Tagged: Italy

La Dolce Vita: Mastroianni’s Black Suit

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (1960)

Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita (1960)

Vitals

Marcello Mastroianni as Marcello Rubini, playboy gossip journalist

Rome, Spring 1959

Film: La Dolce Vita
Release Date:
February 5, 1960
Director: Federico Fellini
Costume Designer: Piero Gherardi
Tailor: Brioni

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The two headlining stars of Fellini’s classic La Dolce Vita would have celebrated their birthdays this week—Marcello Mastroianni tomorrow (September 28, 1924) and Anita Ekberg the following day (September 29, 1931)—and watching these two Libras glide together through the Trevi Fountain at daybreak has become one of the most enduring images of Italian cinema.

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La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty): Jep’s Yellow Jacket

Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)

Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella in The Great Beauty (La grande bellezza) (2013)

Vitals

Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, cultured art critic and one-time novelist

Rome, Summer 2012

Film: The Great Beauty
(Italian title: La grande bellezza)
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Director: Paolo Sorrentino
Costume Designer: Daniela Ciancio
Tailor: Cesare Attolini

Background

I first learned of The Great Beauty when it added an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film to its many deserved accolades during the 86th Academy Awards. Impressed by its vibrant clothing and cinematography, and encouraged by friends and followers who were hoping to learn more about the film’s signature style, I recently had the privilege to watch Paolo Sorrentino’s masterpiece, winner of nine David di Donatello Awards.

It wouldn’t be inaccurate to consider The Great Beauty a spiritual successor the Fellini’s surrealist homages to Rome and creatively blocked auteurs from a half-century earlier—and one can easily envision the elevator pitch as “La Dolce Vita or for the post-Berlusconi era”—though that would overgeneralize the shimmering journey that Paolo Sorrentino presents.

The beautiful film is anchored by the central performance of Toni Servillo as the dapper but disillusioned Jep Gambardella, a popular columnist-cum-socialite whose 65th birthday awakens him to the superficiality of his achieved ambition as “king of the high life”. Continue reading

The Talented Mr. Ripley: Dickie’s White Polo and Pink Shorts

Jude Law with co-stars Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Jude Law with co-stars Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Vitals

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, narcissistic profligate playboy

Italy, October 1958

Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: December 25, 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Costume Design: Ann Roth & Gary Jones

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After exploring some of Alain Delon’s sharply tailored style in Plein soleil (Purple Noon) earlier this week, today’s post shifts attention to the 1999 adaptation of the same source material, Patricia Highsmith’s psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley set on the sunny Italian coast.

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Purple Noon: Alain Delon Tailored in Summer-Weight Gray

Alain Delon as Tom Ripley in Purple Noon (1960)

Alain Delon as Tom Ripley in Purple Noon (1960)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath

Italy, August 1959

Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Few movies so stylishly capture the intriguing possibilities of summer as Plein soleil, balancing a sun-drenched travelogue of beautiful coastal Italy with the provocative thrills and deception to be expected from the dangerous mind of Patricia Highsmith, whose 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley formed the basis for this lush and haunting adaptation.

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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)

Vitals

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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It Started in Naples: Clark Gable’s Taupe Suit

Clark Gable as Mike Hamilton in It Started in Naples (1960)

Clark Gable as Mike Hamilton in It Started in Naples (1960)

Vitals

Clark Gable as Michael Hamilton, Philadelphia lawyer and World War II veteran

Naples to Capri, Italy, Late Summer 1959

Film: It Started in Naples 
Release Date: August 7, 1960
Director: Melville Shavelson
Costume Designer: Orietta Nasalli-Rocca

Background

Screen legend Clark Gable was born 119 years ago today on February 1, 1901, the start of a storied life that included an Academy Award for It Happened One Night (1934), acclaimed performances in iconic movies like Gone with the Wind (1939) and Mogambo (1953), and decorated service with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. While The Misfits (1961) co-starring Marilyn Monroe was Gable’s final film to be theatrically released, It Started in Naples was his final performance released during his lifetime. Continue reading

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Mastroianni’s Beige Summer Suit

Marcello Mastroianni with Sophia Loren in the third and final segment of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Ieri, oggi, domani) (1963)

Marcello Mastroianni with Sophia Loren in the third and final segment of Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (Ieri, oggi, domani) (1963)

Vitals

Marcello Mastroianni as Augusto Rusconi, bombastic Bolognese businessman and bon vivant

Rome, Summer 1963

Film: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
(Italian title: Ieri, oggi, domani)
Release Date:
 December 19, 1963
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Costume Designer: Piero Tosi

Background

“It is sometimes said that the French spend their money on their food, the English on their gardens, and the Italians on their clothes,” wrote Sir Hardy Amies for his seminal ABCs of Men’s Fashion in 1964. “Certainly the Italians give the impression of taking great pains with their appearance, especially in summer when we see most of them.”

As summer comes to a close, let’s heed Sir Hardy’s words by focusing on the warm-weather menswear worn by Marcello Mastroianni in Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, which marked the fifth of his 13 collaborations with his frequent screen partner and real-life friend Sophia Loren, who celebrates her 85th birthday today. Continue reading

The Mechanic: Charles Bronson’s Black Leather Racer Jacket

Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic (1972). Photo by MGM.

Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop in The Mechanic (1972). Photo by MGM.

Vitals

Charles Bronson as Arthur Bishop, disciplined but depressed contract killer

Los Angeles to Naples, Italy, Fall 1972

Film: The Mechanic
Release Date: November 17, 1972
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Lambert Marks

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After serving in supporting roles for many great Westerns and war movies of the ’60s⁠—including The Magnificent SevenThe Great EscapeThe Dirty Dozen, and Once Upon a Time in the West⁠—Hollywood was ready for Charles Bronson to take on leading roles that would establish him as one of the greatest silver screen “tough guys” of all time.

The Mechanic starred Bronson as Arthur Bishop, a skilled assassin whose quiet, luxurious lifestyle is disrupted when he takes on a protégé, Steve McKenna (Jan-Michael Vincent), the hotheaded, sociopathic son of his former boss “Big Harry” (Keenan Wynn) who he was assigned to kill. Arthur begins mentoring Steve after Big Harry’s death, taking the narcissistic young man flying, giving him shooting lessons, and eventually bringing him along for several hits.

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The Talented Mr. Ripley: Dickie’s White-and-Gray Shirt

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Vitals

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, narcissistic profligate playboy

Italy, Summer 1958

Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: December 25, 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Costume Design: Ann Roth & Gary Jones

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As this summer continues into August, so too did summer advance for the idiosyncratic trio of rich Amalfi Coast playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), his girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), and their pathological companion Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) in Anthony Minghella’s 1999 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s classic psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Spending time with Marge and Dickie allows Tom Ripley to grow increasingly enamored with the latter, and the young con artist manipulates an opportunity for the couple to insist that he remain with them at the picturesque seaside villa in Mongibello. Continue reading

Alain Delon’s Black Linen Shirt in Purple Noon

Alain Delon as Tom Ripley in Purple Noon (1960)

Alain Delon as Tom Ripley in Purple Noon (1960)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath

on Mediterranean Sea off Italy, August 1959

Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As I leave for my annual week at the beach tomorrow, I’ll be hoping to channel the style—if not the discomfort and petty cruelty—of the idyllic-looking, sun-drenched Mediterranean voyage where sociopathic American con man Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) forms an uncomfortable seagoing trio with the brash, arrogant playboy Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) and Philippe’s demure girlfriend Marge (Marie Laforêt). Continue reading