Tagged: Gray Suit

Goodfellas: Tommy’s Gray Suit for Mob Mayhem and Mom Visits

Joe Pesci in Goodfellas

Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (1990)

Vitals

Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, volatile and violent Mafia associate

New York, Spring 1970

Film: Goodfellas
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy Mother’s Day! One of my favorite cinematic sequences depicting the relationship between a son and his mother comes by way of my favorite movie, in which master auteur Martin Scorsese cast his own mother Catherine as the charming Mrs. DeVito, mother to the psychotic gangster Tommy (Joe Pesci) who brings his cohorts Henry (Ray Liotta) and Jimmy (Robert De Niro) seeking a shovel in a covert night-time stop to fetch a shovel… only to be sweet-talked into an early breakfast.

Catherine Scorsese endearingly embodies the familiar archetype of the aging Italian-American matriarch with her plastic-covered furniture, the gift to effortlessly slip between American English and Italian dialects, and the fierce desire to feed her children and their friends… regardless of whether they’re hungry or not. Continue reading

Singin’ in the Rain: Gene Kelly’s Tweed Norfolk Suit

Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain

Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

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Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood, ambitious film actor, singer, and dancer

Hollywood, Spring 1927

Film: Singin’ in the Rain
Release Date: April 11, 1952
Directed by: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Costume Designer: Walter Plunkett

Background

What better way to welcome April showers than by celebrating the 70th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, which was widely released on this day in 1952, just two weeks after it premiered at Radio City Music Hall.

Now considered not just one of the best musical films but one of the best movies of all time, Singin’ in the Rain centers around Hollywood during the waning months of the silent era as studios made the shift to “talkies” following the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927. The transition is no problem for the multi-talented Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), who shares his portrayer’s finely honed abilities to sing, act, and dance, but previews for Don’s latest feature—the period drama The Dueling Cavalier—illustrate that Don’s brassy, vain co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is woefully underprepared for the new phase of their career, her shrill accent eliciting laughter and frustration from the test audiences.

Brainstorming over late-night sandwiches and milk with his professional partner Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and his new love interest Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), Don’s brain trust determines that The Dueling Cavalier could potentially be retooled as a musical, with Kathy dubbing Lina’s grating voice behind the scenes. This being a musical, the trio celebrates their breakthrough with a rousing rendition of “Good Mornin'” as the rain falls outside, followed by a gleeful Don kissing Kathy goodnight and—delighted with the prospects of his professional and romantic futures—singing the titular ditty as he dances home in the downpour. Continue reading

Telly Savalas as Kojak: A Gray Suit for the First Lollipop

Telly Savalas as Kojak

Telly Savalas as Lt. Theo Kojak on Kojak (Episode 1.08: “Dark Sunday”)

Vitals

Telly Savalas as Theo Kojak, NYPD lieutenant

New York City, Fall 1973

Series: Kojak
Episode: “Dark Sunday” (Episode 1.08)
Air Date: December 12, 1973
Director:
Charles R. Rondeau
Creator: Abby Mann

Background

Who loves ya, baby?

As today would have been the 100th birthday of Telly Savalas—born January 21, 1922—it felt like the time to take a long-overdue look at the Greek-American actor’s signature role as the tough and tenacious Theo Kojak.

Kojak’s famous lollipops were introduced in the eighth episode, “Dark Sunday”, which begins with the murder of a small-time criminal named Artie Fowler (Marc Alaimo). “He used to love to play with cars, you know,” recalls Kojak. “Strip ’em, drive ’em, steal ’em… oh well, what else?” Through his investigations of the murder, Kojak welcomes Artie’s girlfriend Maria Cranston (Lara Parker) to his office. He has a lit cigarillo in his mouth when she enters, but he swiftly tosses it away in favor of a Tootsie Pop pulled from his desk… the first of what would become one of the character’s trademarks. Continue reading

Sidney Poitier’s Gray Suit in To Sir, with Love

Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray in To Sir, with Love (1967)

Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray in To Sir, with Love (1967)

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Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray, novice high school teacher

London, June 1966

Film: To Sir, with Love
Release Date: June 14, 1967
Director: James Clavell
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

The death of Sir Sidney Poitier, KBE, was announced last Friday, prompting countless fans to recall memories of the great actor’s lasting legacy. Born February 20, 1927 in Miami to a Bahamian family, Poitier’s screen acting career took off during the 1950s, following his breakthrough performance in Blackboard Jungle (1955) with a charismatic turn in Edge of the City (1957). His Academy Award nomination for The Defiant Ones (1958) marked the first time a Black actor was nominated for Best Actor, and his ultimate win for Lillies of the Field (1963) established Poitier as the first Black recipient of the Best Actor Oscar.

Poitier’s career continued through the decade, with 1967 a particular banner year as he delivered three of his most iconic performances in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?In the Heat of the Night, and To Sir, with Love. 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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Wall Street: Meeting Gordon Gekko in Shirt Sleeves and Suspenders

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (1987)

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Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, smug and successful corporate raider

New York City, Spring 1985

Film: Wall Street
Release Date: December 11, 1987
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Tailor: Alan Flusser

Background

Happy birthday to Michael Douglas, the actor, producer, and activist born September 25, 1944, who may be most famous for his iconic Academy Award-winning performance as ruthless financier Gordon Gekko in Wall Street.

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Miami Vice: Tubbs in Double-Breasted Dove Gray for the Pilot Episode

Philip Michael Thomas and Sonny Crockett filming "Brother's Keeper", the pilot episode of Miami Vice

Philip Michael Thomas and Sonny Crockett filming “Brother’s Keeper”, the pilot episode of Miami Vice

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Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo Tubbs, vengeful undercover detective

Miami, Spring 1984

Series: Miami Vice
Episode: “Brother’s Keeper” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: September 16, 1984
Director: Thomas Carter
Creator: Anthony Yerkovich
Costume Designer: Jodie Lynn Tillen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week in 1984, Miami Vice debuted on NBC, introducing us to the cooler-than-ice cops Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas). Per the detectives’ duties for the Metro-Dade Police Department’s vice division, the episodes frequently included thrilling gunfights and car chases against drug-peddling foes amidst a stylish backdrop of sleek cars, sleeker clothes, pop music, and a parade of guest stars ranging from Liam Neeson, Willie Nelson, and a young Julia Roberts to… G. Gordon Liddy.

The title of the Emmy-winning pilot episode, “Brother’s Keeper”, refers most specifically to Tubbs, a New York transplant who arrived in Miami seeking vengeance on the wily drug kingpin Calderone, who killed his brother Rafael. Despite their head-butting personalities, Tubbs joins forces with Crockett, hoping to soften the tension between them by bringing coffee and donuts onto his boat as well as the results of his own surveillance on Calderone, but Crockett informs him that “down here, you’re just another amateur.” Continue reading

Viva Las Vegas: Elvis’ Gray Shawl-Collar Suit

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in Viva Las Vegas (1964)

Vitals

Elvis Presley as “Lucky” Jackson, mechanic and aspiring race car driver

Las Vegas, Summer 1964

Film: Viva Las Vegas
Release Date: May 20, 1964
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)
Tailor: Sy Devore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

On the sad anniversary of the King of Rock and Roll’s death, I wanted to celebrate Elvis Presley’s legacy via his style in one of his best-regarded movies, the 1964 musical vehicle Viva Las Vegas.

Set in the bright-lit berg known as America’s Playground, Viva Las Vegas united Elvis with Ann-Margret, a fellow multi-talent with whom the King quickly bonded to form what was first a romance and would evolve into a lifelong friendship. Continue reading

Brando’s Gray Gambler Suit in Guys and Dolls

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)

Vitals

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, smooth gambler

New York, Spring 1955

Film: Guys and Dolls
Release Date: November 3, 1955
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff

Background

I always found it interesting to watch a method—ahem, that’s Method—actor like Marlon Brando navigating the artificially staged Broadway of Guys and Dolls, the gangland-adjacent musical by Frank Loesser, which had been based on a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows… which had itself been based on several stories by Damon Runyon.

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A New Leaf: Walter Matthau’s Gray Pinstripe Suit

Walter Matthau as Henry Graham in A New Leaf (1971)

Walter Matthau as Henry Graham in A New Leaf (1971)

Vitals

Walter Matthau as Henry Graham, self-serving profligate

New York City, Summer 1969

Film: A New Leaf
Release Date: March 11, 1971
Director: Elaine May
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert
Tailor: Roland Meledandri

Background

I’d long been intrigued by Elaine May’s directorial debut A New Leaf, released 50 years ago this spring, but it was an Instagram story posted by my friend Jonathan (@berkeley_breathes) showcasing Walter Matthau’s dapper wardrobe that finally prompted me to watch this offbeat classic.

Matthau brings his characteristically cantankerous charisma to to role of Henry Graham, a wasteful heir gradually blowing his family fortune on capricious spending from his immaculately tailored wardrobe to weekly maintenance for his Ferrari. The wry family lawyer Beckett (William Redfield) is tasked with managing the unmanageable Graham, who ducks Beckett’s calls of cautions as long as he can… until his last check bounces.

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