Tagged: Berlin

Torn Curtain: Paul Newman’s Charcoal Brown Flannel Suit

Paul Newman as Professor Michael Armstrong in Torn Curtain (1966)

Paul Newman as Professor Michael Armstrong in Torn Curtain (1966)

Vitals

Paul Newman as Michael Armstrong, American physicist and amateur spy

East Berlin, September 1965

Film: Torn Curtain
Release Date: July 14, 1966
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Supervisor: Grady Hunt

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Alfred Hitchcock’s 50th film, Torn Curtain, marked his one and only collaboration with Paul Newman. Production on the Cold War spy thriller was plagued by the veteran director clashing with his leads, unused to method actor Paul Newman’s constant questioning of his character’s motivation. “Your motivation is your salary,” Hitch reportedly replied.

The famously easygoing Newman was a little more enthusiastic, later recalling, “I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off, but the script kept getting in the way.”

Indeed, the serious political thriller was a departure from Hitchcock’s usual scripts, developed in response to the growing popularity of the James Bond franchise through the ’60s. Continue reading

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The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) – Solo’s Blue Teal Windowpane Suit

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Vitals

Henry Cavill as Napoleon Solo, smooth CIA operative

Berlin and Rome, Spring 1963

Film: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Release Date: August 2, 2015
Director: Guy Ritchie
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston

Background

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is one of the more stylish films released in recent years, transporting audiences back to the oft-romanticized height of Cold War spying in mid-’60s Europe. The movie reboot serves as a prequel for the popular TV show, which starred Robert Vaughn and David McCallum as American spy Napoleon Solo and KGB operative Illya Kuryakin, respectively.

Henry Cavill’s interpretation of Solo retains much of the easygoing efficiency and sophistication originated by Vaughn in the role, and I left the theater wishing I was heading directly to the shop of Timothy Everest, who tailored Cavill’s distinctive and debonair suits for the film.

For my inaugural Solo post, in response to requests from readers Noel and Andrew, I am choosing to focus on a flashy suit that gets plenty of screen time. Continue reading

Redford’s Spy Game Tuxedo

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in Spy Game (2001)

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in Spy Game (2001)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir, experienced CIA case officer

Berlin, Winter 1977

Film: Spy Game
Release Date: November 21, 2001
Director: Tony Scott
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
Redford’s Costumer: David Page

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

When Nathan Muir is being questioned by the CIA about his history with Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt), one particular incident that receives attention is Operation Rodeo, best remembered by Muir as “the Cathcart affair” for the involvement of embassy mole Anne Cathcart (Charlotte Rampling).

Vivaldi’s “Spring” concerto from The Four Seasons, performed by Nigel Kennedy and the English Chamber Orchestra, cuts in as the film flashes back again to Berlin in 1977. Muir is in black tie with a glass of single malt in his hand, accompanying his “cousin” (Andrea Osvárt) to a party where the two encounter the enigmatic Ms. Cathcart. Continue reading

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) – Illya’s Brown Suede Blouson

Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Vitals

Armie Hammer as Illya Kuryakin, proud, strong, and serious KGB operative

Berlin and Rome, Late Spring 1963

Film: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Release Date: August 2, 2015
Director: Guy Ritchie
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston

Background

Plans to reboot The Man from U.N.C.L.E. had been in the works for more than two decades by the time Guy Ritchie’s adaptation hit the big screen in the summer of 2015. The original series was created by Ian Fleming, Norman Felton, and Sam Rolfe, debuting in September 1964 as the American response to the wildly successful James Bond franchise… also the brainchild of Ian Fleming.

Continue reading

Redford’s Fisherman Sweater in Spy Game

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in Spy Game (2001).

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in Spy Game (2001).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir, experienced CIA case officer

Berlin, Christmas 1976

Film: Spy Game
Release Date: November 21, 2001
Director: Tony Scott
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
Redford’s Costumer: David Page

Background

After recruiting the talented Tom Bishop for an assassination in the closing days of the Vietnam War, CIA case officer Nathan Muir determines that Bishop would make a fine operative for the agency. Nathan pulls the strings to isolate Bishop for more than a year, secretly assigning the young Marine to a lonely post in Berlin.

Muir then shrewdly chooses Christmas – a vulnerable holiday for lonely folks – as his opportunity to swoop in with a “chance encounter” at a train station. Bishop joins Muir and one of his wives for a Christmas party that evening, and their decade-long career is born.

What’d He Wear?

Nathan Muir provides a comfortable and fashionable way to layer for a winter party. Continue reading

The Bourne Supremacy: Bourne in Europe

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Supremacy (2004).

Vitals

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, ex-CIA assassin on the run

Europe (Berlin & Moscow), Winter 2004

Film: The Bourne Supremacy
Release Date: July 23, 2004
Director: Paul Greengrass
Costume Designer: Dinah Collin

Background

By this point in The Bourne Supremacy, Bourne has already witnessed a tragic death, been in a car chase, beat up two U.S. Consulate officials, and stolen an old BMW. The complacent Bourne who, in his own words “got sloppy”, is now replaced by the professional Bourne.

It is important to recognize the parallels of the “two Bournes” used in the first two films: At the beginning of both, he is in a state of relative inactivity. In The Bourne Identity, he is searching for his identity (duh), and in The Bourne Supremacy, he has set up a home for Marie and himself in India. During these early parts of each film, Bourne is in more colorful clothes than usual.

After he is plunged into action (the Paris apartment realization in The Bourne Identity and Marie’s death in The Bourne Supremacy), he switches into his “Professional Badass” attire of long dark coat, sweater, dark jeans, and boots. Continue reading