Tony Curtis as Sidney Falco, unscrupulous publicity agent
New York City, Fall 1956
Film: Sweet Smell of Success
Release Date: June 27, 1957
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Costume Designer: Mary Grant
Happy birthday to Tony Curtis, born 93 years ago today on June 3, 1925. The actor will always hold a special place for me as one of my earliest brushes with a known celebrity.
It occurred in the summer of 1998, during a vacation with my family to Las Vegas. We were approaching the exit to the MGM Grand as we came face-to-face with another entourage striding through the entrance. Flanked by two tall, voluptuous blondes at the front of the formation was a tuxedoed man with messy gray hair, considerably energetic for his age.
“That was Tony Curtis!” my family began murmuring to each other. Being only 9 years old at the time, I was concerned about feeling left out of the gossip until my grandma leaned in and explained to me that this was “Josephine” from Some Like It Hot, one of our favorite movies to watch together at the time.
Some Like It Hot will always have a place on my personal cinematic Mount Rushmore, but my favorite Tony Curtis performance is likely in Alexander Mackendrick’s atmospheric 1957 noir Sweet Smell of Success. Curtis stars as a Manhattan publicity agent oozing with opportunistic sleaze.
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government agent
London to Hamburg, April 1997
Film: Tomorrow Never Dies
Release Date: December 6, 1997
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Who else but the Irish actor Pierce Brosnan would be best to feature on the 00-7th o’ March?
Following a thrilling pre-credits sequence, James Bond gets in some much needed R&R in the arms of a beautiful Danish language tutor when duty calls… in the form of Miss Moneypenny. Bond begrudgingly departs his cunning linguistics session (yes, I know) when MI6 summons him for an urgent briefing and sends him off to a springtime mission in Germany.
The scene is quintessential Bond: an elegant suit, a snazzy new car, a useful gadget… and enough product placement to guarantee the future of the series. Continue reading
Lee Marvin as Charlie Strom, professional mob hitman
Los Angeles, Fall 1963
Film: The Killers
Release Date: July 7, 1964
Director: Don Siegel
Costume Designer: Helen Colvig
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy first day of March! The observance of St. Patrick’s Day this month means plenty of focus on the “luck o’ the Irish”, so today’s post explores a suit sporting the “clover lapel”, a soft type of notch lapel named for its semblance to two leaves of a clover plant.
One character who took advantage of this unique but subtle type of lapel was Charlie Strom, the paid assassin who subverts “movie hitman” tropes by letting his curiosity get the better of him… why did Johnny North give up so easily? Bothered by this incongruity, Charlie and his partner Lee (Clu Gulager) set out to find the truth. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, private investigator and compulsive gambler
Miami Beach, Spring 1967
Film: Tony Rome
Release Date: November 10, 1967
Director: Gordon Douglas
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Over on my Instagram feed, I like to commemorate #SinatraSaturday each weekend, but today I felt Ol’ Blue Eyes deserved a dedicated post. Frank Sinatra starred as the titular character in Tony Rome, a 1967 adaptation of Marvin H. Albert’s novel Miami Mayhem. Tony Rome was Sinatra’s first cop role, playing a laidback private eye in the tradition of Humphrey Bogart who seems more interested in gambling, drinking, and skirt-chasing than actually solving a case. Continue reading
Cary Grant as Nicolò “Nickie” Ferrante, playboy socialite
Onboard the SS Constitution in the North Atlantic, December 1956
Film: An Affair to Remember
Release Date: July 2, 1957
Director: Leo McCarey
Executive Wardrobe Designer: Charles Le Maire
Happy birthday to Cary Grant, the charming maverick who personifies the intersection of style and screen during the golden age of both. The erstwhile Archie Leach defined men’s style for the better part of the 20th century and his timeless sartorial sensibilities live on through his charismatic performances on screen and, most specifically, via the advice he outlined for This Week magazine (and reprinted in GQ) in the 1960s.
Simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste.
– Cary Grant on style, 1962
One of Cary Grant’s most stylish, romantic, and iconic roles was artistic playboy Nickie Ferrante in An Affair to Remember. Continue reading
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, suave British government agent
London, Winter 2002
Film: Die Another Day
Release Date: November 20, 2002
Director: Lee Tamahori
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
I received a request for this outfit from Die Another Day which, for all of its shortcomings as a James Bond adventure, featured Pierce Brosnan’s 007 in elegant tailored clothing that is always worthy of discussion. Given the extreme chill in the air for the 00-7th of January today, it felt appropriate to explore his luxurious and layered businesswear upon arriving in London and reconnecting with his MI6 allies at the agency’s secret satellite station in an abandoned Underground tube station at Vauxhall Cross. Continue reading
Charles Bronson as Joe Valachi, Mafia soldier
Apalachin, New York, November 1957
Film: The Valachi Papers
Release Date: January 6, 1972
Director: Terence Young
Costume Design: Giorgio Desideri & Ann Roth
“It was a glorious time, before Apalachin,” recalls Ray Liotta’s voice-over as Henry Hill in Goodfellas. For readers not mired in the history of organized crime, Henry was referring to a now-legendary meeting of the American Mafia at the Apalachin, New York home of mobster Joseph Barbara. The summit was organized by powerful New York mob boss Vito Genovese and found more than 100 mobsters from across the country gathering at Barbara’s home on November 14, 1957… sixty years ago tomorrow. Continue reading