Tagged: Los Angeles

Devil in a Blue Dress: Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander

Don Cheadle as Raymond “Mouse” Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

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Don Cheadle as Raymond “Mouse” Alexander, smooth but dangerous gunsel

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

As #Noirvember comes to a close, I want to celebrate one of my favorite characters from neo-noir, the trigger-happy “Mouse” Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress, played by Don Cheadle who was born November 29, 1964 and celebrates his 58th birthday today.

Fledgling private eye Ezekial “Easy” Rawlins (Denzel Washington) calls his old pal Mouse for some high-caliber help as the stakes climb but soon regrets his decision: “You ain’t been in my house five minutes and you gone and shot somebody already, Mouse!” Continue reading

Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire (1942)

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Alan Ladd as Philip Raven, cold-blooded, cat-loving contract killer

San Francisco to Los Angeles, Spring 1942

Film: This Gun for Hire
Release Date: April 24, 1942
Director: Frank Tuttle
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I had already been planning to write about This Gun for Hire this month when I realized that today would have been the 100th birthday of Veronica Lake, who was born in Brooklyn on November 14, 1922 with the decidedly less glamorous name of Constance Ockelman. Lake was still in her teens when cast in her first starring role in Sullivan’s Travels (1941), the success of which convinced Paramount to cast her in their upcoming thriller, which would also be a vehicle to launch their next up-and-comer, Alan Ladd. Continue reading

The Candidate: Robert Redford’s Tweed Sport Jacket

Robert Redford and Karen Carlson in The Candidate (1972)

Robert Redford and Karen Carlson in The Candidate (1972)

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

California, Spring through Fall 1972

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

Background

In case my fellow Americans’ phones haven’t been buzzing with incessant reminders about it… this Tuesday is Election Day!

Fifty years ago, American electoral politics were lampooned in The Candidate, starring Robert Redford as Bill McKay, an idealistic California lawyer tapped to run for a supposedly unwinnable seat in the U.S. Senate.

Inspired by screenwriter Jeremy Larner’s own experiences working on Senator Eugene McCarthy’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in ’68, The Candidate chronicles the unpredictable insanity of American politics ranging from the mundane to the dramatic. Continue reading

Reservoir Dogs — Mr. Orange

Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs

Tim Roth as “Mr. Orange” in Reservoir Dogs (1992)

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Tim Roth as Freddie Newandyke, aka “Mr. Orange”, member of an armed robbery crew with a deep secret

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Reservoir Dogs
Release Date: October 9, 1992
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This month marks the 30th anniversary since the wide release of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s influential debut that introduced many of the director’s own cinematic trademarks and has been described as one of the greatest independent films of all time.

As we’ve come to expect from QT, Reservoir Dogs pays homage to classic noir and crime films, including Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Big Combo (1955), and—most specifically—The Killing (1956), with a plot centered around a gang of tough guys hired for a what should be a straightforward diamond heist… only to be stymied when it becomes evident that a member of their crew is an informant. Continue reading

The Nice Guys: Russell Crowe’s Blue ’70s Leather Jacket

Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy in The Nice Guys (2016)

Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy in The Nice Guys (2016)

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Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy, unlicensed private detective

Los Angeles, Fall 1977

Film: The Nice Guys
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Director: Shane Black
Costume Designer: Kym Barrett

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I was pleased to again join my friends Pete Brooker and Ken Stauffer on another episode of Pete’s podcast From Tailors With Love, this time discussing the fun ’70s style of Shane Black’s action comedy The Nice Guys.

For those unfamiliar, the “nice guys” in question are Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, bringing back Black’s signature buddy comedy style in a big way as competing private eyes Jackson Healy and Holland March, respectively.

The older and worldlier yet paunchier Jack is more an enforcer than investigator, balancing his limb-breaking toughness with at least some remaining scruples, particularly when compared to the younger and less experienced Holly, who’s not above taking a case agreeing to help an aging woman track down her “missing” husband… whose ashes rest in an urn just a few feet away from them.

Like Crowe’s star-making turn almost twenty years earlierThe Nice Guys’ conspiratorial heartbeat is driven by Kim Basinger’s role at the intersection of corruption and porn in the City of Angels forty years prior, but the villains’ overcomplicated scheme are certainly secondary to the comedic chemistry between Crowe and Gosling, whom I—and Crowe himself—would love to see re-team for a follow-up… and with a built-in sequel title like The Nicer Guys, what’s stopping them? Continue reading

Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Sid Caesar in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Vitals

Sid Caesar as Melville Crump, honeymooning dentist

Southern California, Summer 1962

Film: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Release Date: November 7, 1963
Director: Stanley Kramer
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sid Caesar, the pioneering comic actor whose influential variety series Your Show of Shows set a new standard during what some call the first “Golden Age of Television”, though I first knew Caesar for his part among the ensemble cast of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

Continue reading

Day Shift: Jamie Foxx’s Vampire-Hunting Aloha Shirts

Jamie Foxx as Bud Jablonski in Day Shift (2022)

Jamie Foxx as Bud Jablonski in Day Shift (2022)
Photo by Andrew Cooper/Netflix

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Jamie Foxx as Bud Jablonski, maverick vampire hunter

San Fernando Valley, California, Summer 2022

Film: Day Shift
Release Date: August 12, 2022
Director: J.J. Perry
Costume Designer: Kelli Jones

Background

When I saw that Day Shift, the latest Netflix action comedy, centered around Jamie Foxx killing vampires while wearing a rotation of Hawaiian shirts, I knew I had to check it out.

Foxx stars as Bud Jablonski, whose job cleaning pools in the San Fernando Valley provides cover for his more serious occupation of hunting the undead. Continue reading

Inside Daisy Clover: Robert Redford’s Breton Stripes at Sea

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

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Robert Redford as Wade Lewis, cheeky, charismatic, and closeted actor

Santa Monica, California, Fall 1937

Film: Inside Daisy Clover
Release Date: December 22, 1965
Director: Robert Mulligan
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas

Background

Ahead of Robert Redford’s birthday tomorrow, let’s flashback to one of the actor and director’s earliest prominent roles. Redford had spent the early 1960s taking small parts in movies like Tall Story (1960) and War Hunt (1962), appearing occasionally on TV shows like MaverickPerry MasonRoute 66The Untouchables, and Alfred Hitchcock’s anthology series. His most significant performance at the time was on stage, originating the role of the hapless newlywed Paul Bratter in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, which would provide Redford’s breakthrough big screen success when adapted by Gene Saks in 1967.

The movie adaptation of Barefoot in the Park launched a nearly 40-year stretch where charismatic Redford exclusively played leading roles, following a two-year period of supporting performances in mostly forgettable movies like Inside Daisy Clover, which Gavin Lambert had adapted from his novel of the same name. Continue reading

The Parallax View: William Daniels’ Seagoing Striped T-Shirt

William Daniels as Austin Tucker in The Parallax View (1974)

William Daniels as Austin Tucker in The Parallax View (1974)

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William Daniels as Austin Tucker, paranoid ex-political aide

Marina Del Rey, California, Spring 1974

Film: The Parallax View
Release Date: June 14, 1974
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Designer: Frank L. Thompson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Based on Loren Singer’s novel of the same name, The Parallax View became the second installment of director Alan J. Pakula’s political paranoia “trilogy” across the 1970s, reflecting the uncertainty and cynicism of an era increasingly marred by assassination, war, and government scandal.

The cast included William Daniels, one of the steadiest character actors of the era with credits like Two for the RoadThe Graduate, and 1776 in his filmography before his memorable appearance in The Parallax View as Austin Tucker, the one-time aide to a presidential contender who had been assassinated three years earlier. (The now 95-year-old Daniels would later gain lasting recognition among more modern audiences as the principled principal Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World.) Now, Tucker remains the only remaining witness to the crime… and is justifiably paranoid regarding his prospects as he agrees to meet the crusading reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) on his boat.

Today, I’ll be joining friends for less lethal nautical adventures—specifically, sipping tequila on a pontoon boat up the Allegheny River—but it felt like the right opportunity to see how the once buttoned-up Tucker now embraces a more casual sense of dress while dodging the dangerous clutches of the shadowy Parallax Corporation. Continue reading

Point Break: Gary Busey’s Wild Shirts

Gary Busey in Point Break

Gary Busey as FBI Special Agent Angelo Pappas in Point Break (1991)

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Gary Busey as Angelo Pappas, beleaguered FBI agent

Los Angeles, Summer 1991

Film: Point Break
Release Date: July 12, 1991
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Costume Supervisors: Colby P. Bart & Louis Infante

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

“When are you gonna write about Gary Busey?”

“Where are your posts about Busey’s style in Point Break?”

“Show us the Busey, you coward!”

These are the kinds of questions and comments I never get, and yet, on the 78th birthday on this most idiosyncratic of actors, I want to take a deep dive—or surf—into the wardrobe of one of Gary Busey’s best-known roles. Continue reading