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a la Mod:
Rhode himself begins the list with his choice of Brian De Palma's The Untouchables:
When I consider media which brings me good cheer, one movie immediately comes to mind. In any moment, for any reason, for any question, there is a single answer, and that is Brian DePalma’s The Untouchables. You know that movie you love? Well, all the movies you love secretly adore this flick, and have been writing fan letters to this piece of pure American kino. Oh, the greybeards and Philip Roth will say that this is not a cheerful movie. You know what makes me cheerful? Knowing when they go to sleep and wake up they are wrong, wrong, wrong.
The Untouchables is one of most encouraging movies ever made. I’ll spare you a recitation of the plot, since we have all watched at least five minutes of TBS in our lives and thereby absorbed DePalma by means of osmosis. What can account for the cultural cachet of this epic tale of brotherhood and bloodspill?
You know all of those empires which have fallen? Looks like they weren’t Untouchable. There are Oscar-winning movies that cover tweens learning violin, kids discovering that dinosaurs were just like us, and how the yam farmer is the noblest of God’s creatures … but they don’t have Kevin Costner pushing a Prohibition baddie off a roof and into a car. Does your beloved Jennifer Lawrence vehicle feature Sean Connery chasing an assassin out of his house in his suit-vest, only to be shot himself? No? Oh, how disappointing that must be for you.
Does your movie happen to be the most heartwarming bro-picture of all time? In the other movies, does an accountant discover in the moment of trial that he can go full truffle-shuffle and wreck shop on Capone’s illegal hooch empire with a gun in his hand, and an even bigger gun in his chest—his heart? Yes, the heart is a gun. The Untouchables teaches this lesson, and so many more. DeNiro’s Capone isn’t even acting; it’s as if the memes from all his Scorsese movies (“To-day! To-day! To-day!”) plugged into an feedbacking amp the size of the world. This movie does not chew the scenery, it devours the backdrop for the fuel to rise above the concept of scenery. That’s the Chicago Way.
A 70mm print of The Untouchables will also screen at the Somerville Theatre in Boston on Monday, June 13th (7:30pm). This will kick off a four-day series called "The World Is Yours: Brian De Palma on Film," which is presented by the Independent Film Festival Boston in partnership with A24, and ends with a free screening of the De Palma documentary.
For the unforgettable final scene of Brian De Palma’s gangster epic, in which Prohibition agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) brings Al Capone (Robert De Niro) to justice, Morricone presented nine possible options. As he remembers it, he hoped De Palma would choose any of them except the seventh—which, of course, is exactly the one the director wanted. “In the end, he was absolutely right,” the composer says. Celebratory music is a rare mode for Morricone, who favors more hypnotic, moody creations. “But De Palma chose the piece that was most like [the ending]—it showed the triumph of the police over the bad guys.”
The moment he stepped into the 1920s Chicago, Dan Clancy knew he'd found his life's calling.
"My dad told me that a movie filming in Chicago was looking for production assistants," the Park Ridge resident told us. "I got lucky enough to get on the movie 'The Untouchables.'
"It was amazing to meet Sean Connery, to meet Brian De Palma. That was pretty cool. On a street off Ogden Avenue on the West Side, they transformed the entire neighborhood into the 1920s and it was just mind-boggling! I saw that and said, 'I want to do this for the rest of my life.'"
That was 1986.
Today, Clancy works as a production designer after moving up through the ranks as a production assistant, set dresser, leadman and set decorator.
"No, not at all," replied Costner. "They wanted to see Sean Connery and Robert De Niro. Dallas has a little bit of insecurity about what happened there with Kennedy [Costner filmed the 1991 John F. Kennedy assassination film, JFK in Dallas], but Chicago doesn't apologize for nothing. You don't apologize for Capone. We were here filming for two and a half or three months. I hadn't spent time in a big city before that. I also had never lived 15 floors up where you could look across and see your neighbor. I'd never experienced anyone that close to me in my life. You got to know a person without ever talking to them because you got to see the patterns of their life. You could almost turn into a peeping Tom here."
At the conclusion, Armani looks back at two early highlights in his film career: "I’ve now designed the costumes for 225 films. My favourites were those I created for The Untouchables, [directed] by Brian De Palma, because I was able to fully explore my love for the elegance of the 1920s and 1930s. But my first film collaboration happened by chance, like all really exciting adventures, when a young film-maker named Paul Schrader asked me to dress Richard Gere. Schrader was fascinated by the modernity of my style. The film was American Gigolo and the rest, as they say, is history."
In a separate article posted about a year ago at the London Evening Standard, upon the release of Martin Scorsese's The Wolf Of Wall Street (for which he also designed the costumes), Armani further discussed designing for the two '80s films:
"Richard Gere has a different body type to Leo [DiCaprio]. He has an incredible sensuality and wears every look so naturally, so he was a pleasure to dress. It was 1980 but there was a modernity to the plot, which put a handsome, alluring man at the centre of a psychological thriller.
"At that time, I was motivated by the desire to modernise menswear. In most other areas, new technology was moving forward at a fast pace, but in the field of men’s clothing we were still tied to more or less the same clothes as our fathers and grandfathers wore. I wanted to use softer fabrics and rethink the suit, getting rid of most of the linings and fillings. The unstructured result was a truly new look that preserved its precision while becoming more body-conscious and more comfortable."
"The time of Prohibition, big gangsters and the first police heroes fighting against the Italian-American Mafia fascinates me. It was a courageous, almost epic, period. It holds major appeal, like all great battles between good and evil: a sheriff and his men fighting against the bad guys, like in the Westerns of the last century, but the fact that it was based on real events made it more fascinating.
"In those years, the volumes were generous and a little bit heavy, with big overcoats completed with the ubiquitous Borsalino hat. The real clothing from that period was quite far removed from my vision as a designer; it was precisely those volumes that, starting in the late 1970s, I wanted to lighten up. So for the film we sought a compromise — credible clothing for the period but more in keeping with my aesthetic.
"I am not sure Kevin Costner changed a great deal between this film and when I dressed him for The Bodyguard in 1992. The Untouchables made him an international star, while The Bodyguard confirmed his status as a sex symbol. What might have happened between the two films is an increase in the public’s estimation of him, but his qualities as an actor remained unchanged."
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