Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Cinncinati Kid: Fall Color Schemes and Moleskin jackets

As I have mentioned somewhere before, I deeply, deeply enjoy the color schemes in Cincinnati Kid. They span several decades, with the best grays, blacks, and navies of the fifties, and the best earth colors of the sixties and seventies all in one place. Headlining the newer colors is McQueen, the young man, his colors reflected in those of the kid. One of the impressive things about these colors, too, is the ways they are subtle, truly earthy, rich. His sweater below, is like the the leaves in fall, and goes nicely with his reddish skin tones. The green cotton moleskin jacket, above, plays perfectly off the green behind him, is chock-full of wonderful details, including high lapel stance, and double flap pockets. And the sweater and jacket together are so good, so good.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Cincinnati Kid: The Kid

For me, one of the most enjoyable and well-put-together pieces of the Cincinnati Kid was the role of the young man hounding Steve McQueen for betting, acting as both a metaphor and a foil for his character and position. He's also stunningly well dressed, but in the a totally different way from anyone else in the film. This is especially fitting, as McQueen's well dressed is totally different from that of anyone else in the film as well. What's stunning about these clothes is the colors. That big plaid simultaneously makes the young man look bigger and smaller than he is, and way the browns blend with his skin tone, the reds bring out a deep amber in his eyes, and the hat entirely contrasts is, to me, in some way magical. The wooley nature of the coat, too, contrasts with the enviable shining ebony of his skin, bringing it more to the forefront. The fit isn't half bad either. And there's a half-belted back.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back and more Cincinnati Kid

Sorry I was so long in getting back on here, vacation was far too relaxing for its own good. But now I'm good, and have plans, among them, after finishing Cincinatti Kid, I'll start in on a few comments on Dark Knight, as I reviewed that earlier here, and am interested in some of the clothing choices.

For now, however, let's go back to the Cincinnati Kid.

One of the things I find very interesting about this movie stylistically is McQueen's color scheme, because so much of it does seem vaguely seventies - lots of earth tones, but on him, and utilizing the particular shades and items he chooses, he elevates the color scheme to something classic.

As in the above: Browns, and orange-reds are softened by natural fibers and greyish and blackish mottling. Texture, too, plays a strong role, both in shirt, and, more obviously, in the rib of the sweater. These sort of details definitely elevate the outfit.

Speaking of details, please do note the lapels and ribbing on the sweater, along with cuffs. Lapels on cardigans are wonderful, smart things.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vacation and randomness

Righto. Well. I'm now on vacation, and as I'm away from the work computer that usually supplies my images on my curiously legally required breaks, I'll be indulging in a bit of randomness for the next two weeks, talking about some of my favorite other moments of screen, and generally spreading my holiday relaxation and cheer to this venue.

The above picture is a personal favorite of mine of Cary Grant. Early in his career, in the film Sylvia Scarlett, where he is a con man who understands the necessity of fine clothes to his job. He also has a darn fine overcoat, a smashing hat to top it, white cuffs poking out of his immaculate sleeves, and the smashing dimensions we all wish were our own. Though this is truly a moment of great film elegance, it is a moment, I think, so few of us are blessed with the physical stature to achieve, hence my eternally mixed feelings about Cary Grant as a paragon of men's style.

Friday, December 19, 2008

CK5: Our Hero

It is interesting to place the two previous posts - the villain, and the teacher - in contrast to this. The formality of everyone surrounding him is obvious, and he is more formal than ever elsewhere in the film. Interesting to note is the number of three-piece double breasted suits visible - of three suits, two of them are this character, today considered an oddity. Perhaps in this day, of air conditioned offices, &c.

But those are not the focus - it is an interesting point of this shot that, though the image is crowded, though there are many faces, McQueen's immediately leaps to the forefront, atop his low-contrast outfit, led directly to by his dark silk knit tie. If this shot proves anything sartorially, it is the ability of the silk knit tie to exist in any situation - here it is used casually, but it is as easily imaginable in any other case - and one will notice that no one else in the room is wearing a black tie - in anything else but silk knit, it would be too formal. For a man who, like McQueen's character in this film, can afford few clothes, there can be no better choice.
Also notice the softness of his jacket, and the leather-covered buttons. Just details of sartorial history, but the blood of clothes is the details, and the life is in the blood.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

CK4: The teacher/opponent

Edward G Robinson occupies the position in the Cincinnati Kid which would usually label him the villain. Robinson's character is decidedly not villainous, however. He both opposes McQueen in the game, and teaches him valuable lessons about life. He is everywhere cast as aged, knowledgeable and respectable. It is perhaps an interesting comment on culture and teaching that the opposition is the teacher - see my other blog (kingdomofinformation) for a comment on that.

Anyway, down to his clothes. It is likewise interesting that of anyone in the film, Robinson is dressed most like the villain. His gold tie pin, his three-piece, and his immaculate cuffs all speak to a care, even a fastidiousness. His materials are quite rich - silks, fine wools, pure white shirting, gold tie pin. He does seem to break the rule of unbuttoning one's bottom button - but that is in like with his character. His pocket square is plain, white and flat, not puffed. He is a man of distinction, in every way. And he has a wonderful odd vest.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

CK3: The Villain

One of the interesting things about the Cincinnati Kid is that (unlike so many competition-themed films) the main opponent is not the Villain, and this is played extremely well. This is the Cincinnati Kid's villain - and while it is by no means difficult to believe that he is evil. Unfortunately, this is not the place to discuss the load-bearing particularities of his villainy, as they are interesting.

Of course, as always, his suit is also interesting. The size of lapel, the fit of sleeve, the softness and vague nature of the chalk stripes on flannel, the high-buttoned vest, the pin, all speak to a careful, considered nature, a particular, fastidious personality. While one, in such a suit, skirts looking untrustworthy, certain details may be fitting for those whose work requires a strong sense of accuracy.

For those of us who are not accountants, a few points may still be safely lifted. The placement of the tie-pin is interesting (most of the tie pins in CK fall higher than I've seen today) and the color of the tie is quite interesting.