Tagged: Spring

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Sidney Poitier in a Navy Suit

Sidney Poitier as Dr. John Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Dr. John Wade Prentice, widowed physician and professor

San Francisco, Spring 1967

Film: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Release Date: December 12, 1967
Director: Stanley Kramer
Costume Designer: Joe King

Background

As we gear up for arguably the biggest family dinner of the year this week, I want to revisit one of the most famous “dinner movies” despite never actually seeing the titular meal on screen. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner broke ground upon its release 55 years ago for its positive portrayal of an interracial relationship when the white Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) returns from a Hawaiian vacation with her new fiancé, a widowed black doctor named John Prentice (Sidney Poitier). Continue reading

James Coburn in The Great Escape

James Coburn as Louis Sedgwick in The Great Escape (1963)

Vitals

James Coburn as Louis Sedgwick, Australian RAAF Flying Officer

Sagan-Silesia (Zagan, Poland), Spring 1944

Film: The Great Escape
Release Date: July 4, 1963
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is the 20th anniversary of the death of James Coburn, the prolific and reliable Nebraska-born star who grew to fame through memorable appearances in the ’60s, including the requisite Westerns and war films including the 1963 ensemble epic The Great Escape, dramatizing the real-life mass breakout of more than six dozen Allied airmen from Stalag Luft III during World War II. Ultimately, there were three successful escapees; of the 73 captured, 50 were summarily executed on Hitler’s direct orders.

Coburn portrayed the fictional Australian officer Louis Sedgwick, an amalgamation of the camp “manufacturer” Johnny Travis (RAF) and Dutch flying ace Bram “Bob” van der Stok, one of the three successful escapees who made his getaway, crossing much of occupied Europe with the help of French Resistance networks. Continue reading

Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire (1942)

Vitals

Alan Ladd as Philip Raven, cold-blooded, cat-loving contract killer

San Francisco to Los Angeles, Spring 1942

Film: This Gun for Hire
Release Date: April 24, 1942
Director: Frank Tuttle
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I had already been planning to write about This Gun for Hire this month when I realized that today would have been the 100th birthday of Veronica Lake, who was born in Brooklyn on November 14, 1922 with the decidedly less glamorous name of Constance Ockelman. Lake was still in her teens when cast in her first starring role in Sullivan’s Travels (1941), the success of which convinced Paramount to cast her in their upcoming thriller, which would also be a vehicle to launch their next up-and-comer, Alan Ladd. Continue reading

Desert Fury: Wendell Corey’s Herringbone Tweed Suit

Wendell Corey as Johnny Ryan in Desert Fury (1947)

Vitals

Wendell Corey as Johnny Ryan, stone-cold mob enforcer

Nevada, Spring 1947

Film: Desert Fury
Release Date: August 15, 1947
Director: Lewis Allen
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

In the spirit of #Noirvember, I want to celebrate an entry in the relatively rare “color noir” category as well as the career of Wendell Corey, the Massachusetts-born actor and one-time AMPAS President who died on this day in 1968.

Corey was a familiar face in classic film noir like I Walk Alone (1948), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), and The File on Thelma Jordon (1950) before his perhaps most recognized performance as the skeptical Detective Tom Doyle assisting Jimmy Stewart‘s peeping amateur crime-solver in Rear Window (1954). It had been an impressive rise for an actor whose feature film debut had only been a few years earlier, appearing in Desert Fury (1947) as the gay-coded mob killer Johnny Ryan, right-hand man to smooth racketeer Eddie Bendix (John Hodiak).

Also starring Lizabeth Scott and Burt Lancaster, with whom Corey would again co-star in I Walk AloneDesert Fury joins contemporaries like Leave Her to Heaven (1945) and Niagara (1953) as the rare examples of full-color movies that maintain enough of the themes, style, and sinister story elements of traditional film noir to still qualify for this classification. Continue reading

Roddy Piper in They Live

Roddy Piper in They Live (1988)

Vitals

Roddy Piper as “Nada”, tough drifter and anti-alien vigilante

Los Angeles, Spring 1988

Film: They Live
Release Date: November 4, 1988
Director: John Carpenter
Costume Supervisor: Robin Michel Bush

Background

Released on this day in 1988, They Live followed the example of most of John Carpenter’s work by finding a cult following considerably after it came out, though it debuted at the top of the North American box office.

Adapted from Ray Nelson’s 1963 short story “Eight O’Clock in the Morning”, They Live stars Canadian-born wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper as an unnamed drifter who arrives in Los Angeles looking for work… and finds a box of sunglasses that literally open his eyes to the fact that an alien ruling class has been subliminally manipulating the public to conform, consume, and reproduce. Continue reading

Bull Durham: Kevin Costner’s Green Bomber Jacket

Kevin Costner as Crash Davis in Bull Durham

Kevin Costner as Crash Davis in Bull Durham (1988)

Vitals

Kevin Costner as Lawrence “Crash” Davis, minor league baseball catcher

North Carolina, Spring and Summer 1987

Film: Bull Durham
Release Date: June 15, 1988
Director: Ron Shelton
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley

Background

Tonight is game 1 of the World Series! One of my favorite baseball movies, Bull Durham, shines a light on Minor League Baseball, based on writer and director Ron Shelton’s own experiences as a Minor League infielder.

When not following the national pastime and registry discussions out on the baseball diamond, the extremely quotable Bull Durham follows a romantic triangle with “Church of Baseball” groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) balancing her seductions between the Durham Bulls’ rookie pitcher Ebby “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) and catcher Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), a veteran with 12 years in the minor leagues who’s been recruited onto the team to help temper LaLoosh’s wild pitching. (Crash’s name was inspired by real-life second baseman Lawrence “Crash” Davis, who played for the Durham Bulls in the late 1940s and befriended Shelton after the production.) Continue reading

Dr. No: Bond’s Gray Mohair Suit and Walther in Jamaica

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No (1962)

Vitals

Sean Connery as James Bond, sophisticated and resourceful British government agent

Morgan’s Harbour, Jamaica, Spring 1962

Film: Dr. No
Release Date: October 5, 1962
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Master: John Brady
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

With the release of Dr. No sixty years ago today, October 5 has since been immortalized as Global James Bond Day in commemoration of when Sean Connery first uttered that now-iconic character introduction:

Bond. James Bond.

Dr. No had actually been Ian Fleming’s sixth novel featuring the worldly secret agent, set primarily in Jamaica as he penned the novel from his Jamaican estate Goldeneye. The author had tired of the character and left Bond’s fate somewhat ambiguous at the end of his previous novel From Russia With Love, though ultimately choosing that the agent would live to die another day and beginning Dr. No with 007’s recovery from the poison inflicted by the sharp-shoed Rosa Klebb.

Back to relatively full health, Bond finds his punishment in the form of a simple assignment meant to ease him back into duty (and possibly penalize him for letting his guard down), investigating the disappearance of a station chief and his secretary in Jamaica. There, Bond learns that the late chief had been investigating an eccentric recluse with the equally eccentric name of Doctor Julius No (Joseph Wiseman). With the help of his CIA buddy Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and local contact Quarrel (John Kitzmiller), Bond ultimately determines that he and his newly issued Walther owe the good bad doctor a long-overdue visit. 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

A Star is Born: Bradley Cooper’s Tan Trucker Jacket

Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in A Star is Born (2018)

Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in A Star is Born (2018)

Vitals

Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, charismatic country-rock star

Los Angeles, Spring 2017

Film: A Star is Born
Release Date: October 5, 2018
Director: Bradley Cooper
Costume Designer: Erin Benach

Background

My friend @thestyleisnotenough recently recommended writing about Bradley Cooper’s style in his directorial debut A Star is Born, in which he starred as Jackson Maine, a rock star with an outlaw country image that belies his self-esteem and substance abuse issues. Continue reading

Cary Grant in Father Goose

Cary Grant as Walter Eckland in Father Goose (1964)

Cary Grant as Walter Eckland in Father Goose (1964)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Walter Eckland, crude and reluctant wartime coast-watcher

Pacific Islands, Spring 1942

Film: Father Goose
Release Date: December 10, 1964
Director: Ralph Nelson
Costume Designer: Ray Aghayan (uncredited)

Background

Last month, I reflected on the elegant white suit that Cary Grant wore at the start of his stylish career in the pre-Code drama Hot Saturday. More than 30 years later, Grant was firmly established as one of the most charming—and enduringly best-dressed—stars of the era, subverting his screen reputation for his penultimate movie, the World War II-set comedy Father Goose opposite Leslie Caron. Continue reading