stop. Eszterhas sold the script three days later for the astronomical sum of $3 million, cynically reattaining his mantle as the highest paid screenwriter in Hollywood.