James Mason as Odell Gardner, Broadway theatrical producer
A remote Mediterranean island, Summer 1937
Film: Evil Under the Sun
Release Date: March 5, 1982
Director: Guy Hamilton
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell
72 years old when the film was made, James Mason was just as effortlessly sophisticated as ever in the 1982 mystery Evil Under the Sun, based on the novel by the same name by Agatha Christie. Mason steals the show as Odell Gardner, a Broadway producer with a sling of recent flops and wit sharp enough to match anyone but his wife, played by Sylvia Miles. Continue reading
Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber
Tucson, Arizona to Crown Point, Indiana, Winter 1934
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George
“Hey wait, Nick, didn’t you already do a post on Dillinger’s prison suit?” ask many of my astute followers who also happen to know my first name.
While many folks of this generation were introduced to John Dillinger and his band of Depression-era desperadoes through the 2009 film Public Enemies, it was probably the tenth (at least) major production featuring Dillinger as a character. My personal favorite is the 1973 John Milius gunfest Dillinger featuring manly and scraggle-toothed actor Warren Oates in the title role.
As usual for Milius, the film doesn’t hold back in terms of violence, upping the Dillinger gang’s body count from around a dozen to more than fifty. Oates plays Dillinger as an cheeky outlaw who loves being just that – not a misunderstood farm boy who was led into a life of crime by police.
Yesterday marked the 79th anniversary of Dillinger’s legendary “wooden gun” breakout from the Lake County jail in Crown Point, Indiana. While Public Enemies had Dillinger already in prison garb by this time, Dillinger kept him in his black suit worn when he was arrested. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker, small-time Depression-era grifter
Joliet to Chicago, September 1936
Film: The Sting
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Four years after their successful pairing in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman and Robert Redford met up once again for The Sting, a 1973 crime-comedy about two con men (“grifters”, in the film’s and Jim Thompson’s parlance) who team up to take down a brutal syndicate big shot against the backdrop of the corruption of 1930s Chicago.
But before all of that, Redford finds himself flush with money after conning a mob numbers runner. He struts into a store armed with his $4,000 and leaves with a bold pinstripe suit. Continue reading