Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, NASA astronaut and former U.S. Navy pilot
Houston, Texas, August 1962 through March 1966
Film: First Man
Release Date: October 12, 2018
Director: Damien Chazelle
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
In addition to being my 30th birthday, today is also the 50th anniversary of when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the surface of the Moon at 02:56:15 UTC on July 21, 1969, six hours after he and Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle as part of the Apollo 11 spaceflight, a mission also manned by command module pilot Michael Collins.
Last year, Damien Chazelle directed Ryan Gosling in First Man, a biopic focused on Neil Armstrong’s life and career through the 1960s from the tragic death of his young daughter Karen to his triumphant first steps on the Moon… “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Continue reading
James Garner as Jim Rockford, wisecracking private detective and ex-convict
Los Angeles, Summer 1974
Series: The Rockford Files
Episode: “Backlash of the Hunter” (Pilot)
Air Date: March 27, 1974
Director: Richard T. Heffron
Creator: Roy Huggins & Stephen J. Cannell
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today would have been the 91st birthday of James Garner, the charismatic actor who grew to stardom with his starring roles on the Western series Maverick and in The Great Escape (1963) before taking on what would be his signature role as struggling private eye Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.
Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell developed The Rockford Files as a spiritual successor to Maverick, reinventing Garner’s charming gambler Bret Maverick as a modern-day private investigator with the same sarcastic yet sincere attitude and conflict-averse nature. Having already proven his private eye credentials by playing Raymond Chandler’s famous detective in Marlowe (1969), Garner stepped into Jim Rockford’s loafers and established one of the greatest TV roles ever.
This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and number. I’ll get back to you…
Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent
Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
With a tight screenplay from Ben Hecht, a dream cast including Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains, and a finely developed cinematic maturity as the by-product of a quarter-century of directing, Notorious is considered a career high in the filmography of Alfred Hitchcock.
Robert Shaw as Donald “Red” Grant, lethal SPECTRE assassin
Istanbul, Spring 1963
Film: From Russia With Love
Release Date: October 10, 1963
Director: Terence Young
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards
Robert Shaw set the Bond franchise standard as the dangerous Donald “Red” Grant in From Russia With Love, one of the most memorable antagonists in the series.
Grant is arguably the archetype for subsequent villains that followed his laconic, icy blond example like Vargas in Thunderball, Necros in The Living Daylights, and Stamper in Tomorrow Never Dies, though none could ever match Robert Shaw’s truly menacing presence on screen. Continue reading
Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent
Oxfordshire, England, Fall 1986
Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls
For the 00-7th of March, I’m finally getting around to my first post celebrating Timothy Dalton’s brief tenure as James Bond. After a few tumultuous years for the Bond franchise which saw Roger Moore going head to head with Sean Connery’s Never Say Never Again, Pierce Brosnan briefly signed to take over the role before Remington Steele came calling back, and a geriatric Roger Moore going head to head with Grace Jones in A View to a Kill, the franchise gave itself its first attempt at a reboot.
Timothy Dalton had long been considered for the Bond role, first approached nearly 20 years earlier when Sean Connery walked away after You Only Live Twice. Dalton made the mature decision of realizing that – not yet 25 years old – he wasn’t old enough for every man’s dream role nor did he want to try to steal the spotlight from Connery. After Moore’s retirement and Brosnan’s recall to TV in 1986, Dalton was again approached and finally decided to take the role.
Dalton had been a fan of Ian Fleming’s novels, so his portrayal meant a return to the basics: less lavish outrageousness and more grounded seriousness. Dalton’s Bond was a seasoned, professional spy who shared his predecessors’ appreciation – if not weakness – for fast cars, women, and martinis.
In this scene, Bond is called to MI6’s Blayden House (actually Stonor House in Oxfordshire), where his superiors are debriefing with General Georgi Koskov, the loquacious ex-KGB official played by Jeroen Krabbé, the Dutch actor who seemingly specializes in playing charmingly eccentric villains whose treachery is always discovered in the final act. Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, recently divorced Madison Avenue ad man (although I guess it’s safe to call him Dick Whitman here…)
Los Angeles, December 1964
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “The Good News (Episode 4.03)
Air Date: August 8, 2010
Director: Jennifer Getzinger
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant Continue reading