Tagged: Seersucker

Body Heat: William Hurt’s Lawyerly Seersucker

William Hurt as Ned Racine in Body Heat (1981)

William Hurt as Ned Racine in Body Heat (1981)

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William Hurt as Ned Racine, unscrupulous attorney

Palm Beach, Florida, Summer 1981

Film: Body Heat
Release Date: August 28, 1981
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Costume Designer: Renié

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I couldn’t let the hottest summer of my lifetime end without talking about Body Heat, especially as Lawrence Kasdan’s sweaty directorial debut will celebrate the 40th anniversary of its release in two days.

The term “neo-noir” has often been used—and, indeed, overused—to describe stylish, shadowy, and sexy crime dramas with elements recalling film noir’s golden era in the ’40s and ’50s, though Body Heat struck me as one of the prized handful of movies most deserving of the description, perfectly balancing the spirit of classic noir with contemporary cinematic expectations without falling too far in either direction. Continue reading

Goodbye, Columbus: Neil’s Date Night Seersucker

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus (1969)

Vitals

Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman, listless library employee and Army veteran

Westchester, New York, Summer 1968

Film: Goodbye, Columbus
Release Date: April 3, 1969
Director: Larry Peerce
Costume Designer: Gene Coffin

Background

In addition to today being the birthday of star Richard Benjamin—born on this day in 1938—today also marks three years since the death of Philip Roth, who died of congestive heart failure on May 22, 2018. Roth’s novella Goodbye, Columbus provided the source material for Ali MacGraw’s major screen debut acting opposite Benjamin.

Goodbye, Columbus has been favorably compared to The Graduate, inviting parallels with its similar-looking leads: a somewhat awkward, naive, and listless young man romancing a dark-haired “princess” against her parents’ wishes (though for a dramatically different reason than the Robinsons had), scored against the backdrop of a hip band from the late ’60s, in this case The Association as opposed to Simon & Garfunkel’s famous soundtrack for The Graduate.

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The Graduate: Dustin Hoffman’s Seersucker Jacket

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock in The Graduate (1967)

Vitals

Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, nervous and aimless college graduate

Los Angeles, Summer 1967

Film: The Graduate
Release Date: December 22, 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
Costume Designer: Patricia Zipprodt

Background

Dustin Hoffman may be turning 83 today, but for many he’ll always be the young Benjamin Braddock, freshly home from college with his entire adult life—with all of its expectations and inevitable disappointments—to follow.

Benjamin’s first summer as a college graduate is spent with lazy days by the pool and covert nights with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the domineering yet vulnerable wife of his father’s law partner. The Braddocks, obviously unaware of their son’s ongoing assignations with her mother, pressure him into taking Elaine Robinson (Katharine Ross). A Berkeley student, Elaine would be a more suitable partner for Benjamin due to age, temperament, and several other factors, but the formidable Mrs. Robinson—we never do learn her first name—won’t have it.

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The Godfather, Part II: Tom Hagen’s Seersucker Suit

Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

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Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, levelheaded Mafia lawyer

Lake Tahoe, Fall 1958

Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The second Thursday in June is recognized as National Seersucker Day in the United States, an observance that began in Congress during the late 1990s to celebrate the traditional congressional summer dress in the days of the early 20th century before air conditioning reached the Capitol.

Apropos his quiet persona, Tom Hagen makes his inconspicuous return in The Godfather, Part II, seen almost in silhouette against the window as he greets the smarmy, crooked, and proudly blunt Senator Pat Geary (G.D. Spradlin) in the Don’s Lake Tahoe estate on the day of his son’s first communion. Continue reading

Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

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Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, principled Southern lawyer

Maycomb, Alabama, Summer 1932 and 1933

Film: To Kill a Mockingbird
Release Date: December 25, 1962
Director: Robert Mulligan
Costume Designer: Rosemary Odell
Tailor: H. Huntsman & Sons, London

Background

Today marks the birthday of Gregory Peck, born April 5, 1916. Peck’s arguably most iconic role was that of the patient, humble, and earnest defense attorney Atticus Finch, a portrayal that earned Peck the Academy Award and was voted the #1 screen hero of all time in a 2003 AFI poll, outranking cinematic badasses like James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Ellen Ripley and illustrating that the most heroic strength is strength of moral character.

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