Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt Atlantic City politician and bootlegger
Atlantic City, January 1920
Series: Boardwalk Empire
Seasons: 1 – 2
Air Dates: September 19, 2010 – December 11, 2011
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield
In less than two hours, liquor will be declared illegal by decree of the distinguished gentlemen of our nation’s congress… to those beautiful ignorant bastards!
In the first episode of Boardwalk Empire, Enoch “Nucky” Thompson raises a glass to toast the ratification of the Volstead Act, a constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States, effective at midnight on January 16, 1920, exactly 98 years ago today. Continue reading
Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber
Indiana, Fall 1933
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George
Eighty four years ago tonight – November 15, 1933. Four police cars converge on a small office building on Irving Park Boulevard in the Chicago Loop. In an upstairs doctor’s office, one of the most wanted men in the tri-state area is being treated for either a ringworm infection or “barber’s itch,” an inflammation of hair follicles, depending on which account you read. On the floor below, a cagey informant named Art McGinnis is signaling desperately to police that their quarry is upstairs. Fate, however, is on the side of the outlaw, a thirty-year-old bank robber named John Dillinger. Continue reading
Paul Newman as Michael Armstrong, American physicist and amateur spy
East Berlin, September 1965
Film: Torn Curtain
Release Date: July 14, 1966
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Supervisor: Grady Hunt
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Alfred Hitchcock’s 50th film, Torn Curtain, marked his one and only collaboration with Paul Newman. Production on the Cold War spy thriller was plagued by the veteran director clashing with his leads, unused to method actor Paul Newman’s constant questioning of his character’s motivation. “Your motivation is your salary,” Hitch reportedly replied.
The famously easygoing Newman was a little more enthusiastic, later recalling, “I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off, but the script kept getting in the way.”
Indeed, the serious political thriller was a departure from Hitchcock’s usual scripts, developed in response to the growing popularity of the James Bond franchise through the ’60s. Continue reading
Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow, amateur armed robber
Texas, Spring 1932
Series Title: Bonnie and Clyde
Air Date: December 8, 2013
Director: Bruce Beresford
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance
Earlier this week, I posted about the (possibly brown) single-breasted, peak-lapel suit worn by Derrick De Marney in Hitchcock’s 1930s thriller Young and Innocent. Today’s post expands on that theme, exploring a similar suit worn by another desperate young man on the run during the 1930s.
Daniel Craig as James Bond, rogue British government agent
La Paz, Bolivia, August 2008
Film: Quantum of Solace
Release Date: October 31, 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
The last post found us sailing down to Bolivia with the Sundance Kid, so let’s hang around and see what kind of trouble James Bond gets into in the same country for the 00-7th of April.
Exactly 100 years after Butch and Sundance met their fate in San Vicente, Daniel Craig’s rogue James Bond arrived in the country with his former MI6 handler Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), where they are immediately interrupted by the efficient Agent Fields (Gemma Arterton, who recently expressed that she wouldn’t take the role if offered it today). Continue reading
George Lazenby as James Bond, British secret agent posing as heraldry expert Sir Hilary Bray
Swiss Alps, Christmas Eve 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Tailor: Dimi Major
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
For the 00-7th of December, I’m reflecting on James Bond’s first Christmas season on-screen, which he spends in the Swiss Alps under the guise of Sir Hilary Bray (a different Hilary than the Hillary that has been so frequently in the news… although one could technically call his outfit here a “pantsuit” as well.)
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service sends James Bond in search of his long-time rival, megalomaniac Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas). In his inaugural and ultimately lone outing as 007, George Lazenby’s Bond spends a major portion of the film disguised as Sir Hilary Bray, a brilliant but banal “sable basilisk” from the College of Arms in London. Continue reading
Sean Connery as Colonel John Arbuthnot, British Indian Army commanding officer
The Orient Express, December 1935
Film: Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: November 24, 1974
Director: Sidney Lumet
Costume Designer: Tony Walton
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is my grandma’s 95th birthday, which she will be celebrating by going to her 9-to-5 job (where she never misses a day!) and then joining our family for a dinner out on the town. One of my favorite memories with Grandma includes Saturday mornings in her kitchen, watching old mystery movies together. This tradition instilled in me a love for the genre as well as an appreciation for classic movies and stars.
Murder on the Orient Express was one of our favorite movies to watch together. Although helmed by the excellent Albert Finney as a charismatic and near-cartoonish Hercule Poirot, the film is also rightly a celebration of some of the most talented women from the silver screen including Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress from her work in this movie. Continue reading
Gene Hackman as “Buck” Barrow, bank robber, ex-convict, and family man
Texas, May 1933
Film: Bonnie & Clyde
Release Date: August 13, 1967
Director: Arthur Penn
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Happy birthday to Gene Hackman, who turns 86 years old today!
Bonnie and Clyde marked the first major role for Hackman, who had spent much of the ’60s as a struggling actor who shared rooms with fellow struggling actors Dustin Hoffman and Robert Duvall. 1967 turned out to be a banner year for the friends and roommates, earning Hackman and Hoffman their first Academy Award nominations.
Hackman brings an easygoing charm to the role of the more famous Clyde’s older brother Buck, and the film gets many of the “on paper” details right about Buck. As Clyde’s older brother, he had more experience tangling with the law and spent the first few months of Clyde’s criminal career in the Texas state prison. He had escaped once, but – as Hackman tells Warren Beatty’s Clyde – it was his new wife Blanche that talked him into returning to prison to serve out the rest of his sentence, and he would be pardoned 15 months later. Buck and Blanche journeyed to visit Bonnie and Clyde, ostensibly for a reunion and possibly for Buck to try and talk Clyde into following his good example. Of course, the murder of two Joplin policemen during this reunion meant Buck would be wanted again as well, and the brothers led the motley “Barrow Gang” in a string of small-town stickups and kidnappings over the next three months. Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, suddenly honest Madison Avenue ad man
New York City, Fall 1968
Series: Mad Men
Episodes: “Favors” (Episode 6.11) & “In Care Of” (Episode 6.13)
Air Date: June 9, 2013 (Episode 6.11) & June 23, 2013 (Episode 6.13)
Directors: Jennifer Getzinger (Episode 6.11) & Matthew Weiner (Episode 6.13)
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After Winter Storm Jonas had most of us on the East Coast huddling in whatever warmth we could find this weekend, it’s time to head back to work. In the spirit of Jon Hamm’s recent Golden Globe win for the final season of Mad Men, let’s head back to the office appropriately suited up. Continue reading
Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd, laconic hunter and former bounty hunter
New Mexico, Spring 1902
Film: Joe Kidd
Release Date: July 14, 1972
Director: John Sturges
Penned by Elmore Leonard, Joe Kidd is a unique revisionist Western starring Clint Eastwood as the titular ex-bounty hunter who finds himself reluctantly hired to join a posse tracking down a group of Mexican revolutionaries fighting for land reform.
Although the Joe Kidd character could be interchanged with any of Eastwood’s usual taciturn and iron-willed Western heroes (not that he’s any less entertaining for it!), the movie benefits from its interesting and oft-ignored setting and context as well as the usual Elmore Leonard touch of an array of unique characters populating the film’s world.
At the outset, Joe is locked up in the small town of Sinola, New Mexico as he awaits his trial for poaching. When he is asked if he knew it was illegal to hunt on reservation land, Joe responds:
Well the deer didn’t know where he was, and I wasn’t sure either.
What’d He Wear?
Audiences had become well-acquainted with the sight of Clint Eastwood’s familiar “Man With No Name” guise in Westerns, so it must have caught many audiences off-guard when Joe Kidd is first introduced in a suit – albeit, a raggedly worn one after his night in the slammer. Continue reading