Tagged: Los Angeles

Marriage on the Rocks: Sinatra’s Double-Breasted Olive Cardigan

Frank Sinatra in Marriage on the Rocks (1965)

Frank Sinatra in Marriage on the Rocks (1965)

Vitals

Frank Sinatra as Dan Edwards, workaholic advertising executive

Los Angeles, Fall 1965

Film: Marriage on the Rocks
Release Date: September 24, 1965
Director: Jack Donohue
Costume Designer: Walter Plunkett

Background

Kick back on this chilly #SinatraSaturday with the mid-century comedy that reunited Rat Pack pallies Frank and Dean, the duo’s final on-screen collaboration until Cannonball Run II, twenty years later.

Marriage on the Rocks stars FS as Dan Edwards, a buttoned-up businessman who—thanks to madcap circumstances—ends up swapping lifestyles with his swingin’ pal Ernie… played by who else but Dean Martin? Continue reading

Die Hard: Takagi’s “John Phillips” Suit

James Shigeta as Joe Takagi in Die Hard (1988)

James Shigeta as Joe Takagi in Die Hard (1988)

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James Shigeta as Joe Takagi, Nakatomi Corporation executive

Los Angeles, Christmas 1987

Film: Die Hard
Release Date: July 15, 1988
Director: John McTiernan
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

My latest post focused on yet another chaotic Christmas party on The Office, though the drama of Dunder Mifflin’s holiday celebrations pale in comparison to how the employees of the Nakatomi Corporation are forced to spend Christmas Eve in Die Hard.

James Shigeta kicked off #Noirvember last month when I focused on his style in The Crimson Kimono so, in the spirit of the yuletide season, let’s revisit the actor via his arguably most memorable role as the stylish, unflappable, and ultimately doomed head of the Nakatomi Corporation.

Joseph Yoshinobu Takagi, born Kyoto, 1937. Family emigrated to San Pedro, California, 1939. Interned, Manzanar, 1942 to ’43. Scholarship student, University of California, 1955. Law degree, Stanford, 1962. MBA, Harvard, 1970. President, Nakatomi Trading. Vice Chairman, Nakatomi Investment Group… and father of five.

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The Graduate: Ben’s Beige Windbreaker and Alfa Romeo

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

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Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, nervous and aimless college graduate

Los Angeles, Summer to Fall 1967

Film: The Graduate
Release Date: December 22, 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
Costume Designer: Patricia Zipprodt

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Like CasablancaCitizen KaneThelma & Louise, and The Sopranos, I felt like I had seen or heard about the famous ending of The Graduate in depth before actually seeing the movie itself. Given that the iconic movie is over 50 years old, I hope I wouldn’t invite too much ire by discussing its famous ending openly in discussing Benjamin Braddock’s style as he desperately races through southern California in the hopes of halting Elaine Robinson’s wedding to the dreaded Makeout King.

Having recently gotten engaged myself (yay!), it felt appropriate to end this installment of #CarWeek with the cherry red Alfa Romeo that factored so significantly in Benjamin’s life following his graduation, whether it it was on his burlesque-and-burgers date with the bright-eyed Elaine (Katharine Ross), furtive assignations with her mother (Anne Bancroft), or on his gas-guzzling dash to get him to the church on time scored by Simon & Garfunkel’s enduring folk banger “Mrs. Robinson”. Continue reading

Mitchum as Marlowe: Farewell, My Lovely

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely (1975)

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in Farewell, My Lovely (1975)

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Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe, sharp-tongued private investigator

Los Angeles, Summer 1941

Film: Farewell, My Lovely
Release Date: August 8, 1975
Director: Dick Richards
Men’s Wardrobe Credit: G. Tony Scarano

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Robert Mitchum had been credentialed in film noir for more than a generation (as explored in Saturday’s #Noirvember post) before the actor first took on the role of Raymond Chandler’s iconic private eye, Philip Marlowe. Based on an Edgar Allen Poe Award-winning screenplay by David Zulag Goodman, Dick Richards’ adaptation of Chandler’s 1940 novel Farewell, My Lovely premiered just two days after Mitchum’s 58th birthday, making the actor almost double the age of the character he portrayed… but his grizzled presence is just right as he navigates his way through the sordid City of Angels on the eve of the second world war:

This past spring was the first that I’d felt tired and realized I was growing old. Maybe it was the rotten weather we’d had in L.A., maybe it was the rotten case I’d had, mostly chasing a few missing husbands… and then chasing their wives once I found them in order to get paid. Or maybe it was just the plain fact that I am tired and growing old.

We find Mitchum’s Marlowe in media res “holed up in a dingy hotel, ducking the police,” staring under the brim of his ubiquitous hat through the neon and Philip Morris cigarette smoke. Continue reading

Criss Cross: Burt Lancaster’s Loafer Jacket

Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo in Criss Cross (1949)

Burt Lancaster and Yvonne De Carlo in Criss Cross (1949)

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Burt Lancaster as Steve Thompson, larcenous armored car driver

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Criss Cross
Release Date: January 19, 1949
Director: Robert Siodmak

Background

After directing the actor’s debut screen performance in quintessential film noir The Killers (1946), Robert Siodmak reteamed with Burt Lancaster three years later for Criss Cross, a quick, moody thriller that begins in media res with Steve Thompson (Lancaster) in the evening shadows of a nightclub parking lot, embracing his ex-wife Anna (Yvonne De Carlo).

As De Carlo makes her plea to the camera that Film Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller called “noir’s defining moment”, we learn that the former spouses are forced into secrecy to avoid detection from Anna’s slick gangster boyfriend Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea), with whom Steve is planning a six-figure “chance of a lifetime” heist the following day.

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Devil in a Blue Dress: Denzel Washington’s Gabardine Windbreaker

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

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Denzel Washington as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, former aircraft mechanic and World War II veteran

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Devil in a Blue Dress
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

#Noirvember continues with Devil in a Blue Dress, adapted from Walter Mosley’s excellent 1990 novel of the same name introducing readers to Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, an Army veteran making his way in postwar Los Angeles. Though he would later transform into a full-time private detective, Devil in a Blue Dress establishes Easy as a neo-Hitchockian hero, an everyman who finds himself at the center of a dangerous mystery after losing his job at an aircraft assembly plant.

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James Shigeta in The Crimson Kimono

James Shigeta as Detective Joe Kojaku in The Crimson Kimono (1959)

James Shigeta as Detective Joe Kojaku in The Crimson Kimono (1959)

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James Shigeta as Joe Kojaku, LAPD homicide detective

Los Angeles, Summer 1959

Film: The Crimson Kimono
Release Date: October 1959
Director: Samuel Fuller
Costume Supervisor: Bernice Pontrelli

Background

Are you among the many movie buffs who observe #Noirvember, the month-long celebration of shadowy cinema often set in worlds populated by gumshoes, gunsels, and femmes fatale. Defining film noir is often as murky as the outlines of the shadows in some of its seminal works, though even applying the infamous Potter Stewart rule yields at least dozens of crime dramas produced within and beyond the United States during the 1940s and ’50s.

Earlier this year, the Criterion Channel again showcased a collection of noir from Columbia Pictures, the erstwhile Poverty Row studio that churned out some of the most quintessential high-talent noir in including Gilda (1946), The Lady from Shanghai (1947), and In a Lonely Place (1950) as well as an array of criminally underseen B-movies that balanced their low budgets with high quality. One of my favorites from the collection was The Crimson Kimono (1959), directed by former crime reporter and World War II veteran Samuel Fuller.

Modern audiences may recognize James Shigeta as the patient and ultimately doomed Nakatomi executive in Die Hard. Here, a considerably younger Shigeta plays the charismatic Joe Kojaku, an apple-munching, piano-playing Japanese-American homicide detective called in with his partner Charlie Bancroft (Glenn Corbett) to investigate the murder of burlesque dancer Sugar Torch (Gloria Pall) on L.A.’s” Main Street” one brightly lit, jazz-filled night in August 1959. Continue reading

The Candidate: Robert Redford’s Navy Striped Campaign Suit

Robert Redford as Bill McKay in The Candidate (1972)

Robert Redford as Bill McKay in The Candidate (1972)

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Robert Redford as Bill McKay, charismatic lawyer-turned-senatorial candidate

San Francisco to Los Angeles, Summer through Fall 1972

Film: The Candidate
Release Date: June 29, 1972
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Design: Patricia Norris
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack

Background

Tomorrow is Election Day here in the United States… though I doubt anyone has missed the memo given the barrage of emails, texts, social media posts, and more designed to serve as reminders and instructions.

Avoiding any discussion of this year’s contentious political arena, let’s step back nearly 50 years to the early 1970s when Robert Redford was seeking to work again with director Michael Ritchie after their first collaboration in Downhill Racer (1969). The duo reportedly former political writer Jeremy Larner to pen what would become an Academy Award-winning screenplay chronicling “a candidate who sold his soul.” Larner had worked as a speechwriter for Senator Eugene McCarthy during McCarthy’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, using this experience to draft the story of Bill McKay, the activist lawyer from California tapped to challenge the popular Republican incumbent in the battle for a U.S. Senate seat.

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Targets: Boris Karloff in Tweed

Boris Karloff as Byron Orlok in Targets (1968)

Boris Karloff as Byron Orlok in Targets (1968)

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Boris Karloff as Byron Orlok, aging horror actor

Los Angeles, Summer 1967

Film: Targets
Release Date: August 15, 1968
Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Production and Costume Design: Polly Platt

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“Everybody’s dead… I feel like a dinosaur,” former horror icon Byron Orlok describes himself in a candid moment with Sammy Michaels (Peter Bogdanovich), an ambitious director and screenwriter played by Targets‘ own director and co-writer himself. Bogdanovich had written Orlok as a thinly disguised version of Boris Karloff, the elder statesman of horror cinema who was pushing 80 at the time of the film’s production. An embittered Byron shares with Sammy that his old-fashioned cinematic monsters—i.e. Frankenstein’s monster—are hardly the stuff to scare contemporary audiences as the local news horrifying enough with tales of senseless murder and random violence.

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Robert Forster’s Sport Jacket and Cherry Red Polo in Jackie Brown

Robert Forster as Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997)

Robert Forster as Max Cherry in Jackie Brown (1997)

Vitals

Robert Forster as Max Cherry, reliable bail bondsman

Los Angeles, Summer 1995

Film: Jackie Brown
Release Date: December 25, 1997
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Mary Claire Hannan

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

One year ago today, the great Robert Forster died at the age of 78 after more than a half-century in movies and TV, perhaps best known for his roles in Medium Cool, Jackie BrownMulholland Drive, and most recently as taciturn “disappearer” Ed on Breaking Bad.

Though he’d been acting for three decades, it wasn’t until Jackie Brown that Forster gained widespread recognition with his Academy Award-nominated performance, establishing both Forster and Max Cherry as the latest beneficiaries of the “Tarantino effect” that had renewed the careers of actors like Harvey Keitel and John Travolta after their turns in QT-directed films.

Jackie Brown remains the rare Tarantino joint adapted from another writer’s source material, in this case the novel Rum Punch by prolific crime author Elmore Leonard, who was born 95 years ago today on October 11, 1925.

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