Tagged: Car Week

Love Story: Ryan O’Neal’s Navy Blazer and Reversible Raincoat in an MG

Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw in Love Story (1970)

Vitals

Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, preppy Harvard student

Boston, Winter 1966

Film: Love Story
Release Date: December 16, 1970
Director: Arthur Hiller
Costume Design: Alice Manougian Martin & Pearl Somner

Background

As Car Week continues, it may not seem like it makes sense to focus on such an exposed car like the vintage MG roadster that appears in Love Story, but Ryan O’Neal bundles up accordingly in his reversible raincoat while behind the wheel with Ali MacGraw by his side.

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Remember the Night: Fred MacMurray’s Christmas Road Trip

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Remember the Night (1940)

Vitals

Fred MacMurray as John “Jack” Sargent, smooth-talking New York prosecutor

New York to Indiana, Christmas 1938

Film: Remember the Night
Release Date: January 19, 1940
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

This year’s winter #CarWeek installment kicks off with a holly jolly hoosier holiday in Remember the Night, a 1940 romcom released at the outset of a decade that included many classics of Christmas cinema like The Shop Around the Corner (1940), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Holiday Inn (1942), Christmas in Connecticut (1945), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), 3 Godfathers (1948), and Holiday Affair (1949). Yet before all those classics came Remember the Night, arguably one of the earliest major movies to recognize how compellingly Christmas, both at its loneliest and most celebratory, could be effectively woven into a story.

“While it has remained for decades mysteriously under the radar, its tender romance and comedy are so skillfully blended—and its use of Christmas so poignant—that it stands among the very best holiday movies,” describes Jeremy Arnold in the TCM volume Christmas in the Movies. Continue reading

The Hot Spot: Don Johnson’s Gray Linen Jacket and Studebaker

Don Johnson as Harry Madox in The Hot Spot

Don Johnson as Harry Madox in The Hot Spot (1990)

Vitals

Don Johnson as Harry Madox, drifter and used car salesman

Texas, Summer 1990

Film: The Hot Spot
Release Date: October 12, 1990
Director: Dennis Hopper
Costume Designer: Mary Kay Stolz

Background

I’m wrapping up this summer’s #CarWeek with the under-discussed neo-noir The Hot Spot, made among the wave of sweaty erotic crime dramas of the ’80s and ’90s exemplified by movies like Body Heat through Basic Instinct.

Don Johnson was nearing the end of his star-making tenure on Miami Vice when he was tapped for The Hot Spot‘s leading role as Harry Madox, an enigmatic drifter whose arrival in the quiet Texas berg of Landers sets forth a series of events straight out of James M. Cain or Jim Thompson’s poison pen.

The Hot Spot comes by its pulp credentials honestly, adapted from Charles Williams’ 1952 novel Hell Hath No Fury and originally intended to be adapted as a Robert Mitchum vehicle in the early ’60s. Though set in the present, The Hot Spot retains much of this retro style inspired by the era of its original conception, as seen in many of the costumes and cars, most specifically Harry’s black ’59 Studebaker Silver Hawk that he drives into town. Continue reading

Two-Lane Blacktop: Warren Oates as GTO

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

Vitals

Warren Oates as “GTO”, an otherwise unnamed former TV producer

Arizona through Tennessee, Fall 1970

Film: Two-Lane Blacktop
Release Date: July 7, 1971
Director: Monte Hellman
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A race for pink slips between a ’55 Chevy and a GTO across a long-gone America when the road was much more than a shopping aisle. Three road hogs and an underage girl riding in back with the tools. The nights are warm and the roads are straight. This one’s built from scratch, and, as Warren Oates says, “Those satisfactions are permanent.” — Tom Waits

“Because there was once a god who walked the earth named Warren Oates,” Richard Linklater included among the sixteen reasons why he loves Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman’s low-buedget 1971 road movie that has become a cult classic.

One of my favorite actors, Oates was born 94 years ago today on July 5, 1928 in Depoy, an unincorporated community in western Kentucky. His craggy features suited him well to early roles as cowboys and criminals, though he rose to more prominent stardom through the ’70s beginning with his co-starring role as the garrulous, tragi-comic motorist who impulsively bets his showroom-bought Pontiac GTO in a cross-country race against James Taylor and Dennis Wilson’s “homegrown” ’55 Chevy in Two-Lane Blacktop. Continue reading

Risky Business: Tom Cruise’s Varsity Prep Style and Porsche

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business (1983)

Vitals

Tom Cruise as Joel Goodson, ambitious high school student

Chicago, Fall 1983

Film: Risky Business
Release Date: August 5, 1983
Director: Paul Brickman
Costume Designer: Robert De Mora

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is Tom Cruise’s 60th birthday, and the charismatic superstar has proved his staying power with the blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, currently the highest-grossing movie of 2022 and of Cruise’s prolific career. The original Top Gun had elevated Cruise to stardom, following his breakthrough performance in Paul Brickman’s sharp satire Risky Business.

Though perhaps remembered most—and unfairly dismissed—as a teen sex comedy, Risky Business critically explores the impact of capitalism and consumerism through the lens of our high-achieving high schooler, Joel Goodson, who’s spent these first years of his life knowing nothing other than a relentless drive to succeed. In addition to the professional pressure applied by his parents, Joel also feels both the internal and peer pressure to achieve in the sexual arena, which he satisfies after hiring an escort named Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) after his parents leave him home alone for several weeks.

Joel and Lana’s relationship swiftly evolves from professional to personal… and then a combination of both after his father’s Porsche takes a swim in Lake Michigan while under Joel’s unauthorized care. To bankroll the car’s astronomical repair costs before his parents’ return, Joel tests his own entrepreneurial savvy by joining forces with Lana and turning his family home into a brothel for one night to turn a profit from his rich and horny classmates.

To kick off the first semi-annual #CarWeek series of 2022, let’s take a look at Joel’s all-American varsity style (apropos Cruise’s birthday on the eve of Independence Day) while behind the wheel of that prized Porsche 928. Continue reading

For Your Eyes Only: Bond’s Sheepskin Jacket and New Lotus

Roger Moore as James Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore as a Lotus-driving James Bond in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Spring 1981

Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Today’s post extends #CarWeek to close out this year’s 40th anniversary celebration of my favorite of Roger Moore’s Bond movies, For Your Eyes Only, with a wintry look apropos the 00-7th of December as Mr. Bond drives into the ski resort town of Cortina d’Ampezzo behind the wheel of his latest Q-issued Lotus, dressed for warmth in shearling and cashmere.

Following a tip from the Italian secret service, Bond has arrived to interface with MI6’s “man in northern Italy”—Luigi Ferrara (John Moreno)—as he surveils Locque, the mysterious man he had observed paying off Hector Gonzales. Continue reading

Sneakers: Redford’s Varsity Jacket and Karmann Ghia

Robert Redford in Sneakers (1992)

Robert Redford as Martin Bishop, seated in his Karmann Ghia in Sneakers (1992)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Martin Bishop (formerly Martin Brice), digital security consultant and fugitive hacker

San Francisco, Fall 1991

Film: Sneakers
Release Date: September 11, 1992
Director: Phil Alden Robinson
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Robert Redford looks like he’s having a great time in Sneakers, Phil Alden Robinson’s 1992 crime comedy about a gang of professional computer hackers. Redford stars as Martin Brice, a digital “sneaker” who has spent more than 20 years on the lam legitimizing his talent to become a security consultant, re-christened Martin Bishop. His background leads to recruitment by two men claiming to work for the NSA, forcing Martin and his team to take on a dubiously legitimate job.

Despite its subject matter, Sneakers never feels excessively dated as it focuses less on the technical aspects of digital hacking and more on the camaraderie among Redford’s motley band, consisting of Sidney Poitier, Dan Aykroyd, David Strathairn, River Phoenix, and Mary McDonnell. Redford’s character zips through the City by the Bay in a classic Karmann Ghia convertible, weathered but reliable like the then-56-year-old actor himself. Continue reading

Wild Card: Jason Statham’s Corduroy Car Coat and Ford Torino

Jason Statham as Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Jason Statham as the Ford Torino-driving Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Vitals

Jason Statham as Nick Wild, tough security consultant and bodyguard-for-hire

Las Vegas, Christmas 2013

Film: Wild Card
Release Date: January 14, 2015
Director: Simon West
Costume Designer: Lizz Wolf

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Car Week continues into December with a little-discussed action movie that—like The Bourne Identity and Three Days of the Condor—is set during against a Christmas backdrop complete with carols on the soundtrack, though the holiday timing has little impact on the plot. (I don’t include Die Hard in this category because, as many have argued, Christmas is the reason for the whole plot!)

Reviving a role originated by Burt Reynolds in William Goldman’s 1986 movie Heat, Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a “security consultant” for Las Vegas lawyer Pinchus “Pinky” Zion (Jason Alexander), who makes his daily commute from a seedy motel in a snazzy ’69 Ford Torino. Continue reading

Detour: Tom Neal’s Borrowed Clothes and Borrowed Lincoln

Tom Neal as Al Roberts in Detour (1945)

Tom Neal behind the wheel of a ’41 Lincoln as Al Roberts in Detour (1945)

Vitals

Tom Neal as Al Roberts, hitchhiking nightclub pianist

Across the United States, especially Arizona to California, Spring 1945

Film: Detour
Release Date: November 30, 1945
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
Wardrobe Designer: Mona Barry

Background

On the last day of #Noirvember, let’s also kick off #CarWeek with a look at one of the best examples of “road noir” with Detour, the enduring B-movie that saw a limited release 76 years ago today on November 30, 1945, just over two weeks after its initial premiere in Boston.

Martin M. Goldsmith worked with an uncredited Martin Mooney to adapt his own 1939 novel of the same name into a screenplay. Known as “the King of PRC” for his reputation as an efficient director working for the Poverty Row studio Producers Releasing Corporation, the Austrian-born Edgar G. Ulmer filmed Detour in less than a month in the summer of 1945, with a shoestring budget of less than $100,000; for comparison, this was less than 10% of the final budget for that year’s winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, The Lost Weekend. (Perhaps overstating his efficiency, Ulmer would later cite that he made the movie in six days for $20,000.)

Detour was my gateway to film noir, thanks to a multi-pack DVD that I was gifted in high school that included many pulp classics like D.O.A.The HitchhikerQuicksand, and The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, many of which—like Detour—were regularly available in budget-friendly home video releases as they had fallen into the public domain. Clocking in at just over an hour, the story may be simple, but it contains all the characteristic noir themes and stock characters, including the femme fatale (and how!) and the wrongly accused man whose questionable ethics and unfortunate circumstances launch him headway into increasingly dangerous circumstances.

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For Your Eyes Only: Bond’s Green Jacket and Melina’s Citroën

Roger Moore as James Bond, flanked by Lizzie Warville, Alison Worth, Viva, Vanya, Kim Mills, and Laila Dean, in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore as James Bond, flanked by Lizzie Warville, Alison Worth, Viva, Vanya, Kim Mills, and Laila Dean, in For Your Eyes Only (1981).
Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org.

Vitals

Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Spain, Spring 1981

Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

During the 40th anniversary year of For Your Eyes Only, the 00-7th of July feels like the appropriate time to examine the clothes and cars of Mr. Bond himself, after previously exploring the fits of one of his allies and one of his enemies. (This may be a little late for #CarWeek, but isn’t it always a good day for a drive in the country?)

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