Tagged: Gangster

Boardwalk Empire: Al Capone’s 1920s Leather Car Coat

Stephen Graham as Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire

Stephen Graham as Al Capone on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 1.01: “Boardwalk Empire”)

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Stephen Graham as Al Capone, ambitious but volatile mob enforcer

Chicago, Winter 1920

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episodes:
– “Boardwalk Empire” (Episode 1.01, dir. Martin Scorsese, aired 9/19/2010)
– “Anastasia” (Episode 1.04, dir. Jeremy Podeswa, aired 10/10/2010)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

On the 75th anniversary of Al Capone’s death, I wanted to take this blog’s first overdue look at Stephen Graham’s explosive performance as the infamous gangster on Boardwalk Empire. Capone features as an influential if tertiary character to the main drama in Atlantic City, introduced as a smart-talking enforcer to the old-fashioned—and ill-fated—”Big Jim” Colosimo during the series premiere, set in January 1920 when Prohibition became the unpopular law of the land.

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The Godfather: Fredo’s Yellow Blazer in Las Vegas

John Cazale as Fredo Corleone in The Godfather (1972)

John Cazale as Fredo Corleone in The Godfather (1972)

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John Cazale as Fredo Corleone, insecure Mafia casino manager

Las Vegas, Summer 1954

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 14, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

“New year, new you” is a theme constantly touted by clickbait articles and lifestyle magazines through early January so, in the spirit of #MafiaMonday and the start of the 50th anniversary year of The Godfather, let’s take a look at one of the more startling reinventions in the world of mob movies: Fredo Corleone’s attempted transformation from forgotten brother to flamboyant swinger.

Sure, Fredo may still need the occasional “straightening out”—after all, banging cocktail waitresses two at a time is hardly good for business—but Las Vegas presents him with the opportunity to shed his middle child syndrome and explore a more independent side of himself… for better or worse. Continue reading

Kirk Douglas in The Brotherhood: Corduroy in Sicily

Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta in The Brotherhood (1968)

Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta in The Brotherhood (1968)

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Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta, Sicilian-American mob boss

Sicily, Spring 1968

Film: The Brotherhood
Release Date: December 25, 1968
Director: Martin Ritt
Costume Designer: Ruth Morley

Background

On what would have been Kirk Douglas’ 105th birthday, today’s post recognizes a unique passion project among the prolific actor’s varied filmography. Though he’d been an uncredited producer on more than a dozen movies, Douglas had only been listed as a producer on Spartacus before he selected The Brotherhood as the next production to carry his name. Despite some valid feedback that he may not be the right visual type for the leading role of Sicilian-born gangster Frank Ginetta, Douglas welcomed the acting challenge… and the help of some dye to darken a newly grown mustache in addition to his famous coiff. Continue reading

The Godfather, Part III: Pacino’s Brick-Red Cardigan

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III (1990)

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III (1990)

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Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, repentant mob boss and World War II veteran

New York City, Fall 1979

Film: The Godfather Part III
Release Date: December 25, 1990
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in.

Sixteen years after its masterpiece sequel told the parallel stories of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) and his father Vito (Robert De Niro) building their crime families, Francis Ford Coppola returned to the Corleone clan with the polarizing coda, The Godfather, Part III. Continue reading

The Many Saints of Newark: Dickie Moltisanti’s Black Striped Knit Shirts

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti in The Many Saints of Newark (2021)

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Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti, slick gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Summer 1967 through Summer 1971

Film: The Many Saints of Newark
Release Date: October 1, 2021
Director: Alan Taylor
Costume Designer: Amy Westcott

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Pain comes from wanting things,” Sal Moltisanti (Ray Liotta) explains to his nephew Dickie, though it could have also been meta-messaging from David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and a frequent critic of the fans and pundits always demanding more from his magnum opus, be it answers (What happened to the Russian? Did Tony die at Holsten’s?) or more stories to be told.

Regarding the latter, Chase had expressed interest in prequel stories—if anything—to continue building the Soprano-verse. He returned to a setting that had intrigued him as far back as his days in film school: the race riots that swept through Newark in July 1967.

While much excitement was garnered when it was announced that the late James Gandolfini’s son Michael would be playing a younger version of the role his father had immortalized on the series, the central character of Chase’s prequel would be Dickie Moltisanti, the smooth mafiosi whose death prior to the events of the series left the hotheaded young gangster Christopher Moltisanti (Michael Imperioli) desperately in search of a father figure.

After years of The Sopranos building up Dickie’s mythos, Alessandro Nivola delivers a charismatic and engaging performance that makes Dickie Moltisanti a particularly compelling character to finally meet, illustrating the magnetism that would have so entranced a young Tony as well as the internal demons that he would have transferred to Christopher.

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The Sopranos: Johnny Boy’s Red Knit 1960s Shirt

Joseph Siravo as "Johnny Boy" Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: "Fortunate Son")

Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.03: “Fortunate Son”)

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Joseph Siravo as “Johnny Boy” Soprano, gregarious gangster

Newark, New Jersey, Fall 1969

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Fortunate Son” (Episode 3.03)
Air Date: March 11, 2001
Director: Henry J. Bronchtein
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The highly anticipated Soprano saga prequel, The Many Saints of Newark, will be released tomorrow, expanding on the universe of the fictional DiMeo crew in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Michael Gandolfini has already received impressive notices in his portrayal of a teenage version of the role originated by his father, with Jon Bernthal and Vera Farmiga playing the young future capo’s parents, Johnny Boy and Livia Soprano.

David Chase has acknowledged that the prequel will be retconning some of the timeline that had been outlined in episodes of The Sopranos, specifically the flashbacks in episodes like “Fortunate Son”, which starred Joseph Siravo and Laila Robins as the parents of a pre-teen Tony (Mark Damiano II).

A veteran of stage and screen, Siravo died just over five months ago on April 11, 2021, at the age of 66. The actor had appeared in five episodes of The Sopranos as Tony’s charming but violent father.

As the first episode set after Livia’s death, “Fortunate Son” focuses on the respective roles of young men reacting to new responsibilities, including the recently “made” Christopher Moltisanti, Jackie Aprile Jr. trying to live in the shadows of his late “fawtha”, A.J. Soprano seemingly inheriting his father’s panic attacks, and Tony himself recalling the moment in his childhood when he was first made aware of his own father’s dangerous profession. Continue reading

Once Upon a Time in America: De Niro’s Herringbone for a Heist

Robert De Niro as David "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

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Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and ex-convict

Detroit, Fall 1932

Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci

Background

After premiering at Cannes in May and undergoing a truncated release stateside that summer, Sergio Leone’s controversial mob saga Once Upon a Time in America was finally released in the Italian-born director’s home country on this day in 1984. Leone’s final film, and the first he had directed in 13 years, Once Upon a Time in America marked the conclusion to his unofficial “Once Upon a Time…” trilogy.

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Atlantic City: Burt Lancaster’s White Vintage Sport Jacket

Burt Lancaster as Lou Pascal in Atlantic City (1980)

Burt Lancaster as Lou Pascal in Atlantic City (1980)

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Burt Lancaster as Lou Pascal, aging numbers runner

Atlantic City, Fall 1979

Film: Atlantic City
Release Date: September 3, 1980
Director: Louis Malle
Costume Designer: François Barbeau

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Burt Lancaster kicked off his final decade on the silver screen with Louis Malle’s well-received romantic crime drama, Atlantic City. In addition to securing Lancaster’s fourth and final Academy Award nomination, Atlantic City also earned nomination across all “Big Five” categories, though the film was shut out at the Oscars with Henry Fonda taking home the trophy for his performance in On Golden Pond.

Lancaster plays Lou Pascal, a long-in-the-tooth numbers runner who proudly walks the boardwalk of the titular town, waxing poetic to anyone who’ll listen about the golden age of gangsterdom in America’s Playground, when “it used to be beautiful, whatwith the rackets, whoring, guns.”

Atlantic City had floy floy coming out of its ears in those days. Now it’s all so goddamn legal. Howard Johnson running a casino. Tutti-frutti ice cream with craps don’t mix.

Lou’s comfort among criminality results in a botched cocaine deal that results in a dead dealer and plenty of blow left over for Lou to sell for his own profit as he endeavors to seduce the dealer’s estranged—and now widowed—wife, an attractive and ambitious casino waitress named Sally (Susan Sarandon). Continue reading

The Sopranos: Tony’s Taupe Rhombus-Print Shirt

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.02: "Proshai, Livushka")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 3.02: “Proshai, Livushka”)

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James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 2000 and Spring 2002

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Proshai, Livushka” (Episode 3.02, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 3/4/2001)
– “Whitecaps” (Episode 4.13, dir. John Patterson, aired 12/8/2002)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As spring gets warmer during the march toward summer, I wanted to revisit some of the festive fashions worn by TV’s favorite mob boss on #MafiaMonday with the help of my friend Gabe, who curates the must-follow Instagram account @tonysopranostyle.

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Tony Soprano’s Golf Club-Printed Shirt in “House Arrest”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: "House Arrest")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 2.11: “House Arrest”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Spring 2000

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “House Arrest” (Episode 2.11)
Air Date: March 26, 2000
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

It’s been almost six months since we last checked in on some of James Gandolfini’s costumes as the powerful mob boss at the center of The Sopranos. Considering that the 2021 Masters Tournament begins one week from today, which also happens to be the day Wallace Beery was born in 1885, I think the time is right to look at how Tony Soprano dresses for hobnobbing on the green during the Garden State Carting Association’s 13th Annual Couples Invitational Golf Classic!

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