Tagged: Chicago

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

Payback: Porter’s New Suit

Mel Gibson as Porter in Payback (1999).

Mel Gibson as Porter in Payback (1999).

Vitals

Mel Gibson as Porter, cynical but straightforward career criminal

Chicago, Spring 1974…sort of

Film: Payback
Release Date: February 5, 1999
Director: Brian Helgeland
Costume Designer: Ha Nguyen

Background

Payback is one of those movies that I always enjoy more than I expect to. Short, sweet, and self-aware, it lives in the same universe as Archer where decades are blended to create one ambiguous super-era with cars, clothing, technology, and pop culture spanning the 1970s through the 1990s though clearly meant to be a throwback to the Charley Varrick era of the early 1970s when pulp crime dominated screens. Continue reading

Andy Garcia in The Untouchables

Andy Garcia as George Stone in The Untouchables (1987).

Andy Garcia as George Stone in The Untouchables (1987).

Vitals

Andy Garcia as Giuseppe Petri, aka “George Stone”, honest Chicago police recruit and expert marksman

Chicago, September 1930

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

Background

A contemporary interview from People magazine at the time of The Untouchables‘ release was very flattering to Garcia:

Andy Garcia really doesn’t have much of a part in The Untouchables. His big moments come at the beginning, when he angrily jams a gun barrel into Sean Connery’s neck, and at the end, when he coolly kills one of Al Capone’s henchmen from a prone position. Of quiet demeanor, Garcia’s minor character has no love scenes and little to say. Yet Garcia’s rich portrayal of Treasury agent George Stone, the Italian-American T-man with a chip of ice on his shoulder, adds up to much more than the sum of his minutes onscreen. He’s The Untouchables‘ quicksilver gunslinger, the deadly rookie who’s a natural pistolero.

Garcia’s character, particularly his background, are a nod to the political correctness of the original 1950s TV series’ inclusion of Nick Georgiade as Agent Rico Rossi, who served primarily to show the audience that not all Italian-Americans are mafioso. Continue reading

Robert Shaw’s Charcoal Pinstripe Poker Suit in The Sting

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973).

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan, conniving Irish-American mob boss and poker host

New York to Chicago, September 1936

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

Background

Tomorrow would have been the 87th birthday of actor, novelist, and definitive screen villain Robert Shaw. Shaw, who kicked ass in such great films as From Russia With LoveThe Taking of Pelham 1-2-3, and Jaws, memorably played “the mark” in The Sting. Continue reading

The Death of John Dillinger – 2009 Style

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009).

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009).

Vitals

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

Chicago, July 1934

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

Background

While 1973’s Dillinger took a “just the facts” approach to retelling the life of bank robber John Dillinger (albeit with very exaggerated facts), Michael Mann’s Public Enemies painted the farmboy-turned-criminal as a more mythical figure. This seems to be the trend in recent years.

Forty-some years ago, the cinematic John Dillinger and Clyde Barrow were depicted as Robin Hood-type folk heroes who were cornered by relentless authorities and shot without warning. Continue reading

The Death of John Dillinger – 1973 Style

Warren Oates and Michelle Phillips as John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, respectively, in Dillinger (1973). The film inaccurately portrays Polly Hamilton as an alias for Billie Frechette; in reality, Polly was an entirely different person.

Warren Oates and Michelle Phillips as John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, respectively, in Dillinger (1973). The film inaccurately portrays Polly Hamilton as an alias for Billie Frechette; in reality, Polly was an entirely different person.

Vitals

Warren Oates as John Dillinger, doomed Depression-era bank robber

Chicago, July 1934

Film: Dillinger
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George

Background

Although it had been founded in 1908, the FBI had existed for more than a quarter of a century without grabbing major national attention. There were many major successes, but the recent crime wave of bank-robbing desperadoes tarnished the agency’s image and, in turn, turned outlaws into folk heroes.

One of these “folk heroes” was John Dillinger, a 31-year-old Indiana native who had recently embarrassed national law enforcement by reportedly breaking out of jail with a wooden gun. Although they had Dillinger in their sights for the better part of a year, the FBI – then known as the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) – had no legal jurisdiction to take him down. Dillinger’s crimes – ranging from bank robbery to alleged murder – were all certainly major, but none violated any federal law. Then, it was realized that Dillinger had stolen the Lake County sheriff’s car during his escape. By driving the stolen automobile across a state line, Dillinger violated the Dyer Act.

The Dyer Act, also called the National Motor Vehicle Theft Act, was passed in 1919 to combat the growing threat of trafficking stolen automobiles. If a person was found guilty of violating the Dyer Act, they would be sentenced with imprisonment up to ten years, a hefty fine, or both. In Dillinger’s case, the BOI determined that his punishment would be execution. Continue reading

Robert Shaw’s Gray and Yellow Pinstripe Suit in The Sting

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973).

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Robert Shaw as Doyle Lonnegan, ruthless Irish-American mob boss

Chicago, September 1936

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

Background

One month into spring, we’re finally seeing some consistent spring weather here in the States. Embrace it and inject some spring colors into your business suits à la Doyle Lonnegan in The Sting. Lonnegan is not necessarily a loud dresser, but he does look the part of a fashionable and well-to-do gangster. Continue reading

The Untouchables: Ness’ Gray 3-Piece Suit

Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness in The Untouchables (1987).

Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness in The Untouchables (1987).

Vitals

Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, honest and intrepid federal agent

Chicago, September 1930

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

Background

This blog has been focusing on a lot of bad guys lately, so let’s take a look at a good guy… at least according to the film about him.

Despite what Robert Stack and Kevin Costner’s portrayals may have you believe, Eliot Ness didn’t single-handedly stop Al Capone’s reign of terror over the city of Chicago. Even Ness’ own account paints himself as a crime-fighting pariah who overcame the odds with a tight-knit group of rogue lawmen and brought down a monster. Continue reading

Paul Newman’s Black Tie in The Sting

Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff in The Sting (1973).

Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Paul Newman as Henry Gondorff, Chicago con artist posing as a betting parlor operator

Chicago, September 1936

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

Background

It’s been almost a year since I’ve covered the classy Henry Gondorff, played by Paul Newman in 1973’s The Sting, so what would be more appropriate for New Year’s Eve than to break down Gondorff in black tie. Continue reading