Tagged: Chicago

Dillinger’s Navy Striped Suit in Public Enemies

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, maverick Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, Spring 1934

Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It’s been quite some time since I’ve visited Public Enemies, the Michael Mann-directed action thriller depicting the life and crimes of Depression-era desperado John Dillinger. The film received mixed to positive reviews upon its release with much of the praise going to Michael Mann’s usual attention to detail as well as Johnny Depp’s performance as the Indiana-born outlaw.

Colleen Atwood’s period costumes are also worthy of attention and praise. High fashion was the signifier of success for Depression-era gangsters, and Dillinger rarely led his gun-toting cronies into a bank without being dressed to the nines.

Even when on the run, such as this scene set not long after Dillinger’s narrow escape from an FBI ambush at the Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin, John Dillinger made a consistent effort to dress well. (The film plays with historical accuracy to present its own narrative, pushing Billie Frechette’s arrest to after the Little Bohemia raid; in real life, Billie was arrested on April 9, 1934, two weeks before Melvin Purvis’ federal agents attempted to trap the Dillinger gang at Little Bohemia.) Continue reading

Ricky Roma’s Cream Pinstripe Silk Suit

Al Pacino as Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

Al Pacino as Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

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Al Pacino as Ricky Roma, ace real estate closer

New York (or maybe Chicago…), September 1992

Film: Glengarry Glen Ross
Release Date: October 2, 1992
Director: James Foley
Costume Designer: Jane Greenwood

Background

This is a big week for iconic actor birthdays! Today is the 77th birthday of Al Pacino, born April 25, 1940 in New York.

After a dormant post-Scarface career through most of the ’80s, Pacino shot back onto the screen in the following decade, returning to the part that made him famous as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III and taking on the role of confident and cut-throat real estate salesman Richard Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross from a screenplay adapted by David Mamet of his own Pulitzer- and Tony-winning 1984 play. Continue reading

Sean Connery’s Brown Corduroy Jacket in The Untouchables

Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)

Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)

Vitals

Sean Connery as Jim Malone, tough and honest Chicago beat cop

Chicago, September 1930

Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The Untouchables is a highly entertaining – yet highly fictionalized – saga of the successful legal campaign to bring down Al Capone’s criminal enterprise that terrorized Chicago through the 1920s with an all-star cast including Robert De Niro as Capone himself.

Eliot Ness had made a name for himself in the final years of Chicago’s beer wars as a relentless Prohibition agent, and he would use his fame decades later to pen The Untouchables, a memoir in which he credits himself with practically single-handedly sending Capone to prison. In real life, Ness’ raids were indeed disruptive, but it was the work of modest investigators U.S. Attorney George E.Q. Johnson and IRS agent Frank Wilson that eventually led to the charges that successfully convicted Capone. Continue reading

Jimmy Darmody’s Tweed Norfolk Suit

Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody on the set of Boardwalk Empire while filming "The Ivory Tower" (Episode 1.02).

Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody on the set of Boardwalk Empire while filming “The Ivory Tower” (Episode 1.02).

Vitals

Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, ambitious war veteran and “half a gangster”

Atlantic City, January 1920

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episodes:
“Boardwalk Empire” (Episode 1.01, aired September 19, 2010, dir. Martin Scorsese)
“The Ivory Tower” (Episode 1.02, aired September 26, 2010, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “Broadway Limited” (Episode 1.03, aired October 3, 2011, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “Anastasia” (Episode 1.04, aired October 10, 2011, dir. Jeremy Podeswa)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead! Continue reading

Harrison Ford’s Tweed Jacket in The Fugitive

Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive (1993).

Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive (1993).

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Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, fugitive and former doctor trying to clear his name

Chicago, Spring 1993

Film: The Fugitive
Release Date: August 6, 1993
Director: Andrew Davis
Costume Designer: Aggie Guerard Rodgers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

In addition to being one of the best modern thrillers, The Fugitive is also one of the best TV-to-movie adaptations, seamlessly updating the characters and story to transform four seasons of a 1960s TV show into a compelling and suspenseful 1990s action flick. Continue reading

Robert Redford’s Black Tuxedo in The Sting

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting (1973).

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker, Depression-era con artist

Chicago, September 1936

Film: The Sting
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

To celebrate Robert Redford’s 80th birthday next week, I’m revisiting one of my favorite Redford flicks. After the incredible success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the chemistry of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the starring roles, both actors re-teamed four years later to play washed-up con artist Henry Gondorff (Newman) and his de facto protégé, Johnny Hooker (Redford). Continue reading

The Untouchables: Capone’s Gray Suits

Robert De Niro as Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987).

Robert De Niro as Al Capone in The Untouchables (1987).

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Al Capone, legendary Chicago mob boss

Chicago, October 1931

Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance
Wardrobe Consultant: Richard Bruno
Tailor: Henry Stewart

Background

Before Stephen Graham blazed into Capone’s shoes on Boardwalk Empire, Robert De Niro’s extremely method performance of Al Capone in The Untouchables was considered to be the epitome. De Niro infused his performance with the menacing charm that allowed a violent psychopath like Capone to rapidly climb his way up the ladder of the underworld. The extent of Capone’s criminal empire, culminating with the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, has lived on to define the Roaring Twenties… or more specifically, Prohibition era Chicago. Continue reading