Movies | A Continuous Lean.

The Escape Artist | Dennis Hopper in Taos.

Sep 21st, 2014 | Categories: Americana, History, Jake Gallagher, Movies | by Jake Gallagher

Hopper4

It’s become a standard Hollywood story: an actor gets burnt out by the scene and decides that they need to get out of L.A. for a little. They disappear to Marfa, or Capri, or Burning Man only to make a public re-immersion a month or so later, capped off by an interview about how “refreshing” their sabbatical was. Even vacations are punctuated by press releases these days.

The roots of these restorative respites can be traced back to Dennis Hopper, who in 1970 decamped to Taos, New Mexico. Unlike his contemporaries Hopper was driven not by his public image, but by a genuine desire to escape. After fifteen years on the silver screen – beginning with Rebel Without a Cause and concluding with his period-defining masterpiece, Easy Rider, Hopper was in need of a change of scenery. When he had arrived in Hollywood in 1955, he was a straight-laced, baby-faced kid that hadn’t even reached his twentieth birthday yet. In his polo shirts, traddy suits, and slim ties, Hopper had the clean-cut look that execs were looking for, but unfortunately, so did countless other young actors just like him.

Hopper1





The Man in the White Suit

Jul 27th, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Movies | by Jake Gallagher

MITWS4

Five years before the debut of the classic, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit came the release of another “The Man in the…” movie on the other side of the pond. The Man in the White Suit, which was produced by Ealing Studios and stared Alec Guinness, is far less famous than its flanneled counterpart, but is still widely considered to be one of the finest British films of the post-war period. The titles are hardly the only similarity between these two films, they both explore the existential dilemma that many people experienced following World War Two, but while The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit takes a stern approach to this subject, The Man in the White Suit follows a more comical route. Nonetheless, both films capture the insecurities of a postwar period in which the scale of life suddenly loomed large and the ever onward march of progress left many men questioning where exactly they fit into the world.

MITWS





Terry Cloth | Learning From Bond’s Mistakes.

Jul 3rd, 2014 | Categories: Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Movies | by Jake Gallagher

Goldfinger_Sean-Connery_terrycloth-playsuit_full-door1

Summer is all about fabrics that are just a touch absurd. From seersucker to patchwork madras, warm weather gear is often as lighthearted as it is lightweight, but nothing mirrors the jovial summer spirit quite like terry cloth. After all, what else is simultaneously as summery and as nonsensical as wearing a towel disguised as normal clothing?

As evidenced by the above shot of Sean Connery in a terry cloth onesie (undoubtedly one of James Bonds most regrettable outfits), during the sixties this fabric was primarily used for outlandish leisure wear. Fortunately for us all though, brands such as Orlebar Brown and Engineered Garments have recently begun to rethink this ultra-soft fabric, bringing it from the pool deck to everyday life.





A Man With True Grit

Jan 11th, 2011 | Categories: ACL Endorses, Books, Movies | by Michael Williams

Better late than never…
Three word movie review: Go see it.

Charles Portis did something that few of us have the stones to do. He gave up a well paying job as a journalist and left the city to move to a cabin and write the great American novel.

A few months back when I heard the news of the Coen brothers remake of True Grit, it was exciting. Mostly because — unlike the 1969 version starring John Wayne — the new True Grit would very closely follow the original Portis story. In fact, Ethan and Joel Coen instructed Matt Damon not to watch the original film, they told him to read the book. And the book is truly great.

I can identify with what Portis did by giving up his job and life in the city by moving back home (to Arkansas) to follow his true passion. It is at least a feeling I can appreciate. It takes a lot of guts and the fact of the matter, change is almost always difficult.

Both True Grit and Charles Portis’ first novel Norwood both became popular movies. John Wayne ended up winning an Oscar for his role as Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, which is the same thing I can see happening to Jeff Bridges, who is magnificent in the role. But the real star here is the story. If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you do so. Going to see the new True Grit after having read the book made it all that much more enjoyable. The Coens executed the film perfectly, in my opinion. Even Jason Bourne, er, Matt Damon was surprisingly great. I say surprisingly because, prior to this, I couldn’t see Damon as much of a Western guy. But Matt Damon is terrific, as is the whole cast.

All that said, none of it could come close to being as great as the book. I suggest you own it and read it.





Sweet Smell of Success Revisted

May 10th, 2010 | Categories: Movies | by Michael Williams

Soon after getting hired by J. Press to do their public relations in 2005, I went by the store on 44th Street to introduce myself to the manager and the salesmen there. I got a chance to meet some of the old timers and so began the relationship with one of my most memorable clients. One particularly entertaining salesman — a gent named David Wilder, (who actually still works in the New York store) — was always amusing. When I introduced myself to David as the new PR guy he says to me: “Just like Sidney Falco” and I couldn’t help but to laugh. Only at J. Press would someone make that connection. Over the two and a half years I worked with J. Press David also famously (in my mind) said that “21 Club is the J. Press of restaurants” and that “Mad Men was the J. Press of TV shows.”





LIFE Archive | Marlon Brando in The Men

Dec 17th, 2009 | Categories: LIFE, Movies | by Michael Williams

153f56351c59a4d1_large

There is a great photo set (by Edward Clark) in the LIFE archive of Marlon Brando preparing for his 1950 film debut The Men. The story was based on a group of returning WWII vets that had to cope with the mental and physical injuries of war. After coming off of his role in Broadway’s Streetcar Named Desire, Marlon Brando spent a lot of time at a VA hospital preparing for movie.





Have Gun — Will Travel

Dec 1st, 2009 | Categories: Movies, TV | by Michael Williams

Haveguncard

Thinking about getting that written on a calling card, “Have Gun — Will Travel” just like Paladin in the late 50s, early 60s Western TV and radio show of the same name. I obviously wasn’t around to see any of this show on TV, but I was watching Stand by Me over Thanksgiving and the fellas were singing the theme song throughout the movie. Interestingly enough, the theme song was also sung as a cadence in the movie Full Metal Jacket, one of my all time favorites. I have been watching Have Gun Will Travel on DVD via Netflix and the series has become some sort of a guilty pleasure. The Western genre really has some gems and this series does not disappoint. Hell, Charles Bronson even shows up in the first season.