James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Spring 2004
Series: The Sopranos
– “Rat Pack” (Episode 5.02, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 3/14/2004)
– “In Camelot” (Episode 5.07, dir. Steve Buscemi, aired 4/18/2004)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
This week’s #MafiaMonday post celebrates the late James Gandolfini, the award-winning actor who would have celebrated his 57th birthday tomorrow.
Gandolfini won multiple awards, including three Emmys, for his performance as the tough yet troubled gangster Tony Soprano on HBO’s The Sopranos, setting the foundation for future TV icons. Continue reading
James Garner as Philip Marlowe, cynical private detective
Los Angeles, Spring 1969
Release Date: October 22, 1969
Director: Paul Bogart
Costume Design: Florence Hackett & James Taylor
Save for a single season of a loosely adapted ABC TV series, he character of Philip Marlowe had gone more than two decades without a cinematic portrayal at the time Marlowe was released in 1969. Directed by the appropriately named Paul Bogart (no relation), this adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s 1949 pulp novel The Little Sister updated the setting to contemporary Los Angeles.
James Garner took some criticism for his take on the famous private eye, but I think the likable actor’s vulnerable sincerity works for his interpretation of Chandler’s anti-hero. Continue reading
Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent
Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
With a tight screenplay from Ben Hecht, a dream cast including Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains, and a finely developed cinematic maturity as the by-product of a quarter-century of directing, Notorious is considered a career high in the filmography of Alfred Hitchcock.
Toshirô Mifune as Matsunaga, tubercular Japanese gangster
Japan, Summer 1947
Film: Drunken Angel
(Japanese title: 醉いどれ天使 Yoidore Tenshi)
Release Date: April 27, 1948
Director: Akira Kurosawa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Based on the intensity of his performance, it’s hard to believe that Drunken Angel was one of Toshirô Mifune’s first movies. His portrayal of the cocky, conflicted, and ultimately doomed yakuza gangster Matsunaga remains a highlight of crime cinema 70 years after the film was released. Continue reading
Benicio del Toro as Alejandro Gillick, mysterious government “advisor” and mercenary
Texas border, Summer 2014
Release Date: September 18, 2015
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Costume Designer: Renée April
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
I’ve had a few recent requests to cover the outfit that Benicio del Toro wears for his introduction in the 2015 crime thriller Sicario, where his mysterious character Alejandro Gillick joins fellow U.S. Department of Defense special task force operatives Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) and Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) on a joint agency mission flight taking off from Luke Air Force Base to El Paso, though Alejandro reveals to Macer that their eventual destination is just over the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Ted Danson as Michael, afterlife “architect”
The Good Place, present day
Series: The Good Place
Episode: “Flying” (Episode 1.02)
Air Date: September 19, 2016
Director: Michael McDonald
Creator: Michael Schur
Costume Designer: Kirston Mann
This weekend, my focus returns to NBC’s The Good Place, where Ted Danson’s architect Michael struts some of the snappiest style this side of the afterlife.
I recently researched and wrote about the classic boldly striped boating blazer for an exploration of Alain Delon’s style in Purple Noon (Plein soleil), but that’s only one type of boating blazer. Another variation is a solid-colored blazer with wide piping along the edges.
Though not quite as distinctive as a true rowing blazer, the piped blazer that Michael wears for a conversation about exploding turkey carcasses and coffee cups at the end of The Good Place‘s second episode finds itself worthy of discussion for today’s #NiceDay post.
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath
Italy, Late Summer 1959
Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley, Purple Noon put French actor Alain Delon on the international map. Only 24 years old when Purple Noon was released, Delon earned the endorsement of Ms. Highsmith herself for his performance as the smooth and wily young con artist whose petty crimes and deceptions graduate to multiple murders over the course of the film.
“It’s insidious, the way Highsmith seduces us into identifying with him and sharing his selfishness,” Roger Ebert wrote of both the novel and this cinematic adaptation in his 1996 review. “Ripley believes that getting his own way is worth whatever price anyone else might have to pay. We all have a little of that in us.” Continue reading