Tagged: James Coburn

The Last of Sheila: James Coburn’s White Yachting Gear

James Coburn in The Last of Sheila (1973)

Vitals

James Coburn as Clinton Greene, eccentric Hollywood producer

French Riviera, Late summer 1972

Film: The Last of Sheila
Release Date: June 14, 1973
Director: Herbert Ross
Costume Designer: Joel Schumacher

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

If you’re the sort of person who follows such sartorial conventions, Labor Day on Monday makes this the last weekend where it’s “acceptable” to wear white. Of course, there are many who take umbrage to being told what’s acceptable to wear and when—such as Clinton Greene, the flamboyant film producer at the center of The Last of Sheila‘s sun-bleached mystery. Clinton was played by James Coburn, the versatile Nebraska-born actor born 95 years ago today on August 31, 1928.

Recently widowed after his wife Sheila was killed during a mysterious hit-and-run accident near their Hollywood home, Clinton commemorates the one-year anniversary of Sheila’s death by inviting his six closest frenemies—most of whom had been present during the party at their home the night Sheila was killed—to spend a week playing high-stakes puzzles on his luxury yacht off the coast of southern France. Continue reading

James Coburn in The Great Escape

James Coburn as Louis Sedgwick in The Great Escape (1963)

Vitals

James Coburn as Louis Sedgwick, Australian RAAF Flying Officer

Sagan-Silesia (Zagan, Poland), Spring 1944

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of James Coburn, the prolific and reliable Nebraska-born star who grew to fame through memorable appearances in the ’60s, including the requisite Westerns and war films including the 1963 ensemble epic The Great Escape, dramatizing the real-life mass breakout of more than six dozen Allied airmen from Stalag Luft III during World War II. Ultimately, there were three successful escapees; of the 73 captured, 50 were summarily executed on Hitler’s direct orders.

Coburn portrayed the fictional Australian officer Louis Sedgwick, an amalgamation of the camp “manufacturer” Johnny Travis (RAF) and Dutch flying ace Bram “Bob” van der Stok, one of the three successful escapees who made his getaway, crossing much of occupied Europe with the help of French Resistance networks. Continue reading

Allied Uniforms of The Great Escape

Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, Nigel Stock, and Gordon Jackson in The Great Escape (1963)

Richard Attenborough, Steve McQueen, Nigel Stock, and Gordon Jackson in The Great Escape (1963)

Today marks the 75th anniversary of “the great escape”, the mass breakout of allied airmen from the Luftwaffe-operated Stalag Luft III in Sagan-Silesia—now Zagan—in Poland on March 24, 1944. Of the 76 men who escaped, only three made it to freedom and 50 of the group were murdered by the Nazis in retaliation.

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

Paul Brickhill, one of the Allied officers who had worked on the various tunnels used for the escape, wrote the definitive account of prison camp life, the famous March 1944 breakout, and the subsequent fallout in The Great Escape, published in 1950.

Thirteen years later, a star-studded cast reenacted the incident in The Great Escape, a now-classic war movie that dramatized this real-life story of heroism, humor, and tragedy.

Today’s post—coinciding both with the 75th anniversary of the escape and the 89th birthday of the film’s star Steve McQueen—examines the uniforms of the Allied airmen, sorted by each major character’s surname. Continue reading

James Coburn’s Corduroy Suit in Charade

James Coburn as Tex Panthollow in Charade (1963)

James Coburn as Tex Panthollow in Charade (1963)

Vitals

James Coburn as Tex Panthollow, larcenous former OSS commando

Paris, April 1963

Film: Charade
Release Date: December 5, 1963
Director: Stanley Donen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As portrayed by the brilliant and versatile James Coburn, Tex Panthollow makes his dramatic introduction in the beginning of Charade as the second of three mysterious men who show up to “pay respects” at the funeral of their one-time brother-in-arms Charles Lampert, each one increasingly perplexing his widow Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) with their behavior. Par examplum: Tex draws a hand-sized mirror from his inside breast pocket and holds it directly under the deceased’s nose to ensure that he’s really passed from this world before sneering: “Arrive-derci, Charlie.”

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