Tagged: Private Detective

The Long Goodbye: Elliott Gould as a 1970s Philip Marlowe

Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye (1973)

Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye (1973)

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Elliott Gould as Philip Marlowe, wisecracking private investigator and “born loser”

Los Angeles, Summer 1972

Film: The Long Goodbye
Release Date: March 7, 1973
Director: Robert Altman
Men’s Costume Designer: Kent James (uncredited)

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I’m pleased to address a repeated request from BAMF Style leaders like Brandon and Craig to take a look at Elliott Gould’s scrappy attire as an equally scrappy Philip Marlowe in The Long Goodbye, maverick auteur Robert Altman’s adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s 1953 pulp novel of the same name.

It’s okay with me…

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Shaft’s Brown Leather Coat

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft in Shaft (1971)

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft in Shaft (1971)

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Richard Roundtree as John Shaft, tough private detective

New York City, January 1971

Film: Shaft
Release Date: June 25, 1971
Director: Gordon Parks
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi

Background

Almost 50 years after Richard Roundtree first stepped out onto a busy New York City street, John Shaft remains a cultural icon with the release of the fifth and latest installment of the Shaft canon that arrived in theaters this weekend.

Roundtree made his cinematic debut in 1971’s Shaft, establishing the blaxploitation genre and rapidly followed by two sequel movies and a short-lived TV show that all starred the former model as the tough private eye from Ernest Tidyman’s series of novels. Roundtree would reprise his role as John Shaft I—uncle of Samuel L. Jackson’s character—in Shaft (2000) and Shaft (2019)… yes, that’s three films in one series all named Shaft.

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The Rockford Files: Jim’s Pilot Episode Gun Club Check

James Garner as Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files (1974-1980)

James Garner as Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files (1974-1980)

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James Garner as Jim Rockford, wisecracking private detective and ex-convict

Los Angeles, Summer 1974

Series: The Rockford Files
Episode: “Backlash of the Hunter” (Pilot)
Air Date: March 27, 1974
Director: Richard T. Heffron
Creator: Roy Huggins & Stephen J. Cannell
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the 91st birthday of James Garner, the charismatic actor who grew to stardom with his starring roles on the Western series Maverick and in The Great Escape (1963) before taking on what would be his signature role as struggling private eye Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.

Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell developed The Rockford Files as a spiritual successor to Maverick, reinventing Garner’s charming gambler Bret Maverick as a modern-day private investigator with the same sarcastic yet sincere attitude and conflict-averse nature. Having already proven his private eye credentials by playing Raymond Chandler’s famous detective in Marlowe (1969), Garner stepped into Jim Rockford’s loafers and established one of the greatest TV roles ever.

This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and number. I’ll get back to you…

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Vertigo: Jimmy Stewart’s Brown Suit and White DeSoto

James Stewart as John "Scottie" Ferguson with his white DeSoto in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson with his white DeSoto in Vertigo (1958)

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James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Francisco, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Let’s kick off the winter edition of BAMF Style’s semi-annual (or is that bi-annual) Car Week where I take an additional look at what these well-dressed characters are driving.

Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s noir-esque 1958 thriller and the last of his four collaborations with James Stewart, finds the actor behind the wheel of a white DeSoto coupe as he follows Kim Novak’s character around San Francisco from her Nob Hill apartment and the Podesta Baldocchi flower shop to Mission Dolores and their fateful meeting at Fort Point on the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Continue reading

James Garner as Marlowe: Gray Tweed Jacket

James Garner as Philip Marlowe in Marlowe (1969)

James Garner as Philip Marlowe in Marlowe (1969)

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James Garner as Philip Marlowe, cynical private detective

Los Angeles, Spring 1969

Film: Marlowe
Release Date: October 22, 1969
Director: Paul Bogart
Costume Design: Florence Hackett & James Taylor

Background

Save for a single season of a loosely adapted ABC TV series, he character of Philip Marlowe had gone more than two decades without a cinematic portrayal at the time Marlowe was released in 1969. Directed by the appropriately named Paul Bogart (no relation), this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s 1949 pulp novel The Little Sister updated the setting to contemporary Los Angeles.

James Garner took some criticism for his take on the famous private eye, but I think the likable actor’s vulnerable sincerity works for his interpretation of Chandler’s anti-hero.  Continue reading

Mitchum as Marlowe: Striped Summer Suit in The Big Sleep

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

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Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe, American private investigator

London, September 1977

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: March 13, 1978
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Ron Beck

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Raymond Chandler’s birthday was 130 years ago today (July 23, 1888), so I’m celebrating the hard-boiled author’s big day with a look at a cinematic portrayal of one of his most enduring creations, cynical private eye Philip Marlowe, as played by Robert Mitchum in this 1978 update of The Big Sleep.

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Mitchum as Marlowe: Striped Jacket in The Big Sleep

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe, American private investigator

London, September 1977

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: March 13, 1978
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Ron Beck

Background

Philip Marlowe is a bold dresser. We learn that from the opening paragraph of Raymond Chandler’s inaugural novel, The Big Sleep, with the description of the detective’s powder blue suit, dark blue underpinnings, and socks with clocks. The rest of the United States may have adopted a somber approach to dressing during the years of the Depression, but Marlowe is an L.A. private eye. He’s gotta turn heads.

Decades after the novel’s publication and Bogie and Bacall sizzled in its first cinematic adaptation, the story was once again slated for the silver screen. Continue reading

Mitchum as Marlowe: Gray Plaid Jacket in The Big Sleep

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1978)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe, American private investigator

London, September 1977

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: March 13, 1978
Director: Michael Winner
Costume Designer: Ron Beck

Background

More than three decades after Bogart and Bacall lit up the screen in The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler’s seminal pulp detective novel was reimagined for the contemporary setting of late 1970s England with ultimate silver screen tough guy Robert Mitchum in the lead role as Raymond Chandler’s cynical private eye, Philip Marlowe.

We catch up here with Marlowe the morning after he takes his case as he joins the police in their investigation of the Sternwood family’s chauffeur, dead in an apparent accident that soon reveals itself to be murder. Following a few leads takes Marlowe to a flat where he encounters blackmailer Joe Brody (Edward Fox), femme fatale Agnes Lozelle (Joan Collins), General Sternwood’s flighty youngest daughter Camilla (Candy Clark), and trigger-happy gunsel Karl Lundgren (Simon Fisher-Turner)… all of whom armed with a handgun but, as Marlowe wryly notes, no brains to boot. Continue reading

After the Thin Man: White Tie for New Year’s Eve

William Powell and Myrna Loy in After the Thin Man (1936)... with Skippy as Asta

William Powell and Myrna Loy in After the Thin Man (1936)… with Skippy as Asta

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William Powell as Nick Charles, retired private detective

San Francisco, New Year’s Eve 1936

Film: After the Thin Man
Release Date: December 25, 1936
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Wardrobe Credit: Dolly Tree

Background

After the Thin Man was released on Christmas 1936 as a continuation of The Thin Man, as its title implies. The all-original story was drafted by Dashiell Hammett himself immediately after the success of the first film, although Hammett had first envisioned circumstances that would send his witty detective duo back to New York City. Eventually, the decision was made to have the Charles couple solving a crime in their hometown of San Francisco. Continue reading

The Thin Man: Nick’s Christmas Loungewear

William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934)... with Skippy as Asta!

William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man (1934)… with Skippy as Asta!

Vitals

William Powell as Nick Charles, retired private detective

New York City, Christmas 1933

Film: The Thin Man
Release Date: May 25, 1934
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Wardrobe Credit: Dolly Tree

Background

Suffice it to say that Nick and Nora Charles had quite a Christmas. Following a drunken holiday party, the sleepy couple was interrupted by the gat-wielding Joe Morelli (Edward Brophy), a fast-talking “get me, see?”-type of gangster whose quick trigger finger is no match for Nick Charles’ quick wit.

A few hours later, Nick spends Christmas morning recovering and in a perpetual daze possibly due to his recent flesh wound, the magic of the holidays, or – most likely – a large quantity of Scotch in his system. Continue reading