Tagged: Fedora

Chinatown – J.J. Gittes’ Light Gray Suit

Jack Nicholson on set as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson on set as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Film: Chinatown
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Now that summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s high time to make sure that you’ve got some duds in your closet that are as appropriate for a day at the office as they are for the sunniest season.

A self-employed gumshoe like J.J. Gittes calls his own shots. As Chinatown is set in 1937, suits were de rigeur for men, but Gittes is hardly the type to rely on the gray flannel suit trope, especially in the sunny southern California locales. Continue reading

Belmondo in Breathless: Camelhair Jacket in Paris

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard and Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini strolling down the Champs-Élysées in an iconic scene from À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard and Jean Seberg as Patricia Franchini strolling down the Champs-Élysées in an iconic scene from À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard, petty thief and killer on the run

Paris, August 1959

Film: Breathless
(French title: À bout de souffle)
Release Date: March 16, 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick

Background

Directed by Jean-Luc Godard from an original treatment by François Truffaut, À bout de souffle (or Breathless to us Americans) marked a defining moment in the evolution of French New Wave cinema. The lanky, youthful, and energetic Jean-Paul Belmondo shot to cinematic stardom as he became the new face of French New Wave, a term to which he charmingly admitted his own ignorance to P.E. Schneider of New York Times Magazine.

In that 1961 piece, Schneider was profiling Belmondo for a piece called “A Punk With Charm,” referring to the actor’s role in Breathless as the Bogart-idolizing Michel Poiccard, a swaggering and sociopathic walking id. Continue reading

Tom’s Striped Charcoal Suit in Miller’s Crossing

Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan in Miller's Crossing (1990)

Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan in Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Vitals

Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan, pragmatic Irish mob fixer

Upstate New York, Fall 1929

Film: Miller’s Crossing
Release Date: September 21, 1990
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Miller’s Crossing is one of my favorite Coen Brothers movies as well as one of my favorite crime films. Perhaps overshadowed the year it was released by higher pedigree mob flicks like Goodfellas and, uh, The Godfather Part III, the Coens’ neo-noir black comedy has gained a cult following in the years since for its spirited tribute to the works of Dashiell Hammett, particularly Red Harvest (1929) and The Glass Key (1931). Continue reading

Chinatown – J.J. Gittes’ Gray Striped Suit

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Film: Chinatown
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert

Background

J.J. Gittes begins his final day investigating the Mulwray case in Chinatown with his usual cheekiness, even when surprised by walking into a murder scene. He trades barbs with increasingly suspicious detectives, including the pugnacious Detective Loach (Richard Bakalyan) who inquires about Gittes’ sliced-up nose; Edward Norton’s character in Rounders would pay homage to Gittes’ response of “Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick.”

But Gittes’ good humor wears off by the end, following a series of misadventures – mostly at gunpoint – involving sisters, daughters, and a shot-out eyeball. As his assistant Walsh (Joe Mantell) sagely – and now famously – advises him:

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Continue reading

Sidney Reilly’s Corduroy Suit in Manchuria

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 2: "Prelude to War")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 2: “Prelude to War”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd Russian-born British government triple agent

Port Arthur, China (then Manchuria), February 1904

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “Prelude to War” (Episode 2)
Air Date: September 7, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Today’s Throwback Tuesday installment throws us all the way back to February 1904 on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War. According to Reilly: Ace of Spies, the newly minted Sidney Reilly is stationed in Port Arthur, Manchuria, ostensibly under the cover of a shipping agent but secretly working with the Japanese military developing their plans for a sneak attack to take the port away from the Russians. Reilly is shown to be a cold pragmatist, working with Japan against his better judgement and dispassionate regarding his poor wife, Margaret (Jeananne Crowley), whom he had married three years earlier after the mysterious* death of her clergic husband.

* Reverend Hugh Thomas’s death was even more mysterious in real life, with many suspecting that Reilly posed as a doctor in order to poison the clergyman.

Continue reading

Bogart in The Big Sleep: Chalkstripe Flannel Double-Breasted Suit

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946).

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946).

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, archetypal hard-boiled private detective

Los Angeles, Fall 1945

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: August 23, 1946
Director: Howard Hawks
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is a pretty special day for me, and I’d like to celebrate the woman who is the Bacall to my Bogie by reflecting on The Big Sleep, which was originally released in theaters 70 years ago tomorrow, eight days after its premiere on August 23, 1946.

The Big Sleep was the second of four films starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The had originally met while filming her cinematic debut, To Have and Have Not, which was released on October 11, 1944, the very day after production began on The Big Sleep. (To Have and Have Not is also the first movie that my girlfriend and I watched together!) Continue reading

Robert Redford’s Black Tuxedo in The Sting

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting (1973).

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker, Depression-era con artist

Chicago, September 1936

Film: The Sting
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

To celebrate Robert Redford’s 80th birthday next week, I’m revisiting one of my favorite Redford flicks. After the incredible success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the chemistry of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the starring roles, both actors re-teamed four years later to play washed-up con artist Henry Gondorff (Newman) and his de facto protégé, Johnny Hooker (Redford). Continue reading