Tagged: Colt Detective Special

Once Upon a Time in America: De Niro’s Herringbone for a Heist

Robert De Niro as David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and ex-convict

Detroit, Fall 1932

Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci

Background

After premiering at Cannes in May and undergoing a truncated release stateside that summer, Sergio Leone’s controversial mob saga Once Upon a Time in America was finally released in the Italian-born director’s home country on this day in 1984. Leone’s final film, and the first he had directed in 13 years, Once Upon a Time in America marked the conclusion to his unofficial “Once Upon a Time…” trilogy.

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Body Heat: William Hurt’s Lawyerly Seersucker

William Hurt as Ned Racine in Body Heat (1981)

William Hurt as Ned Racine in Body Heat (1981)

Vitals

William Hurt as Ned Racine, unscrupulous attorney

Palm Beach, Florida, Summer 1981

Film: Body Heat
Release Date: August 28, 1981
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Costume Designer: Renié

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I couldn’t let the hottest summer of my lifetime end without talking about Body Heat, especially as Lawrence Kasdan’s sweaty directorial debut will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release in two days.

The term “neo-noir” has often been used—and, indeed, overused—to describe stylish, shadowy, and sexy crime dramas with elements recalling film noir’s golden era in the ’40s and ’50s, though Body Heat struck me as one of the prized handful of movies most deserving of the description, perfectly balancing the spirit of classic noir with contemporary cinematic expectations without falling too far in either direction. Continue reading

Robert De Niro in Midnight Run

Robert De Niro as Jack Walsh in Midnight Run (1988)

Robert De Niro as Jack Walsh in Midnight Run (1988)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Jack Walsh, tough bounty hunter

New York to Los Angeles, Fall 1987

Film: Midnight Run
Release Date: July 20, 1988
Director: Martin Brest
Costume Designer: Gloria Gresham

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“This is an easy gig, it’s a midnight run for chrissakes!”

Bounty hunter Jack Walsh has withstood plenty of action and abuse tracking down fugitives for bail bondsman Eddie Moscone (Joe Pantoliano), but the inherent danger of bringing in Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas (Charles Grodin), an accountant in the crosshairs of the Mafia, has Jack demanding $100,000 for the job. A pro, Jack has an easy enough time finding the Duke in New York, but bringing him back to L.A. and his hundred-grand payday brings a fresh set of challenges between the Duke’s reluctance to fly, the interference of the FBI, a rival bounty hunter sabotaging him at each step, and—oh!—a couple of deadly doofuses sent by the mob to whack the Duke… and anyone who gets in their way.

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Bugsy’s Houndstooth Sports Coat

Warren Beatty as Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in Bugsy (1991)

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in Bugsy (1991)

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, “celebrity” gangster and casino builder

Los Angeles, Spring 1945 and Las Vegas, Fall 1946

Film: Bugsy
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Everybody deserves a fresh start once in a while.

At least three times while wearing this outfit alone, Warren Beatty’s Bugsy Siegel pontificates on the power of fresh starts. While the real Siegel may not have been quite as forgiving, Beatty plays him with the actor’s characteristic charisma to better communicate to audiences how a violent gangster could have charmed the stars of “golden age” Hollywood.

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James Shigeta in The Crimson Kimono

James Shigeta as Detective Joe Kojaku in The Crimson Kimono (1959)

James Shigeta as Detective Joe Kojaku in The Crimson Kimono (1959)

Vitals

James Shigeta as Joe Kojaku, LAPD homicide detective

Los Angeles, Summer 1959

Film: The Crimson Kimono
Release Date: October 1959
Director: Samuel Fuller
Costume Supervisor: Bernice Pontrelli

Background

Are you among the many movie buffs who observe #Noirvember, the month-long celebration of shadowy cinema often set in worlds populated by gumshoes, gunsels, and femmes fatale. Defining film noir is often as murky as the outlines of the shadows in some of its seminal works, though even applying the infamous Potter Stewart rule yields at least dozens of crime dramas produced within and beyond the United States during the 1940s and ’50s.

Earlier this year, the Criterion Channel again showcased a collection of noir from Columbia Pictures, the erstwhile Poverty Row studio that churned out some of the most quintessential high-talent noir in including Gilda (1946), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), and In a Lonely Place (1950) as well as an array of criminally underseen B-movies that balanced their low budgets with high quality. One of my favorites from the collection was The Crimson Kimono (1959), directed by former crime reporter and World War II veteran Samuel Fuller.

Modern audiences may recognize James Shigeta as the patient and ultimately doomed Nakatomi executive in Die Hard. Here, a considerably younger Shigeta plays the charismatic Joe Kojaku, an apple-munching, piano-playing Japanese-American homicide detective called in with his partner Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) to investigate the murder of burlesque dancer Sugar Torch (Gloria Pall) on L.A.’s” Main Street” one brightly lit, jazz-filled night in August 1959. Continue reading

Sinatra on Magnum, P.I.

Frank Sinatra and Tom Selleck during production of "Laura" (Episode 7.18 of Magnum, P.I.)

Frank Sinatra and Tom Selleck during production of “Laura” (Episode 7.18 of Magnum, P.I.)

Vitals

Frank Sinatra as Michael Doheny, experienced and tough retired New York police sergeant

Hawaii, Spring 1987

Series: Magnum, P.I.
Episode: “Laura” (Episode 7.18)
Air Date: February 25, 1987
Director: Alan J. Levi
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Supervisors:
James Gilmore & Charlene Tuch

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Twenty years after he played Tony Rome, Frank Sinatra returned to the world of private eyes in warm locales with his final major acting role, a special appearance in “Laura”, a seventh season episode of Magnum, P.I. The Voice was already over 70 when the episode was produced, but he’s still as charismatic, wiry, and tough as his reputation had preceded him for the better part of a century. On this summertime #SinatraSaturday, let’s take a deeper look at Frank’s final screen role.

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Cagney’s Leather Jacket in White Heat

James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat (1949)

James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat (1949)

Vitals

James Cagney as Arthur “Cody” Jarrett, ruthless gang leader and devoted son

Los Angeles, Spring 1950

Film: White Heat
Release Date: September 2, 1949
Director: Raoul Walsh
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the 120th birthday of James Cagney, the intense actor who brought realism and energy to his performances that ranged from deadpan comedy to complex tough guys. It was for the latter that Cagney, who Orson Welles described as “maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of the camera,” is most remembered, particularly for his mature performance as the complex gangster Cody Jarrett in White Heat.

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Shaft’s Brown Leather Coat

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft in Shaft (1971)

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft in Shaft (1971)

Vitals

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, tough private detective

New York City, January 1971

Film: Shaft
Release Date: June 25, 1971
Director: Gordon Parks
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi

Background

Almost 50 years after Richard Roundtree first stepped out onto a busy New York City street, John Shaft remains a cultural icon with the release of the fifth and latest installment of the Shaft canon that arrived in theaters this weekend.

Roundtree made his cinematic debut in 1971’s Shaft, establishing the blaxploitation genre and rapidly followed by two sequel movies and a short-lived TV show that all starred the former model as the tough private eye from Ernest Tidyman’s series of novels. Roundtree would reprise his role as John Shaft I—uncle of Samuel L. Jackson’s character—in Shaft (2000) and Shaft (2019)… yes, that’s three films in one series all named Shaft.

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James Stewart in Rope

James Stewart as Rupert Cadell in Rope (1948)

James Stewart as Rupert Cadell in Rope (1948)

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James Stewart as Rupert Cadell, cerebral publisher and former prep school headmaster

New York City, Spring 1948

Film: Rope
Release Date: September 25, 1948
Director: Alfred Hitchcock

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Labor Day often signifies the changing of the seasons from the hot summer months into the cooler autumn, a time when the linen suits are shifted toward the back of the closet as flannels and tweeds return to the forefront. As we look ahead to the warmer clothes of the approaching season, I take inspiration from a real-life BAMF who had plenty of style both on and off the big screen, Jimmy Stewart.

Just over 70 years ago on August 26, 1948, Rope premiered in New York City, nearly a month before it was released to screens around the country. Continue reading

Jack Lemmon as “Bash Brannigan”

Jack Lemmon as Stanley Ford (in his "Bash Brannigan" persona) in How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

Jack Lemmon as Stanley Ford (in his “Bash Brannigan” persona) in How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

Vitals

Jack Lemmon as Stanley Ford, comic strip artist and dedicated bachelor

New York City, Summer 1964

Film: How to Murder Your Wife
Release Date: September 20, 1965
Director: Richard Quine
Wardrobe: Izzy Berne & Marie Osborne

Background

Happy birthday to Jack Lemmon, a class act and one of my all-time favorite actors.

One of the first Jack Lemmon movies I had ever seen was the problematically titled How to Murder Your Wife, a VHS tape belonging to my grandma that she had I must have watched a dozen times during my childhood. Lemmon played Stanley Ford, an artist dedicated to two things: his espionage comic strip Bash Brannigan and remaining an unattached bachelor. The latter ambition is quelled during a drunken stag party when he meets and immediately marries a beautiful blonde stripper (Virna Lisi) who, as luck would have it, doesn’t know a word of English. Continue reading