Tagged: Italy

La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty): Jep’s Hammock-Ready Blue Linen

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

Few images illustrate Gershwin’s celebrated concept of “summertime… and the livin’ is easy” as effectively as the hammock. Fittingly, #NationalHammockDay comes at us in midsummer, celebrated annually on July 22.

Paolo Sorrentino’s magnificent masterpiece La grande bellezza stars Toni Servillo as Jep Gambardella, the 65-year-old “king of the high life” whose opulent apartment on Piazza del Colosseo boasts a terrace overlooking the Eternal City. When not hosting his stylish coterie of fellow cultural critics, Jep often takes to the self-suspended hammock positioned on his terrace, drink in hand as he allows his mind to wander while basking under the Roman sun. Continue reading

The Honeymoon Machine: Steve McQueen’s Blue Sweater

Steve McQueen in The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

Steve McQueen in The Honeymoon Machine (1961)

Vitals

Steve McQueen as LT Ferguson “Fergie” Howard, enterprising U.S. Navy officer

Venice, Summer 1961

Film: The Honeymoon Machine
Release Date: August 23, 1961
Director: Richard Thorpe
Costume Designer: Helen Rose

Background

To commemorate Steve McQueen’s birthday 91 years ago today, let’s take a look at how the King of Cool incorporated some of his personal style into one of his earliest—and least popular—movies.

Based on Lorenzo Semple Jr.’s 1959 play The Golden FleecingThe Honeymoon Machine belongs to that unique sub-genre of ’60s farce that made light of Cold War paranoia and seemed to end up with everyone throwing punches (executed suitably in The Glass Bottom Boat, poorly in the 1967 Casino Royale.)

The role of the mischievously ambitious, Nietzsche-quoting naval lieutenant Fergie Howard was originally intended for Cary Grant, however the middle-aged actor was nearing his retirement and turned the job down. Rather than casting another screen vet of Grant’s age and standing, the production went in the opposite direction and brought on Steve McQueen for what would be his third top-billed movie after The Blob (1958) and The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959).

The Honeymoon Machine turned a profit but McQueen considered it a dark mark on his career, reportedly walking out of the first public screening and vowing never to work for MGM again. Don’t worry, Steve… The Great Escape is only two years away! Continue reading

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

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday, and whether you’re celebrating with a great beauty in your life or observing Singles Appreciation Day, you may want to have some eye-catching red ready to wear in the spirit of the season.

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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)

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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