Leslie Odom Jr. as Sam Cooke, “King of Soul”
Miami, February 25, 1964
Film: One Night in Miami
Release Date: December 25, 2020
Director: Regina King
Costume Designer: Francine Jamison-Tanchuck
Soul legend Sam Cooke was born 90 years ago today, on January 22, 1931. Although Cooke died young, shot at a Beverly Hills motel just over a month before his 34th birthday, his smooth voice endures as the pioneering “King of Soul” who not only wrote and recorded scores of classic hits but also supported, produced, and influenced some of the most talented musicians of the day.
A week ago today, One Night in Miami was released to stream on Amazon Prime Video, adapted by Kemp Powers from his own one-act play. The night in question is February 25, 1964, the night that Cassius Clay won the world heavyweight boxing championship in a surprise victory over Sonny Liston. Powers brings Clay together to celebrate his victory with Cooke, Malcolm X, and Jim Brown on a night that proves to be pivotal for all four icons. Continue reading
Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent
Miami Beach, Summer 1964
Release Date: September 18, 1964
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elsa Fennell
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy birthday, Sean Connery! On his 90th birthday, let’s take a look at one of the Scottish legend’s most talked-about (and controversial) outfits as James Bond… and see how it can be updated for the modern Bond style enthusiast catching some late summer rays or rubdowns by the pool.
Stephen Graham as Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, brash New Jersey mobster
Miami, Summer 1972
Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
“Next time you come in, you come heavy or not at all.”
“Meeting in the middle of the desert always made me nervous. It’s a scary place. I knew about the holes in the desert, of course, and everywhere I looked, there could have been a hole.”
“Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again.”
The annals of mob fiction are laden with rules and etiquette surrounding meetings in the world of La Cosa Nostra, and Martin Scorsese’s latest continues that grand tradition in The Irishman when hotheaded capo Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano (Stephen Graham) meets with famously outspoken labor official Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) in Florida. Continue reading
Humphrey Bogart as Frank McCloud, taciturn war veteran and former newspaperman
Key Largo, Florida, Summer 1948
Film: Key Largo
Release Date: July 16, 1948
Director: John Huston
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Released today in 1948, John Huston’s moody noir Key Largo marked the fourth and final of Bogie and Bacall’s on-screen collaborations, closing out their celluloid romance the way it began in To Have and Have Not (1944) with a talent-packed cast (including Dan Seymour as a heavy heavy) in a tropical locale shrouded in shadows, storms, and gunplay. The claustrophobia of our characters’ forced isolation against the looming summer storm outside and the raging tension inside made it particularly impactful viewing during months in lockdown.
Leslie David Baker as Stanley Hudson, bored paper company salesman
Tallahassee, Florida, Late February 2012
Series: The Office
Episode: “Tallahassee” (Episode 8.15)
Air Date: February 16, 2012
Director: Matt Sohn
Creator: Greg Daniels
Costume Designer: Alysia Raycraft
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Thanks to a “Celebrate Every Day” calendar I received from my girlfriend marking quirky observances throughout the year, I’m privileged to know that April 26 is celebrated as National Pretzel Day. And, of course, hearing the words “pretzel day” should remind most people of one man in particular:
While there’s little that’s significant or interesting about how Stanley Hudson dresses for day after excruciating day racking up sales (or, more often, crossword puzzle victories), we see a whole different side of the banal salesman when he successfully campaigns to join a select team from his office for an extended business trip to Florida. Continue reading
Paul Newman as Lucas “Luke” Jackson, chain gang inmate, war veteran, and “natural-born world-shaker”
Florida Road Prison 36, summer, early 1950s
Film: Cool Hand Luke
Release Date: November 1, 1967
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.
The iconic “failure to communicate” line in Cool Hand Luke is first uttered by Strother Martin as the stern, insensitive captain in charge of Road Prison 36 where most of the film is set. Lucas “Luke” Jackson (Paul Newman), recently sentenced to the facility after a drunken night of vandalizing parking meters, is proud to be one of the men that the captain can’t reach.
Just in time for the stifling midsummer heat, I’m focusing on Cool Hand Luke, voted one of the sweatiest movies of all time by the patrons of Cheers… in addition to various other accolades.
Denzel Washington as Mathias Lee “Matt” Whitlock, Banyan Key police chief
Banyan Key, Florida, Summer 2002
Film: Out of Time
Release Date: October 3, 2003
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis
If you’re lucky enough to count a well-made Aloha shirt or two in your closet, summer is the time to bring them to the front of your rotation. After all, boldly printed shirts dominated at Milan Fashion Week this month, and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a few more Hawaiian shirts on gents of all generations this summer.
While Hawaiian shirts in movies and TV are often played for comedic purposes, the tropical neo-noir Out of Time unironically – and successfully – dresses its protagonist in a setting-appropriate printed Aloha shirt for the lion’s share of the film’s action.
Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Broadway crooner, World War II veteran, and “a lonely and miserable man”
Florida, December 1954
Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Happy holidays! This Christmas Eve felt like an appropriate time to focus on White Christmas, the most successful film of 1954 and one of the most beloved holiday classics. Continue reading
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, Miami Metro Police forensic analyst and serial killer
Miami, Fall 2006
Creator: James Manos, Jr.
Costume Design Team: Marina Draghici (pilot), Jill M. Ohanneson (season 1), Abram Waterhouse (seasons 2-4), James Lapidus (season 5), Kathleen Felix-Hager (seasons 6-8)
Although the network had been running original programming since the early 1980s, Showtime’s status as an original TV network was catapulted by the debut of Dexter in 2006. The show began as a loose adaptation of Jeff Lindsay’s novels about Dexter Morgan, a vigilante serial killer who only targets other killers. Dexter’s abilities as a killer are assisted by his position as a forensic blood spatter analyst for the [fictional] Miami-Metro Police Department where his now-deceased father Harry had been a legendary detective (though not without his own demons) and his half-sister is currently trying to live up to Harry’s reputation.
At a young age, Dexter’s urge to kill had been recognized by foster father-but-actually-biological-father-also Harry. Rather than allow Dexter to follow the likes of Ted Bundy and Richard Ramirez, Harry developed a code for Dexter to follow where he must only kill people who are undoubtedly murderers themselves and ensure his own personal safety by disposing of the evidence. Typically, Dexter was able to stay under the radar by only killing murderers who were untouched by the law, but his investigations began to overlap with the Miami-Metro PD’s investigations as the series continued. Continue reading
Johnny Depp as George Jung, international cocaine dealer
Miami to Colombia, Summer 1977
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
Pablo Escobar: So, you’re the man, huh? Who takes fifty kilos and make them disappear in one day.
George Jung: Actually, it was three days.
As a multimillion dollar-earning international drug dealer, George Jung was well-known to drug culture and law enforcement by the time Bruce Porter’s 1993 book, Blow, was released. However, it was the Ted Demme-directed 2001 film of the same name that brought Jung’s life into the mainstream with Johnny Depp in the lead role. Continue reading