Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hold Still While I Tux You In...

Today, we're going to have a photo essay devoted to that classic men's formal wear staple, the tuxedo. (Demonstrated at left by William Powell.) If I'm being honest, it's really just a way to put a fresh post up while I row behind the scenes in the galley, preparing for another more involved one!  Nevertheless, you may find yourself admiring some of the pictures and/or the men in them.  It's interesting how women's formal fashions have changed dramatically many times over the decades, but no one has ever really found a way to top the classic black and white tuxedo on the men.  It's simply the most striking and stylish way for a man to present himself for a special occasion.

One of the masters of elegance and understated flair when it came to clothing (not to mention movement) was Mr. Fred Astaire, a dancing institution all to himself.
In nearly the same sort of get-up, we see Bela Lugosi in his Count Dracula mode.  When you stop to think of it, how many movie "monsters" have ever been done up this stylishly?!
French acting and singing icon Maurice Chevalier is spiffed up here, as was often the case.
Here we see "The Great Profile" himself, Mr. John Barrymore, looking very dignified.
This is a (very) young Errol Flynn, who idolized Barrymore and who, strangely enough, really didn't put on tuxedos all that often.
One accoutrement that has almost completely fallen by the wayside over the years is the top hat to go along with tails, but Clifton Webb looks pretty good in his.
Speaking of looking good, do you recognize this fella?  He has the top hat and even a cane to complete his ensemble.
That is a young and dashingly handsome Mr. Walter Pidgeon!  Who knew?

Every once in a while, John Wayne would even trade in his boots and chaps for a penguin suit.
What about this eye-scorcher?  Dan Dailey fitted out for a sparkling musical.
Seemingly born old, but always dressed stylishly, was David Niven.
Frankie Sinatra near the beginning of his lengthy career...
The King of Hollywood, Clark Gable, towards the end of his...
Tyrone Power, rocking the pinky ring.
Perhaps the epitome of elegance and style when it comes to film actors, Cary Grant.
Another well-heeled gentleman, French actor Louis Jourdan.
Rather rare to see Dana Andrews with a mustache, but he looks handsome in his tuxedo.
Opera star and movie actor Mario Lanza.
Marlon Brando (the time he decided to actually accept his Oscar.)
Here's a man you rarely saw dressed in a tuxedo, the rebel himself James Dean.
Legendary piano-playing vocalist Nat King Cole.
Snappy singing sensation Bobby Darin.
Film-actor-turned-TV-icon Robert Young.
Look at still wet-behind-the-ears Robert Redford during an appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Beauteous hunk and eventual governmental ambassador John Gavin.
Singer and actor Dean Martin.
James Coburn during his tenure as Derek Flint in Our Man Flint (1966) and In Like Flynt (1967.)
Legendary (and legendarily old) funnyman George Burns.
Burt Reynolds sporting a white coat in the film debacle At Long Last Love (1975.)
A few (chiefly) television personalities, starting with Don Adams of Get Smart.
Bob Newhart, who starred in a couple of successful sitcoms bearing his name.
Mr. Television, Milton Berle.  Note the appearance of a ruffled shirt, a late-'60s and 1970s staple.
The same is evidenced on Jack Klugman of The Odd Couple.
Even Roddy McDowall (in his Planet of the Apes guise) has them on as he stops by The Carol Burnett Show.
Insult comedian Don Rickles shows off the larger bow ties which also punctuated that era.
Sherman Hemsley of The Jeffersons takes tuxedo variation to a whole new level!
Sometimes the color was shifted completely from black (as shown by Lee Majors), a look I cannot say I am fond of.
The '80s were a time when the visible bow tie band and a stand-up collar came back into vogue, as evidence by Jon-Erik Hexum (i.e. God!)
Don Johnson, who parlayed Miami Vice into a renewed movie career, is shown here tuxed-up.
Dynasty brought glitz to the airwaves from 1981 - 1989, frequently placing its male stars in tuxedos (seen here:  Gordon Thomson, John Forsythe, Michael Nader and John James.)
This additional shot of Gordon Thomson is for you NotFelixUnger...
My own first impressions of tuxedos were as a goggle-eyed seven year-old watching The Towering Inferno (1974), so the soon-to-be-dated ruffles and color variants never seemed as horrid to me as they did to so many other people.  Here we see Robert Vaughn from said film.
And this is Mr. William Holden, whose coat was red (seen at bottom), but in this black and white photo you can see the pattern of the fabric more clearly.  Ahhh, the '70s...
Costar Richard Chamberlain sported a ruffled beige shirt that would up getting quite filthy as the disaster wore on.
This isn't from Inferno, but is of that movie's star Paul Newman at an awards ceremony.  (The title conflagration kept Newman from being able to don his tuxedo in the movie!)
Cinematic tuxedos were a staple of the James Bond series of films.  Mr. Sean Connery got things rolling...
Here he is in color.
His immediate replacement (for one film only) was former model George Lazenby.
Next came suave Roger Moore...
...followed by the comparatively rugged Timothy Dalton.
Back to a more elegant Bond with Pierce Brosnan.
The most recent James Bond, Daniel Craig, is, in my opinion, quite wonderful in the role, unlikely as he may have seemed at first.
Here are some other contemporary actors decked out in their tuxedos, starting with Richard Gere.
Handsome Ralph Fiennes
An atypically well-groomed Johnny Depp.
The latest Superman, Henry Cavill.
The nearly always put-together Hugh Jackman.
Actor-turned-esteemed-director Clint Eastwood.
Behold the solid handsomeness of Mad Men star Jon Hamm.
One of my favorite contemporary actors, Javier Bardem.
Typically well-turned-out Leonardo DiCaprio, who seemed to understand the importance of dressing well while still a young man.
Two others who "got the memo" early in their careers to dress right for the occasion are Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, seen here collecting Oscar statuettes back in 1998 when they were all but puppies!
Compare them to the ill-fitting, cattywampus get-up that flavor of the moment Justin Beiber is wearing here.
Then there's Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer sporting only the barest remnants of the tuxedo in Magic Mike (2012.)  (Perhaps I should do a photo essay on this look next time!)
My own personal favorite man in a tux is Mr. George Clooney, who always looks stunning no matter what variety of suit he is wearing or whatever type of facial growth or hairstyle his movies dictate him to have at any given moment.
Ever since he burst forward on the hit show ER, he tossed aside all the crazy clothes he favored as a youth (it was the '80s after all) and began to emerge as a fashion icon in the classic tradition.
I have had the pleasure of being within ten feet of this man and he is truly a star, in or out of a tuxedo.  That's it til next time, my friends!


joel65913 said...

That tux on Lee Majors made my eyes hurt! Bieber, I can't even. Ugh! Can't he be done already?

I think it hasn't changed over the years, except perhaps for those ill considered color variants in the 70's/80's, because if it fits correctly a tuxedo can make even the biggest schlub look sharp. That is of course if they are properly groomed otherwise.

Which brings me to Johnny Depp. My sister and many others I know love him and I just don't understand. To me he always looks like a dirt pile, however that pic reminded me that when he actually uses soap, water and a razor he can be attractive.

NotFelixUnger said...

Thanks so much for the Gordon Thomson love. I would still marry him in a heartbeat.

Other than GT, my personal favorite in this collection is John Gavin. (I would marry him too!)

I've met George Clooney twice. He used to do it for me. He doesn't anymore. I think he is a great human being [and, I would never kick him out of bed] but I just don't feel that "Clint Walker Love" no mo'.

Channing is too girly-man looking for me. I must be getting old. My niece swears he is the "perfect older man." :-) 'Gotta love teenagers eventually, but not today! xxoo

Poseidon3 said...

Joel, I have not seen a Johnny Depp movie since "Benny & Joon!" (I only sat through that for Julianne Moore.) He holds no appeal for me at all and his considerable popularity completely mystifies me. Always has, even when he was clean-scrubbed.

NotFelix, I was captivated by Channing's little dance on the Oscars last year, but that's all I'd ever seen of him. I tried to sit through one of his movies ("The Eagle"), but found it impossible. I have "Magic Mike" on my DVR and will see what I think of that.

As for George... There are a couple of things about him I don't love (the parade of slinky, sometimes skeevy, girlfriends, always seeming to want to further themselves as he uses them for decoration), but generally I adore him. He is a hometown hero, raised close to me, whose father used to deliver our local news, so I feel connected somehow to him that way. And I've seen him in action and admire the way he handles himself. I love that he isn't content to make only crappy films for the money, but strives to say something, whether I agree or not with each subject, in many of his pictures. And I just can't help falling for that face!

Thanks, as always, guys.

lon chaney fan said...

Clearly Jon-Erik Hexum was the most beautiful man who ever lived. He looks absolutely stunning in a tux. I was such a fan during his tragically short life and career. It's nice to see him pop up every so often on your blog.

Mark said...

Great selection...but no Rock Hudson? Shame on you!

Narciso Duran said...

Hello Poseidon, I've been away (mentally) for a while. I hope to join the conversations here more regularly again.

After admiring all of the handsome faces, I came to realize that only two of the stars actually looked comfortable in a tuxedo: George Burns and Dean Martin. Each looked natural in a tux, as if they were born to inhabit one, IMHO. The rest looked merely distinguished.

Narciso Duran said...

By the way, I just can't look at Justin Bieber. I'm telling the truth when I say I thought he was a lesbian. I am rather ignorant about the recent crops of teen idols, and so whenever I saw Bieber's face on magazines, I thought he was a dyke, like K.D. Lang before she got fat, or Phranc, that other '90s lesbian singer that looked like a man without facial hair. My only confusion came from wondering why mass audiences would go wild over a lesbian with a bowl haircut.