Tagged: Private Detective

The Nice Guys: Russell Crowe’s Blue ’70s Leather Jacket

Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy in The Nice Guys (2016)

Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy in The Nice Guys (2016)

Vitals

Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy, unlicensed private detective

Los Angeles, Fall 1977

Film: The Nice Guys
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Director: Shane Black
Costume Designer: Kym Barrett

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I was pleased to again join my friends Pete Brooker and Ken Stauffer on another episode of Pete’s podcast From Tailors With Love, this time discussing the fun ’70s style of Shane Black’s action comedy The Nice Guys.

For those unfamiliar, the “nice guys” in question are Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, bringing back Black’s signature buddy comedy style in a big way as competing private eyes Jackson Healy and Holland March, respectively.

The older and worldlier yet paunchier Jack is more an enforcer than investigator, balancing his limb-breaking toughness with at least some remaining scruples, particularly when compared to the younger and less experienced Holly, who’s not above taking a case agreeing to help an aging woman track down her “missing” husband… whose ashes rest in an urn just a few feet away from them.

Like Crowe’s star-making turn almost twenty years earlierThe Nice Guys’ conspiratorial heartbeat is driven by Kim Basinger’s role at the intersection of corruption and porn in the City of Angels forty years prior, but the villains’ overcomplicated scheme are certainly secondary to the comedic chemistry between Crowe and Gosling, whom I—and Crowe himself—would love to see re-team for a follow-up… and with a built-in sequel title like The Nicer Guys, what’s stopping them? Continue reading

Magnum, P.I.: The Black Jungle Bird Aloha Shirt

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I.

Vitals

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, Summer 1981

Series: Magnum, P.I.
Episodes:
– “Skin Deep” (Episode 1.06, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 1/15/1981)
– “The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club” (Episode 1.11, dir. Winrich Kolbe, aired 2/19/1981)
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo (credited with first season only)
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy Aloha Friday!

Even those who have never seen Magnum, P.I. are familiar with its title character’s image: the cherry-red Ferrari, a mustache to rival Burt Reynolds, and—very frequently—the Hawaiian shirts, contextually appropriate given the series’ Hawaiian setting. In fact, Tom Selleck’s characterization of the Oahu-based private investigator arguably established Thomas Magnum as the most iconic Hawaiian shirt-wearer of all time. Continue reading

Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, smooth private detective and “a chap worth knowing”

San Francisco, Spring 1941

Film: The Maltese Falcon
Release Date: October 3, 1941
Director: John Huston
Costume Designer: Orry-Kelly (credited for gowns)

Background

Now considered a seminal film noir, The Maltese Falcon celebrated its 80th anniversary last month. Dashiell Hammett’s excellent 1930 detective novel had already been adapted twice for the screen—once as a “lewd” pre-Code thriller and recycled as a zanier mid-’30s vehicle for Bette Davis—before Warner Bros. finally got it right.

The Maltese Falcon was the directorial debut for John Huston, who had faithfully adapted Hammett’s source material for his sharp script and demonstrated his sense of methodical efficiency, resulting in a masterpiece that benefited from the formula of director of photography Arthur Edelson’s low-key cinematography and a perfect cast led by Humphrey Bogart as the wisecracking gumshoe who “don’t mind a reasonable amount of trouble.” Continue reading

Night Moves: Gene Hackman’s Brown Suede Jacket

Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby in Night Moves (1975)

Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby in Night Moves (1975)

Vitals

Gene Hackman as Harry Moseby, private detective and former professional football player

Los Angeles to New Mexico, Fall 1973

Film: Night Moves
Release Date: June 11, 1975
Director: Arthur Penn
Costumer: Arnie Lipin
Costume Supervisor: Rita Riggs

Background

He may wear rollnecks and drive a green ’68 Mustang, but Harry Moseby ain’t no Frank Bullitt. Five years earlier, this type of character may have been styled in the manner of the cooler-than-cool Steve McQueen archetype, but the tumultuous half-decade that passed between the production of Bullitt and Night Moves saw waves of political assassinations, civil unrest, disillusionment in Vietnam, and post-Watergate paranoia that shifted the zeitgeist to a pessimistic cynicism that permeated much of ’70s cinema.

A decade after his career with the Oakland Raiders, Harry Moseby’s best days are well behind him as he continues eking out a living as a shabby Hollywood private eye, entertaining himself by playing chess on the passenger seat of his Mustang. Continue reading

Magnum, P.I.: The Purple Calla Lily Aloha Shirt

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in a promotional shot for Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in a promotional shot for Magnum, P.I.

Vitals

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, early 1980s

Series: Magnum, P.I., seasons 2 through 6
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Happy Aloha Friday! While the tradition of ending the workweek with a Hawaiian shirt dates back to the ’60s, today is a particularly significant Aloha Friday as the third Friday in August is observed as Statehood Day in Hawaii, commemorating Hawaii’s admission to the United States in August 1959.

Servicemen returning from the Pacific after World War II had an early role in introducing the colorful and tropical style of the Hawaiian islands to the continental U.S., aided over the following decades by movies like the Oscar-winning From Here to Eternity and the Elvis vehicle Blue Hawaii, but I would argue that few productions have been as impactful as bringing Aloha style mainstream as Magnum, P.I. Continue reading

Inherent Vice: Doc’s Jungle Jacket

Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello in Inherent Vice (2014)

Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello in Inherent Vice (2014)

Vitals

Joaquin Phoenix as Larry “Doc” Sportello, hippie private investigator

Los Angeles County, Fall 1970

Film: Inherent Vice
Release Date: December 12, 2014
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

One of my favorite “new watches” over the last year was Inherent Vice, adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name. Inherent Vice follows “Doc” Sportello, a stoner private eye dwelling in the fictional hippie enclave of Gordita Beach in southern California at the end of the ’60s. Like the best of P.I. pulp fiction, Doc’s case begins with a late visit from a young woman, in this case his ex-girlfriend Shasta Fay Hepworth (Katherine Waterston) seeking his help investigating land developer Mickey Wolfmann. When another client’s request also intersects with Wolfmann, Doc’s “paranoia alert” is triggered as he’s set on a path that intersects him with an aggressive detective, a plum-suited dentist, and a drug counselor who “[tries] to talk kids into sensible drug use.”

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The Nice Guys: Ryan Gosling’s ’70s Sportswear

Ryan Gosling as Holland March in The Nice Guys (2016)

Ryan Gosling as Holland March in The Nice Guys (2016)

Vitals

Ryan Gosling as Holland March, unscrupulous private detective and single dad

Los Angeles, Fall 1977

Film: The Nice Guys
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Director: Shane Black
Costume Designer: Kym Barrett

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Released five years ago this, week, The Nice Guys has been long overdue for some appreciation on here for its depiction of disco-era style and refreshing sense of humor.

The Nice Guys was directed and co-written by action cinema vet Shane Black, who explained to IndieWire that he wanted to make a playful tribute to the hardboiled detective thrillers he had grown up, choosing the ’70s to capitalize on the exuberance of the era and the “sense that we are all in it together… instead of all this divisiveness that we see now.” Anthony Bagarozzi, who co-wrote the script with Black, explained the irony of its title to Variety: “You know they’re two not-very-nice guys. One breaks arms for a living and the other cons old ladies out of money. It was literally the two worst people that we could think of and then trying to make that fun.”

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Blood Simple: M. Emmet Walsh’s Yellow Leisure Suit

M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser in Blood Simple (1984)

M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser in Blood Simple (1984)

Vitals

M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser, sleazy private detective

Texas, Fall 1982

Film: Blood Simple
Release Date: January 18, 1985
Director: Joel & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Sara Medina-Pape

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Spring is officially here, the season of warmer weather and bright colors… though a tacky yellow leisure suit may not be exactly what you had in mind! On the 86th birthday of prolific character actor M. Emmet Walsh, today’s post explores his eccentric but dangerous private eye in Blood Simple, the directorial debut of brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

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Magnum, P.I.: Cream V-Neck Cable-Knit Sweater

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. (Episode 1.14: "Adelaide")

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. (Episode 1.14: “Adelaide”)

Vitals

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, Summer 1981

Series: Magnum, P.I.
Episodes:
– “No Need to Know” (Episode 1.05, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 1/8/1981)
– “The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii” (Episode 1.08, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 1/29/1981)
– “Adelaide” (Episode 1.14, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 3/19/1981)
– “Beauty Knows No Pain” (Episode 1.18, dir. Ray Austin, aired 4/16/1981)
– “Tropical Madness” (Episode 2.07, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 11/12/1981)
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo (credited with first season only)
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

We all love Magnum, P.I., don’t we, folks? I’ll be transparent, I was hoping that I would have had enough of the series screencapped so that I could gift BAMF Style readers on the national observance of Selleck’s Birthday with a rundown of that iconic red “jungle bird” shirt that, if I’m not mistaken, was the most frequently worn—and prominently featured—of Tom’s tropical-printed Aloha shirts.

Though armed with the entire series on Blu-ray, my digital rewatch was stalled in the middle of the third season (blame the untimely death of my computer-friendly Blu-ray player and Amazon Prime for removing the show last summer), but the good news is that Tom sported enough stylish looks by that point that I should have plenty of Magnum fodder on hand to tide us over until I’m able to complete the series. (The bad news? Still nothing for those fans of Magnum’s Pepsi bezel Rolex.)

I considered the half-measure of featuring his black-and-neon version of the “jungle bird” shirt, but—given that Selleck’s January 29 birthday falls during #SweaterWeather for many of us in the Northern Hemisphere—it felt like the right time to divert from those famous Aloha shirts and summer-weight polos to focus on Magnum’s more winter-friendly knitwear. Continue reading

After the Thin Man: Nick Charles’ Light Double-Breasted Suit for the New Year

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

Vitals

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

Happy New Year! Dashiell Hammett and “One-Take Woody” Van Dyke continued the runaway success of The Thin Man by reuniting William Powell and Myrna Loy as crime-solving power couple Nick and Nora Charles, coming home to San Francisco after solving the famous “Thin Man” case during their holiday in New York. The three-day train ride returns Nick and Nora to the City by the Bay just in time for New Year’s Eve, where they find their home commandeered by revelers that have already kicked off their celebrations.

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