Tagged: Revolver

Cagney’s Leather Jacket in White Heat

James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat (1949)

James Cagney as Cody Jarrett in White Heat (1949)

Vitals

James Cagney as Arthur “Cody” Jarrett, ruthless gang leader and devoted son

Los Angeles, Spring 1950

Film: White Heat
Release Date: September 2, 1949
Director: Raoul Walsh
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the 120th birthday of James Cagney, the intense actor who brought realism and energy to his performances that ranged from deadpan comedy to complex tough guys. It was for the latter that Cagney, who Orson Welles described as “maybe the greatest actor who ever appeared in front of the camera,” is most remembered, particularly for his mature performance as the complex gangster Cody Jarrett in White Heat.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Shaft’s Brown Leather Coat

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft in Shaft (1971)

Richard Roundtree as John Shaft in Shaft (1971)

Vitals

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.

Continue reading

Clint Eastwood’s Derby Jacket in The Eiger Sanction

Clint Eastwood as Dr. Jonathan Hemlock in The Eiger Sanction (1975)

Clint Eastwood as Dr. Jonathan Hemlock in The Eiger Sanction (1975)

Vitals

Clint Eastwood as Dr. Jonathan Hemlock, college art professor and former assassin

Switzerland, Summer 1974

Film: The Eiger Sanction
Release Date: May 21, 1975
Director: Clint Eastwood
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright

Background

Happy birthday to Clint Eastwood, the actor and director who combined his talents in dozens of films, beginning with Play Misty for Me in 1971. Based on Trevanian’s 1972 novel, The Eiger Sanction was Eastwood’s third directorial effort. While criticized for his story, the thrilling climbing scenes and stunning mountain cinematography—namely, Monument Valley and Zion National Park—remain standouts of the espionage thriller.

Continue reading

John Wayne’s Navy Windbreaker as McQ

John Wayne as Lon McHugh in McQ (1974)

John Wayne as Lon McHugh in McQ (1974)

Vitals

John Wayne as Lon “McQ” McHugh, taciturn Seattle PD lieutenant

Seattle, Fall 1973

Film: McQ
Release Date: February 6, 1974
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Luster Bayless

Background

Today marks the birthday of John Wayne, the American icon who reinvented his half-century image as a stalwart of Westerns and war movies by taking on a duo of contemporary cop roles, beginning with McQ in 1974 and followed up with Brannigan the following year.

Born May 26, 1907, Duke was over 60 as he watched younger stars like Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood steal the action movie thunder with urban-set police thrillers. While McQueen’s impressive wheelmanship would be incorporated into McQ, it was the “shoot first, ask later” style of Eastwood’s Dirty Harry that particularly resonated with the old-school star as the opening sequence of McQ finds Duke’s rugged Seattle detective foiling a dockside hitman with his own six-shooter. Continue reading

Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer in The Highwaymen

Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer with a Remington Model 8 rifle in The Highwaymen (2019)

Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer with a Remington Model 8 rifle in The Highwaymen (2019)

Vitals

Kevin Costner as Frank Hamer, tough Texas special investigator and former Texas Ranger

Texas and Louisiana, Spring 1934

Film: The Highwaymen
Release Date: March 15, 2019 (March 29, 2019, on Netflix)
Director: John Lee Hancock
Costume Designer: Daniel Orlandi

Background

Following a decorated career in law enforcement that found him bravely and successfully leading investigations and captures of violent criminals, Frank Hamer is not the sort of man who should need a cultural reevaluation in his defense. And yet, it was the most celebrated victory of Hamer’s career—bringing an end to Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker’s violent crime spree—that would eventually result in the former Texas Ranger being villianized in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde that romanticized the titular outlaw couple to carry out its countercultural message.

Continue reading

Belmondo in Breathless: Tweed in Marseille

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard in À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard in À bout de souffle (Breathless) (1960).

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard, small-time car thief

Marseille, France, August 1959

Film: Breathless
(French title: À bout de souffle)
Release Date: March 16, 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Background

Happy birthday, Bébel! Jean-Paul Belmondo was born 86 years ago today in Neuilly-sur-Seine, west of Paris. Following a brief career as an amateur boxer and his compulsory military service, Belmondo began acting in the mid-1950s and found international stardom after his performance in Jean-Luc Godard’s À bout de souffle (Breathless to English-speaking audiences), a seminal example of the burgeoning French New Wave cinematic movement.

Continue reading

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)

Vitals

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…

Continue reading

The Yakuza: Robert Mitchum’s Tan Parka and Turtleneck

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer in The Yakuza (1974)

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer in The Yakuza (1974)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer, tough former detective

Tokyo, Spring 1974

Film: The Yakuza
Release Date: December 28, 1974
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The unique neo-noir Japanese gangster movie The Yakuza was conceptualized by brothers Paul and Leonard Schrader based on Leonard’s letters to Paul while living in Japan, particularly about the yakuza and the screen presence of Ken Takakura. While Takakura was almost always guaranteed to play a role, the crucial positions of the director and the lead actor—who would portray an aging former detective sent to Japan in service to an old friend—were still in transition.

Early in the pre-production stages, it looked like Robert Aldrich would direct with Lee Marvin in the lead role, until Marvin’s clash with Warner Brothers led to Robert Mitchum taking the role. Continue reading

James Coburn’s Corduroy Suit in Charade

James Coburn as Tex Panthollow in Charade (1963)

James Coburn as Tex Panthollow in Charade (1963)

Vitals

James Coburn as Tex Panthollow, larcenous former OSS commando

Paris, April 1963

Film: Charade
Release Date: December 5, 1963
Director: Stanley Donen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As portrayed by the brilliant and versatile James Coburn, Tex Panthollow makes his dramatic introduction in the beginning of Charade as the second of three mysterious men who show up to “pay respects” at the funeral of their one-time brother-in-arms Charles Lampert, each one increasingly perplexing his widow Reggie (Audrey Hepburn) with their behavior. Par examplum: Tex draws a hand-sized mirror from his inside breast pocket and holds it directly under the deceased’s nose to ensure that he’s really passed from this world before sneering: “Arrive-derci, Charlie.”

Continue reading

Joe Kidd

Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd in Joe Kidd (1972)

Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd in Joe Kidd (1972)

Vitals

Clint Eastwood as Joe Kidd, former bounty hunter

Territory of New Mexico, Spring 1902

Film: Joe Kidd
Release Date: July 14, 1972
Director: John Sturges

Background

After more than a decade as a rising star, particularly in the genre of Westerns, Clint Eastwood took on the title role in Joe Kidd (1972), an idiosyncratic revisionist Western written by Elmore Leonard that would be one of the last films directed by the legendary John Sturges.

We meet Joe Kidd when he is locked up for poaching on Native American land in the small town of Sinola, New Mexico, on a spring day in 1902, ten years before New Mexico would become the 47th state admitted to the U.S. A former bounty hunter, Joe remains neutral when he is invited to join a landowner’s posse tracking down the Mexican bandito Luis Chama (John Saxon), but he is eventually convinced to join after one of Chama’s attacks hits closer to home. Continue reading