Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta, Sicilian-American mob boss
Sicily, Spring 1968
Film: The Brotherhood
Release Date: December 25, 1968
Director: Martin Ritt
Costume Designer: Ruth Morley
On what would have been Kirk Douglas’ 105th birthday, today’s post recognizes a unique passion project among the prolific actor’s varied filmography. Though he’d been an uncredited producer on more than a dozen movies, Douglas had only been listed as a producer on Spartacus before he selected The Brotherhood as the next production to carry his name. Despite some valid feedback that he may not be the right visual type for the leading role of Sicilian-born gangster Frank Ginetta, Douglas welcomed the acting challenge… and the help of some dye to darken a newly grown mustache in addition to his famous coiff. Continue reading
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, mother-obsessed motel proprietor and amateur bird taxidermist
Fairvale, California, Fall 1959
Release Date: September 8, 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Rita Riggs (uncredited)
Costume Supervisor: Helen Colvig
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
A boy’s best friend is his mother…
Alfred Hitchcock would probably find some dark humor in choosing Mother’s Day to focus on Psycho, the story of a young man’s complicated relationship with his mother.
James Coburn as Tex Panthollow, larcenous former OSS commando
Paris, April 1963
Release Date: December 5, 1963
Director: Stanley Donen
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As portrayed by the brilliant and versatile James Coburn, Tex Panthollow makes his dramatic introduction in the beginning of Charade as the second of three mysterious men who show up to “pay respects” at the funeral of their one-time brother-in-arms Charles Lampert, each one increasingly perplexing his widow Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) with their behavior. Par examplum: Tex draws a hand-sized mirror from his inside breast pocket and holds it directly under the deceased’s nose to ensure that he’s really passed from this world before sneering: “Arrive-derci, Charlie.”
Robert Redford as Bob Woodward, investigative journalist for The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Summer 1972
Film: All the President’s Men
Release Date: April 9, 1976
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack
In the spirit of the U.S. midterm elections tomorrow, I’m exploring one of my favorite political-themed movies, the 1976 thriller All the President’s Men based on the real-life investigative reporting of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward during the Watergate scandal that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation as U.S. President.
June 18, 1972: Woodward had only been at The Washington Post for nine months when he was assigned to cover the arrest of five burglars who had been caught breaking into the DNC office at the Watergate hotel complex the previous evening. As Woodward continued to investigate with fellow Post reporter Carl Bernstein, the once-minor story connects the break-in to campaign contributions for Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President (aptly nicknamed “CREEP”), revealing then-unprecedented levels of political corruption. Continue reading
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd Russian-born British government triple agent
Port Arthur, China (then Manchuria), February 1904
Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “Prelude to War” (Episode 2)
Air Date: September 7, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Today’s Throwback Tuesday installment throws us all the way back to February 1904 on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War. According to Reilly: Ace of Spies, the newly minted Sidney Reilly is stationed in Port Arthur, Manchuria, ostensibly under the cover of a shipping agent but secretly working with the Japanese military developing their plans for a sneak attack to take the port away from the Russians. Reilly is shown to be a cold pragmatist, working with Japan against his better judgement and dispassionate regarding his poor wife, Margaret (Jeananne Crowley), whom he had married three years earlier after the mysterious* death of her clergic husband.
* Reverend Hugh Thomas’s death was even more mysterious in real life, with many suspecting that Reilly posed as a doctor in order to poison the clergyman.