Tagged: Chukka Boots

Matt Helm’s Blue Blazer in Murderers’ Row

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers' Row (1966)

Dean Martin as Matt Helm in Murderers’ Row (1966)

Vitals

Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent

French Riviera, Summer 1966

Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday to Dean Martin, born Dino Paul Crocetti on June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio! After a successful singing and acting career that included partnerships with Jerry Lewis and the Rat Pack as well as his own TV show, Dino was tapped for the role of Matt Helm, the American counter-agent at the center of author Donald Hamilton’s espionage novels.

While Hamilton wrote his Matt Helm novels with a serious tone, Dino’s characterization parodied the character as more of a playboy lounge lizard, the American satirical answer to his contemporary womanizer James Bond. Thus, the four Matt Helm movies produced in the late ’60s often starred the popular singer opposite many of the most attractive leading ladies of the decade. Continue reading

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The Sun Also Rises: Gray Summer Sport Suit in Europe

Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises (1957)

Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises (1957)

Vitals

Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes, expatriate journalist and wounded World War I ambulance driver

Pamplona, Spain, July 1922

Film: The Sun Also Rises
Release Date: August 23, 1957
Director: Henry King
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup

Background

Today is my shared birthday with Ernest Hemingway, so I’m celebrating with a look at a cinematic adaptation of my favorite of Papa’s novels, The Sun Also Rises, which he had started writing on his 26th birthday, July 21, 1925.

Continue reading

John Wayne’s Field Jacket in Donovan’s Reef

John Wayne as Michael "Guns" Donovan in Donovan's Reef (1963)

John Wayne as Michael “Guns” Donovan in Donovan’s Reef (1963)

Vitals

John Wayne as Michael “Guns” Donovan, island saloon owner and U.S. Navy veteran

French Polynesia, December 1963

Film: Donovan’s Reef
Release Date: June 12, 1963
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

A decade after John Wayne traveled to Hawaii to play the titular anti-communist agent in Big Jim McLain, the actor returned for the production of Donovan’s Reef, a more lighthearted and less politically motivated film and the final of Duke’s many cinematic collaborations with prolific director John Ford.

Donovan’s Reef is set during the holidays in French Polynesia where ex-Navy gunner’s mate Michael “Guns” Donovan operates a saloon on the fictional island of Haleakaloha. Continue reading

John Wayne’s White Camp Shirt in Donovan’s Reef

John Wayne as Michael "Guns" Donovan in Donovan's Reef (1963)

John Wayne as Michael “Guns” Donovan in Donovan’s Reef (1963)

Vitals

John Wayne as Michael “Guns” Donovan, island saloon owner and U.S. Navy veteran

French Polynesia, December 1963

Film: Donovan’s Reef
Release Date: June 12, 1963
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Who better than John Wayne to feature on the day before that most American of holidays, the fourth of July?

Donovan’s Reef takes John Wayne from his familiar settings of the wild west or a world war and places him in French Polynesia (though actually filmed in Hawaii) as the grizzled manager of the titular island tavern.

John Wayne is hardly a name that comes to mind when thinking of classic beachgoers, but photographs like this from Duke’s Acapulco resort in the 1940s taken by Phil Stern prove that Wayne (and fellow macho pal Gary Cooper) could be quite natty when the time came to relaxing under the sun. Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Gabardine Windbreaker and Chinos

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.

Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.

Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.

While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading

Lucky Luciano’s 1931 Navy Suit on Boardwalk Empire

Vincent Piazza as Charlie “Lucky” Luciano on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 5.02: “The Good Listener”)

Vitals

Vincent Piazza as Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Sicilian-American mobster

New York City, April 1931

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episodes:
* “Golden Days for Boys and Girls” (Episode 5.01, aired September 7, 2014, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “The Good Listener” (Episode 5.02, aired September 14, 2014, dir. Allen Coulter)
* “Eldorado” (Episode 5.08, aired October 26, 2014, dir. Tim Van Patten)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

86 years ago tomorrow “Lucky” Luciano brought an end to the Castellammarese War – as mob historians refer to the bloody gangland conflict that divided New York City – by engineering the death of Sicilian-American mob chieftain Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria.

Masseria’s demise is one of the many colorful episodes that has, for better or worse, iconicized the history of the American Mafia… and it makes for a compelling and dramatic re-introduction to Lucky Luciano (Vincent Piazza) for the final season of Boardwalk Empire. Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Kemp’s Striped Linen Shirt and Jeans

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011), with co-star Amber Heard.

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011), with co-star Amber Heard.

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist and borderline alcoholic

St. Thomas, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

All the balls that Paul Kemp was juggling at this point have begun to fall. His grasp on his job, his shady dealings with PR whiz Sanderson, and his flirtation with Sanderson’s girlfriend. The bottom falls out when Kemp and photographer pal head to Carnival at Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands after visiting island property for Sanderson’s budding real estate scam.

Bruce Robinson’s script perfectly nails the feeling of the scene as Chenault leads Kemp by the hand to Sanderson’s yacht:

Like walking the plank in reverse, they invade a small drinks party.

Other than the glamorous Chenault, none of the new visitors fit in with Sanderson’s cosmopolitan set. Continue reading

Paul Kemp’s Blue Suit Jacket and Corvette in The Rum Diary

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011).

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011).

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist and borderline alcoholic

Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

Car week continues with a story by an American icon involving an iconic American car.

More than a decade before becoming the face and beautifully twisted mind of Gonzo journalism, Hunter S. Thompson was a struggling writer who had recently been discharged (honorably, but with prejudice) from the U.S. Air Force and had a few legal issues to his credit, not the least of all being the sinking of nearly every boat in a Kentucky harbor by shooting holes into the boats’ hulls just below the waterline. Continue reading

Skyfall – Bond Returns to Istanbul

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall (2012).

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, British secret agent

Istanbul, Spring 2012

Film: Skyfall
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

Background

After a four year hiatus between films – the longest gap in Bond history without a new actor – Daniel Craig boomed back into 007’s shoes in the explosive opening scene of Skyfall, set in the oft-used Bond setting of Istanbul. The long but quickly-paced film kicks off in media res, with 007 chasing down an assassin who just killed a fellow MI6 agent and stole the film’s MacGuffin, a hard drive with the identities of all agents. Continue reading

Titanic’s 2nd Officer Lightoller in A Night to Remember

Kenneth More as Second Officer Charles Lightoller in A Night to Remember.

Kenneth More as Second Officer Charles Lightoller in A Night to Remember (1958).

101 years ago at 2:20 a.m., the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the death of more than 1,500 passengers and crew.

Vitals

Kenneth More as Charles Lightoller, Second Officer of the RMS Titanic

North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912

Film: A Night to Remember
Release Date: July 3, 1958
Director: Roy Ward Baker
Costume Designer: Yvonne Caffin

Background

Obviously, the death of 1,500 people is going to be a tragic event. Unfortunately, the extent of most of a modern generation’s knowledge about the event is that “OMG Leo died bc he loved Rose so much,” naturally referring to James Cameron’s well-researched but poorly focused 1997 epic Titanic. The individual stories of everyone on board, whether they stepped onto a lifeboat, fought for their lives in the icy water and managed to survive, or perished are legitimately heartbreaking and fascinating without having to pander to teenage emotions.

Cameron stated that he was inspired by scenes from the 1958 film A Night to Remember, a comparatively little-known film when compared to his blockbuster. However, most experts will call A Night to Remember the definitive filmed adaptation of the disaster. Continue reading