Tagged: Car Week

The Graduate: Ben’s Beige Windbreaker and Alfa Romeo

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

Vitals

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, nervous and aimless college graduate

Los Angeles, Summer to Fall 1967

Film: The Graduate
Release Date: December 22, 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
Costume Designer: Patricia Zipprodt

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Like CasablancaCitizen KaneThelma & Louise, and The Sopranos, I felt like I had seen or heard about the famous ending of The Graduate in depth before actually seeing the movie itself. Given that the iconic movie is over 50 years old, I hope I wouldn’t invite too much ire by discussing its famous ending openly in discussing Benjamin Braddock’s style as he desperately races through southern California in the hopes of halting Elaine Robinson’s wedding to the dreaded Makeout King.

Having recently gotten engaged myself (yay!), it felt appropriate to end this installment of #CarWeek with the cherry red Alfa Romeo that factored so significantly in Benjamin’s life following his graduation, whether it it was on his burlesque-and-burgers date with the bright-eyed Elaine (Katharine Ross), furtive assignations with her mother (Anne Bancroft), or on his gas-guzzling dash to get him to the church on time scored by Simon & Garfunkel’s enduring folk banger “Mrs. Robinson”. Continue reading

The Friends of Eddie Coyle: Jackie Brown’s Gun-Running Road Runner and Rollnecks

Steven Keats as Jackie Brown in The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Steven Keats as Jackie Brown in The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

Vitals

Steven Keats as Jackie Brown, swaggering street-level arms dealer

Boston, Fall 1972

Film: The Friends of Eddie Coyle
Release Date: June 26, 1973
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Eric Seelig

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A year after The Godfather introduced the cinematic world to the prestigious “honor among thieves” world of the Corleone crime family, The Friends of Eddie Coyle shined a gritty spotlight on the other side of the criminal spectrum: the unscrupulous robbers, rats, and gun-runners who would just as soon double-cross an erstwhile partner-in-crime if it meant an extra twenty bucks in their pocket.

There are no wood-paneled mansions, dramatic monologues, or swanky long-wheelbase limousines in Eddie Coyle’s world, a polluted Boston where our profane crooks conduct their business in dive bars and out of the trunks of the latest Detroit gas guzzler. At the surprising epicenter of these enterprises sits Eddie “Fingers” Coyle (Robert Mitchum), a long-in-the-tooth three-time loser far more at home warming his favorite saloon stool than helming an ambitious heist.

Enter Jackie Brown, an opportunistic twentysomething arms dealer motoring through the Beantown suburbs in a Plymouth Road Runner, dropping platitudes of “wisdom” about how hard life is to any of the scumbag suppliers or customers who will buy his guns. He prides himself on his caution but doesn’t recognize the irony of touting his illegal wares from his hardly unobtrusive electric green muscle car while boasting about his success to crooks all just one pinch away from spilling the proverbial beans to Boston’s finest.

Continue reading

Once a Thief: Alain Delon’s Sheepskin Coat and Ford Model A

Alain Delon as Eddie Pedak in Once a Thief (1965)

Alain Delon as Eddie Pedak in Once a Thief (1965)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Eddie Pedak, reformed thief

San Francisco, Spring 1965

Film: Once a Thief
Release Date: September 8, 1965
Director: Ralph Nelson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

On the last day of #Noirvember (and Alain Delon’s birthday month) and the first day of this winter’s #CarWeek series, it felt like the perfect time to explore Once a Thief, Ralph Nelson’s moody black-and-white crime drama starring Delon as a reformed criminal-turned-family man.

The jazzy opening credits depict a night at Big Al’s, a smoky den laden with drug pushers and beatniks, including author Zekial Marko, whose novel Scratch a Thief provided the movie’s source material. We follow a young man swaddled in sheepskin as he leaves the club and takes the wheel of a vintage “Model A Ford” roadster, which then becomes his getaway car after a swift but deadly closing-time stickup at a liquor store in Chinatown.

We then learn that the car and coat are a trademark of Eddie Pedak, a reformed armed robber making an honest living as a truck driver with his wife Kristine (Ann-Margret) and their daughter. The arrival of Eddie’s criminal brother Walter (Jack Palance), a syndicate hotshot, brings complications in the form of a proposition for one night’s criminal work—the proverbial “one last job”—which Eddie initially refuses, despite the $50,000 payout.

Continue reading

Desi Arnaz’s Flight Jacket and Jeans in The Long, Long Trailer

Lucy, Desi, and Liz. Elizabeth Taylor dropped by the MGM lot for a photo op with the two stars of The Long, Long Trailer (1954). Arnaz had reportedly bet MGM that The Long, Long Trailer would make more than its then-highest grossing comedy, Father of the Bride, starring Taylor. Arnaz won the $25,000 bet.

Lucy, Desi, and Liz.
Elizabeth Taylor dropped by the MGM lot for a photo op with the two stars of The Long, Long Trailer. Arnaz had reportedly bet MGM that The Long, Long Trailer (1954) would make more than its then-highest grossing comedy, Father of the Bride, starring Taylor. Arnaz won the $25,000 bet.

Vitals

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

Background

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.

Continue reading

You Only Live Twice: Bond’s Gray Herringbone Suit in Aki’s Toyota

Sean Connery as James Bond in You Only Live Twice (1967)

Sean Connery as James Bond in You Only Live Twice (1967)

Vitals

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!

Background

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…

The face mask may just be a disguise, but extra points for covering both nose and mouth, Mr. Bond.

The face mask may just be a disguise, but extra points for covering both nose and mouth, Mr. Bond.

Continue reading

Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit

Burt Reynolds as the Trans Am-driving "Bandit" in Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Burt Reynolds as the Trans Am-driving “Bandit” in Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

Vitals

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

Background

♫ 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.

Happy birthday, America... from Burt Reynolds and BAMF Style.

Happy birthday, America… from Burt Reynolds and BAMF Style.

Continue reading

Meeting Magnum, P.I.: Navy Lacoste Shirt and Ferrari 308 GTS

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in the Magnum P.I. pilot episode, "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii"

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in the Magnum P.I. pilot episode, “Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii”

Vitals

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, Spring 1980 to Summer 1981

Series: Magnum, P.I.
Episodes:
– “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!

Background

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

Bond’s Leather Coat and Aston Martin in The Living Daylights

Timothy Dalton poses with an Aston Martin V8 as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987)

Timothy Dalton poses with an Aston Martin V8 as James Bond in The Living Daylights (1987)

Vitals

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

Background

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.

Continue reading

The Public Enemy: Cagney’s New Clothes and Car

James Cagney leans on the door of a LaSalle as Tom Powers in The Public Enemy (1931)

James Cagney leans on the door of a LaSalle as Tom Powers in The Public Enemy (1931)

Vitals

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!

Background

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 CaesarThe 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

Downhill Racer: Redford’s Blue Skiwear and Yellow Porsche

Robert Redford and Camilla Sparv with her Porsche on the set of Downhill Racer (1969)

Robert Redford and Camilla Sparv with her Porsche on the set of Downhill Racer (1969)

Vitals

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

Background

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.

Continue reading