Tagged: Los Angeles

Get Shorty: Chili’s Black Striped Suit and Rust Polo

John Travolta as Chili Palmer in Get Shorty (1995)

John Travolta as Chili Palmer in Get Shorty (1995)

Vitals

John Travolta as Chili Palmer, Miami loan shark and aspiring filmmaker

Los Angeles, Winter 1995

Film: Get Shorty
Release Date: October 20, 1995
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

Background

December is here, and while you may not be in the mood yet for that “bold” Christmas sweater with working lights (these exist!), a nice warm long-sleeve polo in a reddish, rustic shade is the perfect layer for transitioning from the fall harvest season into the chilly first weekend of the holiday month.

Of course, in the L.A. of Get Shorty, the sun is brightly shining on Chili Palmer and his new acquaintances in the film industry as he takes a meeting with the eccentric pint-sized superstar Martin Weir (Danny DeVito), supposedly based on Dustin Hoffman after Elmore Leonard’s experiences working with him in the ’80s. Continue reading

True Detective – Ray Velcoro’s Dark Western-Yoked Jacket

Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro on the second season of True Detective (after ditching the mustache and bolo tie that defined the character's early-season look.)

Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro on the second season of True Detective (after ditching the mustache and bolo tie that defined the character’s early-season look.)

Vitals

Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, troubled and crooked Vinci PD detective

Ventura County, California, fall 2014 to spring 2015

Series: True Detective
Season: 2
Air Dates: June 21, 2015 – August 9, 2015
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Costume Designer: Alix Friedberg

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The second season of HBO’s True Detective is, in my opinion, better judged when on its own than against its masterful and delightfully idiosyncratic first season. The second season brought together Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn in an acid neo-noir more in the pulp crime tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s worlds than that of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart.

Even the show’s fictional and corrupt berg of Vinci, California, shares some undeniable similarities with the Bay City of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, though it was indeed based on the rough industrial city of Vernon, where it was partially filmed.

Our self-destructive, repressed, and expendable cop protagonists, portrayed by the Farrell-McAdams-Kitsch triad, practice maverick techniques that border on impropriety but their ideals and values align them with the incorruptible Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade… naturally leading to the straight-out-of-pulp “last stand” holed up in a secluded motel room with seemingly endless bottles of whiskey. Continue reading

Steve McQueen in The Hunter

Steve McQueen as Ralph "Papa" Thorson in The Hunter (1980)

Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson in The Hunter (1980)

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, real-life bounty hunter

Los Angeles (among other locales), Fall 1979

Film: The Hunter
Release Date: August 1, 1980
Director: Buzz Kulik
Costume Designer: Thomas Welsh

Background

On the anniversary of Steve McQueen’s passing, I’d like to explore his style in the final film he made before his untimely death at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980.

The Hunter starred McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, a colorful real-life bounty hunter who had reportedly logged more than 5,000 cases throughout his career including the capture of would-be presidential assassin and Manson family follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.

The concept of a bounty hunter conjures the image of a deadly serious and dangerous enforcer. The real Ralph Thorson certainly looked the part at 310 pounds and 6’2″ though Christopher Keane’s 1976 biography counters this image by describing Thorson’s many roles and talents as “a church bishop, Master bridge champion, renowed astrology, criminology alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, child nutritionist, [and] aficionado of classical music.” Continue reading

The Last Tycoon: Monroe Stahr’s Tuxedo

Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr on The Last Tycoon (Episode 9: "Oscar, Oscar, Oscar.")

Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr on The Last Tycoon (Episode 9: “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar.”)

Vitals

Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr, charming studio wunderkind

Hollywood, August 1936 through February 1937

Series: The Last Tycoon
Episodes:
– “Pilot” (Episode 1, dir. Billy Ray)
– “Eine Kleine Reichmusik” (Episode 5, dir. Gwyneth Horder-Payton)
– “A Brady-American Christmas” (Episode 6, dir. Stacie Passon)
– “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” (Episode 9, dir. Billy Ray)
Streaming Date: July 28, 2017
Developed By: Billy Ray
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Amazon recently announced the disappointing news that they are discontinuing production of The Last Tycoon, the second of its F. Scott Fitzgerald-inspired series to meet that fate following the cancellation of Z: The Beginning of Everything days earlier.

In its brief, nine-episode life, The Last Tycoon was true to its “golden age of Hollywood” roots with an emphasis on style rather than substance… but oh what style it was, and with strong performances to booth with Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer, Lily Collins, Rosemarie Dewitt, and others rounding out the talented cast of characters. Continue reading

American Gigolo: Gray High-Yoke Armani Jacket

Richard Gere as Julian Kaye in American Gigolo (1980)

Richard Gere as Julian Kaye in American Gigolo (1980)

Vitals

Richard Gere as Julian Kaye, high-price L.A. escort

Palm Springs, Spring 1980

Film: American Gigolo
Release Date: February 8, 1980
Director: Paul Schrader
Costumer: Bernadene C. Mann
Costume Coordinator: Alice Rush
Richard Gere’s Costumes: Giorgio Armani

Background

For Richard Gere’s 68th birthday (happy birthday, Richard!), I’m taking a look at the role that made him famous: high-profile escort Julian Kaye in the stylish 1980 neo-noir American Gigolo.

Julian, riding high at the top of the L.A. escort scene, is called in by pimp Leon (Bill Duke) to fill in for one of his regulars for a client in Palm Springs. Continue reading

Chinatown – J.J. Gittes’ Light Gray Suit

Jack Nicholson on set as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson on set as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Film: Chinatown
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Now that summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s high time to make sure that you’ve got some duds in your closet that are as appropriate for a day at the office as they are for the sunniest season.

A self-employed gumshoe like J.J. Gittes calls his own shots. As Chinatown is set in 1937, suits were de rigeur for men, but Gittes is hardly the type to rely on the gray flannel suit trope, especially in the sunny southern California locales. Continue reading

Bugsy Siegel’s Glen Plaid Double-Breasted Suit

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel in Bugsy (1991). Photo sourced from Getty Images.

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, “celebrity” gangster and casino builder

New York, Summer 1945, and
Beverly Hills, December 1946

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Film: Bugsy
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky

Background

Bugsy is an entertaining and stylish drama penned by James Toback, transforming the violent mobster in a suave and romantic visionary much as the real life gangster himself tried to reinvent his persona after moving out to the West Coast, choosing to rub elbows with the likes of George Raft, Gary Cooper, and Cary Grant rather than his old associates like Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano, and Joe Adonis. Continue reading