Tagged: Criminal

Scarface (1932) – Tony’s Fancy Basketweave Suit

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

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Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

I’m wrapping up what turned out to be a week focused on classic gangster style with a look at one of my favorite mob movies, the original Scarface released in 1932. Both the film and its source novel of the same name by Armitage Trail (Maurice R. Coons) were undoubtedly inspired by the rise and fall of Chicago kingpin Al Capone, who reportedly grew to love the film so much that the owned his own print of it.

Tony Camonte’s rise through the underworld is depicted by a Thompson submachine gun blowing through the pages of a calendar, stopping somewhere around Friday, August 26, for the action to begin. (August 26 fell on a Friday in 1927 and 1932; as the events that inspired the film occurred throughout the 1920s and production wrapped in mid-1931, it’s safe to assume that this scene picks up the action around the late summer of 1927. Anyway…)

Spectacularly attired in a bold new suit, Tony runs into Poppy (Karen Morley), his boss’s platinum blonde moll, who is getting a little warmer to Tony’s form after his repeated attempts at seduction. Continue reading

Warren Oates’ Brown Striped Suit as Dillinger

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in Dillinger (1973)

Warren Oates as John Dillinger in Dillinger (1973)

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Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber

Indiana, Fall 1933

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

Background

Eighty four years ago tonight – November 15, 1933. Four police cars converge on a small office building on Irving Park Boulevard in the Chicago Loop. In an upstairs doctor’s office, one of the most wanted men in the tri-state area is being treated for either a ringworm infection or “barber’s itch,” an inflammation of hair follicles, depending on which account you read. On the floor below, a cagey informant named Art McGinnis is signaling desperately to police that their quarry is upstairs. Fate, however, is on the side of the outlaw, a thirty-year-old bank robber named John Dillinger. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Brown Tattersall Sportcoat

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.11: "Cold Stones")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.11: “Cold Stones”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10, dir. Steve Shill, aired May 14, 2006)
– “Cold Stones” (Episode 6.11, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 21, 2006)
– “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17, dir. Terence Winter, aired May 6, 2007)
– “The Second Coming” (Episode 6.19, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 20, 2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers (and a rather graphic screenshot) ahead! Continue reading

Clyde Barrow’s Brown Peak-Lapel Suit (2013 Version)

Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (2013)

Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger as Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker in Bonnie and Clyde (2013)

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Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow, amateur armed robber

Texas, Spring 1932

Series Title: Bonnie and Clyde
Air Date: December 8, 2013
Director: Bruce Beresford
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

Background

Earlier this week, I posted about the (possibly brown) single-breasted, peak-lapel suit worn by Derrick De Marney in Hitchcock’s 1930s thriller Young and Innocent. Today’s post expands on that theme, exploring a similar suit worn by another desperate young man on the run during the 1930s.

Continue reading

Dillinger’s Navy Striped Suit in Public Enemies

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

Johnny Depp as John Dillinger in Public Enemies (2009)

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

Chicago, Spring 1934

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

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It’s been quite some time since I’ve visited Public Enemies, the Michael Mann-directed action thriller depicting the life and crimes of Depression-era desperado John Dillinger. The film received mixed to positive reviews upon its release with much of the praise going to Michael Mann’s usual attention to detail as well as Johnny Depp’s performance as the Indiana-born outlaw.

Colleen Atwood’s period costumes are also worthy of attention and praise. High fashion was the signifier of success for Depression-era gangsters, and Dillinger rarely led his gun-toting cronies into a bank without being dressed to the nines.

Even when on the run, such as this scene set not long after Dillinger’s narrow escape from an FBI ambush at the Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin, John Dillinger made a consistent effort to dress well. (The film plays with historical accuracy to present its own narrative, pushing Billie Frechette’s arrest to after the Little Bohemia raid; in real life, Billie was arrested on April 9, 1934, two weeks before Melvin Purvis’ federal agents attempted to trap the Dillinger gang at Little Bohemia.) Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Gray Suit in “Meadowlands”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.04: "Meadowlands")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.04: “Meadowlands”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 1999

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Meadowlands” (Episode 1.04)
Air Date: January 31, 1999
Director: John Patterson
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday to James Gandolfini, born September 18, 1961. The celebrated late actor revolutionized television with his portrayal of troubled mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos from 1999 to 2007. (For those with an interest in the Zodiac, Gandolfini shared his astrological sign with Tony, who would be a fellow Virgo with his given birth date of August 24, 1960 in the final season premiere episode “Soprano Home Movies”.)

“My uncle, he’s got me in a box where I gotta do something I don’t want to do,” bemoans Tony at the outset of “Meadowlands”, the fourth episode of The Sopranos and the first without an on-screen murder. “Then there’s my mother. I pay four grand a month for this place, and she acts like I’m an eskimo pushing her out to sea.” Continue reading

Tony Montana’s Sky Blue Suit in Scarface

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983)

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Al Pacino as Tony Montana, impulsive and hotheaded cocaine dealer

Miami, Fall 1981

Film: Scarface
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Tailor: Tommy Velasco

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Miami, Florida, was incorporated as a city 121 years ago today – July 28, 1896. Today’s post focuses on one of the city’s most infamous fictional residents.

And, of course, that would be Tony Montana, the Cuban-born drug dealer portrayed by Al Pacino as he works his way to the top of the Miami drug world in the 1983 remake of Howard Hawks’ Prohibition-era pre-Code crime classic, Scarface. Continue reading