Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, famous Southern detective
Spetses, Greece, May 2020
Film: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Release Date: November 23, 2022
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan
Three years ago this month, eccentric billionaire tech developer Miles Bron (Edward Norton) pulled together a half-dozen of his closest
friends frenemies for a weekend at his private Greek island. It’s May 2020, and—as in real life—the height of the COVID-19 lock-downs, though there appear to be no restrictions for Miles’ upper-class coterie.
While Miles welcomes some from outside his college clique, such as the laidback loafer Derol (Noah Segan), he’s unpleasantly surprised to greet the woman he had known as his former business partner Andi Brand (Janelle Monáe) and the famed detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig). Continue reading
George Segal as Andy Kelp, jewel thief and locksmith
New York City, Summer 1971
Film: The Hot Rock
Release Date: January 26, 1972
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Ruth Morley
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The start of spring this week means warmer weather ahead, with linen and seersucker replacing tweed and flannel at the front of my closet. One of my favorite cinematic seersucker suits is the colorfully appointed two-piece suit worn in The Hot Rock by George Segal, the prolific and versatile actor who died two years ago today on March 23, 2021. Continue reading
Jake Lacy as Shane Patton, smug and spoiled newlywed
Maui, Hawaii, Summer 2020
Series: The White Lotus
Episode: “New Day” (Episode 1.02)
Air Date: July 18, 2021
Director: Mike White
Creator: Mike White
Costume Designer: Alex Bovaird
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
While it’s the second season of The White Lotus that’s currently dominating memes and award show headlines, my honeymoon this week had me—for better or worse—recalling the frat-tastic style of the newlywed realtor Shane Patton (Jake Lacy) from the first season, set in Hawaii.
Lacy himself has described Shane as “the most entitled victim possible,” unable to enjoy his Hawaiian honeymoon with his new wife Rachel (Alexandra Daddario) after being assigned to a different luxury suite than expected, beginning a private battle against the beleaguered hotelier Armond (Murray Bartlett) that escalates through a series of drugs, defecation, and daggers. But before that… breakfast! Continue reading
Anthony Quinn as Colonel Andrea Stavros, tough Greek officer
Middle East, Fall 1943
Film: The Guns of Navarone
Release Date: April 27, 1961
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Wardrobe Credit: Monty M. Berman & Olga Lehmann
Seersucker Thursday may be one of the few remaining bipartisan aspects of American politics. Inspired by the practice of early 20th century congressmen donning their tailored seersucker suits, Mississippi Senator Trent Lott reinstated the tradition in 1996, to be observed by men and women of the Senate on the second or third Thursday in June to coincide with National Seersucker Day, a standing celebration of the cool-wearing cloth.
There have certainly been more elegant showcases of seersucker suits in cinematic history, but one of the toughest examples can be seen with The Guns of Navarone‘s introduction of Colonel Andrea Stavros, the pipe-smoking officer of the Hellenic Army’s 19th Motorized Division. Continue reading
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!
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
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
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.
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
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.
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!
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 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
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.