Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles, groundbreaking R&B musician
Houston, Summer 1953
Release Date: October 29, 2004
Director: Taylor Hackford
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis
Jamie Foxx became only the second actor in history to receive a Academy Award for Best Actor, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild award for a single performance when he played Ray Charles. Though it was released five months after the real Ray Charles died of liver disease at age 73, Ray had the blessing of the real Ray Charles who had received – and approved – a braille version of the original shooting script.
Fresh off the success of his first hit for Atlantic Records, the exciting “Mess Around”, we see Ray Charles’ career shooting skyward. He endorses a group called the Cecil Shaw Singers while on-air at a Houston radio station, resulting in a lunch date with the group’s tenor, Della Bea (Kerry Washington), who is amazed that he was able to pick out her voice. Continue reading
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal
Harlan County, Kentucky, Fall 2014
Episode: “Cash Game” (Episode 6.02)
Air Date: January 27, 2015
Director: Dean Parisot
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Patia Prouty
The second episode of Justified‘s sixth and final season introduced a few new characters that would be help drive the series toward its action-packed endgame, including a shockingly mustache-less Sam Elliott as ruthless yet refined gangster Avery Markham.
John Slattery as Roger Sterling, hedonistic Madison Avenue ad executive
New York City, spring 1969 and spring 1970
Series: Mad Men
– “The Monolith” (Episode 7.04), dir. Scott Hornbacher, aired 5/4/2014
– “Severance” (Episode 7.08), dir.Scott Hornbacher, aired 4/5/2015
– “Person to Person” (Episode 7.14), dir.Matthew Weiner, aired 5/17/2015
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
Though we in the Northern Hemisphere welcomed spring yesterday, some cities (I can speak personally for Pittsburgh) were greeted by the new season with a fresh onslaught of snowfall.
Bitterness aside… spring often finds well-dressed gents pushing their heavy flannel suits to the back of the closet and bringing forth items perfect for greeting sunnier days ahead. The double-breasted navy blazer remains a stalwart menswear staple for transitioning into the warm and wonderful days of spring, whether sporting it for an evening in the Riviera, greeting the morning on your yacht… or spending the afternoon in your Midtown Manhattan office, counting down the days to retirement.
Naturally, the latter situation brings to mind one Roger Sterling, the increasingly redundant but effortlessly witty Madison Avenue executive on AMC’s Mad Men. Continue reading
Bing Crosby as C.K. Dexter Haven, jazz musician
Newport, Rhode Island, Summer 1956
Film: High Society
Release Date: July 17, 1956
Director: Charles Walters
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
Happy St. Valentine’s Day! This year’s theme for the #WeekOfWeddings seems to be impromptu nuptials that find our cheeky protagonists thrust into taking the vows without a chance to don traditional wedding attire. Today, we’re following a mischievous summer weekend among the socialites of Newport, Rhode Island, in High Society, the musical remake of The Philadelphia Story.
High Society recasts The Philadelphia Story‘s leading gents Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart with the more musically inclined Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, respectively, though it’s interesting to note that Crosby is actually a few months older than Grant, making this surely one of the few times in movie history that a remake actually featured a performer older than his or her predecessor!
Katharine Hepburn’s role was recast with Grace Kelly, establishing High Society as the actress’ final film role before her retirement at the age of 26 upon marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In the spirit of marriage, Kelly wore her actual Cartier engagement ring from Rainier on screen. Continue reading
Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Broadway crooner, World War II veteran, and “a lonely and miserable man”
Florida, December 1954
Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Happy holidays! This Christmas Eve felt like an appropriate time to focus on White Christmas, the most successful film of 1954 and one of the most beloved holiday classics. Continue reading
John Wayne as Lon “McQ” McHugh, taciturn Seattle PD lieutenant
Seattle, Fall 1973
Release Date: February 6, 1974
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Luster Bayless
It’s no Hollywood secret that McQ was originally developed as a vehicle for Steve McQueen. Five years after McQueen sat behind the wheel of a hunter green Mustang GT390 careening through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, the role of gruff Seattle police lieutenant Lon McHugh was retooled for screen legend John Wayne, who took on his first detective role at the age of 66.
Wayne, whose entire left lung had been surgically removed after a bout with cancer a decade earlier, could only walk short distances without needing oxygen – much to the chagrin of director John Sturges – but still turned in a surprisingly energetic performance as a cop who combines Dirty Harry’s stubborn grit with Bullitt’s propensity toward speeding around the city in a sporty dark green American muscle car. Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad exec and suburban dad
Ossining, New York, April 1960
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Marriage of Figaro” (Episode 1.03)
Air Date: August 2, 2007
Director: Ed Bianchi
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
In addition to Mad Men‘s first mention of Dick Whitman, “Marriage of Figaro” includes a snazzy casual outfit for a slick spring weekend in the suburbs.
The first two episodes certainly hinted at the deep layers lurking beneath the man first introduced to us as Don Draper, but it is “Marriage of Figaro” that breaks Mad Men‘s ground in exploring our ostensible protagonist’s isolation and loneliness… a quality that Todd VanDerWerff of The AV Club described as “his essential unhappiness.” Continue reading