Tagged: Tweed Suits and Jackets

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

The Candidate: Robert Redford’s Tweed Sport Jacket

Robert Redford and Karen Carlson in The Candidate (1972)

Robert Redford and Karen Carlson in The Candidate (1972)

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Robert Redford as Bill McKay, charismatic lawyer-turned-senatorial candidate

California, Spring through Fall 1972

Film: The Candidate
Release Date: June 29, 1972
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack

Background

In case my fellow Americans’ phones haven’t been buzzing with incessant reminders about it… this Tuesday is Election Day!

Fifty years ago, American electoral politics were lampooned in The Candidate, starring Robert Redford as Bill McKay, an idealistic California lawyer tapped to run for a supposedly unwinnable seat in the U.S. Senate.

Inspired by screenwriter Jeremy Larner’s own experiences working on Senator Eugene McCarthy’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency in ’68, The Candidate chronicles the unpredictable insanity of American politics ranging from the mundane to the dramatic. Continue reading

When Harry Met Sally: Harry’s Tweed Sports Coat

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally (1989)

Vitals

Billy Crystal as Harry Burns, sarcastic political consultant and recent divorcée

New York City, Fall 1987

Film: When Harry Met Sally…
Release Date: July 14, 1989
Director: Rob Reiner
Costume Designer: Gloria Gresham

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today being my wedding day (congratulations to me!) feels like an appropriate time to revisit the style of one of my favorite romantic comedies, When Harry Met Sally. In addition to being a famously great fall movie, Rob Reiner’s chronicle of enemies-becoming-friends-becoming-lovers also demonstrates a surprising parade of great autumnal menswear, from Billy Crystal’s cozy sweaters to military surplus jackets. Continue reading

John Forsythe’s Autumn Attire in The Trouble with Harry

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)

Vitals

John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe, touchy artist who scores the town with his belting baritone

Vermont, Fall 1954

Film: The Trouble with Harry
Release Date: September 30, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

As we settle into what looks like a comfortable autumn—at least for fallphiles like me—I want to highlight what must be one of the earliest movies to truly capture the season’s striking colors.

Though regarded as the “Master of Suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock had long incorporated humor into his movies. The Trouble with Harry differentiates itself among Hitch’s more earnest thrillers and mysteries by emphasizing the comedy, resulting in what may be among of the director’s least suspenseful outfit but still entertaining and certainly aesthetically satisfying. 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)

Vitals

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

Singin’ in the Rain: Gene Kelly’s Tweed Norfolk Suit

Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood in Singin' in the Rain

Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood in Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Vitals

Gene Kelly as Don Lockwood, ambitious film actor, singer, and dancer

Hollywood, Spring 1927

Film: Singin’ in the Rain
Release Date: April 11, 1952
Directed by: Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Costume Designer: Walter Plunkett

Background

What better way to welcome April showers than by celebrating the 70th anniversary of Singin’ in the Rain, which was widely released on this day in 1952, just two weeks after it premiered at Radio City Music Hall.

Now considered not just one of the best musical films but one of the best movies of all time, Singin’ in the Rain centers around Hollywood during the waning months of the silent era as studios made the shift to “talkies” following the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927. The transition is no problem for the multi-talented Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), who shares his portrayer’s finely honed abilities to sing, act, and dance, but previews for Don’s latest feature—the period drama The Dueling Cavalier—illustrate that Don’s brassy, vain co-star Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen) is woefully underprepared for the new phase of their career, her shrill accent eliciting laughter and frustration from the test audiences.

Brainstorming over late-night sandwiches and milk with his professional partner Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) and his new love interest Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds), Don’s brain trust determines that The Dueling Cavalier could potentially be retooled as a musical, with Kathy dubbing Lina’s grating voice behind the scenes. This being a musical, the trio celebrates their breakthrough with a rousing rendition of “Good Mornin'” as the rain falls outside, followed by a gleeful Don kissing Kathy goodnight and—delighted with the prospects of his professional and romantic futures—singing the titular ditty as he dances home in the downpour. Continue reading

Marnie: Sean Connery’s Beige Herringbone Tweed Suit

Sean Connery as Mark Rutland in Marnie (1964)

Sean Connery as Mark Rutland in Marnie (1964)

Vitals

Sean Connery as Mark Rutland, publisher

Philadelphia to Baltimore, Spring 1964

Film: Marnie
Release Date: July 22, 1964
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Costumes: James Linn

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Months before Goldfinger was released and cemented Bond-mania among the cinematic zeitgeist of the 1960s, Sean Connery got the opportunity to show audiences that he was capable of more than just suave secret-agenting with the back-to-back releases of thrillers Woman of Straw and Marnie. The latter has been celebrated as the better-regarded of the two, with some even calling it Alfred Hitchcock’s underappreciated masterpiece, though Hitch himself was more dismissive when discussing the work with François Truffaut:

I wasn’t convinced that Sean Connery was a Philadelphia gentleman. You know, if you want to reduce Marnie to its lowest common denominator, it is the story of the prince and the beggar girl. In a story of this kind you need a real gentleman, a more elegant man than what we had.

Say what you will about Connery’s performance, but I’ve considered Hitchcock’s criticism to be somewhat undeserved, particularly considering that the adaptation of Winston Graham’s 1961 novel of the same name condensed the characters of Marnie’s husband, Mark Rutland, and the psychoanalyst that Mark forces Marnie to see. Thus, Connery’s characterization requires him to convincingly depict Mark as first a charismatic cad, then a manipulative rapist, and—ultimately—a quasi-therapist whose motives are depicted more through the lens of spousal support than domination. Given the challenge of the role, I believe Connery ably rose to the occasion, bringing out more savage sides of the character than we may have believed in the hands of Hitch’s erstwhile stalwarts like Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart.

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Sam Neill’s Half-Norfolk Jacket as Sidney Reilly

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 9: "After Moscow")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 9: “After Moscow”)

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Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd British agent and anti-Bolshevik

London, Fall 1918

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “After Moscow” (Episode 9)
Air Date: October 26, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

I consider Sidney Reilly to be one of the most fascinating and mysterious figures of the 20th century. There’s little consensus on when he was born, when he died, or how he exactly spent he spent the fifty-odd years in between, though his oft-exaggerated exploits as a shadowy agent of the British secret service has established his enduring reputation as “the Ace of Spies”, aided by his own memoirs and an excellent 1983 twelve-part mini-series starring Sam Neill in the eponymous role of the Russian-born adventurer. Continue reading

It’s a Wonderful Life: Jimmy Stewart’s Barleycorn Tweed Suit

James Stewart and Donna Reed in It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

James Stewart and Donna Reed in It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Vitals

James Stewart as George Bailey, reluctant banker

Bedford Falls, New York, Spring 1932

Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Release Date: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson

Background

Released 75 years ago today, It’s a Wonderful Life has become an enduring Christmas classic… almost by accident! Based on Philip Van Doren Stern’s self-published novella The Greatest Gift, the movie had been relatively well-received at the time of its release, even earning five Academy Award nominations including one for Best Picture, but it would be overshadowed by the epic blockbuster The Best Years of Our Lives that told the story of servicemen returning from World War II.

Despite being a personal favorite of director Frank Capra and star Jimmy Stewart, It’s a Wonderful Life seemed destined for obscurity as just another “old movie” when a clerical error prevented proper renewal of the copyright. Though small royalties were still owed as it was derived from Stern’s story, TV stations leapt at the chance to air high-quality, low-cost seasonal programming, launching It’s a Wonderful Life to its status as a perennial favorite for holiday viewers by the 1980s.

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