Tagged: Horsebit Loafers

Two-Lane Blacktop: Warren Oates as GTO

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop

Warren Oates in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)

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Warren Oates as “GTO”, an otherwise unnamed former TV producer

Arizona through Tennessee, Fall 1970

Film: Two-Lane Blacktop
Release Date: July 7, 1971
Director: Monte Hellman
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A race for pink slips between a ’55 Chevy and a GTO across a long-gone America when the road was much more than a shopping aisle. Three road hogs and an underage girl riding in back with the tools. The nights are warm and the roads are straight. This one’s built from scratch, and, as Warren Oates says, “Those satisfactions are permanent.” — Tom Waits

“Because there was once a god who walked the earth named Warren Oates,” Richard Linklater included among the sixteen reasons why he loves Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman’s low-buedget 1971 road movie that has become a cult classic.

One of my favorite actors, Oates was born 94 years ago today on July 5, 1928 in Depoy, an unincorporated community in western Kentucky. His craggy features suited him well to early roles as cowboys and criminals, though he rose to more prominent stardom through the ’70s beginning with his co-starring role as the garrulous, tragi-comic motorist who impulsively bets his showroom-bought Pontiac GTO in a cross-country race against James Taylor and Dennis Wilson’s “homegrown” ’55 Chevy in Two-Lane Blacktop. Continue reading

Christopher Lee in White as The Man with the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun

Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)

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Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga, sophisticated freelance assassin

Bangkok, Thailand, Spring 1974

Film: The Man with the Golden Gun
Release Date: December 20, 1974
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elsa Fennell

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sir Christopher Lee, the imposing yet debonair screen icon known to many for portraying Count Dracula a total of nine times while Bond fans may know him best as Francisco Scaramanga, the eponymous villain who faced off against Roger Moore’s James Bond in Moore’s sophomore 007 outing, The Man with the Golden Gun.

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The Irishman: De Niro’s Mob Hit Leather Jacket

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman (2019)

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Robert De Niro as Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, tough Mafia enforcer

New York City, Spring 1972

Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson

Background

Fifty years ago tonight, Mafia violence shook the streets of New York City when dangerous mobster “Crazy Joe” Gallo was shot and killed while celebrating his 43rd birthday with his family at Umbertos Clam House on Mulberry Street.

The most widely accepted facts attribute the slaying to four associates of the Colombo crime family, in retaliation for their suspicions that Gallo had ordered the attempted assassination of boss Joseph Colombo during an Italian-American Civil Rights League rally the previous June. Gallo’s widow recalled multiple men of short stature and likely Italian descent storming the Mulberry Street restaurant, where more than 20 shots were fired at her husband, who staggered onto the sidewalk and died shortly before 5:30 a.m. on April 7, 1972.

However, Charles Brandt’s nonfiction best-seller I Heard You Paint Houses includes an explosive claim by labor official and mob hitman Frank Sheeran that he alone was responsible for the hit. Continue reading

For Your Eyes Only: Bond’s Green Jacket and Melina’s Citroën

Roger Moore as James Bond, flanked by Lizzie Warville, Alison Worth, Viva, Vanya, Kim Mills, and Laila Dean, in For Your Eyes Only (1981)

Roger Moore as James Bond, flanked by Lizzie Warville, Alison Worth, Viva, Vanya, Kim Mills, and Laila Dean, in For Your Eyes Only (1981).
Photo sourced from Thunderballs.org.

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Roger Moore as James Bond, British government agent

Spain, Spring 1981

Film: For Your Eyes Only
Release Date: June 24, 1981
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

During the 40th anniversary year of For Your Eyes Only, the 00-7th of July feels like the appropriate time to examine the clothes and cars of Mr. Bond himself, after previously exploring the fits of one of his allies and one of his enemies. (This may be a little late for #CarWeek, but isn’t it always a good day for a drive in the country?)

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A Warm December: Sidney Poitier’s Navy Double-Breasted Blazer

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

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Sidney Poitier as Matt Younger, widowed father and clinic physician

London, Summer 1972

Film: A Warm December
Release Date: May 23, 1973
Director: Sidney Poitier
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Happy birthday to screen legend Sidney Poitier, born 94 years ago today on February 20, 1927 in Miami. After two decades of screen success that landed him the Academy Award for Best Actor (and he remains both the oldest living and longest surviving recipient), Poitier began directing his own movies in the early 1970s, beginning with the groundbreaking 1972 Western Buck and the Preacher.

Poitier proved the diversity of his directorial talent by sliding to the other end of the genre spectrum the following year when he released the romantic drama A Warm December, in which he also starred as a recently widowed doctor who finds love across the Atlantic when he meets the magnetic Catherine (Esther Anderson) during an extended trip to London with his daughter.

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Chris Evans’ Famous Fisherman’s Sweater in Knives Out

Chris Evans as Hugh "Ransom" Drysdale in Knives Out (2019)

Chris Evans as Hugh “Ransom” Drysdale in Knives Out (2019)

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Chris Evans as Hugh “Ransom” Drysdale, arrogant “trust fund prick”

Massachusetts, November 2018

Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

Background

Released a year ago this week, Knives Out offered a fresh spin on the classic “whodunit” genre, complete with an idiosyncratic detective—in this case, Daniel Craig as the observant Benoit Blanc—and a dysfunctional family plunged into a murder mystery at their palatial country estate. It’s that dysfunctional family element that inspired me to write about Knives Out today, on the eve of a Thanksgiving that’s sure to look different than usual for most households.

The last member of the Thrombey household to be introduced on screen is Ransom Drysdale—or Hugh to “the help”—the spoiled grandson of the late mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Even before Knives Out reached theaters, the internet was ablaze with preview images of Chris Evans lounging in Ransom’s moth-eaten fisherman’s sweater, reintroducing the classic Aran knitting technique to a new generation.

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The Irishman: Jimmy Hoffa’s Florida Meeting Suit

Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa in The Irishman (2019)

Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa in The Irishman (2019)

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Al Pacino as Jimmy Hoffa, pugnacious and passionate labor official

Miami, Summer 1972

Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
Tailor: Leonard Logsdail

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

It was on this day in 1975 that James R. Hoffa was last seen outside the Machus Red Fox restaurant in a suburb of Detroit. The outspoken labor leader had spent his decades in and out of power making dangerous enemies from law enforcement and the Mafia to the executive branch and his own union. Martin Scorsese’s latest epic, The Irishman, was released to Netflix last year, adapting Charles Brandt’s I Hear You Paint Houses that purportedly “closed the case” on what happened to Hoffa after he disappeared 45 years ago today.

That afternoon, Hoffa had been planning to meet with Anthony “Tony Jack” Giacalone and Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, two La Cosa Nostra capos, though The Irishman suggests that the animosity that stemmed from a prior meeting between Hoffa and Tony Pro made disaster inevitable for the pugnacious Teamster boss.

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The Irishman: Tony Pro’s Controversial Shirt and Shorts in Florida

Stephen Graham as "Tony Pro" in The Irishman (2019)

Stephen Graham as “Tony Pro” in The Irishman (2019)

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Stephen Graham as Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano, brash New Jersey mobster

Miami, Summer 1972

Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Next time you come in, you come heavy or not at all.”

“Meeting in the middle of the desert always made me nervous. It’s a scary place. I knew about the holes in the desert, of course, and everywhere I looked, there could have been a hole.”

“Don’t ever take sides with anyone against the family again.”

The annals of mob fiction are laden with rules and etiquette surrounding meetings in the world of La Cosa Nostra, and Martin Scorsese’s latest continues that grand tradition in The Irishman when hotheaded capo Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano (Stephen Graham) meets with famously outspoken labor official Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) in Florida. Continue reading

Jack Lemmon’s Double-Breasted Date Blazer in Avanti!

Jack Lemmon as Wendell Armbruster Jr. in Avanti! (1972)

Jack Lemmon as Wendell Armbruster Jr. in Avanti! (1972)

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Jack Lemmon as Wendell Armbruster, Jr., bitter Baltimore businessman

Ischia, Bay of Naples, Summer 1972

Film: Avanti!
Release Date: December 17, 1972
Director: Billy Wilder
Wardrobe Supervisor: Annalisa Nasalli-Rocca

Background

“I guess there is something to what it says in the tourist guide… it says Italy is not a country, it’s an emotion,” says Pamela Piggott (Juliet Mills), laying naked on a rock surrounded by sun and sea next to an equally bare but considerably more nervous Wendell Armbruster, Jr., who exclaims in response, “Well, it’s certainly been an experience!”

Despite the context, the two aren’t yet lovers, instead brought to the romantic bay of Naples after the death of Wendell’s father and Pamela’s mother who, as they learn, had been enjoying a decade-long extramarital affair. While not among the more celebrated of Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder’s seven cinematic collaborations, Avanti! is a fitting and still entertaining work as both actor and director were maturing in their age and career. “Billy Wilder’s last great comic romance is an Italian vacation soaked in music, food, scenery and sunshine,” wrote Glenn Erickson in his excellent review for Trailers from Hell. “It’s the best movie ever about Love and Funerals.”

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A Warm December: Sidney Poitier’s Diamond-Grid Suit

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

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Sidney Poitier as Matt Younger, widowed father and clinic physician

London, Summer 1972

Film: A Warm December
Release Date: May 23, 1973
Director: Sidney Poitier
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Despite its title, Sidney Poitier’s second directorial effort A Warm December is actually set during a summer in London. (The title is contextualized during one of the film’s final scenes, so I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it!) Poitier plays Dr. Matt Younger, a recent widow who brings his daughter across the pond for what he hopes to be a mindless vacation spent riding his motorbike until he makes the acquaintance of the mysterious and magnetic Catherine (Ester Anderson) and falls for her.

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