Tagged: The South

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

Nightmare Alley: Comparing Carlisle’s Cardigans in 1947 vs. 2021

Left: Tyrone Power as Stan Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (1947)
Right: Bradley Cooper as Stan Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (2021)

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Tyrone Power (1947) and Bradley Cooper (2021) as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, opportunistic drifter-turned-carny

Rural Kentucky, Summer into fall 1939

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: October 9, 1947
Director: Edmund Goulding
Costume Designer: Bonnie Cashin

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: December 17, 2021
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Costume Designer: Luis Sequeira

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Almost immediately after William Lindsay Gresham published his 1946 novel Nightmare Alley chronicling the grifters, geeks, and gals populating a second-rate sideshow, Tyrone Power asked 20th Century Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck to purchase the film rights.

Power had built his swashbuckling screen image in movies like The Mask of Zorro (1940), Blood and Sand (1941), and The Black Swan (1942), but—as so many had—returned from his World War II service as a changed man. The decorated Lieutenant Power was released from Marine Corps active duty in January 1946 and, after flying dangerous transport missions during the war, sought roles that would expand his image beyond the romantic hero he had established.

Director Edmund Goulding helmed the production that brought Gresham’s creepy carnival world to life via a working carnival constructed on ten acres of the Fox back lot, even employing actual carnies and more than 100 sideshow attractions to add verisimilitude. The talented cast also included Joan Blondell, appropriately appearing about fifteen years beyond her Warner Brothers heyday as she deliciously dives into the role of the washed-up tarot reader “Mademoiselle Zeena” whom the unscrupulous Stanton Carlisle manipulates into revealing the trick to her successful mentalist act. The married Zeena allows herself to fall for Carlisle’s romantic advances despite being married to her alcoholic stage partner Pete (Ian Keith) and Carlisle’s own obvious interest in the ingenue Molly (Coleen Gray).

Nightmare Alley premiered 75 years ago today on October 9, 1947, with Power’s performance lauded by critics like James Agee, who noted for Time that he “steps into a new class as an actor,” playing against type as Carlisle.

The Nightmare Alley story was recently revived for Guillermo del Toro’s re-adaptation of the novel, reinstating some of the darker components to blend Gothic horror with the noir-ish elements that were also present in Goulding’s film. Released in December 2021, del Toro’s Oscar-nominated Nightmare Alley featured a star-studded cast led by Bradley Cooper as Carlisle, Toni Collette as Zeena, Rooney Mara as Molly, David Strathairn as Pete, and Cate Blanchett as Dr. Lilith Ritter, the mysterious femme fatale who Carlisle meets after escaping the carnival world and re-establishing himself as the debonair mentalist “The Great Stanton”. Continue reading

On the Road: Dean Moriarty’s Fur-collar Flight Jacket

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty in On the Road (2012)

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty in On the Road (2012)

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Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, impulsive drifter based on Beat Generation figure Neal Cassady

New York to San Francisco, via New Orleans, Winter 1949

Film: On the Road
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Director: Walter Salles
Costume Designer: Danny Glicker

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of when On the Road was published on September 5, 1957. Jack Kerouac’s seminal Beat Generation novel had been years in the making, beginning with his continuous, single-spaced 120-page “scroll” that he typed across three weeks in April 1951, almost immediately after returning from the last of the book’s depicted travels.

With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles.

Though Kerouac hardly shied away from including seedier details of his friend’s life, On the Road became something of a hagiography centered around Dean Moriarty, the alter ego he developed for his real-life pal Neal Cassady. With the same excitement of the Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, and George Shearing performances they celebrate, the impulsive Dean steals the spotlight much as he and his fellow travelers steal to support their travels, or offset “the cost of living”, as they rationalize.

Despite considerable interest—including from the author himself—in cinematic adaptations, it wouldn’t be until more than a half-century passed that cameras would finally roll on bringing On the Road to the screen. Francis Ford Coppola had held the rights since 1979, holding on through decades of development hell until the artistic critical success of The Motorcycle Diaries encouraged him to hand over the reins to director Walter Salles and writer José Rivera. Salles again collaborated with cinematographer Éric Gautier, whose photography brought mid-century America back to life across the small towns, sandy deserts, and snowy hillsides that resisted generations of change.

Garrett Hedlund’s appropriately kinetic performance as the dangerously charismatic Dean also emerged as one of the strongest aspects of Salles’ On the Road adaptation, with Owen Gleiberman writing for Entertainment Weekly that “the best thing in the movie is Garrett Hedlund’s performance as Dean Moriarty, whose hunger for life—avid, erotic, insatiable, destructive—kindles a fire that will light the way to a new era.” Continue reading

The Righteous Gemstones: Jesse Gemstone’s White Easter Suit

Danny McBride as Jesse Gemstone on The Righteous Gemstones

Danny McBride as Jesse Gemstone on The Righteous Gemstones, Episode 1.07: “And Yet One of You Is a Devil”

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Danny McBride as Jesse Gemstone, crude megachurch pastor

Charleston, South Carolina, Easter 2019

Series: The Righteous Gemstones
Episode: “And Yet One of You Is a Devil” (Episode 1.07)
Air Date: September 29, 2019
Director: Jody Hill
Creator: Danny McBride
Costume Designer: Sarah Trost

Background

Now when I say “Easter”, a lot of images come to mind. The bunny. Easter egg hunts. Them marshmallow Peeps that taste better when they’re stale.

Created by Danny McBride, who wrote or co-wrote every episode in addition to starring, The Righteous Gemstones sends up American televangelism and megachurch culture through McBride’s usual comedic style that characterized his previous shows Eastbound & Down and Vice Principals.

A twisted take on if King Lear had been written about Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, The Righteous Gemstones centers around the fictional titular family led by patriarch Eli Gemstone (John Goodman), a sincere if overly prideful pastor who seemingly failed to pass his altruism on to his three children: the insecure youth pastor Kelvin (Adam Devine), the chaotic Judy (Edi Patterson), and the crude Jesse (McBride) who, by virtue of being the eldest, seems poised to succeed his aging father despite his debauched lifestyle. Continue reading

Nightmare Alley: Bradley Cooper’s Plaid Mackinaw Jacket

Bradley Cooper as Stanton Carlisle in Nightmare Alley

Bradley Cooper as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (2021)

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Bradley Cooper as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, opportunistic drifter-turned-carny

Rural Kentucky, Summer into fall 1939

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: December 17, 2021
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Costume Designer: Luis Sequeira

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

William Lindsay Gresham’s novel Nightmare Alley was first adapted to the screen in 1947, just a year after its initial publication, via Edmund Goulding’s classic noir starring Tyrone Power. Guillermo del Toro’s newly released version is a less a remake of Goulding’s movie and more a reimagining of the source material from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kim Morgan, presented as a vividly stylish Gothic quasi-horror that landed a quartet of worthy Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design.

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Justified: Raylan’s Wool Coat and Double Denim

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 6.11: “Fugitive Number One”). Photo by Prashant Gupta/FX.

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Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal

Harlan County, Kentucky, Spring 2010 to Fall 2014

Series: Justified
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designers: Ane Crabtree (Season 1) & Patia Prouty (Seasons 2-6)

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Justified is one of my favorite fall shows (despite the fact that each season originally aired in the spring), and I always like to revisit the tangled, moonshine-soaked underworld of Harlan County every autumn.

The first episode established the series-long conflict between Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), who dug coal together in the mines of eastern Kentucky before their diverging career paths as Raylan rose through the ranks of the U.S. Marshals Service tracking down criminals like Boyd, who started the series as the explosives-loving leader of a gang of bank-robbing white supremacists.

Both Raylan and Boyd have frequently been the subjects of requests from fans of the series as the series costume designers neatly established each man’s signature style: Boyd, somewhat fussy for a country criminal, with his layered sport jackets, waistcoats with dangling pocket watch chains, and shirts buttoned to the neck; and Raylan, who blends old-fashioned cowboy aesthetics into his modern business apparel. Continue reading

Justified: Raylan’s Florida Gators T-shirt

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 1.09: "Hatless")

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 1.09: “Hatless”)

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Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal

Harlan County, Kentucky, Spring 2010

Series: Justified
Episode: “Hatless” (Episode 1.09)
Air Date: May 11, 2010
Director: Peter Werner
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Ane Crabtree

Background

Today marks the return of college football season, so I wanted to look at how a BAMF Style favorite incorporated some team pride into an off-duty look. The ninth episode of Justified begins with Raylan Givens drinking away his suspension from the U.S. Marshals Service, or as he calls it, “a well-earned vacation.” Continue reading

Robert Mitchum’s Calypso Shirt in Thunder Road

Robert Mitchum and Keely Smith in Thunder Road (1958)

Robert Mitchum and Keely Smith in Thunder Road (1958)

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Robert Mitchum as Lucas “Luke” Doolin, moonshine driver and Korean War veteran

Rillow Valley, Tennessee, Fall 1957

Film: Thunder Road
Release Date: May 10, 1958
Director: Arthur Ripley
Wardrobe Credit: Oscar Rodriguez

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the birthday of Robert Mitchum, born August 6, 1917 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Now one of my favorite actors, the first Mitchum movie I had ever seen was Thunder Road, the Southern-set moonshine drama that Mitch developed, produced, and performed on the soundtrack.

My introduction to Mitchum—now one of my favorite actors—was by way of Thunder Road, the Southern-set moonshine drama I had been determined to see after growing up as a fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. Twenty years before the Duke boys painted the General Lee, Mitchum’s Lucas Doolin tore through the mountains of Tennessee in his souped-up Fords, evading syndicate gunmen and revenue agents while romancing a local nightclub singer, Francie (Keely Smith). Continue reading

Waylon Jennings on The Dukes of Hazzard

Tom Wopat, Waylon Jennings, and John Schneider

Waylon Jennings, flanked by series regulars Tom Wopat and John Schneider on The Dukes of Hazzard, Episode 7.02: “Welcome, Waylon Jennings”

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Waylon Jennings, outlaw country star

Hazzard County, Georgia, Fall 1984

Series: The Dukes of Hazzard
Episode: “Welcome, Waylon Jennings” (Episode 7.02)
Air Date: September 28, 1984
Director: Bob Sweeney
Creator: Gy Waldron
Costume Supervisor: Bob Christenson

Background

After six seasons as Hazzard County’s official off-screen “balladeer”, country legend Waylon Jennings finally showed more than just his hands on the long-running series about those two celebrated good ol’ boys.

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Justified: Raylan’s “Harlan Roulette” Grid-Check Shirt and Glock

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 3.03: "Harlan Roulette")

Timothy Olyphant as Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens on Justified (Episode 3.03: “Harlan Roulette”)

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Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, old-fashioned Deputy U.S. Marshal

Harlan County, Kentucky, Fall 2011

Series: Justified
Episode: “Harlan Roulette” (Episode 3.03)
Air Date: January 31, 2012
Director: Jon Avnet
Creator: Graham Yost
Costume Designer: Patia Prouty

Background

More than two years have passed since I last waxed poetic about Justified, Graham Yost’s continuation of Elmore Leonard’s stories and novels centered around Raylan Givens, a modern-day Deputy U.S. Marshal who brings old west sensibilities and style to his duties. After being criticized by his superiors for his all-too-quick—if justified—trigger finger, Raylan is reassigned to the Eastern District of Kentucky, which includes the coal-mining Harlan County where was raised and acquainted with arch-criminal Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) as well as many other colorful characters who shoot in and out of the series over its six seasons.

As we get closer to the weekend, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite moments from the series as well as Raylan’s characteristically dressed-down off-duty duds.

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