Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman
Los Angeles, September 1937
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert
When not donning a more businesslike gray for his investigations in the city, J.J. Gittes shows a clear preference for earth tones. He is seen earlier wearing a cream suit around the office, and he sports a nice sandy brown three-piece when visiting the Mulwray home.
Gittes heads out to Catalina Island to meet Noah Cross, played by a charmingly sinister John Huston, for lunch. Following lunch, Gittes follows tip after tip, taking him from the hall of records to the San Fernando Valley orange groves to a dubiously-administrated retirement home. Nearly each step of his journey is met with increasing resistance, but he is luckily dressed for his long day in arguably his most comfortable outfit in the movie. Continue reading
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government agent
Hamburg, Germany, April 1997… specifically Saturday, April 12, 1997
Film: Tomorrow Never Dies
Release Date: December 6, 1997
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Tomorrow Never Dies, Pierce Brosnan’s second outing as Bond, also carried a few notable firsts. It was the first film produced after the death of longtime Bond producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, and it was the first film to not use any traditional Fleming title or plot elements; Licence to Kill had borrowed heavily from both Live and Let Die and “The Hildebrand Rarity”, and GoldenEye – though an original story – was the name of Ian Fleming’s home.
Thus, without two of its most influential auteurs’ assistance, Tomorrow Never Dies was left to its own devices – pun intended – and marked a significantly different direction for the series. Continue reading
Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne, amnesiac ex-CIA agent
Zurich, Spring 1988
Film: The Bourne Identity
Release Date: May 8, 1988
Director: Roger Young
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane
“HEY, THIS ISN’T MATT DAMON!”
That’s right. In 1988, Robert Ludlum’s wildly popular spy novel The Bourne Identity (I hope that you at least knew it was a book first) was adapted into a two-part mini-series that was much more faithful to the book’s plot.
While the 2002 version with Mr. Damon is often considered to be superior, the 1988 adaptation certainly held its own in terms of acting, action, and suspense. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker, small-time Depression-era grifter
Joliet to Chicago, September 1936
Film: The Sting
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Four years after their successful pairing in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman and Robert Redford met up once again for The Sting, a 1973 crime-comedy about two con men (“grifters”, in the film’s and Jim Thompson’s parlance) who team up to take down a brutal syndicate big shot against the backdrop of the corruption of 1930s Chicago.
But before all of that, Redford finds himself flush with money after conning a mob numbers runner. He struts into a store armed with his $4,000 and leaves with a bold pinstripe suit. Continue reading