Tagged: Brogue Shoes

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020). Photo by David Lee/Netflix.

Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (2020). Photo by David Lee/Netflix.

Vitals

Chadwick Boseman as Levee Green, ambitious blues cornetist

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Release Date: November 25, 2020
Director: George C. Wolfe
Costume Designer: Ann Roth

Background

The late Chadwick Boseman was being named as an Oscar contender for his performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, based on the August Wilson play of the same name, even before it came out. We’re still two months away from the Academy Award nominations being announced, but Boseman has already received posthumous Best Actor wins from the Chicago Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and Music City Film Critics’ Association for what turned out to be his final screen role.

The praise is well-deserved as the actor delivered a powerhouse performance as the hotheaded horn-blower Levee Green, an ambitious (and fictional) member of a four-piece band backing Ma Rainey (Viola Davis), the Mother of the Blues herself. The North Side neighborhood in my hometown of Pittsburgh was transformed to resemble roaring ’20s Chicago when production came to the Steel City two summers ago; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the only one of the ten plays in the Hill District-born Wilson’s “Century Cycle” not actually set in Pittsburgh.

Chadwick Boseman had been diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016, never speaking publicly about his illness all the while delivering some of his most iconic performances in MarshallBlack Panther, and the two Avengers films to follow. Indeed, Boseman’s vigorous performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom belies his health at the time, and his fellow cast members remained unaware of his ongoing treatment for the cancer that would progress to stage IV before it ended his life at the age of 42 on August 28, 2020. Continue reading

The Aviator: Dressed to Test the H-1 Racer

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004)

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes in The Aviator (2004)

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes, eccentric and ambitious aviation and movie mogul

Los Angeles, September 1935

Film: The Aviator
Release Date: December 25, 2004
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

Background

85 years ago today on September 13, 1935, a sleek silver aircraft rocketed through the air over Santa Ana, California, at a record-breaking speed over 350 miles per hour, making four passes over Martin Field before a crash-landing that deposited its owner—one of the wealthiest and most ambitious men in America at the time—into a beet field, alive and hardly discouraged. As Howard Hughes’ colleagues ran over to extract the 29-year-old entrepreneur and aviator from the wreckage of the H-1 Racer, he hardly had his own safety in mind, issuing the command: “We can fix her, she’ll go faster!”

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Daniel Craig in Knives Out

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out (2019)

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out (2019)

Vitals

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, “a private investigator of great renown”

Massachusetts, November 2018

Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

Background

Happy birthday to Daniel Craig, born 52 years ago today on March 2, 1968! While Craig is likely best known as the most recent actor to portray James Bond, one of his most celebrated recent roles has been his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Knives Out as Benoit Blanc, an idiosyncratic detective who describes himself as a “respectful, quiet, and passive observer of the truth.”

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Django Reinhardt: Cream Suit on Stage

Reda Kateb as Django Reinhardt in Django (2017)

Reda Kateb as Django Reinhardt in Django (2017)

Vitals

Reda Kateb as Django Reinhardt, gypsy jazz guitar virtuoso

Paris, Summer 1943

Film: Django
Release Date: April 26, 2017
Director: Étienne Comar
Costume Designer: Pascaline Chavanne

Background

My interest in Django Reinhardt’s music began in the spring of 2004, when 14-year-old me eagerly purchased Mafia: The City of Lost Heaven, a computer game that was essentially the Grand Theft Auto series with a Prohibition-era twist and a dash of Scorsese-ese inspiration. Set in 1930s New Jersey, the game was scored by period music including familiar favorites by Duke Ellington and a style that was all new to me, the rhythmic, guitar-driven gypsy jazz pioneered by Django Reinhardt. Continue reading

Scent of a Woman: Al Pacino’s Glenurquhart Plaid Suit

Al Pacino tangos with Gabrielle Anwar in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Al Pacino tangos with Gabrielle Anwar in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Frank Slade, blind and bitter retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel “who likes to spit in everybody’s eye”

New York City, Thanksgiving 1992

Film: Scent of a Woman
Release Date: December 23, 1992
Director: Martin Brest
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

Background

On the eve of Thanksgiving, today seemed like a fitting occasion to address one of the most requested suits I’ve heard from readers: Al Pacino’s freshly tailored Glenurquhart check three-piece suit as the cantankerous Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman. Pacino turned in a landmark performance in his prolific career, winning his sole Academy Award after six nominations (with one additional nod the same year for Glengarry Glen Ross), a result of the intense method actor’s painstaking research in meeting with clients of New York’s Associated Blind to understand life—from mood to mobility—as a person without sight.

After 26 years in the Army, a nearly blind Frank “Don’t Call Me ‘Sir'” Slade spends his days sitting in the darkened corner of his modest home, filling lowball glasses to the brim with Jack Daniel’s, berating his family, and spitting anger at anyone brave enough to visit him, including Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), the mild-mannered prep school student hired by Frank’s niece Karen to take care of her uncle through Thanksgiving weekend. Continue reading

Havana – Robert Redford’s Blue Camp Shirt and Cadillac

Robert Redford as Jack Weil driving a 1955 Cadillac in Havana (1990)

Robert Redford as Jack Weil driving a 1955 Cadillac in Havana (1990)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Jack Weil, smooth gambler and U.S. Navy veteran

Santa Clara, Cuba, December 1958

Film: Havana
Release Date: December 14, 1990
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack

Background

Extending #CarWeek to get to casual Friday gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to Robert Redford’s classic casual warm-weather attire behind the wheel of a grand Cadillac convertible from the fabulous ’50s. The film in question is, of course, Havana, Sydney Pollack’s 1990 paean to Casablanca that starred Redford as Jack Weil, a cynical American gambler who finds love in the form of Cuban revolutionary Roberta “Bobby” Duran (Lena Olin) on the eve of that country’s revolution.

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Havana – Robert Redford’s Cream Linen Jacket

Robert Redford as Jack Weil in Havana (1990)

Robert Redford as Jack Weil in Havana (1990)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Jack Weil, smooth gambler and U.S. Navy veteran

Havana, December 1958

Film: Havana
Release Date: December 14, 1990
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack

Background

As Memorial Day is often considered the start of the American summer fashion season, today’s post explores an example of timeless warm-weather apparel sported by Robert Redford in Havana.

Havana, Sydney Pollack’s 1990 ode to Casablanca, stars Redford as a cynical American gambler who finds romance in the Cuban capital on the eve of the country’s revolution. The object of his affection is Roberta “Bobby” Duran (Lena Olin), a revolutionary sympathizer who is forced to determine if her heart remains with her husband and the revolution or the chance of a life in America with Redford’s Jack Weil. Continue reading

Leo’s Charcoal Jacket and Gray Flannels in Miller’s Crossing

Albert Finney as Leo O'Bannon in Miller's Crossing (1990)

Albert Finney as Leo O’Bannon in Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Vitals

Albert Finney as Liam “Leo” O’Bannon, Irish Mob-connected political boss

Upstate New York, Fall 1929

Film: Miller’s Crossing
Release Date: September 21, 1990
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Following an assassination attempt that he foiled with his Thompson artistry, small-town political boss Leo O’Bannon summons his troops to his office. One of said troops, Hammett-esque anti-hero Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) uses the opportunity to earn the ire of his boss by revealing his affair with Leo’s main squeeze, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden).

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Saturday Night Fever: Travolta’s White Disco Suit

John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney in an iconic promotional image for Saturday Night Fever (1977).

John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney in an iconic promotional image for Saturday Night Fever (1977).
In the film itself, Gorney wore a white dress rather than the red of the poster. “We shot me in every color dress under the sun… Red sells. I think that’s why it was used for the poster,” she explained in a 2011 interview with Media Mikes.

Vitals

John Travolta as Tony Manero, aimless paint store clerk and disco god

Brooklyn, Spring 1977

Film: Saturday Night Fever
Release Date: December 14, 1977
Director: John Badham
Costume Designer: Patrizia Von Brandenstein

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Saturday Night Fever, the definitive film of the disco era. Often remembered for its soundtrack and street style, a closer look reveals an uncompromising film that wasn’t afraid to explore the dark themes that lurked beneath the era’s glittery polyester veneer, all propelled by an equally uncompromising star turn from a 23-year-old John Travolta. Continue reading

Jimmy Stewart’s Green Sweater in Vertigo

James Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

Vitals

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Francisco, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

San Francisco has always been a popular setting for detective movies. From 1940s film noir like The Maltese Falcon through the gritty ’60s and ’70s era with movies like BullittDirty Harry, and McQ, Hollywood has made the most of its picturesque neighbor to the distant north.

Though Alfred Hitchcock had filmed in the Bay area before, Vertigo was his first cinematic effort actually set in San Francisco and he makes the most of his setting. Continue reading