Michael Douglas as Nick Curran, suspended homicide detective
San Francisco, April 1991
Film: Basic Instinct
Release Date: March 20, 1992
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
The nylon bomber jacket has made a comeback in recent years with few knowing the story of its all-too appropriate name, developed as the “MA-1” in the 1950s for American bomber pilots to replace the older B-15 flight jacket. Two decades later, the bomber jacket hit the civilian market with manufacturers like Alpha Industries introducing it to new audiences in colors other than the standard military olive drab. It was further popularized in TV and movies, including the almost ubiquitous appearance of an Alpha Industries MA-1 worn by Steve McQueen in The Hunter (1980).
Though the MA-1 bomber jacket was being phased out of active military use by the early ’90s, it still remained a staple of men’s casual wear and was a fitting choice as the go-to off-duty jacket worn by Michael Douglas’ fashionably tailored homicide detective Nick Curran in Basic Instinct. Continue reading
James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective
San Francisco, Fall 1957
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
San Francisco has always been a popular setting for detective movies. From 1940s film noir like The Maltese Falcon through the gritty ’60s and ’70s era with movies like Bullitt, Dirty Harry, and McQ, Hollywood has made the most of its picturesque neighbor to the distant north.
Though Alfred Hitchcock had filmed in the Bay area before, Vertigo was his first cinematic effort actually set in San Francisco and he makes the most of his setting. Continue reading
Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, charming part-time car service driver and full-time cad
Middlesex, England, Summer 1965
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
During his stay in a convalescent home earlier in the movie, Alfie Elkins (Michael Caine) befriended Harry Clamacraft (Alfie Bass, hey his name actually is Alfie!). Alfie later returns to visit Harry, who requests that Alfie give a ride to his tired-looking wife Lily (Vivien Merchant) in his Rolls-Royce.
The reluctant ride turns into a summertime seduction as Alfie and Lily make a fateful stop for “a nice cup of tea.” Continue reading