Bond, James Bond, Part 4: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig (1995-Present)

It’s time to wrap up our four-part Bond retrospective in honor of the 50th anniversary of the James Bond films with a look at the two most recent actors to take on the role: Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig.

After the disappointing performance of “License to Kill,” the Bond franchise went into a bit of a hibernation period. There were briefly plans to do a third film with Timothy Dalton, tentatively called “The Property of a Lady.” However, serious legal issues going all the way back to 1961 and the rights to “Thunderball” finally came to a head, effectively killing the project. By the time the ball started rolling again, Dalton was no longer interested in the role. Pierce Brosnan, who had come within an inch of being Bond in 1987, was called up once again, and eagerly jumped at the chance in 1994, and began to film the first of his outings, 1995’s “GoldenEye,” named for Ian Fleming’s old Jamaican home.

Not pictured: giant doomsday laser cannon to hold the United Nations hostage.

Not pictured: giant doomsday laser cannon to hold the United Nations hostage.

By this point, the Bond series had fallen into a sort of dated, formulaic pattern, punctuated by strangely campy moments that seemed both out of touch with modern audiences’ tastes, as well as Fleming’s original stories.

You think?

You think?

Also, in the interim, the Cold War had ended, ending the main dynamic the Bond films had centered on: the espionage-heavy era of an undeclared war fought in secret over decades.  Suddenly, the world was a lot more peaceful, as well as a lot more complicated.  And so it was decided that for this new Bond film, all of the old mistakes and stagnation would be jettisoned, including the wardrobe, starting completely from scratch.  Enter Lindy Hemming.

Hemming, at that point best known for her work on “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” was a huge fan of Bond in her own right, having actually written her college thesis on Bond’s film wardrobe!  The film’s producers wanted her for the job of Costume Designer almost immediately, and decided early on that unlike in earlier films, which featured a cornucopia of people making decisions on Bond’s clothing, only Hemming would be making decisions, making Bond’s entire wardrobe the product of one person’s taste.

That hair really is impressive...

That hair really is impressive…

The increased production quality for the series created a new hurdle.  In earlier films, there was frequently only one copy of each suit for the film.  Now, up to FIFTY suits would be necessary for the action scenes, for the sake of continuity.  There was absolutely no way any of the small firms on Saville Row would be able to keep up.  So Hemming turned to Italian firm Brioni, who had offered to give 50 suits to the production for free.  The quality is certainly different.  Brioni’s suits are tailor-made, but they are not bespoke.  The day of the bespoke Bond was officially over, thanks to the needs of the modern action film.  But c’est la vie, Bond must go on!

Now that that's taken care of, where's did I park my invisible spy car?

Now that that’s taken care of, where’s did I park my invisible spy car?

For all four Brosnan Bond films, Hemming settled on a system for dressing Brosnan, based around carefully planned and coordinated outfits.  She is fond of unusual color combinations, like blue and brown with charcoal accents.  She also is fond of three-piece suits, and of using the classic Brioni straight shoulder to good effect.

Charcoal-Windowpane-4Charcoal-Windowpane-3Blue-Brown_Navy-Birdseye-SuitsIn 1997’s “Tomorrow Never Dies,” (originally titled “Tomorrow Never Lies,” which makes far more sense, but that’s another blog…) Hemming kept the same style, but added in an unusual 1930s touch to Bond’s dinner suit from early in the Hamburg portion of the film.  Five buttons in a V-formation on the vest, strong shoulders and wide lapels are unusual indeed for a 1997 dinner suit.

TNDDInnerSuit

Also in the film, a very interestingly atypical bronze tie/blue suit combo, with an overcoat matching the tie rather than the suit!

TNDOvercoat2

Continuing into 1999’s “The World is Not Enough,” Brosnan’s look remained fairly consistent, which the major exception being one of the black-on-black suits Brosnan wears in his outings, a Cheviot tweed suit in charcoal, appropriate considering the character had just attended a funeral…

CheviotTweed…And a herringbone linen suit worn near the end of the film in Istanbul, which is absolutely bonkers for the dark tone of the scenes it appears in.  A three-button fronted, four-button cuffed, with tan chorizo buttons, the suit otherwise has the typical Brioni lines.

TWINE Linen 1Finally for Brosnan, in 2002’s “Die Another Day,” his wardrobe stays the course, including the same one-button midnight blue peak lapel jacket that both the Brosnan and Craig Bonds pretty much always wear to formal engagements.

Die-Another-Day-Dinner-SuitWell…  There was one out-of-nowhere outfit in “Die Another Day”…

BlueFloral…But the less said about that, the better.

At this point, Brosnan retired from the series under slightly mysterious and acrimonious circumstances.  Once again, life in the meantime had a way of influencing the direction the films would go next.  The Jason Bourne series had effectively one-upped the bloated Bond franchise, showing a much more gritty and realistic look at espionage.  And 2005’s “Batman Begins” showed that taking even the most iconic of characters deadly seriously could work wonders.  The Bond producers chose Daniel Craig for the role of James Bond, deciding a very different-looking (blond!) actor was necessary for what would essentially be a reboot of the series.

Behind the camera, however, the cast of characters remained mostly the same, including Lindy Hemming.  But while she may have carried her basic sensibility with her, both Craig’s look and the gritty and deadly-realistic portrayal of the character he brought to the role invariably took Bond in a more rumpled, informal direction.

CRBlackShirt2

How YOU doin’?

However, 2006’s “Casino Royale” and 2008’s “Quantum of Solace” did provide plenty of opportunities for Bond to look his best in-between all the dressed-down action.  Case in point, this great worsted wool suit in a subtle plaid of charcoal grey and navy blue.

CharBlue SuitOr the now-iconic perfectly tailored dinner suit from “Casino Royale’s” poker scenes.
CR Dinner Jacket 2

Or, for that matter, an amazingly perfect, but updated, copy of Sean Connery’s dinner suit from “Dr. No.”

QoSDinnerSuit

And this slick charcoal suit from “Quantum of Solace.”

QOSCharcoal

The Hollywood Writers’ Strike of 2008 threw a lot of the industry out of whack, and it took a few years for the Bond film series to get back on track, just in time for the 50th anniversary of “Dr. No” (and this blog!), with 2012’s “Skyfall.”

With “Skyfall,” a new costume designer was on board, Jany Temime, and Craig had gotten, somehow, even craggier and more gritty-looking in the meantime!  Temime decided to go with Tom Ford on suits, and to bring back the more basic color scheme of the earlier Bond films, likely as part of the “everything old is new again” direction of the film in general.  This includes this number, a glen plaid in mid grey and black.

Skyfall-Glen-Urquhart-Suit She also added a true British icon to the film’s climax, the waxed cotton Barbour jacket…

Barbour

And, of course, the dinner suit for the film, a dark navy Tom Ford O’Connor outfit, very tightly fitted and a tad too short, deliberately, apparently, Temime said she was going for an “iconic for 2012” look.

Skyfall-Dinner-Suit

In short, the lines and lapels of the suits in the film were very ’60s, but the cuts and the fits were very modern.

And with that, we’ve caught up to the present.  What does the future hold for everyone’s favorite bespoke superspy?  Well, another film, for starters, already in pre-production, supposedly with Craig still on board.  But whoever is holding the “shaken, not stirred” martinis, there are two things we can always count on: he will be dressed in gorgeous, tailored suits, and he will save the world in them.

With an equally bespoke Lord Voldemort always at his side.

With an equally bespoke Lord Voldemort always at his side.

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A Brief History of the Super Bowl

As huge football fans, we here at Joseph’s Custom Clothiers excitedly watched yesterday’s Super Bowl XLVII.  It turned out to be another great game, even with the half hour-long power outage!  Congratulations are, of course, due to the Baltimore Ravens on their stunning win!

And their epic confetti angels.

And their epic confetti angels.

This 47th iteration of the Super Bowl marks a special point for the NFL.  There has officially been a Super Bowl at the end of the majority of NFL seasons now.  For 46 years, there was an NFL with no Super Bowl, something that’s almost impossible to think of now!  After 47 years of the “Big Game,” it’s easy to take the over-the-top spectacle of the event for granted.  It feels like there’s always been a Super Bowl, and that they’ve always been these huge meta events.  Of course, that’s far from the truth.  Last year, we posted a blog entry about the history of Super Bowl halftime shows, and how they went from Up With People and college marching bands to Madonna and Black Eyed Peas and massive pyrotechnic displays.  But that’s just scratching the surface of the changes…

Going all the way back, the Super Bowl was created for a very specific reason: competition.  From the NFL’s founding in 1920 up until the 1960s, there simply wasn’t another football league that could compete with the NFL’s total dominance of the sport in North America.  Any league that tried was either shuttered, or absorbed into the NFL.  But then along came the American Football League, or AFL, in 1960, who, instead of just trying to be another football league, tried new and unique rule changes and quirks to make themselves a legitimate companion league to the NFL.  The NFL and the AFL clashed mightily for six years, before finally deciding that the endless battling for players and fans was just hurting both of their bottom lines, and that they would both be better served by merging.  Combining the 16-team NFL with the 10-team AFL would take some time, though, and so a special championship game was created, to be played between the champions of both leagues, in order to get the public familiar with the idea of the two sets of teams competing directly until the actual merger in 1970.

The first Super Bowl was played at the end of the 1966 Season, between the NFL champion Green Bay Packers, and the AFL champion Kansas City Chiefs.  It wasn’t known as the Super Bowl at first.  It was officially the “First AFL-NFL World Championship Game.”  That…  Doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

500px-Super_Bowl_I_Logo

Or lend itself to stunningly attractive logo design…

But in a letter to NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the Chiefs’ owner Lamar Hunt wrote, “I have kiddingly called it the ‘Super Bowl,’ which obviously can be improved upon.”  The media, for obvious reasons, liked this name a lot better, and by the third game at the end of the 1968 Season, it had become official.  Hilariously, Rozelle’s first choice for an official name was “The Big One.”

Over the years, the growth of the Super Bowl from a relatively minor, even ignored sports event to the multimedia juggernaut of today is truly staggering.

Super Bowls have gone from this…

blogSpanTo this!

020313_sbusa1Super Bowl halftime shows have gone from this…

Pictured: $4,000 worth of entertainment.

To this!

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Super Bowl cheerleaders have gone from this…

1971-cheerleaderTo this!

super-bowl-xxvi-cowboys-cheerleaderSuper Bowl rings have gone from this…

Super-Bowl-ITo this!

Super-Bowl-XLVSuper Bowl fans have gone from this…

jets-fans2To this!

130203194447-fans-op6p-26163-mid-single-image-cutAnd Super Bowl winners have gone from this…

09000d5d8184d551_gallery_600To this!

gty_ravens_won_kb_130203_wblogBigger!  Bolder!  Louder!  Everything about the game, from top to bottom, has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.  The first Super Bowl couldn’t even sell out the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, with $12 tickets.  Current tickets are usually well into the four-digit range for the nosebleeds, and are sold out far in advance.

In many ways, the Super Bowl’s gradual explosion in popularity can be attributed to two people.  One was Bill Walsh, who popularized the West Coast Offense with the 49ers in the ’80s, and turned what was before a slower, more defensive-minded game into a much more fast-paced and exciting sport, which appealed far more to the masses.  The other person was Joe Namath.

130124135002-03-super-bowl-namath-single-image-cut

This guy.

His famous “guarantee” that the Jets would defeat the overwhelmingly favored Colts in Super Bowl III brought enormous attention to the game on its own.  The fact that he and the Jets actually pulled it off was so shocking, it completely changed the way people thought about the AFL teams, which became the core of the new AFC, and the way people thought of the Super Bowl.  People started watching because of “Broadway” Joe.

Some quirks about the game that have coalesced over the years…

  • Super Bowl Sunday, practically a national holiday in its own right, is the second biggest grilling day of the year after Independence Day.
  • 1.23 billion chicken wings are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • 49.2 million cases of beer are drunk on Super Bowl Sunday.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl XLVI was not only the most watched Super Bowl of the 47, it was the most watched broadcast in US history, with approximately 111.3 million viewers.  What’s more, of the top 10 rated broadcasts in US history, nine of them are Super Bowls (the tenth was the last episode of “M*A*S*H”).
  • 30-second Super Bowl ads cost $3.8 million a piece this year.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have the most Super Bowl wins, with 6, and are tied with the Dallas Cowboys for most appearances in a Super Bowl, with 8 each.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Dallas Cowboys is the most common Super Bowl matchup, having been the focus of three Super Bowls (X, XIII, XXX)
  • The Buffalo Bills have the ignominious honor of having both the most consecutive appearances in a Super Bowl, with 4 (XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII), as well as being tied for the most Super Bowl losses, namely those 4 games.  The Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots have also lost 4 Super Bowls, but not in a row!  The Bills also hold the record for committing the most turnovers in a Super Bowl, with 9 in Super Bowl XXVII.
  • Joe Montana was named Super Bowl MVP more than anyone else, 3 out of his 4 Super Bowl appearances (XVI, XIX, XXIV).
  • The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted the Super Bowl more times than any other stadium, 7 times.
  • The oldest person to play in a Super Bowl was Colts kicker Matt Stover in Super Bowl XLIV, who was 42 years, 11 days old at the time.
  • The biggest blowout in super Bowl history was the 49ers’ 55-10 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV.
  • The closest game in Super Bowl history was the Giants’ 20-19 victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
  • While teams have won back-to-back Super Bowls 8 times, no one has ever won 3-in-a-row.
  • Only 4 of the NFL’s 32 teams have never been in a Super Bowl, the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • No team has ever come back from being down by more than 10 points in a Super Bowl and won the game.
  • The most points scored by in one Super Bowl was in Super Bowl XXIX, when the 49ers and Chargers scored 75 points combined.
  • The most attended Super Bowl was the 103,985 attendance of Super Bowl XIV, thanks to the massive capacity of the Rose Bowl.
  • There has never been a shutout in the Super Bowl.
  • There has never been a Super Bowl that went into overtime.
  • 14 of the league’s 32 teams have yet to win a Super Bowl.
  • The home team alternates year-to-year between the two Conferences, with the AFC team being the home team in odd-numbered Super Bowls, and vice versa for the NFC team.
  • No team has ever played the Super Bowl in its home stadium.
  • The NFC team won every single Super Bowl from Super Bowl XIX to Super Bowl XXXI.