Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, preppy Harvard student
Boston, Winter 1966
Film: Love Story
Release Date: December 16, 1970
Director: Arthur Hiller
Costume Design: Alice Manougian Martin & Pearl Somner
As Car Week continues, it may not seem like it makes sense to focus on such an exposed car like the vintage MG roadster that appears in Love Story, but Ryan O’Neal bundles up accordingly in his reversible raincoat while behind the wheel with Ali MacGraw by his side.
Robert Mitchum as Jeff Markham, aka Jeff Bailey, laconic gas station owner and former private detective
Bridgeport, California, Fall 1946
Film: Out of the Past
Release Date: November 25, 1947
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Costume Credit: Edward Stevenson
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today marks the 75th anniversary since the release of Out of the Past, often considered among the best of classic film noir, the shadowy sub-genre known for its murky morals, gat-toting gumshoes, and double-crossing dames.
We begin in the small northern California town of Bridgeport, where laconic gas station owner Jeff Bailey enjoys a quiet fishing date with his girlfriend Ann Miller (Virginia Huston) until he’s silently interrupted by his deaf employee, “The Kid” (Dickie Moore), signing for Jeff to return. Back in town, Jeff is greeted by Joe Stefanos (Paul Valentine), a mob torpedo sent to invite Jeff—whom we learn is actually an ex-private investigator named Jeff Markham—to Lake Tahoe to meet a mysterious figure from… out of his past. Continue reading
Michael Caine as Elliot, financial advisor
New York City, Thanksgiving 1985
Film: Hannah and Her Sisters
Release Date: February 7, 1986
Director: Woody Allen
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
Happy Thanksgiving! Hannah and Her Sisters is one of my favorite movies to keep in my Turkey Day rotation (I know, I know, Woody Allen… And no, I’m certainly not one of the Maxes in the “Woody Underground” described in Jason Diamond’s excellent recent article for his Substack, The Melt.)
Set between three Thanksgivings, the story centers on the eponymous Hannah (Mia Farrow) and those in her orbit, including her nebbish ex-husband Mickey (Allen) and her current husband Elliot (Michael Caine), a “glorified accountant” whom we meet at the outset harboring an impossible obsession with Hannah’s sister Lee (Barbara Hershey).
“God, she’s beautiful,” Elliot’s limerence-laden narration begins over Harry James’ “I’ve Heard That Song Before,” as he continues detailing his private admiration and lust for Lee while he and Hannah host their annual Thanksgiving party. Of course, he’s concerned less about the Thanksgiving turkey than at landing himself that elusive Hershey’s kiss (do you get it please?) Continue reading
Steve Martin as Neal Page, advertising executive and family man
New York City to Chicago… via Kansas and Missouri, Fall 1987
Film: Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Release Date: November 25, 1987
Director: John Hughes
Costume Designer: April Ferry
Steve Martin’s Costumer: Dennis Schoonderwoerd
It’s two days to Thanksgiving! If you’re an ad man in New York for a creative presentation with an indecisive client, that should give you just enough time to unsuccessfully race Kevin Bacon for a taxi and join up with a talkative shower curtain ring salesman—excuse me, shower curtain ring sales director—for a series of transportation-related hijinks to make it home to Chicago just as that stuffed bird is ready to come out of the oven on Thursday.
Planes, Trains & Automobiles remains one of the few bona fide classic Thanksgiving comedies, released 35 years ago this week as commemorated today with an all-new 4K home video release that includes more than an hour of deleted and extended footage. The movie arguably succeeds best thanks to the comedic chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, balancing humor and heart as both the banal Neal and garrulous Del are humanized beyond initial stereotypes in what both actors described as a career-favorite film. Continue reading
Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, lawyer
New York City, Fall 1986
Film: Fatal Attraction
Release Date: September 18, 1987
Director: Adrian Lyne
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Inspired by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick’s recent podcast appearance on From Tailors With Love that clarified a few misconceptions held around Michael Douglas’ tailored costumes in some of his most prominent movies, let’s finally cover the 35-year-old noir-ish thriller that spawned a cinematic sub-genre centered around Douglas’ sex life getting him in deep trouble. Continue reading
Kevin Costner as John Dutton, wealthy ranch patriarch and Montana Livestock Association commissioner
Western Montana, Fall 2017
– “Daybreak” (Episode 1.01, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 6/20/2018)
– “Kill the Messenger” (Episode 1.02, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 6/27/2018)
– “The Remembering” (Episode 1.06, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 8/1/2018)
– “A Monster Is Among Us” (Episode 1.07, dir. Taylor Sheridan, aired 8/8/2018)
– “A Thundering” (Episode 2.01, dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/19/2019)
– “New Beginnings” (Episode 2.02, dir. Ed Bianchi, aired 6/26/2019)
Creator: Taylor Sheridan & John Linson
Costume Designers: Ruth E. Carter & Brit Ellerman (Season 1) & Johnetta Boone (Season 2 onward)
Tomorrow night, the Dutton family returns to TV with the fifth season premiere of Yellowstone, Taylor Sheridan and John Linson’s modern-day Western series chronicling the fictional conflicts of a cattle ranch, an Indian reservation, and land developers against a lush Montana landscape.
The series centers around the widowed Yellowstone Ranch patriarch, John Dutton III (Kevin Costner), who puts considerable thought into his words and actions and whose primary motivation seems to be proudly maintaining his ranch to continue his family’s legacy to his now-adult children. Continue reading
Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father
Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957
Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell
Far From Heaven premiered twenty years ago this week, a smart, sincere, and stylish drama that stands alone as a thoughtful story beyond its oft-discussed intentional parallels to the Douglas Sirk melodramas of a half-century prior.
The Sirk homages are evident not just in the autumnal photography but also the plot, recalling the romance between a woman and her gardener in All That Heaven Allows (1955) as well as the racial themes driving Imitation of Life (1959). In this case, the woman is housewife Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore), who raises her friends’ eyebrows through her growing bond with Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), a kind gardener taking over his late father’s accounts. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Bill McKay, charismatic lawyer-turned-senatorial candidate
California, Spring through Fall 1972
Film: The Candidate
Release Date: June 29, 1972
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack
In case my fellow Americans’ phones haven’t been buzzing with incessant reminders about it… this Tuesday is Election Day!
Fifty years ago, American electoral politics were lampooned in The Candidate, starring Robert Redford as Bill McKay, an idealistic California lawyer tapped to run for a supposedly unwinnable seat in the U.S. Senate.
Inspired by screenwriter Jeremy Larner’s own experiences working on Senator Eugene McCarthy’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in ’68, The Candidate chronicles the unpredictable insanity of American politics ranging from the mundane to the dramatic. Continue reading
Billy Crystal as Harry Burns, sarcastic political consultant and recent divorcée
New York City, Fall 1987
Film: When Harry Met Sally…
Release Date: July 14, 1989
Director: Rob Reiner
Costume Designer: Gloria Gresham
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today being my wedding day (congratulations to me!) feels like an appropriate time to revisit the style of one of my favorite romantic comedies, When Harry Met Sally. In addition to being a famously great fall movie, Rob Reiner’s chronicle of enemies-becoming-friends-becoming-lovers also demonstrates a surprising parade of great autumnal menswear, from Billy Crystal’s cozy sweaters to military surplus jackets. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Norman “Sonny” Steele, championship rodeo rider-turned-cowboy cereal spokesman
Red Rock Canyon, Nevada, Fall 1978
Film: The Electric Horseman
Release Date: December 21, 1979
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack
I’ve been feeling romantic leading up to my wedding this weekend, so today’s fall-inspired fashions come by way of The Electric Horseman, Robert Redford’s fifth collaboration with director Sydney Pollack.
Redford plays Sonny Steele, the eponymous equestrian and former rodeo champion turned cynical after selling out to hock cereal touted as “a champ’s way to start a better day!” Continue reading