Tagged: Summer

Devil in a Blue Dress: Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander

Don Cheadle as Raymond “Mouse” Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Vitals

Don Cheadle as Raymond “Mouse” Alexander, smooth but dangerous gunsel

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Devil in a Blue Dress
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As #Noirvember comes to a close, I want to celebrate one of my favorite characters from neo-noir, the trigger-happy “Mouse” Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress, played by Don Cheadle who was born November 29, 1964 and celebrates his 58th birthday today.

Fledgling private eye Ezekial “Easy” Rawlins (Denzel Washington) calls his old pal Mouse for some high-caliber help as the stakes climb but soon regrets his decision: “You ain’t been in my house five minutes and you gone and shot somebody already, Mouse!” 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)

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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

The Godfather: Johnny Fontane’s Cream Silk Suit

Al Martino as Johnny Fontane in The Godfather (1972)

Al Martino as Johnny Fontane in The Godfather (1972)

Vitals

Al Martino as Johnny Fontane, down-on-his-luck crooner

Long Island, New York, Summer 1945

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 14, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

Today in 1927, Al Martino was born in Philadelphia to two Italian immigrants from Abruzzo, the same southern Italian region from which much of my family hails. Following his U.S. Navy service during World War II, the singer began earnestly following his career in entertainment. Twenty years after his first single, “Here in My Heart”, reached #1 in the U.S. Billboard and UK Singles charts, Martino joined the cast of The Godfather as Johnny Fontane, an Italian-American crooner whose early career parallels that of Martino’s contemporary Frank Sinatra. Continue reading

Reservoir Dogs — Mr. Orange

Tim Roth in Reservoir Dogs

Tim Roth as “Mr. Orange” in Reservoir Dogs (1992)

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Tim Roth as Freddie Newandyke, aka “Mr. Orange”, member of an armed robbery crew with a deep secret

Los Angeles, Summer 1992

Film: Reservoir Dogs
Release Date: October 9, 1992
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This month marks the 30th anniversary since the wide release of Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino’s influential debut that introduced many of the director’s own cinematic trademarks and has been described as one of the greatest independent films of all time.

As we’ve come to expect from QT, Reservoir Dogs pays homage to classic noir and crime films, including Kansas City Confidential (1952), The Big Combo (1955), and—most specifically—The Killing (1956), with a plot centered around a gang of tough guys hired for a what should be a straightforward diamond heist… only to be stymied when it becomes evident that a member of their crew is an informant. Continue reading

Thomas Magnum’s Cream Rugby Shirt

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I., Episode 1.10: “Lest We Forget”

Vitals

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, early 1980s

Series: Magnum, P.I.
Episodes:
– “China Doll” (Episode 1.03, dir. Donald P. Bellisario, aired 12/18/1980)
– “Lest We Forget” (Episode 1.10, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 2/12/1981)
– “From Moscow to Maui” (Episode 2.04, dir. Michael Vejar, aired 10/29/1981)
– “Did You See the Sunrise?, Part 2” (Episode 3.02, dir. Ray Austin, aired 9/30/1982)
– “The Arrow That Is Not Aimed” (Episode 3.14, dir. James Frawley, aired 1/27/1983)
– “Paradise Blues” (Episode 4.15, dir. Bernard L. Kowalski, aired 2/9/1984)
– “On Face Value” (Episode 4.19, dir. Harry S. Laidman, aired 3/15/1984)
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo (credited with first season only)
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

So the fall weather’s getting cooler but you still want to find ways to dress like Thomas Magnum? You’re in luck, you esoterically inclined person, you!

In addition to his famed aloha shirts, Hawaii’s most in-demand—and dashingly mustached—private investigator of the ’80s included a variety of short- and long-sleeved rugby shirts in his wardrobe, including one prominently featured at the end of the pivotal two-part “Did You See the Sunrise?” that kicked off Magnum, P.I.‘s third season when it aired 40 years ago tonight. Continue reading

Paul Muni’s 1932 Tuxedo in Scarface

Paul Muni in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

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Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1929

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Several years ago, I published a high-level overview of the various black tie ensembles across the male cast of the original 1932 version of Scarface, adapted from Armitage Trail’s pulp novel of the same name, which had been inspired by the then-contemporary exploits of the infamous Al Capone.

Now, after eight more years of learning, I want to focus specifically on the evening-wear worn by the eponymous Tony Camonte, portrayed by Paul Muni—who was born on this day in 1895—as Tony’s tuxedo had long been one of the driving sartorial influences in my choice to have a double-breasted dinner jacket made for my wedding, which will be one month from today. Continue reading

Battle of Britain: Ian McShane’s RAF Uniforms

Ian McShane as Flight Sergeant Andy Moore in Battle of Britain (1969)

Ian McShane as Flight Sergeant Andy Moore in Battle of Britain (1969)

Vitals

Ian McShane as Flight Sergeant Andy Moore, Royal Air Force pilot

England, Summer 1940

Film: Battle of Britain
Release Date: September 15, 1969
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today commemorates the anniversary of a decisive aerial battle in the skies over England that marked one of the first substantial Allied victories in World War II. Luftwaffe attacks on British ports and fleets had launched the Battle of Britain in June 1940, followed by sporadic and deadly raids that culminated with a German attempt to essentially eradicate any British defenses to clear the way for Operation Sea Lion, Hitler’s intended invasion of England.  On September 15, two waves of German attacks on London were successfully repelled by the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, primarily the No. 11 Group RAF, a decisive defense that prompted then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill to famously declare: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

29 years later to the day, Battle of Britain was released in the grand tradition of star-studded war epics, boasting a talented cast that included Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, and a relative newcomer named Ian McShane. Continue reading

Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Sid Caesar in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Vitals

Sid Caesar as Melville Crump, honeymooning dentist

Southern California, Summer 1962

Film: It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Release Date: November 7, 1963
Director: Stanley Kramer
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas

Background

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sid Caesar, the pioneering comic actor whose influential variety series Your Show of Shows set a new standard during what some call the first “Golden Age of Television”, though I first knew Caesar for his part among the ensemble cast of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.

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The Great Gatsby: Sam Waterston’s Beige Linen Birthday Suit

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Vitals

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, impressionable bachelor and bond salesman

Long Island to New York City, Late Summer 1925

Film: The Great Gatsby
Release Date: March 29, 1974
Director: Jack Clayton
Costume Designer: Theoni V. Aldredge
Clothes by: Ralph Lauren

Background

Just as the summer began with a look at Nick Carraway’s white linen suit as his portrayer Sam Waterston narrated his arrival at a pivotal dinner with the Buchanans in the 1974 cinematic adaptation of The Great Gatsby, let’s bring it to a close by looking at how Nick dresses when returning to their estate on the climactic afternoon of his 30th birthday, which likely would have been sometime around Labor Day. (The movie updated the setting to 1925, though F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel was set throughout the summer of 1922, which would have placed Nick’s birthday around 100 years ago today on Monday, September 4.)

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Thunderball: Quist’s Cabana Style

Bill Cummings as Quist in Thunderball (1965)

Bill Cummings as Quist in Thunderball (1965)

Vitals

Bill Cummings as Quist, silent yet easily subdued SPECTRE henchman

Nassau, Summer 1965

Film: Thunderball
Release Date: December 29, 1965
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Designer: Anthony Mendleson

Background

As summer winds to an unofficial end, I want to continue celebrating some of my favorite warm-weather fashions. During a recent rewatch of Thunderball, I was again struck by how contemporary the men’s summer style remains almost sixty years later, with tropical prints and terry cloth still best-sellers for many modern-day outfitters.

Naturally, Sean Connery’s wardrobe as 007 remains a highlight, but I also delighted in the aloha shirts worn by his allies Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) as well as the beach-wear sported by a character so minor that he’s routinely dismissed not just by the characters, but even the movie itself as Bill Cummings’ performance goes uncredited in the official end credits cast roll. Continue reading