Gary Cooper as Frank Flannagan, wealthy playboy industrialist
Yvelines, France, Summer 1957
Film: Love in the Afternoon
Release Date: May 29, 1957
Director: Billy Wilder
Costume Designer: Jay A. Morley, Jr. (uncredited)
April 23 is celebrated as National Picnic Day, an observance that can still be observed in relative isolation for those willing and able to safely venture outdoors. The word “picnic” derives from the late 17th century French word pique-nique that had originally described restaurant diners who brought their own wine, essentially an early form of BYOB. In the years following the French revolution, the word took on its more familiar connotation as the country’s royal parks were opened to the greater public, who would spend hours and even days preparing lavish luncheons for outdoor dining. Given this French association, let’s check in on two classic film stars enjoying a picnic near Château de Vitry in the 1957 romantic comedy Love in the Afternoon.
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
On this #SinatraSaturday, we celebrate the famous singer’s favorite color by commemorating his appearance on the cover of LIFE magazine 55 years ago this week when he was photographed by John Dominis in an orange cardigan, white turtleneck, and houndstooth trilby for a cover story titled “Sinatra Opens Up”.
Around the same time, Frank Sinatra was filming the amusing ’60s romp Marriage on the Rocks with his friends and occasional co-stars Dean Martin and Deborah Kerr. The movie also provided Nancy Sinatra with her first opportunity to act opposite her father, playing his daughter on-screen as well. (The original title was Divorce American Style until Cy Howard’s original screenplay was deemed too offensive, resulting in rewrites under the title Community Property before all settled on the Rat Pack-friendly title Marriage on the Rocks.)
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, American con artist and sophisticated sociopath
Rome, Italy, August 1959
Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Whether or not you subscribe to the mindset that it’s only appropriate in the Northern Hemisphere after Memorial Day, there’s a strong chance you’ll be seeing a lot more white over the summer months to follow. For gents interested in standing out with a white suit this summer, Alain Delon sets a characteristic gold standard in Plein soleil, itself a paean to elegant summer style. Continue reading
Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent
Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
With a tight screenplay from Ben Hecht, a dream cast including Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains, and a finely developed cinematic maturity as the by-product of a quarter-century of directing, Notorious is considered a career high in the filmography of Alfred Hitchcock.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, former ad man in search of himself
Oklahoma to California, Fall 1970
Series: Mad Men
– “The Milk and Honey Route” (Episode 7.13), dir. Matthew Weiner, aired 5/10/2015
– “Person to Person” (Episode 7.14), dir. Matthew Weiner, aired 5/17/2015
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
To honor the anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, published today in 1957, I’m taking a look at “The Milk and Honey Route,” the penultimate episode of Mad Men in which Don Draper’s journey to find himself drives him through the heart-land of darkness.
Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, hotel owner and international thief
En route Amsterdam, November 2004
Film: Ocean’s Twelve
Release Date: December 10, 2004
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero
Pitt’s Costumer: Bruno de Santa
Bomb cyclone. Polar vortex. Whatever you call it, the frigid cold is here in the north, and you’d be well-advised to prep for it by bundling up and/or getting out of town. (Readers in the Southern Hemisphere, my frosty self envies you!)
Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, charming part-time car service driver and full-time cad
Middlesex, England, Summer 1965
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
During his stay in a convalescent home earlier in the movie, Alfie Elkins (Michael Caine) befriended Harry Clamacraft (Alfie Bass, hey his name actually is Alfie!). Alfie later returns to visit Harry, who requests that Alfie give a ride to his tired-looking wife Lily (Vivien Merchant) in his Rolls-Royce.
The reluctant ride turns into a summertime seduction as Alfie and Lily make a fateful stop for “a nice cup of tea.” Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad exec and suburban dad
Ossining, New York, April 1960
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Marriage of Figaro” (Episode 1.03)
Air Date: August 2, 2007
Director: Ed Bianchi
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
In addition to Mad Men‘s first mention of Dick Whitman, “Marriage of Figaro” includes a snazzy casual outfit for a slick spring weekend in the suburbs.
The first two episodes certainly hinted at the deep layers lurking beneath the man first introduced to us as Don Draper, but it is “Marriage of Figaro” that breaks Mad Men‘s ground in exploring our ostensible protagonist’s isolation and loneliness… a quality that Emily VanDerWerff of The AV Club described as “his essential unhappiness.” Continue reading
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, cold and calculating Mafia boss
Havana, December 1958
Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Get into a smooth, summer relaxation mood for this Mafia Monday post that takes a look at Michael Corleone’s style for Hyman Roth’s birthday party in Havana… an appropriately timed post as my dad just returned from a trip to Cuba. (Yes, he brought back some Cohibas!)
What’d He Wear?
For all of his power and prestige, Michael Corleone has a considerably limited wardrobe, designed by the legendary Theadora Van Runkle (Bonnie and Clyde, Bullitt, and The Thomas Crown Affair are all among her repertoire.)
Michael makes good use of his four unique suits in The Godfather Part II, sometimes wearing a three-piece suit without a vest or, as we see in this case, adopting a more luxuriously casual look by swapping out the shirt and tie for a soft polo and a day cravat.
Although it appears a flat tan at the outset, this fully cut two-piece suit consists of a fine tan and cream plain weave glen check with teal blue on the outer check to create a teal windowpane effect throughout. Continue reading
James Dean as Jim Stark, confused suburban high school student and loner
Los Angeles, Spring 1956
Film: Rebel Without a Cause
Release Date: October 27, 1955
Director: Nicholas Ray
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Car Week concludes with a look at one of the most iconic drivers to ever speed across the silver screen: James Dean.
In Rebel Without a Cause, the second of Dean’s three credited films as an actor, Dean played the archetypical angsty teen Jim Stark. After a drunkenly difficult Easter Sunday that landed him in some hot water with the local fuzz, Jim begins his first day at Dawson High School and finds himself also at odds with most of his fellow students – particularly a bully who is, of course, named Buzz.
During a field trip that day to the Griffith Observatory overlooking the city, Jim further antagonizes his new enemies by… uh… existing? Buzz isn’t a very understanding sort of person.
After slashing the tires of Jim’s ’49 Mercury coupe and trying to get a knife fight going, Buzz challenges him to a “chickie run” at Millertown Bluff, setting the stage for the film’s climactic stolen car race. Continue reading