Tagged: Sport Coat & Slacks

L.A. Confidential: Bud White’s Brown Flannel on Bloody Christmas

Russell Crowe as Wendell “Bud” White in L.A. Confidential (1997)

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Russell Crowe as Wendell “Bud” White, tough yet justice-minded LAPD plainclothes officer

Los Angeles, Christmas Eve 1952

Film: L.A. Confidential
Release Date: September 19, 1997
Director: Curtis Hanson
Costume Designer: Ruth Myers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, L.A. Confidential chronicles a faction of cops and crooks in the City of Angels through the early 1950s, with Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson’s Oscar-winning screenplay adapted from James Ellroy’s sprawling pulp novel of the same name. The movie begins on Christmas Eve 1952, based on a real-life episode known as “Bloody Christmas” when seven prisoners were abused while in LAPD custody on the morning of December 25, 1951, resulting in a wave of indictments, suspensions, and transfers of the more than four dozen officers involved.

“You’re like Santa Claus with that list, Bud… ‘cept everyone on it’s been naughty,” observes corrupt LAPD Sergeant Dick Stensland (Graham Beckel) of his crusading partner, Officer Wendell “Bud” White, who watches an abusive husband ruin his wife’s Christmas through gritted teeth. Continue reading

Elf: James Caan in Camelhair for Christmas

James Caan as Walter Hobbs in Elf (2003)

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James Caan as Walter Hobbs, workaholic children’s book publisher

New York City, December 2003

Film: Elf
Release Date: November 7, 2003
Director: Jon Favreau
Costume Designer: Laura Jean Shannon

Background

Happy December!

The late James Caan effectively subverted his screen image when he starred in Elf, a family-friendly comedy that’s already established as a modern holiday classic. Of course, as one of the big screen’s most famous tough guys, Caan’s Walter Hobbs begins the story on Santa Claus’ notorious “naughty list” as a children’s book publisher too focused on his bottom line to care about his family or even the minutae of his job, overlooking the last two pages of his latest book that leave the fate of a beloved puppy and pigeon too ambiguous for its young readers. Continue reading

Fatal Attraction: Michael Douglas’ Plaid Sport Jacket

Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher in Fatal Attraction (1987)

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Michael Douglas as Dan Gallagher, lawyer

New York City, Fall 1986

Film: Fatal Attraction
Release Date: September 18, 1987
Director: Adrian Lyne
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick

Background

Inspired by costume designer Ellen Mirojnick’s recent podcast appearance on From Tailors With Love that clarified a few misconceptions held around Michael Douglas’ tailored costumes in some of his most prominent movies, let’s finally cover the 35-year-old noir-ish thriller that spawned a cinematic sub-genre centered around Douglas’ sex life getting him in deep trouble. Continue reading

Succession: Logan Roy’s Birthday Party Style

Brian Cox as Logan Roy on Succession (Episode 1.01: “Celebration”)

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Brian Cox as Logan Roy, media mogul and domineering patriarch

New York, Fall 2018

Series: Succession
Episode: “Celebration” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: June 3, 2018
Director: Adam McKay
Creator: Jesse Armstrong
Costume Designer: Catherine George (Pilot episode only)

Background

The third season of Succession premiered a year ago today, and many—including yours truly—still eagerly await the return of this deliciously profane HBO series that satirizes the culture of unscrupulous wealth in corporate America via the fictional Roy family, a dysfunctional dynasty fighting for control of the global entertainment conglomerate started by the aging patriarch, Logan. Brian Cox has received much deserved acclaim for his performance as the manipulative, tyrannical Logan Roy, said to be partially inspired by real-life media magnates like Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone, and Arthur Ochs Sulzberger.

Succession begins on Logan’s 80th birthday, and while the brusque business mogul is hardly the type to celebrate with balloons and cake, he’s still having a party in his honor, hosted by his third wife Marcia (Hiam Abbass). The party gives us an opportunity to meet the offspring constantly vying for either control of the company, their toxic father’s affection, or the supremely unfeasible combination of both. Continue reading

L.A. Confidential: Ed Exley in Donegal Tweed

Guy Pearce as Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential (1997)

Guy Pearce as Ed Exley in L.A. Confidential (1997)

Vitals

Guy Pearce as Ed Exley, by-the-book LAPD detective-lieutenant

Los Angeles, Spring 1953

Film: L.A. Confidential
Release Date: September 19, 1997
Director: Curtis Hanson
Costume Designer: Ruth Myers

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is the 25th anniversary since the official release of L.A. Confidential, which premiered at Cannes in May 1997 but would finally hit theaters four months later on September 19, introducing audiences to James Ellroy’s murky world of corrupt cops, crooks, celebrities, and courtesans in ’50s Los Angeles.

Among its ensemble cast, L.A. Confidential centers around three LAPD officers: the tough but unsophisticated “Bud” White (Russell Crowe), the smooth yet morally compromised Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), and the ambitious and stubbornly upright Ed Exley (Guy Pearce). Not to spoil too much of the plot for those who have missed this gem in the last quarter-century, but one of my favorite Letterboxd reviews—submitted by user David Sims—compares the movie to The Wizard of Oz as “Bud gets a brain, Jack gets a heart, Ed gets the courage.” Continue reading

Local Hero: Burt Lancaster’s Tweed in Scotland

Burt Lancaster as Felix Happer in Local Hero (1983)

Burt Lancaster as Felix Happer in Local Hero (1983)

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Burt Lancaster as Felix Happer, eccentric oil executive

Scotland, Fall 1982

Film: Local Hero
Release Date: February 17, 1983
Director: Bill Forsyth
Costumes: Shawn Dale, Pip Newbery, and Penny Rose

Background

I’m talking about the sky, MacIntyre. The constellation of Virgo is very prominent in the sky right now in Scotland. I want you to keep an eye on Virgo for me. Will you do that?

As Leo season transitions into Virgo season, Local Hero feels like the appropriate focus, given the curious astronomy-themed orders under which Knox Oil and Gas president Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster) sends underling “Mac” MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) to Scotland, urging him to keep watching the sky, particularly for comet activity under the Leo and Virgo constellations. Continue reading

Magnificent Obsession: Rock Hudson’s Summer Norfolk Jacket and Toweling Polo

Rock Hudson as Bob Merrick in Magnificent Obsession (1954)

Rock Hudson as Bob Merrick in Magnificent Obsession (1954)

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Rock Hudson as Bob Merrick, conscience-stricken millionaire and ex-medical student

Brightwood, New York, Spring 1949

Film: Magnificent Obsession
Release Date: August 4, 1954
Director: Douglas Sirk
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas (gowns)

Background

German-born director Douglas Sirk and actor Rock Hudson had collaborated on nine movies throughout the 1950s, though their association may be best remembered for a trio of lush Technicolor melodramas beginning with Magnificent Obsession, released 68 years ago this month in August 1954. Continue reading

John Garfield in He Ran All the Way

John Garfield as Nick Robey in He Ran All the Way

John Garfield as Nick Robey in He Ran All the Way (1951)

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John Garfield as Nick Robey, desperate small-time thief

Los Angeles, Summer 1951

Film: He Ran All the Way
Release Date: June 19, 1951
Director: John Berry
Wardrobe Credit: Joe King

Background

John Garfield, one of the most talented and naturalistic actors of Hollywood’s “golden age”, died 70 years ago today on May 21, 1952. Garfield had long been troubled with heart health issues, but it’s been argued that the resulting stress brought on by harassment from the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee contributed to his early death at the age of 39, nearly a year after the release of his final film, He Ran All the Way (1951).

Continue reading

East of Eden: James Dean’s 1917 Sport Jacket

James Dean and Julie Harris in East of Eden

James Dean and Julie Harris in East of Eden (1955)

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James Dean as Caleb “Cal” Trask, angsty and entrepreneurial farmer’s son

Salinas, California, Fall 1917

Film: East of Eden
Release Date: March 9, 1955
Director: Elia Kazan
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

James Dean’s first of only three major credited screen roles also resulted in his first of two posthumous Academy Award nominations, starring as the moody Cal Trask in Elia Kazan’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden, itself a loose retelling of the story of Cain and Abel set in California’s Salinas Valley around the time of America’s entry into World War I.

Cal and his brother Aron (Richard Davalos) vie for the affections of their father Adam (Raymond Massey), a prominent farmer and draft board chairman, whom Cal hopes to impress by growing beans to raise funds that would support the family and supplant some of Adam’s own financial losses. As Cal’s success in the bean-fields grows, his competition with his brother extends to Aron’s girlfriend Abra (Julie Harris), growing closer to her after they meet up at a county fair. Continue reading

Roscoe Lee Browne in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz (1969)

Vitals

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois, smooth-talking Martinican-American sleeper agent

New York City, Fall 1962

Film: Topaz
Release Date: December 19, 1969
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Following last month’s look at a “hero costume” from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 thriller Saboteur, I want to continue exploring style from the lesser-known entries in the Master of Suspense’s oeuvre. Loosely based on the “Martel affair” and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Topaz was Hitch’s final movie centered around espionage, though I consider it to lack much of the spark that fueled his earlier successes like North by Northwest.

The single exception in Topaz may be a brief scene made more memorable by the appearance of Martinican agent Philippe Dubois, portrayed by Roscoe Lee Browne, the multi-talented star of stage and screen born 100 years ago today on May 2, 1922. Continue reading