Tagged: Fall

Sweet Smell of Success – Tony Curtis’ Striped Flannel Suit

Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Vitals

Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, unscrupulous publicity agent

New York City, Fall 1956

Film: Sweet Smell of Success
Release Date: June 27, 1957
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Costume Designer: Mary Grant

Background

Happy birthday to Tony Curtis, born 93 years ago today on June 3, 1925. The actor will always hold a special place for me as one of my earliest brushes with a known celebrity.

It occurred in the summer of 1998, during a vacation with my family to Las Vegas. We were approaching the exit to the MGM Grand as we came face-to-face with another entourage striding through the entrance. Flanked by two tall, voluptuous blondes at the front of the formation was a tuxedoed man with messy gray hair, considerably energetic for his age.

“That was Tony Curtis!” my family began murmuring to each other. Being only 9 years old at the time, I was concerned about feeling left out of the gossip until my grandma leaned in and explained to me that this was “Josephine” from Some Like It Hot, one of our favorite movies to watch together at the time.

Some Like It Hot will always have a place on my personal cinematic Mount Rushmore, but my favorite Tony Curtis performance is likely in Alexander Mackendrick’s atmospheric 1957 noir Sweet Smell of Success. Curtis stars as a Manhattan publicity agent oozing with opportunistic sleaze.

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Reilly, Ace of Spies: A Notch-Lapel Dinner Jacket

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 6: "Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 6: “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd British agent and anti-Bolshevik

St. Petersburg, Russia, October 1910, and
London, November 1918

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episodes:
– “Dreadnoughts and Doublecrosses” (Episode 6), dir. Jim Goddard, aired 10/5/1983
– “After Moscow”(Episode 9), dir. Martin Campbell, aired 10/26/1983
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Reilly: Ace of Spies fictionalizes the exploits of Russian-born spy Sidney Reilly, often cited as a real-life basis for Ian Fleming’s James Bond. While the showrunners must have been cognizant of the need to place their suave British secret agent in a tuxedo, the series’ narrative also coincided with the rise of the dinner jacket over the first quarter of the 20th century.

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Ronin: De Niro’s Brown Suede Jacket

Robert De Niro as Sam in Ronin (1998)

Robert De Niro as Sam in Ronin (1998)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Sam, professional mercenary thief and ex-CIA operative

Nice, France, December 1997

Film: Ronin
Release Date: September 25, 1998
Director: John Frankenheimer
Costume Designer: May Routh

Background

I recently received a request to explore Robert De Niro’s outfit in Ronin when his ex-CIA thief Sam accompanies Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) on a recon mission in Nice. Deirdre has hired Sam’s crew to attack an armed convoy to steal an unidentified briefcase that would serve as the film’s MacGuffin.

Rather than bothering with spy cameras and tactics, Sam merely brings Deirdre and his Leica R6 2 camera to the luxurious Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic (actually located in Cannes), posing as a pair of tourists and thus not raising any suspicions as they take a considerable amount of photos to prepare for the job. Continue reading

Jimmy Stewart’s Blue Suit in Vertigo

James Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson in Vertigo (1958)

Vitals

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Francisco, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is the 60th anniversary of the release of Vertigo, Hitchcock’s noir-esque thriller and the last of his collaborations with James Stewart. Hitch blamed Jim for the film’s lack of success at the box office, but history would give Jim the last laugh as a 2012 reevaluation for BFI’s Sight & Sound led to a poll of critics choosing Vertigo as the greatest film of all time, beating out long-standing #1 choice Citizen Kane. Continue reading

Mitchum as Marlowe: Striped Jacket in The Big Sleep

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe, American private investigator

London, September 1977

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: March 13, 1978
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Ron Beck

Background

Philip Marlowe is a bold dresser. We learn that from the opening paragraph of Raymond Chandler’s inaugural novel, The Big Sleep, with the description of the detective’s powder blue suit, dark blue underpinnings, and socks with clocks. The rest of the United States may have adopted a somber approach to dressing during the years of the Depression, but Marlowe is an L.A. private eye. He’s gotta turn heads.

Decades after the novel’s publication and Bogie and Bacall sizzled in its first cinematic adaptation, the story was once again slated for the silver screen. Continue reading

Justified, Season 6 – Raylan Givens in All Blue

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 6.02: "Cash Game", 2015)

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 6.02: “Cash Game”, 2015)

Vitals

Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal

Harlan County, Kentucky, Fall 2014

Series: Justified
Episode: “Cash Game” (Episode 6.02)
Air Date: January 27, 2015
Director: Dean Parisot
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer:  Patia Prouty

Background

The second episode of Justified‘s sixth and final season introduced a few new characters that would be help drive the series toward its action-packed endgame, including a shockingly mustache-less Sam Elliott as ruthless yet refined gangster Avery Markham.

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Steve McQueen’s Carmel Cardigan, 1964

Steve McQueen at Carmel, California, photographed by William Claxton (1964).

Steve McQueen at Carmel, California, photographed by William Claxton (1964).

Vitals

Steve McQueen, iconic American actor

Fall 1964, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Photographs by William Claxton

Background

Happy birthday to Steve McQueen, born March 24, 1930, in Beach Grove, Indiana, then a small town of barely more than 3,500 people. By the age of eight, he had already received his first bike (well, a tricycle) and his first watch (a gold pocket watch from his uncle), two items that would become very important to his life and legacy. By the time McQueen died of cardiac arrest in November 1980, the “King of Cool” had cemented a place among the greatest American icons of screen and style through his performances in films like The Great EscapeBullitt, and The Thomas Crown Affair, and his lifelong passion for racing and rebellion.

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