Tagged: A-2 Flight Jacket

William Holden in Picnic

William Holden as Hal Carter in Picnic (1955)

William Holden as Hal Carter in Picnic (1955)

Vitals

William Holden as Hal Carter, aimless former college football star and Army veteran

Kansas, Labor Day 1955

Film: Picnic
Release Date: February 16, 1956
Director: Joshua Logan
Costume Designer: Jean Louis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This Labor Day, we celebrate one of the lesser-recognized cinematic holidays with a look at the Academy Award-nominated Technicolor hit Picnic. Continue reading

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Cagney’s Leather Jacket in White Heat

James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat (1949)

James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat (1949)

Vitals

James Cagney as Arthur “Cody” Jarrett, ruthless gang leader and devoted son

Los Angeles, Spring 1950

Film: White Heat
Release Date: September 2, 1949
Director: Raoul Walsh
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the 120th birthday of James Cagney, the intense actor who brought realism and energy to his performances that ranged from deadpan comedy to complex tough guys. It was for the latter that Cagney, who Orson Welles described as “maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of the camera,” is most remembered, particularly for his mature performance as the complex gangster Cody Jarrett in White Heat.

Continue reading

Allied Uniforms of The Great Escape

Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, Nigel Stock, and Gordon Jackson in The Great Escape (1963)

Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, Nigel Stock, and Gordon Jackson in The Great Escape (1963)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of “the great escape”, the mass breakout of allied airmen from the Luftwaffe-operated Stalag Luft III in Sagan-Silesia—now Zagan—in Poland on March 24, 1944. Of the 76 men who escaped, only three made it to freedom and 50 of the group were murdered by the Nazis in retaliation.

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

Paul Brickhill, one of the Allied officers who had worked on the various tunnels used for the escape, wrote the definitive account of prison camp life, the famous March 1944 breakout, and the subsequent fallout in The Great Escape, published in 1950.

Thirteen years later, a star-studded cast reenacted the incident in The Great Escape, a now-classic war movie that dramatized this real-life story of heroism, humor, and tragedy.

Today’s post—coinciding both with the 75th anniversary of the escape and the 89th birthday of the film’s star Steve McQueen—examines the uniforms of the Allied airmen, sorted by each major character’s surname. Continue reading

Brad Pitt Channels McQueen as Benjamin Button

Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Vitals

Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button, reverse-aging adventurer and family man

New Orleans, Fall 1967

Film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Release Date: December 25, 2008
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Jacqueline West

Background

Now that spring is here, venturing outside will require not a heavy wool coat but instead some intentional lightweight layering, a casual sartorial approach mastered by Steve McQueen in the ’60s and revived with Jacqueline West’s thoughtful costume design in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

The premise of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is very curious indeed, following the story of a man born on Armistice Day 1918 with the appearance of an octogenarian who ages in reverse over the course of the 20th century. Early in his youth, the titular Benjamin makes the acquaintance of Daisy, a young girl who—like the rest of us—ages in the traditional fashion. The two reconnect several times over the following decades, but it isn’t until the early 1960s when Benjamin (Brad Pitt) and Daisy (Cate Blanchett)—now each in their 40s—are able to establish a lasting connection. Continue reading

Hilts in The Great Escape

Steve McQueen as the unflappable Capt. Hilts in The Great Escape

Steve McQueen as the unflappable Capt. Hilts in The Great Escape (1963).

This weekend marked the 69th anniversary of “The Great Escape”, the mass escape of allied airmen from the German-controlled Stalag Luft III in Lower Silesia. The escape, which involved the efforts of 600 men, achieved the goal of RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bushell to “make life hell for the Hun.”

In 1963, the story was filmed by the Mirisch Company as The Great Escape.

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Capt. Virgil Hilts, U.S. Army Air Forces pilot and escape artist

Sagan-Silesia (Zagan, Poland), Spring 1944

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

Background

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve heard of The Great Escape and have hopefully seen it roughly a hundred times in your life. Continue reading