Tagged: Charles Bronson

Death Wish: Charles Bronson’s Herringbone Sport Jacket

Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey in Death Wish (1974)

Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey in Death Wish (1974)

Vitals

Charles Bronson as Paul Kersey, architect and soon-to-be vigilante

Tucson, Arizona, and New York City, Winter 1974

Film: Death Wish
Release Date: July 24, 1974
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After a wave of films celebrating outlaws during the counterculture era of the late ’60s (i.e. Bonnie and Clyde and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), an opposing wave crashed through American cinema at the start of the following decade, centered around a philosophy of vigilantism. The trend arguably kicked into high gear with Clint Eastwood’s renegade detective in Dirty Harry who despised the proverbial red tape preventing him from bringing deadly criminals to justice with his famed .44 Magnum. Within five years, Martin Scorsese had already evolved the focus from an endorsement of vigilantism into a cautionary tale with the release of Taxi Driver. Before the troubled Travis Bickle took it upon himself to “wash all this scum off the streets” of New York City, there was Paul Kersey.

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The Mechanic: Charles Bronson’s Black Leather Racer Jacket

Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic (1972). Photo by MGM.

Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic (1972). Photo by MGM.

Vitals

Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop, disciplined but depressed contract killer

Los Angeles to Naples, Italy, Fall 1972

Film: The Mechanic
Release Date: November 17, 1972
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Lambert Marks

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After serving in supporting roles for many great Westerns and war movies of the ’60s⁠—including The Magnificent SevenThe Great EscapeThe Dirty Dozen, and Once Upon a Time in the West⁠—Hollywood was ready for Charles Bronson to take on leading roles that would establish him as one of the greatest silver screen “tough guys” of all time.

The Mechanic starred Bronson as Arthur Bishop, a skilled assassin whose quiet, luxurious lifestyle is disrupted when he takes on a protégé, Steve McKenna (Jan-Michael Vincent), the hotheaded, sociopathic son of his former boss “Big Harry” (Keenan Wynn) who he was assigned to kill. Arthur begins mentoring Steve after Big Harry’s death, taking the narcissistic young man flying, giving him shooting lessons, and eventually bringing him along for several hits.

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Allied Uniforms of The Great Escape

Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, Nigel Stock, and Gordon Jackson in The Great Escape (1963)

Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, Nigel Stock, and Gordon Jackson in The Great Escape (1963)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of “the great escape”, the mass breakout of allied airmen from the Luftwaffe-operated Stalag Luft III in Sagan-Silesia—now Zagan—in Poland on March 24, 1944. Of the 76 men who escaped, only three made it to freedom and 50 of the group were murdered by the Nazis in retaliation.

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

Paul Brickhill, one of the Allied officers who had worked on the various tunnels used for the escape, wrote the definitive account of prison camp life, the famous March 1944 breakout, and the subsequent fallout in The Great Escape, published in 1950.

Thirteen years later, a star-studded cast reenacted the incident in The Great Escape, a now-classic war movie that dramatized this real-life story of heroism, humor, and tragedy.

Today’s post—coinciding both with the 75th anniversary of the escape and the 89th birthday of the film’s star Steve McQueen—examines the uniforms of the Allied airmen, sorted by each major character’s surname. Continue reading

Charles Bronson’s Blue Suit in The Valachi Papers

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Vitals

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi, Mafia soldier

Apalachin, New York, November 1957

Film: The Valachi Papers
Release Date: January 6, 1972
Director: Terence Young
Costume Design: Giorgio Desideri & Ann Roth

Background

“It was a glorious time, before Apalachin,” recalls Ray Liotta’s voice-over as Henry Hill in Goodfellas. For readers not mired in the history of organized crime, Henry was referring to a now-legendary meeting of the American Mafia at the Apalachin, New York home of mobster Joseph Barbara. The summit was organized by powerful New York mob boss Vito Genovese and found more than 100 mobsters from across the country gathering at Barbara’s home on November 14, 1957… sixty years ago tomorrow. Continue reading