Tagged: Ankle Boots

Matt Helm’s Light Blue Knitwear in Murderers’ Row

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers' Row (1966)

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers’ Row (1966)

Vitals

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent

New Mexico, Summer 1966

Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday, Dean Martin! The charismatic entertainer known for his laidback charm and boozy, breezy persona was born June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio. Having established himself as a singer and actor, first in his partnership with Jerry Lewis and then among the swingers of the Rat Pack, Dino set out on his own direction in the mid-1960s, first with his variety series The Dean Martin Show on NBC and then his starring role as easygoing counter-agent Matt Helm in a multi-film franchise based on Donald Hamilton’s espionage novels. Unlike their more straightforward and serious source material, Martin’s Matt Helm movies followed the decade’s zeitgeist for spy parodies in the spirit of Carry On Spying and Our Man Flint. If you thought James Bond was a womanizer, lounge lizard Matt Helm proves that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

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The Yakuza: Ken Takakura’s Navy Baracuta G9

Ken Takakura as Ken Tanaka in The Yakuza (1974)

Ken Takakura as Ken Tanaka in The Yakuza (1974)

Vitals

Ken Takakura as Ken Tanaka, disciplined ex-Yakuza

Tokyo, Spring 1974

Film: The Yakuza
Release Date: December 28, 1974
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

Background

Fans of ’70s action would no doubt appreciate The Yakuza, Paul Schrader’s debut screenplay, co-written with his brother Leonard Schrader based on Leonard’s own experiences in Japan. A driving factor that compelled the brothers to finish their initial script was the stoic screen presence of Ken Takakura, who appeared in the film as the ex-akuza gangster who now teaches kendo.

Ken takes up his sword as part of his giri with Harry Kilmer (Robert Mitchum), formerly a U.S. Marine MP who had dated Ken’s sister while serving in Tokyo during the post-WWII occupation of Japan. Loosely defined as a lifelong debt that can never truly be repaid, the giri concept is central to The Yakuza, in which Ken describes it to Harry as “the burden hardest to bear” and refuses to rid himself of his obligation even when Dusty (Richard Jordan) suggests that the nature of his debt is relatively arbitrary.

Having arrived in Japan in search of his associate’s kidnapped daughter, Harry seeks out Ken’s assistance, but the blood they spill rescuing the young woman results in Yakuza contracts placed on both Harry and Ken, a threat that can only be eliminated by Ken killing the powerful gangster Tono (Eiji Okada) with a sword. While Harry arms himself with a .45 and a double-barreled shotgun, Ken takes a katana to appropriately exact his vengeance on the dangerous crime boss.

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Gary Cooper in High Noon

Gary Cooper as Marshal Will Kane in High Noon (1952)

Gary Cooper as Marshal Will Kane in High Noon (1952)

Vitals

Gary Cooper as Will Kane, newlywed city marshal

Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory, Summer 1873

Film: High Noon
Release Date: July 24, 1952
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Men’s Wardrobe Credit: Joe King

Background

Born 119 years ago today on May 7, 1901, Gary Cooper received his second Academy Award for Best Actor in recognition of his now-iconic performance in High Noon as a laconic lawman whose sense of duty compels him to make a lone stand against a band of dangerous outlaws.

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Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel (2019)

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury in Captain Marvel (2019)
Photo credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Marvel Studios

Vitals

Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, “full-bird colonel turned spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent”

Rosamond, California, to Louisiana, June 1995

Film: Captain Marvel
Release Date: February 27, 2019
Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Costume Designer: Sanja Milkovic Hays

Background

Carol Danvers: Nicholas Joseph Fury… you have three names?
Nick Fury: Everybody calls me Fury. Not Nicholas. Not Joseph. Not Nick. Just Fury.
Carol Danvers: What does your mom call you?
Nick Fury: Fury.
Carol Danvers: What do you call her?
Nick Fury: Fury.
Carol Danvers: What about your kids?
Nick Fury: If I have them? They’ll call me Fury.

The 21st film released by Marvel Studios for the Marvel Cinematic Universe spends more time with Nick Fury than previous entries, giving us an ostensible origin story for the black-clad badass who’s been at the core of the MCU since his first appearance in the post-credits scene of Iron Man. As Captain Marvel is set in 1995, decades before the primary action of the MCU, Samuel L. Jackson was digitally de-aged to portray the character, then seen as a much lower-level agent in the S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucracy and—perhaps most surprising—with both of his eyes intact. Continue reading

The Yakuza: Robert Mitchum’s Corduroy Jacket and Tan Turtleneck

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer in The Yakuza (1974)

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer in The Yakuza (1974)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer, tough former detective

Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, Spring 1974

Film: The Yakuza
Release Date: December 28, 1974
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Fall is here in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s my favorite season for the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and the increased sweaters, corduroys, and tweeds that make their way from the back of the closet back into regular rotation. These autumnal staples get some particularly badass exposure in Sydney Pollack’s 1974 Japanese-set neo-noir The Yakuza as a 57-year-old Robert Mitchum joins Ken Takakura as they fight their way through Honshu from Kyoto to Tokyo in a variety of natty turtlenecks layered under tweed jackets and corduroy suits.

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The Yakuza: Robert Mitchum’s Tan Parka and Turtleneck

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer in The Yakuza (1974)

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer in The Yakuza (1974)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer, tough former detective

Tokyo, Spring 1974

Film: The Yakuza
Release Date: December 28, 1974
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The unique neo-noir Japanese gangster movie The Yakuza was conceptualized by brothers Paul and Leonard Schrader based on Leonard’s letters to Paul while living in Japan, particularly about the yakuza and the screen presence of Ken Takakura. While Takakura was almost always guaranteed to play a role, the crucial positions of the director and the lead actor—who would portray an aging former detective sent to Japan in service to an old friend—were still in transition.

Early in the pre-production stages, it looked like Robert Aldrich would direct with Lee Marvin in the lead role, until Marvin’s clash with Warner Brothers led to Robert Mitchum taking the role. 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

Chalky White’s Green Tweed Suit on Boardwalk Empire

Michael K. Williams as Albert "Chalky" White on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 4.12: "Farewell Daddy Blues")

Michael K. Williams as Albert “Chalky” White on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 4.12: “Farewell Daddy Blues”)

Vitals

Michael Kenneth Williams as Albert “Chalky” White, nightclub owner and bootlegger

Atlantic City, August 1924

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Farewell Daddy Blues” (Episode 4.12)
Air Date: November 24, 2013
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This weekend is St. Patrick’s Day, a time when many observe the feast day of Ireland’s foremost patron saint by donning their greenest attire and celebrating in a range of style, whether it’s the customary indulgence in classic Irish recipes like corned beef and cabbage or the more contemporary tradition of getting plastered on Jameson and taking selfies next to an artificially viridescent Chicago River.

If you’re at a loss for what to wear, you can take a page from the Chalky White playbook and borrow some green tweeds. Continue reading

The Yakuza: Ken Takakura in Gray Herringbone

Ken Takakura as Ken Tanaka in The Yakuza (1974)

Ken Takakura as Ken Tanaka in The Yakuza (1974)

Vitals

Ken Takakura as Ken Tanaka, disciplined ex-Yakuza

Tokyo, Spring 1974

Film: The Yakuza
Release Date: December 28, 1974
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

Background

The Yakuza was the first screenplay credited to either Paul Schrader or Leonard Schrader, whose experiences in Japan inspired his brother to write the story. Leonard returned to the United States, where he spend the holiday season in Venice co-writing the screenplay’s first draft with Paul, who would later famously collaborate with Martin Scorsese on Taxi Driver and Raging Bull among others. While the brothers watched many yakuza films for inspiration, what impressed them the most was the stoic screen presence of Ken Takakura, the Nakama-born actor who’d made his screen debut two decades earlier.

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Tony Montana’s White Suit in Scarface

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Tony Montana, impulsive and hotheaded cocaine dealer

Miami, Summer 1981

Film: Scarface
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Tailor: Tommy Velasco

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Brian de Palma’s 1983 drug epic Scarface celebrated its 35th anniversary yesterday. A remake of a 1932 gangster film that itself took inspiration from the life of Al Capone, Scarface met with negative critical reception at the time of its release though it was a box office hit and racked up Golden Globe nods for lead actors Al Pacino and Steven Bauer.

As in the 1932 version, one scene finds the rising gangster returning home to flaunt his wealth in front of his concerned mother (Míriam Colón) and his devoted sister (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio). Waiting out by the car is the gangster’s flashy young pal, who catches sight of the gangster’s younger sister and is immediately smitten. Continue reading