Tagged: New England

Scent of a Woman: Al Pacino’s Navy Striped Suit

Al Pacino as Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Al Pacino as Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Frank Slade, blind and bitter retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel

New York City to New Hampshire, Fall 1992

Film: Scent of a Woman
Release Date: December 23, 1992
Director: Martin Brest
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy birthday, Al Pacino! As the legendary actor’s 81st birthday coincides with the Academy Awards tonight, let’s take a look at Scent of a Woman, Martin Brest’s 1992 drama that resulted in Pacino’s sole Oscar to date.

Pacino played retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, a blind and irascible alcoholic who secretly plans on spending the Thanksgiving holiday with a lavish weekend in New York City before ending his life. Somewhat reluctantly along for the ride is Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell), a mild-mannered prep student hired to care for Frank, though the cantankerous colonel seems more than willing to watch out for himself.

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Love Story: Ryan O’Neal’s Sheepskin Shearling Coat

Ryan O'Neal as Oliver Barrett IV in Love Story (1970)

Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV in Love Story (1970)

Vitals

Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, preppy Harvard student

New England, Winter 1966, and New York City, Winter 1970

Film: Love Story
Release Date: December 16, 1970
Director: Arthur Hiller
Costume Design: Alice Manougian Martin & Pearl Somner

Background

Happy Valentine’s Day! In the spirit of the season of romance, it felt appropriate to explore the preppy style in one of the most famous cinematic love stories of all time… the perhaps uncleverly titled Love Story.

I went into my inaugural Love Story viewing this year familiar only with Larry Siegel and Mort Drucker’s Mad magazine parody and the movie’s reviled thesis that “love means never having to say you’re sorry,” so I was a little surprised to find myself non-ironically enjoying it more than I expected. Sure, my friend @berkeley_breathes had primed me to expect some standout Ivy-inspired style worn by Ryan O’Neal as our romantic hero Oliver, but I guess the half-century since Love Story has yielded considerably cornier products with the odd effect that this aged… relatively well? Or maybe I’m just speaking from behind the blinders of my enduring crush on early ’70s Ali MacGraw. Continue reading

Christopher Plummer in Knives Out

Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey in Knives Out (2019)

Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey in Knives Out (2019)

Vitals

Christopher Plummer as Harlan Thrombey, mystery novelist and wealthy patriarch

Massachusetts, November 2018

Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

Background

The great Canadian actor Christopher Plummer died a week ago today at the age of 91 after three quarters of a century honing his craft across stage and screen from Shakespeare to The Sound of Music.

In his penultimate screen credit, Knives Out, Plummer starred as Harlan Thrombey, a charismatic writer who built his fortune through writing mystery novels and, on his 85th birthday, resolves to finally set his free-loading family free. Continue reading

Chris Evans’ Famous Fisherman’s Sweater in Knives Out

Chris Evans as Hugh "Ransom" Drysdale in Knives Out (2019)

Chris Evans as Hugh “Ransom” Drysdale in Knives Out (2019)

Vitals

Chris Evans as Hugh “Ransom” Drysdale, arrogant “trust fund prick”

Massachusetts, November 2018

Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

Background

Released a year ago this week, Knives Out offered a fresh spin on the classic “whodunit” genre, complete with an idiosyncratic detective—in this case, Daniel Craig as the observant Benoit Blanc—and a dysfunctional family plunged into a murder mystery at their palatial country estate. It’s that dysfunctional family element that inspired me to write about Knives Out today, on the eve of a Thanksgiving that’s sure to look different than usual for most households.

The last member of the Thrombey household to be introduced on screen is Ransom Drysdale—or Hugh to “the help”—the spoiled grandson of the late mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Even before Knives Out reached theaters, the internet was ablaze with preview images of Chris Evans lounging in Ransom’s moth-eaten fisherman’s sweater, reintroducing the classic Aran knitting technique to a new generation.

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Tony Soprano’s Chevron-Patterned Polo in “College”

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.05: "College")

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano on The Sopranos (Episode 1.05: “College”)

Vitals

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss

New England, Fall 1999

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “College” (Episode 1.05, dir. Allen Coulter, aired 2/7/1999)
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.

So preaches Hawthorne, seemingly speaking directly to Tony Soprano, in the denouement of the classic episode “College” (Episode 1.05) from the first season. Positioned as Bowdoin College’s most famous alum as Tony brings his daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) to visit the campus, Nathaniel Hawthorne also acts as a moral anchor to our protagonist after an unprecedented act of violence.

The fall 2020 semester will be a surreal experience for many returning to school across the United States as colleges adapt to remote learning or limited exposure in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, making the expected “back-to-school” keggers and social functions a relic of a not-so-distant past.

More than twenty years ago, audiences joined Meadow for her own surreal college experiences with a university tour with her father reveals more about him to her—and to the audience—than one would expect of the canned campus orientation. On August 22, the date established in-universe as Tony Soprano’s birthday (and creator David Chase’s actual birthday), let’s take a closer look at these pivotal scenes from the series’ first season. Continue reading

Troy Donahue’s Beach Cardigan in A Summer Place

Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee in A Summer Place (1959)

Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee in A Summer Place (1959)

Vitals

Troy Donahue as Johnny Hunter, college student and “silly sentimentalist”

New England, Spring 1959

Film: A Summer Place
Release Date: November 18, 1959
Director: Delmer Daves
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup

Background

Sixty years after shaking up more genteel audiences with its frank but ultimately tame depictions of adultery and sexuality, A Summer Place may be most widely remembered for its serene theme song. Originally written by Max Steiner, it was Percy Faith’s arrangement of “Theme from A Summer Place” that transformed the instrumental ballad into a #1 hit that took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks in early 1960.

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Goodbye, Columbus: Neil’s Corduroy Blazer

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Vitals

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman, listless library employee and Army veteran

Radcliffe College (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Fall 1968

Film: Goodbye, Columbus
Release Date: April 3, 1969
Director: Larry Peerce
Costume Designer: Gene Coffin

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Based on a novella by Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus marked the first major screen appearances for both Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw, who would receive a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer and a Laurel Award for Female New Face.

Goodbye, Columbus was released two years after The Graduate (though Roth’s source novella was published four years before Charles Webb’s The Graduate), and the similarities invited comparison between the two, with some critics like Dennis Schwartz favoring Goodbye, Columbus though it would be far lesser-known in the decades to follow. Continue reading

Daniel Craig in Knives Out

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out (2019)

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out (2019)

Vitals

Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, “a private investigator of great renown”

Massachusetts, November 2018

Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan

Background

Happy birthday to Daniel Craig, born 52 years ago today on March 2, 1968! While Craig is likely best known as the most recent actor to portray James Bond, one of his most celebrated recent roles has been his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Knives Out as Benoit Blanc, an idiosyncratic detective who describes himself as a “respectful, quiet, and passive observer of the truth.”

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Dennis Haysbert’s Yellow Plaid Coat in Far From Heaven

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven (2002)

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven (2002)

Vitals

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father

Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957

Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

Background

A recent Instagram post from my friend @chimesatmidnight reminded me of the fantastic fall style and autumnal aesthetic in Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ tribute to the incandescent melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk in the 1950s. Influenced by movies like All that Heaven Allows, Imitation of Life, and Written on the Wind, Haynes employed techniques from the era to provide the same idyllic mid-century look, feel, and sound, with the help of Elmer Bernstein’s original score, Kelley Baker’s sound, the richly detailed world created by production designer Mark Friedberg, and Edward Lachman’s thoughtful cinematography.

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Christmas in Connecticut: Chief Quartermaster Jones

Dennis Morgan and Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Dennis Morgan and Barbara Stanwyck in Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

Vitals

Dennis Morgan as Jefferson Jones, U.S. Navy Chief Quartermaster and war hero

Connecticut, Christmas 1944

Film: Christmas in Connecticut
Release Date: August 11, 1945
Director: Peter Godfrey

Background

Something about a naval uniform always reminds me of the holidays. Maybe it’s the happy homecoming of the heroic Commander Harry Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, or maybe it’s the charming naval hero in Christmas in Connecticut who finds himself instantly falling for Barbara Stanwyck (relatable enough) after he arrives on her doorstep to spend a memorable holiday in New England. Continue reading