Tagged: South America

Quantum of Solace – Bond’s Brown Suit

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Quantum of Solace (2008)

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, rogue British government agent

La Paz, Bolivia, August 2008

Film: Quantum of Solace
Release Date: October 31, 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley

Background

The last post found us sailing down to Bolivia with the Sundance Kid, so let’s hang around and see what kind of trouble James Bond gets into in the same country for the 00-7th of April.

Exactly 100 years after Butch and Sundance met their fate in San Vicente, Daniel Craig’s rogue James Bond arrived in the country with his former MI6 handler Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), where they are immediately interrupted by the efficient Agent Fields (Gemma Arterton, who recently expressed that she wouldn’t take the role if offered it today). Continue reading

The Tailor of Panama: Andy Osnard’s Check Sportcoat

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (2001).

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (2001).

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard, sleazy and shrewd MI6 agent

Panama City, Fall 1999

Film: The Tailor of Panama
Release Date: March 30, 2001
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Maeve Paterson

Background

Pierce Brosnan had a reputation for playing smooth, dapper characters like Remington Steele, Thomas Crown, and – of course – James Bond, making it all the more entertaining when he traded in that image to play unapologetic cad Andy Osnard in John Boorman’s 2001 adaptation of John le Carré’s spy novel The Tailor of Panama.

Viewers at the time may have thought “Pierce Brosnan playing a British spy in an exotic setting? Won’t that just be James Bond?” John le Carré readers who were familiar with the book knew the answer was a resounding “Hell, no!” Continue reading

The Tailor of Panama: Harry Pendel’s Cream Suit

Geoffrey Rush as Harry Pendel in The Tailor of Panama (2001).

Geoffrey Rush as Harry Pendel in The Tailor of Panama (2001).

Vitals

Geoffrey Rush as Harry Pendel, tailor to Panama’s finest and ex-con

Panama City, Fall 1999

Film: The Tailor of Panama
Release Date: March 30, 2001
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Maeve Paterson

Background

I tend to get grumpy about sartorial “rules”, including the snobbish American insistence that white can only be worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day. While I wouldn’t see much of a need to wear white (or that of its ilk) on a chilly winter day in Pittsburgh, it’s still frustrating to be informed what I can and can’t wear. For all of his faults, Boss Hogg deserves some credit for refusing to yield to arbitrary rules of dress and proudly wearing his white busting-at-the-seams three-piece suit all year round.

Luckily for Harry Pendel, this rule doesn’t apply in the tropical locale of Panama where the British expat (and ex-con) has set up his tailor shop. Harry is one of the few characters from his novels that John le Carré felt he could relate to, stating that “I was exploring the relationship between myself and my own fabricator. Anybody in the creative business, as you might call it, has some sense of guilt about fooling around with fact, that you’re committing larceny, that all of life is material for your fabulations.”

Director John Boorman said he always imagined Geoffrey Rush for the role. “You never lose sympathy for Geoffrey on screen, even when he does dreadful things,” explained Boorman. “There’s something worn yet innocent about him.” Continue reading

The Tailor of Panama: Andy Osnard’s Linen Suit

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (2001). His right arm is folded behind his back; he is not playing an amputee.

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard in The Tailor of Panama (2001). His right arm is folded behind his back; he is not playing an amputee.

Vitals

Pierce Brosnan as Andy Osnard, sleazy and shrewd MI6 agent

Panama City, Fall 1999

Film: The Tailor of Panama
Release Date: March 30, 2001
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Maeve Paterson

Background

The Tailor of Panama, John Boorman’s darkly comic adaptation of John le Carré’s spy novel, presents Pierce Brosnan as we’d never seen him before.

“Yeah, a hard-drinking MI6 agent who beds women in exotic locales. Real switch-up for him,” you say, dubiously.

Of course, Brosnan’s character Andy Osnard could best be described as the anti-Bond. Continue reading

George Jung’s White Leisure Suit in Blow

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001), from New Line Cinema.

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001), from New Line Cinema.

Vitals

Johnny Depp as George Jung, international cocaine dealer

Miami to Colombia, Summer 1977

Film: Blow
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

Pablo Escobar: So, you’re the man, huh? Who takes fifty kilos and make them disappear in one day.
George Jung: Actually, it was three days.

As a multimillion dollar-earning international drug dealer, George Jung was well-known to the drug culture and law enforcement by the time Bruce Porter’s 1993 book, Blow, was released. However, it was the Ted Demme-directed 2001 film of the same name that brought Jung’s life into the mainstream with Johnny Depp in the lead role. Continue reading

Scarface: Tony’s White Pinstripe Suit

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983).

Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface (1983).

Vitals

Al Pacino as Tony Montana, ambitious Cuban-American cocaine dealer

Miami (and Colombia), Summer 1981

Film: Scarface
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris

Background

One of the few sartorial rules actually practiced in the United States is adherence to the “no white after Labor Day” rule. While it’s technically outdated, having been decided after the Civil War by snobbish housewives who wanted to establish their place in society, it makes sense that light-colored attire would find its place in the summer. Further enhancing the arbitrary rule, the snobbish housewives’ society determined that Memorial Day would mark the first day for white clothing to be appropriate in polite society.

While he may not be the prime example of “polite society” in the eyes of postbellum America, Tony Montana redefined drug dealer chic in 1983’s Scarface with his numerous sharp suits and incomparable swagger while wearing them. Continue reading

The Tailor of Panama: Harry Pendel’s Light Gray Suit

Geoffrey Rush as Harry Pendel in The Tailor of Panama (2001).

Geoffrey Rush as Harry Pendel in The Tailor of Panama (2001).

Vitals

Geoffrey Rush as Harry Pendel, tailor to Panama’s finest and ex-con

Panama City, Fall 1999

Film: The Tailor of Panama
Release Date: March 30, 2001
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Maeve Paterson

Background

For once, someone in a film is better dressed than Pierce Brosnan!

The Tailor of Panama is a 2001 film directed by John Boorman (Point Blank, Deliverance, The General) from a novel by John le Carré. As one would expect from le Carré, it is a complex, tightly-wound, and realistic espionage tale with much dark humor deriving from the realistically grounded characters. Both the film and the novel were wisely recommended to me by Roman, an astute and frequent commenter of this blog. Continue reading