Tagged: Fall

Johnny Depp’s Red Leisure Suit in Blow

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

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Johnny Depp as George Jung, successful cocaine smuggler

Massachusetts, Fall 1979

Film: Blow
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

One of the more formative movies in developing my appreciation for more outlandish period style is Blow, Ted Demme’s Scorsese-inspired chronicle of the rise and fall of real-life drug smuggler George Jung, who was born 80 years ago today in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The DVD (does anyone remember its white case?) was in almost constant rotation when friends would come over in high school, and Mark Bridges’ costume design resonated to such a degree that, thanks to eBay, I may have been one of the few high-schoolers in the early 2000s to own a vintage polyester leisure suit. Continue reading

My Favorite Year: Peter O’Toole’s Cream Suit

Peter O'Toole as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year (1982)

Peter O’Toole as Alan Swann in My Favorite Year (1982)

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Peter O’Toole as Alan Swann, self-destructive screen swashbuckler

New York City, Fall 1954

Film: My Favorite Year
Release Date: October 8, 1982
Director: Richard Benjamin
Costume Designer: May Routh

Background

Today would have been the 90th birthday of Peter O’Toole, legend of stage and screen. Though he was ultimately presented with an Academy Honorary Award, O’Toole holds the dubious distinction of having received the most Academy Award nominations without a win. One of his eight nominations was for the 1982 comedy My Favorite Year, Richard Benjamin’s directorial debut written by Norman Steinberg and Dennis Palumbo, set behind the scenes at NBC’s famous studio at 30 Rockefeller Plaza during the Golden Age of live television.

“1954. You don’t get years like that anymore… it was my favorite year,” begins the narration by Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker), a junior comedy writer reportedly based on Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, who had both written for  Your Show of Shows in the early ’50s. The story was inspired by Errol Flynn’s real-life guest appearance on Your Show of Shows, with Flynn reimagined as the erratic Alan Swann. Benjy describes Swann as the greatest screen idol of all time, despite his boss dismissing Swann’s performances as no more than “kissing and jumping and drinking and humping.”

Richard Benjamin explained in an interview with Donald Leibenson that “in the original script, there’s a scene which I shot that would have played after what’s in the movie. It took place in a Hollywood cemetery, and Benjy is walking past the gravestones. He says in voiceover that Alan Swann made him promise he would do something on his birthday every year. Alan has passed away, and Benjy comes to his grave, kneels down and pours a bottle of Courvoisier over the tombstone. That’s what’s on the last page. Peter asked me to read the date that was on the tombstone. It was Aug. 2. He said, ‘Aug. 2 is my birthday; did you know that?’ I asked Norman if he knew that, and Norman said no, he had made it up. And Peter says, ‘Therefore, I must do the film.'” Continue reading

The Sopranos: Saying Goodbye to Paulie Walnuts

Tony Sirico as "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in "Made in America", The Sopranos' series finale.

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in “Made in America”, The Sopranos‘ series finale.

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Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran

Kearny, New Jersey, Late Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Made in America” (Episode 6.21)
Air Date: June 10, 2007
Director: David Chase
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This weekend, fans of The Sopranos mourned the death of Tony Sirico, who had played the eccentric gangster “Paulie Walnuts” in addition to appearances in movies like GoodfellasDead Presidents, and Cop Land.

Sirico was born July 29, 1942 in Brooklyn, beginning a colorful life that would be paralleled by his character’s succinct autobiography as shared in a third-season episode:

I was born, grew up, spent a few years in the Army, a few more in the can, and here I am: a half a wise guy.

Continue reading

Two-Lane Blacktop: Warren Oates as GTO

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

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Warren Oates as “GTO”, an otherwise unnamed former TV producer

Arizona through Tennessee, Fall 1970

Film: Two-Lane Blacktop
Release Date: July 7, 1971
Director: Monte Hellman
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A race for pink slips between a ’55 Chevy and a GTO across a long-gone America when the road was much more than a shopping aisle. Three road hogs and an underage girl riding in back with the tools. The nights are warm and the roads are straight. This one’s built from scratch, and, as Warren Oates says, “Those satisfactions are permanent.” — Tom Waits

“Because there was once a god who walked the earth named Warren Oates,” Richard Linklater included among the sixteen reasons why he loves Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman’s low-buedget 1971 road movie that has become a cult classic.

One of my favorite actors, Oates was born 94 years ago today on July 5, 1928 in Depoy, an unincorporated community in western Kentucky. His craggy features suited him well to early roles as cowboys and criminals, though he rose to more prominent stardom through the ’70s beginning with his co-starring role as the garrulous, tragi-comic motorist who impulsively bets his showroom-bought Pontiac GTO in a cross-country race against James Taylor and Dennis Wilson’s “homegrown” ’55 Chevy in Two-Lane Blacktop. Continue reading

Risky Business: Tom Cruise’s Varsity Prep Style and Porsche

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business

Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay in Risky Business (1983)

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Tom Cruise as Joel Goodson, ambitious high school student

Chicago, Fall 1983

Film: Risky Business
Release Date: August 5, 1983
Director: Paul Brickman
Costume Designer: Robert De Mora

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is Tom Cruise’s 60th birthday, and the charismatic superstar has proved his staying power with the blockbuster Top Gun: Maverick, currently the highest-grossing movie of 2022 and of Cruise’s prolific career. The original Top Gun had elevated Cruise to stardom, following his breakthrough performance in Paul Brickman’s sharp satire Risky Business.

Though perhaps remembered most—and unfairly dismissed—as a teen sex comedy, Risky Business critically explores the impact of capitalism and consumerism through the lens of our high-achieving high schooler, Joel Goodson, who’s spent these first years of his life knowing nothing other than a relentless drive to succeed. In addition to the professional pressure applied by his parents, Joel also feels both the internal and peer pressure to achieve in the sexual arena, which he satisfies after hiring an escort named Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) after his parents leave him home alone for several weeks.

Joel and Lana’s relationship swiftly evolves from professional to personal… and then a combination of both after his father’s Porsche takes a swim in Lake Michigan while under Joel’s unauthorized care. To bankroll the car’s astronomical repair costs before his parents’ return, Joel tests his own entrepreneurial savvy by joining forces with Lana and turning his family home into a brothel for one night to turn a profit from his rich and horny classmates.

To kick off the first semi-annual #CarWeek series of 2022, let’s take a look at Joel’s all-American varsity style (apropos Cruise’s birthday on the eve of Independence Day) while behind the wheel of that prized Porsche 928. Continue reading

The Guns of Navarone: Anthony Quinn’s Seersucker Suit

Anthony Quinn as Andrea Stavros in The Guns of Navarone

Anthony Quinn as Andrea Stavros in The Guns of Navarone (1961)

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Anthony Quinn as Colonel Andrea Stavros, tough Greek officer

Middle East, Fall 1943

Film: The Guns of Navarone
Release Date: April 27, 1961
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Wardrobe Credit: Monty M. Berman & Olga Lehmann

Background

Seersucker Thursday may be one of the few remaining bipartisan aspects of American politics. Inspired by the practice of early 20th century congressmen donning their tailored seersucker suits, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott reinstated the tradition in 1996, to be observed by men and women of the Senate on the second or third Thursday in June to coincide with National Seersucker Day, a standing celebration of the cool-wearing cloth.

There have certainly been more elegant showcases of seersucker suits in cinematic history, but one of the toughest examples can be seen with The Guns of Navarone‘s introduction of Colonel Andrea Stavros, the pipe-smoking officer of the Hellenic Army’s 19th Motorized Division. Continue reading

Stranger Things: Steve Harrington’s Members Only Jacket

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington on Stranger Things

Joe Keery as Steve Harrington on Stranger Things (Episode 2.05: “Dig Dug”)

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Joe Keery as Steve Harrington, popular high school senior

Indiana, Fall 1984

Series: Stranger Things
Episodes:
– “Chapter Five: Dig Dug” (Episode 2.05, dir. Andrew Stanton)
– “Chapter Six: The Spy” (Episode 2.06, dir. Andrew Stanton)
– “Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer” (Episode 2.08, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
– “Chapter Nine: The Gate” (Episode 2.09, dir. The Duffer Brothers)
Streaming Date: October 27, 2017
Creator:
 The Duffer Brothers
Costume Designer: Kim Wilcox

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This Friday, Netflix welcomes viewers back to Stranger Things with the fourth and penultimate season of the streaming phenomenon that blends elements of horror and sci-fi through a nostalgic 1980s lens.

One of my favorite character arcs on Stranger Things has followed Steve Harrington from the prototypical bullying jock he was at the start of the series into an affable ally who eagerly jumps in to assist and protect our young heroes against the series’ otherworldly antagonists. Continue reading

The Shining — Scatman Crothers’ Navy Blazer as Dick Hallorann

Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann in The Shining

Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann in The Shining (1980)

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Scatman Crothers as Dick Hallorann, intuitive hotel head chef

Silver Creek, Colorado, Fall 1979

Film: The Shining
Release Date: May 23, 1980
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero

Background

To honor the late Scatman Crothers, who was born 112 years ago today on May 23, 1910, today’s post explores his memorable role as Dick Hallorann, the head chef at the mysterious Overlook Hotel in The Shining. (Coincidentally, The Shining was released 42 years ago today on Crothers’ 70th birthday!)

On the last day of the Overlook’s season, Dick presents himself to the newcomer Torrance family and is assigned by hotel manager Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) to provide a tour of the hotel’s vast kitchen. Dick shows an interest in nicknames, first establishing with Mrs. Torrance (Shelley Duvall) that she’s neither a Winnie nor a Freddie but a Wendy (“the prettiest,” he adds), while intuiting via his shine that the young Danny (Danny Lloyd) has been nicknamed “Doc” by his parents.

When Ullman comes to collect Wendy for the rest of a tour with her husband Jack (Jack Nicholson), Dick sits Danny down for a bowl of ice cream… and a discussion of their shared telepathic abilities. Continue reading

East of Eden: James Dean’s 1917 Sport Jacket

James Dean and Julie Harris in East of Eden

James Dean and Julie Harris in East of Eden (1955)

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James Dean as Caleb “Cal” Trask, angsty and entrepreneurial farmer’s son

Salinas, California, Fall 1917

Film: East of Eden
Release Date: March 9, 1955
Director: Elia Kazan
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

James Dean’s first of only three major credited screen roles also resulted in his first of two posthumous Academy Award nominations, starring as the moody Cal Trask in Elia Kazan’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden, itself a loose retelling of the story of Cain and Abel set in California’s Salinas Valley around the time of America’s entry into World War I.

Cal and his brother Aron (Richard Davalos) vie for the affections of their father Adam (Raymond Massey), a prominent farmer and draft board chairman, whom Cal hopes to impress by growing beans to raise funds that would support the family and supplant some of Adam’s own financial losses. As Cal’s success in the bean-fields grows, his competition with his brother extends to Aron’s girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris), growing closer to her after they meet up at a county fair. Continue reading

Roscoe Lee Browne in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz (1969)

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Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois, smooth-talking Martinican-American sleeper agent

New York City, Fall 1962

Film: Topaz
Release Date: December 19, 1969
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Following last month’s look at a “hero costume” from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 thriller Saboteur, I want to continue exploring style from the lesser-known entries in the Master of Suspense’s oeuvre. Loosely based on the “Martel affair” and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Topaz was Hitch’s final movie centered around espionage, though I consider it to lack much of the spark that fueled his earlier successes like North by Northwest.

The single exception in Topaz may be a brief scene made more memorable by the appearance of Martinican agent Philippe Dubois, portrayed by Roscoe Lee Browne, the multi-talented star of stage and screen born 100 years ago today on May 2, 1922. Continue reading