Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, lawyer
New York City, Fall 1986
Film: Fatal Attraction
Release Date: September 18, 1987
Director: Adrian Lyne
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Inspired by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick’s recent podcast appearance on From Tailors With Love that clarified a few misconceptions held around Michael Douglas’ tailored costumes in some of his most prominent movies, let’s finally cover the 35-year-old noir-ish thriller that spawned a cinematic sub-genre centered around Douglas’ sex life getting him in deep trouble. Continue reading
Paul Newman as Ram Bowen, temperamental jazz trombonist
Paris, Fall 1960
Film: Paris Blues
Release Date: September 27, 1961
Director: Martin Ritt
On this day in 1958, one of the most legendary marriages in Hollywood history began when Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward tied the knot in Las Vegas, three days after his 33rd birthday. The two had met earlier that decade during a Broadway production of Picnic and reunited while filming The Long, Hot Summer for director Martin Ritt. Newman and Woodward would co-star in several subsequent movies together, but their next collaboration with their ostensible “matchmaker” Ritt was Paris Blues, adapted from Harold Flender’s 1957 novel of the same name.
Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, slick gangster
Newark, New Jersey, Summer 1967 through Summer 1971
Film: The Many Saints of Newark
Release Date: October 1, 2021
Director: Alan Taylor
Costume Designer: Amy Westcott
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
“Pain comes from wanting things,” Sal Moltisanti (Ray Liotta) explains to his nephew Dickie, though it could have also been meta-messaging from David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and a frequent critic of the fans and pundits always demanding more from his magnum opus, be it answers (What happened to the Russian? Did Tony die at Holsten’s?) or more stories to be told.
Regarding the latter, Chase had expressed interest in prequel stories—if anything—to continue building the Soprano-verse. He returned to a setting that had intrigued him as far back as his days in film school: the race riots that swept through Newark in July 1967.
While much excitement was garnered when it was announced that the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael would be playing a younger version of the role his father had immortalized on the series, the central character of Chase’s prequel would be Dickie Moltisanti, the smooth mafiosi whose death prior to the events of the series left the hotheaded young gangster Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) desperately in search of a father figure.
After years of The Sopranos building up Dickie’s mythos, Alessandro Nivola delivers a charismatic and engaging performance that makes Dickie Moltisanti a particularly compelling character to finally meet, illustrating the magnetism that would have so entranced a young Tony as well as the internal demons that he would have transferred to Christopher.
Patrick McGoohan as Number Six, recently resigned secret agent
“The Village”, Fall 1967
Series: The Prisoner
– “Arrival” (Episode 1.01, dir. Don Chaffey, aired 9/29/1967)
– “Fall Out” (Episode 1.17, dir. Patrick McGoohan, aired 2/1/1968)
Created by: Patrick McGoohan & George Markstein
Wardrobe: Masada Wilmot & Dora Lloyd
Tailored by: Dimi Major & Douglas Hayward (Major, Hayward Ltd.)
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The Prisoner debuted in the UK on this date in 1967, a passion project from Patrick McGoohan after his rise to stardom on the British espionage series Danger Man. Mystery continues to surround the series, which has been argued as a surreal explanation of ego and individualism within the trappings of the then-fashionable “spy-fi” genre mix, inspiring more questions than answers over its seventeen-episode run, including the true identity of McGoohan’s character known only as “Number 6”, suggested to be a continuation of John Drake from Danger Man or possibly even an allegory for the actor himself. Continue reading
Paul Newman as “Fast Eddie” Felson, liquor salesman and former pool hustler
Chicago, Spring 1986
Film: The Color of Money
Release Date: October 17, 1986
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
Today would have been the 95th birthday of Paul Newman, the acclaimed actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and motorsports enthusiast. Over his legendary career that spanned more than half a century, Newman’s sole Academy Award for acting recognized his performance in The Color of Money (1986), in which he reprised the role of “Fast Eddie” Felson that he had originated on screen in The Hustler (1961). 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
Jean Dujardin as Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, suave French agent OSS 117
Cairo, Spring 1955
Film: OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies
(French title: OSS 117: Le Caire, nid d’espions)
Release Date: April 19, 2006
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Costume Designer: Charlotte David
Tailor: Joseph Kergoat
Our debonair protagonist spends most of OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies in one tailored suit or the other, but he briefly dressed down for an adventure in the desert, sporting a black long-sleeve polo shirt reminiscent of Sean Connery’s preferred covert casual wear in James Bond films like Goldfinger and Thunderball. Continue reading
John Travolta as Chili Palmer, Miami loan shark and aspiring filmmaker
Los Angeles, Winter 1995
Film: Get Shorty
Release Date: October 20, 1995
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann
Today’s Mafia Monday post explores one of the many delightfully idiosyncratic characters from the wonderful world of Elmore Leonard.
Miami loan shark Chili Palmer is effortlessly capable at his job, but – like many people – when a job is too easy, it becomes tedious. Bored with the incompetence of psychotic mobsters in his orbit like Ray “Bones” Barboni (Dennis Farina), Chili embraces the opportunity to go west in search of a delinquent dry cleaner. Continue reading
Jason Statham as Terry Leather, fledging bank robber and former car salesman
East London, September 1971
Film: The Bank Job
Release Date: February 29, 2008
Director: Roger Donaldson
Costume Designer: Odile Dicks-Mireaux
Based partially on some possibly true events (or at least theories) surrounding the famous Baker Street robbery of 1971, The Bank Job is a fun caper flick from 2008 that stars Jason Statham in a decidedly less Statham-esque role than usual, leading a team of non-violent petty criminals chosen by the British government to burglarize a bank.
Of course, it’s not that simple as Statham’s crew isn’t even aware that they’re working for the government and wedging themselves between a sadistic London gangster and a militant revolutionary. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, British secret agent
London, July 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand in hand.
After getting caught on camera shooting up an embassy and then breaking into his boss’s apartment, Bond receives just the advice that he needs to hear at the start of his budding career as a secret agent. Dressing in dark colors and wearing a smirk straight from the Bruce Willis School of Badassery, Bond doesn’t impress the stern but wise M as she lays down the law. Continue reading