Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, troubled and crooked Vinci PD detective
Ventura County, California, fall 2014 to spring 2015
Series: True Detective
Air Dates: June 21, 2015 – August 9, 2015
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Costume Designer: Alix Friedberg
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The second season of HBO’s True Detective is, in my opinion, better judged when on its own than against its masterful and delightfully idiosyncratic first season. The second season brought together Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn in an acid neo-noir more in the pulp crime tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s worlds than that of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart.
Even the show’s fictional and corrupt berg of Vinci, California, shares some undeniable similarities with the Bay City of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, though it was indeed based on the rough industrial city of Vernon, where it was partially filmed.
Our self-destructive, repressed, and expendable cop protagonists, portrayed by the Farrell-McAdams-Kitsch triad, practice maverick techniques that border on impropriety but their ideals and values align them with the incorruptible Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade… naturally leading to the straight-out-of-pulp “last stand” holed up in a secluded motel room with seemingly endless bottles of whiskey. Continue reading
Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan, tough San Francisco Police Department inspector
San Francisco, August 1972
Film: Magnum Force
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: Ted Post
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright
Earth tones are a fall favorite for many, so take a few notes for your Friday date night style from Clint Eastwood’s earthy ensemble in Magnum Force, the first of four sequels featuring the incorruptible Inspector Harry Callahan.
Continuing what must be a subconscious focus on tough ’70s cop movies from Wednesday’s Brannigan post, this scene features Harry swilling Schlitz in front of the TV with Carol McCoy (Christine White), the wife of a suicidal traffic officer. When his superiors get word of a potential grocery store holdup, Harry – who had been demoted to stakeout duty – is called into action with his trusty .44. Continue reading
John Wayne as Jim Brannigan, tough Chicago PD lieutenant
London, Fall 1974
Release Date: March 26, 1975
Director: Douglas Hickox
Wardrobe Credit: Emma Porteous
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
If McQ was John Wayne’s Dirty Harry, then its spiritual successor Brannigan was his Coogan’s Bluff, a “fish out of water” cop film that finds the Duke’s taciturn American lawman in London to secure the extradition of arch-criminal Ben Larkin (John Vernon) under the watchful – and often judgmental – eye of the quintessentially English Scotland Yard Commissioner Swann (Richard Attenborough). Continue reading
Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, proudly old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal
Harlan County, Kentucky, March 2010
Episode: “Fire in the Hole” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: March 16, 2010
Director: Michael Dinner
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Ane Crabtree
BAMF Style concludes this weeklong focus on first episodes with an outfit from the pilot of Justified, one of my favorite modern crime shows.
Justified‘s pilot has a special place in my heart for being filmed in southwestern Pennsylvania, just outside my hometown of Pittsburgh. According to a June 2009 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the region was chosen for both aesthetic and practical reasons as a viable double for the South but with a tax rebate for film and TV productions that Kentucky doesn’t offer (or at least didn’t offer at the time.) Continue reading
Michael Douglas as Nick Curran, suspended homicide detective
San Francisco, April 1991
Film: Basic Instinct
Release Date: March 20, 1992
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
The nylon bomber jacket has made a comeback in recent years with few knowing the story of its all-too appropriate name, developed as the “MA-1” in the 1950s for American bomber pilots to replace the older B-15 flight jacket. Two decades later, the bomber jacket hit the civilian market with manufacturers like Alpha Industries introducing it to new audiences in colors other than the standard military olive drab. It was further popularized in TV and movies, including the almost ubiquitous appearance of an Alpha Industries MA-1 worn by Steve McQueen in The Hunter (1980).
Though the MA-1 bomber jacket was being phased out of active military use by the early ’90s, it still remained a staple of men’s casual wear and was a fitting choice as the go-to off-duty jacket worn by Michael Douglas’ fashionably tailored homicide detective Nick Curran in Basic Instinct. Continue reading
James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective
San Francisco, Fall 1957
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
San Francisco has always been a popular setting for detective movies. From 1940s film noir like The Maltese Falcon through the gritty ’60s and ’70s era with movies like Bullitt, Dirty Harry, and McQ, Hollywood has made the most of its picturesque neighbor to the distant north.
Though Alfred Hitchcock had filmed in the Bay area before, Vertigo was his first cinematic effort actually set in San Francisco and he makes the most of his setting. Continue reading
John Wayne as Lon “McQ” McHugh, taciturn Seattle PD lieutenant
Seattle, Fall 1973
Release Date: February 6, 1974
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Luster Bayless
It’s no Hollywood secret that McQ was originally developed as a vehicle for Steve McQueen. Five years after McQueen sat behind the wheel of a hunter green Mustang GT390 careening through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, the role of gruff Seattle police lieutenant Lon McHugh was retooled for screen legend John Wayne, who took on his first detective role at the age of 66.
Wayne, whose entire left lung had been surgically removed after a bout with cancer a decade earlier, could only walk short distances without needing oxygen – much to the chagrin of director John Sturges – but still turned in a surprisingly energetic performance as a cop who combines Dirty Harry’s stubborn grit with Bullitt’s propensity toward speeding around the city in a sporty dark green American muscle car. Continue reading