Tagged: Raincoat

Michael Caine as Alfie – Leather-Accented Raincoat

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins in Alfie (1966).

Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins in Alfie (1966).

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Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, caddish Cockney car service driver

London, Spring 1962

Film: Alfie
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

April showers in the spring are a fine reason to invest in a new raincoat, and – for all his faults – Alfie Elkins shows off a stylish example as he heads over to Emilio Scala Maternity Hospital to greet the product of his association with Gilda. Alfie is none too pleased with her choice of names:

Malcolm bleeding Alfred? He’ll never forgive you if you give him a name like that!

…but given his lack of involvement in either the child’s life or hers, I wouldn’t exactly believe that he deserves a say in the matter. Continue reading

Spy Game: Redford’s Herringbone Tweed Sportcoat

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in Spy Game (2004).

Robert Redford as Nathan Muir in Spy Game (2001).

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Robert Redford as Nathan Muir, shrewd CIA case officer

Langley, VA, April 1991

Film: Spy Game
Release Date: November 21, 2001
Director: Tony Scott
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
Redford’s Costumer: David Page

Background

After Brad Pitt spent roughly the first decade of his career being compared to Robert Redford, Tony Scott’s Spy Game paired the two actors as a world-weary CIA officer and his idealistic trainee.

The bulk of the action is set in April 1991 as the Cold War is whispering its final breaths and the world’s intelligence agencies begin looking for a new paranoia to exploit. Agent Tom Bishop (Pitt) has gone rogue, and his mentor Nathan Muir (Redford) is called in on the last day before his retirement to lend a helping hand to the new generation of overseers. Continue reading

Bogart in The Big Sleep: Gray Birdseye Wool Suit

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946).

Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep (1946).

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Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, archetypal hard-boiled private detective

Los Angeles, Fall 1945

Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: August 23, 1946
Director: Howard Hawks
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The Big Sleep is often considered the apex of American film noir. Plot becomes secondary (and often disregarded) in favor of colorful characters made of private eyes, floozy femme fatales, and pornographers spitting snappy dialogue at each other against the backdrop of both the glamorous and seamy sides of the city. The same plot and characters from Raymond Chandler’s 1939 source novel are here, with the anti-Code elements like pornography and homosexuality all but removed. Continue reading

Bogart’s Trench Coat and Suit in Casablanca

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942).

Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca (1942), surrounded by friends and foe.

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Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, cynical “gin joint” manager

Casablanca, Morocco, December 1941

Film: Casablanca
Release Date: November 26, 1942
Director: Michael Curtiz

Background

Before Casablanca was released in 1942, Humphrey Bogart had spent the majority of his career in secondary roles as sniveling bastards. His first major role in The Petrified Forest saw him as a Dillinger-esque armed robber far more interested in his six-shooter than romance. He was the foil to Jimmy Cagney’s criminal “hero” in Warner Brothers gangster flicks like Angels With Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties, and it wasn’t until 1941 when he finally received star billing in both High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. The latter film is often considered his breakout role as the cynical P.I. Sam Spade, but it wasn’t until a year later with Casablanca that he would finally be a romantic lead.

The role of Rick Blaine was perfect for Bogie, finally allowing him to develop a romantic depth to his character’s cynicism. Casablanca was never intended to be anything out of the ordinary, despite the cavalcade of stars and writers involved in its production. Many, including those at Warner Brothers, considered it to be a mere copy of the now-forgotten 1938 film Algiers. The film exceeded all expectations and is considered to be one of the few true masterpieces in cinema. It took home the three major production Oscars in 1943 for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard E. Koch, and an uncredited Casey Robinson), and shines a contemporary look at World War II. Continue reading

Clive Owen as “The Professor” in The Bourne Identity

Clive Owen as "The Professor" in The Bourne Identity (2002).

Clive Owen as “The Professor” in The Bourne Identity (2002).

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Clive Owen as “The Professor”, English sleeper assassin for the CIA

Paris, Winter 2002

Film: The Bourne Identity
Release Date: June 14, 2002
Director: Doug Liman
Costume Designer: Pierre-Yves Gayraud

Background

A hallmark of the Bourne series is the dogged adversary, usually a fellow government assassin who always manages to stay one step ahead of our protagonist, even when the agency itself can’t quite manage to do the same. The first major example of this adversary is “The Professor”, the otherwise unnamed hitman played by Clive Owen in The Bourne Identity. Continue reading

Steve McQueen’s Brown 3-Piece Suit as Thomas Crown

Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

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Steve McQueen as Thomas Crown, millionaire busienssman and criminal mastermind

Boston, Summer 1968

Film: The Thomas Crown Affair
Release Date: June 19, 1968
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

The Thomas Crown Affair is one film where I would feel comfortable ruling that the style outweighs the substance. In some ways, the plot reads like a harlequin novel – a dashing millionaire is investigated by an impossibly stunning insurance investigator and the two play a cat-and-mouse game, culminating in some symbolism-driven sex and his eventual escape. It is a simple plot in a film best remembered for its lavish touches across the board from cinematography to costuming.

In fact, Crown himself is far more sophisticated than the plot. Watching for plot can be more than mildly frustrating as the film really electrifies when McQueen and Dunaway are onscreen and – not the fault of the other actors – stumbles when neither are there to save it. The film is still a fun and very ’60s caper, but it’s important to keep in mind that the focus is totally on style. Continue reading

Michael Caine in Get Carter

Michael Caine as Jack Carter in Get Carter (1971).

Michael Caine as Jack Carter in Get Carter (1971).

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Michael Caine as Jack Carter, ruthless London gangster

Newcastle, England, Spring 1971

Film: Get Carter
Release Date: March 10, 1971
Director: Mike Hodges
Costume Designer: Evangeline Harrison
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

Get Carter is arguably one of the greatest crime films of all time, making it – by my default – one of the greatest films of all time. Bleak, gritty, and violent, and, the film was the love child of director Mike Hodges and superstar Michael Caine with a screenplay written by Hodges from Ted Lewis’ 1970 novel Jack’s Return Home. Although Hodges had originally drafted the screenplay with Ian Hendry (who would play Eric Paice in the film) in mind for the lead role, Caine eventually took the role that cemented his place as a cinema icon. Hodges was surprised that a major star like Caine would take on the role of Jack Carter; although Caine had previously played a gangster in The Italian Job, Charlie Croker was more of a charming ne’er-do-well while Carter was a restrained but brutal and ultimately unlikable killer. Continue reading

Nikolai in Eastern Promises

Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai Luzhin in Eastern Promises (2007).

Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai Luzhin in Eastern Promises (2007).

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Viggo Mortensen as Nikolai Luzhin, Russian Mafiya “undertaker” and chauffeur with a few secrets of his own

London, Christmas 2006

Film: Eastern Promises
Release Date: September 8, 2007
Director: David Cronenberg
Costume Designer: Denise Cronenberg

Background

WARNING! Spoilers possible!
Eastern Promises is a great film, but there is a noteworthy twist that is hard to ignore when discussing the main character. If you haven’t seen it, please watch it before reading the post! Continue reading

The Untouchables: Ness’ Gray 3-Piece Suit

Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness in The Untouchables (1987).

Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness in The Untouchables (1987).

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Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, honest and intrepid federal agent

Chicago, September 1930

Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

Background

This blog has been focusing on a lot of bad guys lately, so let’s take a look at a good guy… at least according to the film about him.

Despite what Robert Stack and Kevin Costner’s portrayals may have you believe, Eliot Ness didn’t single-handedly stop Al Capone’s reign of terror over the city of Chicago. Even Ness’ own account paints himself as a crime-fighting pariah who overcame the odds with a tight-knit group of rogue lawmen and brought down a monster. Continue reading

Bullitt’s Suit and ’68 Mustang Fastback

Welcome to Car Week! The inaugural post will be a bit of an anomaly, as the outfit and the car featured are never seen in the same scenes together. Forgive this brief misstep and expect to see it rectified throughout the week. However, how could any blog like this start without featuring the legendary ’68 Mustang from Bullitt?

Steve McQueen as Bullitt.

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

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Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, maverick SFPD inspector

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

There is little dispute among both film and automobile fans that 1968’s Bullitt features the best car chase scene in movie history. Steve McQueen faces off in a fastback Mustang GT against two hitmen in a black Charger. By now, diehard fans of the film know that the Charger legendarily overtook and outpowered the Mustang during the actual filming, although it was still edited to have McQueen’s driving emerge victorious as the Charger ended up, sadly, in a ball of flame. Continue reading