Tagged: Costume design by Theadora Van Runkle

Bullitt’s Suit and ’68 Mustang Fastback

Welcome to Car Week! The inaugural post will be a bit of an anomaly, as the outfit and the car featured are never seen in the same scenes together. Forgive this brief misstep and expect to see it rectified throughout the week. However, how could any blog like this start without featuring the legendary ’68 Mustang from Bullitt?

Steve McQueen as Bullitt.

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, maverick SFPD inspector

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

There is little dispute among both film and automobile fans that 1968’s Bullitt features the best car chase scene in movie history. Steve McQueen faces off in a fastback Mustang GT against two hitmen in a black Charger. By now, diehard fans of the film know that the Charger legendarily overtook and outpowered the Mustang during the actual filming, although it was still edited to have McQueen’s driving emerge victorious as the Charger ended up, sadly, in a ball of flame. Continue reading

Clyde Barrow’s Dapper Dark Pinstripe Suit

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the title characters in Bonnie and Clyde.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the title characters in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Today marks the 79th anniversary of the death of Bonnie and Clyde on a rural road in Louisiana. While I wouldn’t want to honor a killer like Barrow, it’s certainly the right day to commemorate with a suit from 1967’s iconic Bonnie and Clyde.

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow, romantic but flawed Depression-era bandit

Texas, early 1930s

Film: Bonnie & Clyde
Release Date: August 13, 1967
Director: Arthur Penn
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

With his violently quick temper and poor skill for actually robbing banks, there is little reason for Clyde Barrow to have the fame he does today. However, Clyde chose to bring along young Texas waitress Bonnie Parker for his adventures and a legend was born. Continue reading

Bullitt at the Hospital

Steve McQueen as Bullitt.

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, renegade San Francisco inspector

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

McQueen’s character in Bullitt is often remembered for two things: his handling of the green fastback Mustang during the car chase and the iconic shooting jacket and rollneck jumper he wore. Just prior to that sequence, we see Bullitt pulling an all-nighter at the hospital after the fatal shooting of the witness his men were protecting.

Very realistically, McQueen/Bullitt shows up at the scene in a casual shirt and slacks with a high-fastening and thick cardigan over it. Continue reading

Michael Corleone’s Gray Dupioni Silk Suit

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, powerful Mafia boss

Lake Tahoe, Fall 1958

Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

The Godfather is an American cultural phenomenon that needs no explanation. (For all the people secretly bummed out that I won’t give an explanation, here: It’s an epic three film journey following the rise of a Mafia family in the United States from 1901 to 1979).

There are differing opinions as to whether the first or the second part was the best. (No one ever says it’s the third one.)

In the first two films especially, costumes were a large indicator of the story. Much credit for this should be given to costume designer Theadora Van Runkle. When Michael is a proud Marine, he wears his uniform. When he is a college man looking for work, he wears a simple odd jacket, tie, and trousers. As he grows into the Don we have come to know, he wears expensive suits. Interestingly, Michael never wears a hat (aside from his USMC officer’s cap) until he becomes involved in the family.

This post will focus on the first act of The Godfather, Part II, where Michael Corleone is holding court on the day of his son’s Communion. Continue reading

Bullitt

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

Dressing for fall – especially in a city like Pittsburgh – can be difficult when the morning is 40°F, the temperature climbs to 75°F at noon, and a humid rain falls just in time for the drive home. And yet, Steve McQueen found a way to be prepared for all weather while looking cool and comfortable at the same time.

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, San Francisco inspector (they don’t call them detectives in the SFPD)

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

The definitive Steve McQueen style blog has a great statement:

One thing sane people do, as we all know, is spend a good portion of their spare time on eBay searching for a brown tweed jacket a bit like the one in Bullitt.

Although a relatively simple look, McQueen’s tweed jacket, blue rollneck, and desert boots grew to icon status for several reasons. Continue reading