Tagged: Bolt-Action Rifle

The Day of the Jackal: Edward Fox’s Tan Herringbone Suit

Edward Fox in The Day of the Jackal (1973)

Vitals

Edward Fox as “The Jackal”, mysterious professional assassin

Europe, Summer 1963

Film: The Day of the Jackal
Release Date: May 16, 1973
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Costume Design: Joan Bridge, Rosine Delamare, and Elizabeth Haffenden

Background

The Day of the Jackal culminated 60 years ago today on August 25, 1963 in Paris, commemorating the liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany during World War II. Frederick Forsyth’s excellent 1971 novel The Day of the Jackal was hardly two years old before it was adapted for the screen by screenwriter Kenneth Ross and director Fred Zinnemann, who reportedly wanted to make the film after reading Forsyth’s yet-unpublished manuscript all in one night.

Zinnemann didn’t want a recognizable major star to distract from the intrigue on screen, and—despite Universal Studios pushing for Jack Nicholson—cast Edward Fox as the eponymous “Jackal”, whose codename is determined in the book after he was “speaking of hunting” with his handlers. In addition to the film benefiting from faithfully following Forysth’s narrative and structure, a highlight is Fox’s performance as the enigmatic and oft-elegantly dressed assassin, whose demeanor can shift from affable to icily dangerous as needed. Continue reading

Pedro Pascal in The Last of Us

Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey in The Last of Us

Vitals

Pedro Pascal as Joel Miller, tough pandemic survivor and former contractor

Boston to Utah, Fall through winter 2023

Series: The Last of Us (Season 1)
Air Dates: January 15, 2023 – March 12, 2023
Created by: Craig Mazin & Neil Druckmann
Costume Designer: Cynthia Ann Summers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It was fascinating to see my distaste for mushrooms validated in such a distressing manner in one of the biggest shows of the year.

Based on Naughty Dog’s popular video game of the same name, The Last of Us concluded its acclaimed first season on Sunday night. The series was primarily set in a post-apocalyptic 2023 in the grim aftermath in a global pandemic (albeit far more dystopian than our current reality), caused by a mass fungal infection that transforms its human hosts into grotesque quasi-zombies (shroombies?) that still roam the tattered world two decades following the societal collapse. Continue reading

Black Sunday: Robert Shaw in Brown Silk at the Super Bowl

Robert Shaw in Black Sunday (1977)

Vitals

Robert Shaw as David Kabakov, experienced Mossad agent and Major

Miami, January 1976

Film: Black Sunday
Release Date: April 1, 1977
Director: John Frankenheimer
Costume Designer: Ray Summers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It’s Super Bowl Sunday! To many of us, the Big Game (as the NFL would prefer us unlicensed folks call it) is an opportunity to spend a Sunday with friends, beer, and buffalo chicken dip while halfheartedly rooting for a team that we may not care about and catching a glimpse of some over-produced multimillion-dollar ad buys. For director John Frankenheimer, it’s an opportunity to yet again present the thrills and cynicism of ruthless criminals exploiting geopolitical dilemmas for their own gain with considerable human lives at stake. In short: Black Sunday.

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Cary Grant in Father Goose

Cary Grant as Walter Eckland in Father Goose (1964)

Cary Grant as Walter Eckland in Father Goose (1964)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Walter Eckland, crude and reluctant wartime coast-watcher

Pacific Islands, Spring 1942

Film: Father Goose
Release Date: December 10, 1964
Director: Ralph Nelson
Costume Designer: Ray Aghayan (uncredited)

Background

Last month, I reflected on the elegant white suit that Cary Grant wore at the start of his stylish career in the pre-Code drama Hot Saturday. More than 30 years later, Grant was firmly established as one of the most charming—and enduringly best-dressed—stars of the era, subverting his screen reputation for his penultimate movie, the World War II-set comedy Father Goose opposite Leslie Caron. Continue reading

Jeffrey Wright in Hold the Dark

Jeffrey Wright and Riley Keough in Hold the Dark

Jeffrey Wright and Riley Keough in Hold the Dark (2018)

Vitals

Jeffrey Wright as Russell Core, thoughtful and grizzled wolf expert

Alaska, December 2004

Film: Hold the Dark
Release Date: September 28, 2018
Director: Jeremy Saulnier
Costume Designer: Antoinette Messam

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

With another snowstorm predicted for this weekend, I tend to find strange comfort in dark, brooding winter-set tales. A recent search to replenish my cinematic catalog led me to the moody Hold the Dark, an under-promoted Netflix release starring Jeffrey Wright as a wolf expert summoned to a remote Alaskan town by a quietly distressed mother, Medora Slone (Riley Keough), who hopes he can use his skills to hunt the wolf she believes responsible for the disappearance of three local children, including her own six-year-old son.

Despite his doubts that the activity can be attributed to wolf behavior, Core investigates and finds himself enveloped in a bleak and brutal mystery appropriately dark for a grim place that gets less than six hours of sunlight each day. Continue reading

Gorky Park: Lee Marvin’s Sheepskin Flight Jacket

Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne in Gorky Park (1983)

Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne in Gorky Park (1983)

Vitals

Lee Marvin as Jack Osborne, American fur importer

Stockholm, April 1983

Film: Gorky Park
Release Date: December 15, 1983
Director: Michael Apted
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As winter rages on, you’d think I would be looking for escape via light movies set in tropical locations… but instead, I recently rewatched Gorky Park, adapted from Martin Cruz Smith’s 1981 novel that begins with three disfigured corpses found in the snow outside a Moscow ice rink. (And I wonder why I get depressed!)

Our ostensible hero is Militsiya officer Arkady Renko (William Hurt), whose investigation of the grisly murders leads him to the sophisticated yet sinister sable importer Jack Osborne (Lee Marvin). Continue reading

Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, principled Southern lawyer

Maycomb, Alabama, Summer 1932 and 1933

Film: To Kill a Mockingbird
Release Date: December 25, 1962
Director: Robert Mulligan
Costume Designer: Rosemary Odell
Tailor: H. Huntsman & Sons, London

Background

Today marks the birthday of Gregory Peck, born April 5, 1916. Peck’s arguably most iconic role was that of the patient, humble, and earnest defense attorney Atticus Finch, a portrayal that earned Peck the Academy Award and was voted the #1 screen hero of all time in a 2003 AFI poll, outranking cinematic badasses like James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Ellen Ripley and illustrating that the most heroic strength is strength of moral character.

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Steve McQueen’s Navy Uniforms in The Sand Pebbles

Steve McQueen as Jake Holman, Machinist's Mate, 1st Class, U.S. Navy, in The Sand Pebbles (1966)

Steve McQueen as Jake Holman, Machinist’s Mate, 1st Class, U.S. Navy, in The Sand Pebbles (1966)

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Jake Holman, maverick U.S. Navy Machinist’s Mate, 1st Class (MM1)

Yangtze River, China, Summer 1926 through Spring 1927

Film: The Sand Pebbles
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Robert Wise
Costume Design: Wingate Jones, John Napolitano, Bobbie Read, and James W. Tyson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The Navy League of the United States organized the first Navy Day on October 27, 1922, to commemorate the birthday of Theodore Roosevelt who—before becoming the 26th President of the United States—had long championed the U.S. Navy and had served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Set four years after the establishment of Navy Day, The Sand Pebbles begins in 1926 China, “a country of factions trying to unite to become a nation… through revolution…” according to the opening text. Continue reading

Joe Kidd

Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd in Joe Kidd (1972)

Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd in Joe Kidd (1972)

Vitals

Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd, former bounty hunter

Territory of New Mexico, Spring 1902

Film: Joe Kidd
Release Date: July 14, 1972
Director: John Sturges

Background

After more than a decade as a rising star, particularly in the genre of Westerns, Clint Eastwood took on the title role in Joe Kidd (1972), an idiosyncratic revisionist Western written by Elmore Leonard that would be one of the last films directed by the legendary John Sturges.

We meet Joe Kidd when he is locked up for poaching on Native American land in the small town of Sinola, New Mexico, on a spring day in 1902, ten years before New Mexico would become the 47th state admitted to the U.S. A former bounty hunter, Joe remains neutral when he is invited to join a landowner’s posse tracking down the Mexican bandito Luis Chama (John Saxon), but he is eventually convinced to join after one of Chama’s attacks hits closer to home. Continue reading

Mogambo: Clark Gable on Safari

Clark Gable with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly in Mogambo (1953)

Clark Gable with Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly in Mogambo (1953)

Vitals

Clark Gable as Victor Marswell, big game hunter

Kenya, Summer 1952

Film: Mogambo 
Release Date: October 9, 1953
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
Tailor: H. Huntsman & Sons, London

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

In my home state of Pennsylvania, the Monday after Thanksgiving is considered an unofficial holiday among hunters as the opening day of the state’s firearms deer season, a day when hunters are expected to bag approximately 25% of the season’s harvest, according to the Tribune-Review.

The 1953 adventure Mogambo stars Clark Gable as a hunter on safari in Africa with his eyes on even bigger game than deer: the hearts of Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.

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