Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, obsessive-compulsive Belgian detective
Orient Express, Winter 1934
Film: Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: November 10, 2017
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Costume Designer: Alexandra Byrne
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Readers who have seen my posts focused on adaptations of And Then There Were None, Death on the Nile, and Evil Under the Sun are likely aware that I’ve been a fan of Agatha Christie’s mystery fiction since I was 10 years old. Thus, it’s a continued thrill to find her works thriving as studios on both sides of the pond continue to churn out lavish adaptations of her work a full century after she introduced the world to Hercule Poirot with the publication of her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in 1920. In particular, David Suchet has been performing yeoman’s work as the quintessential Poirot across 70 episodes of an ITV-produced drama series that successfully—and relatively faithfully—adapted every novel and story that prominently featured Christie’s master detective.
In the spirit of contemporary BBC adaptations like The ABC Murders, And Then There Were None, Ordeal by Innocence, and The Pale Horse, Kenneth Branagh helmed what’s now the fourth adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, arguably Christie’s best-known novel famous for its then-groundbreaking solution. Continue reading
Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, U.S. Army captain and popular entertainer
European Theater, Christmas Eve 1944
Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Merry Christmas Eve! The prologue of perennial holiday cinema classic White Christmas begins exactly 75 years ago today, Christmas Eve 1944, as the title card tells us…
Private First Class Phil Davis is proudly assisting Captain Bob Wallace, evidently a known entertainer on par with Al Jolson, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, or—um—Bing Crosby, as they host a “yuletide clambake” for the men of the fictitious 151st Division, providing the type of entertainment that Davis boasts would cost $6.60 or even $8.80 stateside. Continue reading
Clint Eastwood as Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, college art professor and former assassin
Swiss Alps, Summer 1974
Film: The Eiger Sanction
Release Date: May 21, 1975
Director: Clint Eastwood
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright
December 11 is International Mountain Day, an observance established by the United Nations in 2003 to encourage sustainable development of mountains and recognize the importance of protecting the resources they provide and the populations that depend on them.
One of the most famous movies about mountain climbing is The Eiger Sanction, directed by Clint Eastwood who also stars as former assassin and expert climber Jonathan Hemlock. Continue reading
Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent
Bratislava to Vienna, Winter 1986
Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls
For a wintry #CarWeek post on the 00-7th of December, let’s look back to Timothy Dalton’s first—and best, in my opinion—adventure as James Bond in The Living Daylights, adapted and greatly expanded from Ian Fleming’s short story of the same name, though the primary plot of Fleming’s story is used up during the pre-credits defection sequence.
After noticing that reportedly a KGB sniper was a beautiful blonde cellist during the opening defection, Bond returned to Bratislava to meet the woman, Kara Milovy (Maryam D’Abo), in person. He persuades her to accompany him to Vienna, evading and eventually out-driving their KGB pursuers in 007’s tricked-out Aston Martin, which had been “winterized” and loaded with gadgets by Q (Desmond Llewelyn), MI6’s esteemed and exhausted quartermaster.
Robert Redford as Dave Chappellet, U.S. Olympic ski team star
Wengen, Switzerland, Winter 1967
Film: Downhill Racer
Release Date: November 6, 1969
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Edith Head (uncredited!)
Wardrobe Credit: Cynthia May
Let’s kick off a winter #CarWeek with an Alpine vibe, specifically the yellow Porsche that Robert Redford motors through the Alps after a day on the slopes with Camilla Sparv in Michael Ritchie’s directorial debut, Downhill Racer.
Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes, Hollywood director and screenwriter
Madrid, Spring 1951
Film: The Barefoot Contessa
Release Date: September 29, 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Rosi Gori (uncredited)
August 28 is National Bow Tie Day, believe it or not, so today’s post commemorates one of the most badass bow tie wearers of classic Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart.
Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, narcissistic profligate playboy
Italy, Summer 1958
Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: December 25, 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Costume Design: Ann Roth & Gary Jones
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As this summer continues into August, so too did summer advance for the idiosyncratic trio of rich Amalfi Coast playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), his girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), and their pathological companion Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) in Anthony Minghella’s 1999 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s classic psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley.
Spending time with Marge and Dickie allows Tom Ripley to grow increasingly enamored with the latter, and the young con artist manipulates an opportunity for the couple to insist that he remain with them at the picturesque seaside villa in Mongibello. Continue reading
David Niven as Raymond, bon vivant single father
French Riviera, Summer 1957
Film: Bonjour Tristesse
Release Date: January 15, 1958
Director: Otto Preminger
Costume Coordinator: Hope Bryce
Thanks to Otto Preminger’s direction and Georges Périnal’s lush color cinematography that captures the richness of the French Riviera, the visual delights of Bonjour Tristesse secure its place among the great “summer movies” of Hollywood’s celebrated golden era.
Based on Françoise Sagan’s 1954 novel, Bonjour Tristesse—which translates to “Hello, Sadness” in English—tells the story of the precocious but undisciplined teenager Cécile’s (Jean Seberg) summer holiday in the Côte d’Azur with her libertine father Raymond (David Niven) and his bevy of mistresses, often barely older than Cécile herself. Continue reading
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath
on Mediterranean Sea off Italy, August 1959
Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As I leave for my annual week at the beach tomorrow, I’ll be hoping to channel the style—if not the discomfort and petty cruelty—of the idyllic-looking, sun-drenched Mediterranean voyage where sociopathic American con man Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) forms an uncomfortable seagoing trio with the brash, arrogant playboy Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) and Philippe’s demure girlfriend Marge (Marie Laforêt). Continue reading
George Lazenby as James Bond, smooth British secret agent
Estoril, Portugal, September 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Tailor: Dimi Major
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
This year commemorates the 50th anniversary of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, often considered among the best of the James Bond canon. George Lazenby, the Australian actor who batted 1000 with OHMSS as his sole outing as 007, has also activated his Instagram presence this year, sharing photos of himself in many of the same locations he had made famous a half-century ago as the world’s most famous secret agent.
George’s #OHMSS50 tour included calling on the celebrated Palácio Estoril, the Portuguese hotel where his James Bond spent the early scenes of OHMSS chasing and seducing Diana Rigg’s character, Teresa “Tracy” di Vincenzo. During the visit, he even interacted with many of the hotel’s staff who were still in the Palácio Estoril’s employ 50 years after their on-screen cameos.
Today, on the 00-7th of July, let’s take a look at the timeless summer-friendly style that Lazenby’s James Bond wore when he pulled his Aston Martin into the parking lot at Palácio Estoril some fifty years ago. Continue reading