Tagged: Mafia

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

Scarface (1932) – Tony’s Fancy Basketweave Suit

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

Vitals

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

I’m wrapping up what turned out to be a week focused on classic gangster style with a look at one of my favorite mob movies, the original Scarface released in 1932. Both the film and its source novel of the same name by Armitage Trail (Maurice R. Coons) were undoubtedly inspired by the rise and fall of Chicago kingpin Al Capone, who reportedly grew to love the film so much that the owned his own print of it.

Tony Camonte’s rise through the underworld is depicted by a Thompson submachine gun blowing through the pages of a calendar, stopping somewhere around Friday, August 26, for the action to begin. (August 26 fell on a Friday in 1927 and 1932; as the events that inspired the film occurred throughout the 1920s and production wrapped in mid-1931, it’s safe to assume that this scene picks up the action around the late summer of 1927. Anyway…)

Spectacularly attired in a bold new suit, Tony runs into Poppy (Karen Morley), his boss’s platinum blonde moll, who is getting a little warmer to Tony’s form after his repeated attempts at seduction. Continue reading

Charles Bronson’s Blue Suit in The Valachi Papers

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi attending the Apalachin meeting in The Valachi Papers (1972)

Vitals

Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi, Mafia soldier

Apalachin, New York, November 1957

Film: The Valachi Papers
Release Date: January 6, 1972
Director: Terence Young
Costume Design: Giorgio Desideri & Ann Roth

Background

“It was a glorious time, before Apalachin,” recalls Ray Liotta’s voice-over as Henry Hill in Goodfellas. For readers not mired in the history of organized crime, Henry was referring to a now-legendary meeting of the American Mafia at the Apalachin, New York home of mobster Joseph Barbara. The summit was organized by powerful New York mob boss Vito Genovese and found more than 100 mobsters from across the country gathering at Barbara’s home on November 14, 1957… sixty years ago tomorrow. Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Brown Tattersall Sportcoat

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.11: "Cold Stones")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 6.11: “Cold Stones”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 2007

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10, dir. Steve Shill, aired May 14, 2006)
– “Cold Stones” (Episode 6.11, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 21, 2006)
– “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17, dir. Terence Winter, aired May 6, 2007)
– “The Second Coming” (Episode 6.19, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 20, 2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers (and a rather graphic screenshot) ahead! Continue reading

Tony Soprano’s Gray Suit in “Meadowlands”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.04: "Meadowlands")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.04: “Meadowlands”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New Jersey, Fall 1999

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Meadowlands” (Episode 1.04)
Air Date: January 31, 1999
Director: John Patterson
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday to James Gandolfini, born September 18, 1961. The celebrated late actor revolutionized television with his portrayal of troubled mob boss Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos from 1999 to 2007. (For those with an interest in the Zodiac, Gandolfini shared his astrological sign with Tony, who would be a fellow Virgo with his given birth date of August 24, 1960 in the final season premiere episode “Soprano Home Movies”.)

“My uncle, he’s got me in a box where I gotta do something I don’t want to do,” bemoans Tony at the outset of “Meadowlands”, the fourth episode of The Sopranos and the first without an on-screen murder. “Then there’s my mother. I pay four grand a month for this place, and she acts like I’m an eskimo pushing her out to sea.” 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

Casino – De Niro in Charcoal and Pink

Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in Casino (1995)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Sam “Ace” Rothstein, Vegas casino executive and mob associate

Las Vegas, Spring 1973

Film: Casino
Release Date: November 22, 1995
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Rita Ryack & John A. Dunn

Background

Ever have one of those days where you just feel like you’re surrounded by idiots?

Welcome to the life of Sam “Ace” Rothstein, the meticulous gambler tasked by the Chicago mob with running the Tangiers casino in Las Vegas.  Of course, Rothstein is a fictional interpretation of the real-life Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, but the issues faced by Casino‘s Ace were all too real.

Despite the complications of running a Vegas casino, Ace still found the time to be a hell of a dresser, borrowing a sartorial approach from the real-life Lefty Rosenthal to create ensembles like this creative mix of somber charcoal and bold pastel pink. Continue reading