Desi Arnaz as Nicky Collini, civil engineer
Northern California, Late Summer 1953
Film: The Long, Long Trailer
Release Date: February 18, 1954
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
As this year’s summer travel season in the U.S. looks to be more centered around road trips in response to the coronavirus pandemic, RV rentals and purchases have been surging at an unprecedented rate that recalls the heyday of “the great American road trip” as depicted in The Long, Long Trailer. Adapted from Clinton Twiss’ novel of the same name, this Lucy and Desi vehicle zaps into the wanderlust zeitgeist that captured the imagination of Americans during the fabulous fifties as everyone from Harry Truman to Jack Kerouac hit the newly expanded network of highways and byways as they explored the continental United States.
Were I transported back to the 1950s with the mission of taking in the country from the road, I’d likely be piloting a ’57 Chevy Nomad with a Super Turbo Fire V8 across Route 66 from Missouri to California, though it’s solely this latter state that hosts newlyweds Nicky and Tacy Collini as they plot their new nomadic life in a homey silver-and-yellow Redman New Moon hauled up the coast by a cream-colored Mercury convertible.
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent presumed dead
Tokyo, Summer 1966
Film: You Only Live Twice
Release Date: June 13, 1967
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Master: Eileen Sullivan
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond.
Sean Connery’s fifth film as James Bond was the first of the franchise to considerably depart from Ian Fleming’s source novel, though it retains the title, the basic plot line and characters, and the Japanese setting. In fact, while most Bond films are continent-hopping travelogues, Japan hosts the majority of the action in You Only Live Twice aside from the pre-credits sequence, set in Hong Kong where Bond is ostensibly murdered.
Of course, it’s hardly a spoiler to reveal that the assassination is a ruse to fool Bond’s enemies into thinking he is out of the picture while the agent himself lives to die another day… in fact, you could say he lived twice! Presumed dead by his enemies after his burial at sea, Bond is free to be sent to Japan to investigate a mysterious spacecraft that has seemingly landed in the Sea of Japan. Bond soon makes contact with his lovely ally Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi), who drives him around Tokyo in a sporty Toyota 2000GT that had been customized by the production to accommodate Sean Connery’s height.
I had long wanted to cover this sequence as I love Bond’s tailoring, Aki’s Toyota, and the trio of drinks he imbibes with varying degrees of satisfaction, but it felt particularly appropriate to write about for a #CarWeek post this 00-7th of July given James Bond’s safe pro-masking message…
Burt Reynolds as Bo “the Bandit” Darville, daredevil driver
Texarkana to Atlanta, Summer 1976
Film: Smokey and the Bandit
Release Date: May 27, 1977
Director: Hal Needham
♫ You’ve heard about the legend of Jesse James and John Henry just to mention some names,
Well, there’s a truck-drivin’ legend in the South today, a man called Bandit from Atlanta, GA… ♫
After seven years of biannual Car Week features, how did it take me this long get around to what might be the most famous “car movie” of all? On a day commemorating the anniversary of American independence, it feels appropriate to celebrate Burt Reynolds bedecked in red, white, and blue (or at least red and blue) as he speeds across half the country in a muscle car, all in the name of beer… or as the Bandit himself declares:
For the money, for the glory, and for the fun… but mostly for the money.
Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL
Hawaii, Spring 1980 to Summer 1981
Series: Magnum, P.I.
– “Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii, Part 1″ (Episode 1.01, dir. Roger Young, aired 12/11/1980)
– “No Need to Know” (Episode 1.05, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 1/8/1981)
– “Don’t Say Goodbye” (Episode 1.15, dir. Winrich Kolbe, aired 3/28/1981)
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo (credited with first season only)
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Let’s continue #CarWeek with one of the most famous and popular cars in TV history, the bright red Ferrari 308 GTS driven by Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck) as a semi-permanent “guest” on author Robin Masters’ Hawaiian estate.
Today is a particularly suitable occasion to write about this set of wheels as we first meet Magnum—and the Ferrari—while our protagonist is clad in a Lacoste tennis shirt, innovated by French tennis icon and Renaissance man René Lacoste, who was born 116 years ago on July 2, 1904. Continue reading
Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent
Bratislava to Vienna, Winter 1986
Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls
For a wintry #CarWeek post on the 00-7th of December, let’s look back to Timothy Dalton’s first—and best, in my opinion—adventure as James Bond in The Living Daylights, adapted and greatly expanded from Ian Fleming’s short story of the same name, though the primary plot of Fleming’s story is used up during the pre-credits defection sequence.
After noticing that reportedly a KGB sniper was a beautiful blonde cellist during the opening defection, Bond returned to Bratislava to meet the woman, Kara Milovy (Maryam D’Abo), in person. He persuades her to accompany him to Vienna, evading and eventually out-driving their KGB pursuers in 007’s tricked-out Aston Martin, which had been “winterized” and loaded with gadgets by Q (Desmond Llewelyn), MI6’s esteemed and exhausted quartermaster.
James Cagney as Tom Powers, dangerous gangster and bootlegger
Chicago, Spring 1920
Film: The Public Enemy
Release Date: April 23, 1931
Director: William A. Wellman
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson
Wardrobe Credit: Earl Luick
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is the 86th anniversary of the 21st Amendment that repealed Prohibition, the 13-year ban on the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Even before Prohibition was repealed on December 5, 1933, the wave of organized crime it inspired across the country was a popular subject for movies of the era, with Warner Brothers taking the lead with hits like Little Caesar, The Public Enemy, and Scarface that made stars out of intense actors like Edward G. Robinson and James Cagney.
The latter was particularly renowned for his performance in The Public Enemy, a “ripped-from-the-headlines” tour de force of violence based on an unpublished novel written by two former newspapermen who had witnessed firsthand the impact of Al Capone’s brutal stronghold on Chicago during the beer wars of the roaring ’20s.
As #CarWeek continues, let’s flash back to the Prohibition era as Cagney’s Tom Powers hopes to make an impression with his new tailored suits and shiny new touring convertible. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Dave Chappellet, U.S. Olympic ski team star
Wengen, Switzerland, Winter 1967
Film: Downhill Racer
Release Date: November 6, 1969
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Edith Head (uncredited!)
Wardrobe Credit: Cynthia May
Let’s kick off a winter #CarWeek with an Alpine vibe, specifically the yellow Porsche that Robert Redford motors through the Alps after a day on the slopes with Camilla Sparv in Michael Ritchie’s directorial debut, Downhill Racer.
Robert Redford as Jack Weil, smooth gambler and U.S. Navy veteran
Santa Clara, Cuba, December 1958
Release Date: December 14, 1990
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack
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.
Cary Grant as Philip Shayne, smooth, sophisticated, and suave investment executive and “perfect gentleman”
Bermuda, Spring 1962
Film: That Touch of Mink
Release Date: June 14, 1962
Director: Delbert Mann
Tailor: Cardinal Clothes (credited “for Cary Grant’s suits”)
After being first splashed, then swept, off her feet by the charming tycoon Philip Shayne (Cary Grant), unemployed Manhattanite Cathy Timerblake (Doris Day) finds herself accepting his impromptu invitation to join her for a summery respite in Bermuda. “Nowhere else in the world an you see beaches with pink sand,” Philip promises.
Having purchased every seat on a Pan Am passenger jet to Bermuda, Philip is there to meet her as she deplanes, chauffeuring her in his 1961 Citroën roadster to their luxurious suite at the Victoria Hotel, which is doubled on screen by the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica. Continue reading
George Lazenby as James Bond, smooth British secret agent
Estoril, Portugal, September 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Tailor: Dimi Major
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, often considered among the best of the James Bond canon. George Lazenby, the Australian actor who batted 1000 with OHMSS as his sole outing as 007, has also activated his Instagram presence this year, sharing photos of himself in many of the same locations he had made famous a half-century ago as the world’s most famous secret agent.
George’s #OHMSS50 tour included calling on the celebrated Palácio Estoril, the Portuguese hotel where his James Bond spent the early scenes of OHMSS chasing and seducing Diana Rigg’s character, Teresa “Tracy” di Vincenzo. During the visit, he even interacted with many of the hotel’s staff who were still in the Palácio Estoril’s employ 50 years after their on-screen cameos.
Today, on the 00-7th of July, let’s take a look at the timeless summer-friendly style that Lazenby’s James Bond wore when he pulled his Aston Martin into the parking lot at Palácio Estoril some fifty years ago. Continue reading