September 4, 2014

Matthew McConaughey and The Lincoln Motor Company

Lincoln and Matthew McConaughey have teamed up to launch the first ever Lincoln MKC. The partnership couldn't be better timed as both are re-imagining and re-inventing themselves. While Mr. McConaughey's long and successful career has rarely disappointed, with 'Dallas Buyers Club' and 'True Detective,' he has cemented himself as a real talent with terrific range. What a great career move to partner with a storied and true American brand like Lincoln. The auto brand has finally hit its stride with MKC. This is their car that finally reeks of luxury, from the very moment you grab the steering wheel to slight purr of the engine as you start heading down the open road.

And just when Lincoln needs the world to take a closer look, they partner with an elegant and unpredictable Oscar winner like Mr. McConaughey. When two legends come together like this, magic happens. This is the quintessential partnership - well done!


August 24, 2014

Weekend Of A Champion - Jackie Stewart and the 1971 Monaco Grand Prix

Hollywood has never really given auto racing it's proper due. A sport with as much drama, action and romance has never translated to the screen in such a way that attracts a mass audience. Unfortunately, Roman Polanski's 'Weekend of a Champion' is no exception. It quietly found its way on to Netflix without a lot of fanfare, even with mainstream mogul, Brett Ratner behind it.

That said, this film deserves more. Not only does it convey the unique landscape of classic racing, but it takes us behind the scenes with one of the greats, Jackie Stewart. Mr. Polanski and Mr. Stewart give us this unique perspective on the world's greatest race. First hand, we hear about Jackie's strategies on the 1971 streets of Monaco and how he attacks the circuit as a champion.

With Formula 1 in its most dangerous era we are given a total fly-on-the-wall perspective as Stewart prepares for the race. We walk with Helen Stewart as she bravely watches her husband suit up after a weekend of rain and approach a sport that had a 1 in 3 chance of surviving.

I won't lie and pretend that the 1971 European lifestyle wasn't an amazing character of the film as well - the elegance of the participants, the beautiful women, the luxurious hotels that lined the circuit. Some of the best scenes in the film are Stewart and Polanski strategizing from his hotel suite that overlooked the circuit. 

I've come to know Mr. Stewart over the years as a family friend, but my affection and admiration has tripled since watching this film. Not only did he battle for safety in the sport, but he did so with a severe learning disability. He reveals this at the end of the film in an unexpected and incredible epilogue that features himself and Mr. Polanski in present day, looking back on the history of the sport and the supreme losses of great men that fell to the lack of safety in the 60s - 70s era. He is a true inspiration.

This is a great film - a gripping story with a genuine hero in the lead. I greatly commend Mr. Ratner, who allowed this film a life, 40 years after its original production.  'Weekend of a Champion' is the quintessential race film and Mr. Stewart is, without question, a quintessential gentleman.


#formula1     #jackiestewart   #weekendofachampion   #romanpolanksi

May 21, 2014

Shot by Gordon Willis

There are few greater documentarians of New York City in the 1970s than the late cinematographer, Gordon Willis.  In Woody Allen's opening monologue to 'Manhattan,' he uses sweeping romantic metaphors to describe the city which was his leading lady in his most memorable films. But, it was Willis that brought this opening sequence to life in vibrant black and white. It's one of the greatest love scenes of any film. Beyond 'Manhattan,' the crisp grittiness of 'The Godfather,' the mod sexiness of 'Klute,' and the underbelly of Washington's corrupt inner sanctum in 'All the President's Men' are conveyed on screen via this unique vision that Willis brought to his camera.

Gordon Willis captured time and place perfectly and, as I was a child in 1970s Manhattan, he has left me with a trunk of visual memories for which I am eternally grateful. You will be forever missed, sir.

All the President's Men

Annie Hall


The Godfather Part II

Broadway Danny Rose

Pennies From Heaven

The Godfather


March 22, 2014

Danny Zarem

There are few film characters as well-dressed as Thomas Crown, the dandy tycoon who crafts an intricate bank robbery, brought to life by Steve McQueen in the 1968 retro classic, The Thomas Crown Affair. McQueen, was dressed for the film by Manhattan fashion retailer, Danny Zarem.

Not the most prolific Hollywood costume designer, Zarem was credited with establishing the casual look for men in America in the1960s. As vice president of  Bonwit Teller, he introduced the men’s fashion department to the handmade suede clothing of Pierre Cardin.  All of a sudden Wall Street and other men about town began to wear casual jackets to work and the places to be seen around the city.

Pierre Cardin
When Cardin’s longtime partner, Andre Oliver opened up a boutique on East 57th street, Zarem left Bonwits to move in  and make Oliver’s “Le Sweater” a must-have for upper east siders such as Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The cable-knit, baby-wool sweater was originally crafted for men, but quickly became unisex and available in a multitude of bright colors.

Shortly after being voted to Vanity Fair’s International Best Dressed Men’s List in 1978, Andy Warhol photographed Zarem and Cardin for a famous 1980 picture.

Danny Zarem died in New York in 2013 at the age of 86. His unique and strategic influence on men's fashion via Hollywood and Manhattan in the 1960s and 1970s makes him a quintessential gentleman.