Tagged: Harvey Keitel

Bad Lieutenant: Harvey Keitel’s Gray Nailhead Jacket

Harvey Keitel in Bad Lieutenant (1992)


Harvey Keitel as “The Lieutenant”, morally corrupt NYPD lieutenant

New York City, Fall 1991

Film: Bad Lieutenant
Release Date: November 20, 1992
Director: Abel Ferrara
Costume Designer: David Sawaryn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Released 31 years ago today in 1992, Abel Ferrara’s controversial drama Bad Lieutenant features a fearless, uncompromising performance of a lifetime from Harvey Keitel, who replaced Christopher Walken in the titular role as the unnamed detective who regularly neglects his law enforcement duties in favor of a nightmarish spiral of blow, baseball, and broads. Continue reading

Harvey Keitel’s Navy Chalkstripe Suit in Mean Streets

Harvey Keitel in Mean Streets (1973)


Harvey Keitel as Charlie Cappa, conflicted Mafia associate

New York, Fall 1972

Film: Mean Streets
Release Date: October 14, 1973
Director: Martin Scorsese
Wardrobe Credit: Norman Salling

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


You don’t make up for your sins in the church. You do it in the streets. The rest is bullshit and you know it.

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Mean Streets, Martin Scorsese’s breakthrough film that premiered today in 1972 during the New York Film Festival, twelve days before it was widely released.

Though arguably the first of his movies to include many of his now-familiar themes and techniques, Mean Streets was actually Scorsese’s third film, following his debut Who’s That Knocking On My Door? (1967) and Boxcar Bertha (1972), the latter one of the low-budget Depression-era crime flicks produced by Roger Corman’s American International Pictures in the wake of the successful Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Following John Cassavetes’ encouragement to “write what you know” and incorporate more of his own experiences onto the screen, Scorsese reintroduced himself to the world with the remarkable Mean Streets—essentially his own retelling of I Vitelloni (1953) set among the mobbed-up mooks in Little Italy—viewed through the same unapologetically gritty lens that Scorsese would return to three years later in Taxi Driver (1976).

Unlike the then-recent hit The Godfather (1972), Mean Streets focused not on the dons leading these crime families but rather the street-level hoods whose lives are defined by small-time scores, gambling debts, and long nights. Reuniting with Scorsese after appearing in his directorial debut, Harvey Keitel stars as Mean Streets‘ ostensible protagonist Charlie Cappa. Continue reading

Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction

Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction (1994).

Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction (1994).


Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolf, problem solver

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann


I’m Winston Wolf. I solve problems.

Last Friday, Harvey Keitel turned 77 years old, a birthday that was almost certainly celebrated by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino has stated that “Harvey had been my favorite actor since I was 16 years old,” so he penned the character of criminal fixer Winston Wolf – and according to the screenplay, it is Wolf and not Wolfe – specifically for Keitel. Two years earlier, the actor’s involvement in Reservoir Dogs as the pragmatic career criminal “Mr. White” helped shoot Q.T. onto the map of filmmakers to watch. The Wolf may have also been a nod to Keitel’s role as Victor, the ruthlessly efficient “cleaner” in 1993’s Point of No Return. Continue reading

Reservoir Dogs — Mr. White

Harvey Keitel as Mr. White in Reservoir Dogs (1992).

Harvey Keitel as Mr. White in Reservoir Dogs (1992).


Harvey Keitel as Larry Dimmick, aka “Mr. White”, professional armed robber

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Reservoir Dogs
Release Date: October 9, 1992
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


If you’ve never heard of Reservoir Dogs, you’ve either:

a) Chosen to live under a rock
b) Never stepped into a college dorm room inhabited by at least one man (see also: The Boondock Saints)

Once again, I turn to the pros at Clothes on Film to help express the importance of this film’s costuming. Chris Laverty, who interviewed the film’s costumer Betsy Heimann, states:

Betsy Heimann’s costume design for Reservoir Dogs spawned a legacy in pop culture and fashion that is still being felt today. Heimann and director Quentin Tarantino determined a cinematic sub-genre by redefining the appearance of the petty gangster. From shambolic to symbolic; a man in a black suit, white shirt and black tie walking in slow motion is possibly the single most memorable costume image of the nineties.

Continue reading