Tagged: Italy

The Godfather: Michael Corleone’s Sartorial Journey from War Hero to Wiseguy

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone on the set of The Godfather (1972)

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Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, Marine hero-turned-mob boss

New York City and Sicily, Summer 1945 to Summer 1955

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 14, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The Godfather premiered 50 years ago tonight at Loew’s State Theatre in New York City, forever changing the cultural landscape. Adapted from Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, the saga to bring the mob-centric epic to the screen could have been a plot within the story itself, but eventually the massive reception to The Godfather cemented its enduring significance, reviving Marlon Brando’s career and making stars of its cast of relative newcomers—including Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton, and Robert Duvall—as well as its determined director, Francis Ford Coppola.

Spanning the decade following the end of World War II, The Godfather follows the rise of Michael Corleone, a reserved war hero, as he follows the inevitable path of his father’s footsteps to Mafia leadership. Continue reading

The Pink Panther: Robert Wagner’s Après-ski Style

Robert Wagner and Capucine in The Pink Panther

Robert Wagner and Capucine in The Pink Panther (1963)

Vitals

Robert Wagner as George Lytton, smooth con artist and aspiring jewel thief

Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Winter 1963

Film: The Pink Panther
Release Date: December 19, 1963
Director: Blake Edwards
Wardrobe Supervisor: Annalisa Nasalli-Rocca

Background

Given the ridiculous nature of the later entries that focus more heavily on the madcap misadventures of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), it may surprise first-time viewers to see The Pink Panther so fashionably depict the elegance of winter jet-setters as they take to the Alpine ski resorts of Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy, spending days on the slopes and evenings by the fire.

As February extends into the Olympic games and ski-trip season, I had wanted to revisit the stylish skiwear seen in The Pink Panther, only to realize that Robert Wagner’s 92nd birthday today coincides with the timing of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Wagner appeared in The Pink Panther as George Lytton, a small-time con man and nephew of the suave Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven). After George discovers his urbane uncle is actually a master jewel thief known as “The Phantom”, he sets out to learn from Sir Charles… even attempting to seduce his mistress, Simone Clouseau (Capucine), who just happens to be the wife of the bumbling Sûreté inspector on their trail. Continue reading

Kirk Douglas in The Brotherhood: Corduroy in Sicily

Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta in The Brotherhood (1968)

Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta in The Brotherhood (1968)

Vitals

Kirk Douglas as Frank Ginetta, Sicilian-American mob boss

Sicily, Spring 1968

Film: The Brotherhood
Release Date: December 25, 1968
Director: Martin Ritt
Costume Designer: Ruth Morley

Background

On what would have been Kirk Douglas’ 105th birthday, today’s post recognizes a unique passion project among the prolific actor’s varied filmography. Though he’d been an uncredited producer on more than a dozen movies, Douglas had only been listed as a producer on Spartacus before he selected The Brotherhood as the next production to carry his name. Despite some valid feedback that he may not be the right visual type for the leading role of Sicilian-born gangster Frank Ginetta, Douglas welcomed the acting challenge… and the help of some dye to darken a newly grown mustache in addition to his famous coiff. Continue reading

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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