Costume design


(buscadero) #1

Hello,
I am new to the forum, so I don’t know if anyone has discussed this question before - or is even interested - but does anyone know about the costume designers who worked in the industry? I am particularly interested to know about who worked on the Clint Eastwood Westerns. I have a theory that the current fashion for dusters, those long coats popular now in everything from Westerns to Sci Fi, originated in the Sergio Leone films, but I don’t know anything about who designed those films. Cowboys, real cowboys, of course never wore dusters, so they had to originate in some film or another. Any thoughts?


(korano) #2

Welcome to the forum! :slight_smile: But Leone got the idea for the dusters from john ford inthe man who shot liberty valance. I think the real cowboys wore duster sometimes though.


(Stanton) #3

Or from Henry King’s Jesse James (1939).

There were several US westerns with dusters or at least long rain coats like in My Darling Clementine.


(buscadero) #4

You guys are good to have spotted the source of the duster in John Ford’s films. I reached that sameconclusion after watching “My Darling Clementine,” one of Sergio Leone’s favorite films. Real cowboys didn’t wear dusters, which explains why you never see them in the paintings of Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, or photos of cowboys from the late-19th and early-20th century when cameras were first taken out of the studio and onto the ranges. If you see a long coat on an old-time cowboy, it’s a rain slicker.

I’ll need to check out the Jesse James film. Thanks for the tip.


(Stanton) #5

All the great Jesse James films have these dusters in the scenes of the Northfield debacle. Maybe it’s use is based on historical facts

The True Story of JJ (56)
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (72)
Long Riders (80)


(buscadero) #6

Yes, it is. The James and Younger gangs disguised themselves as cattle buyers when they raided the bank in Northfield, Minnesota in 1876. Part of the disguise was to wear dusters over their clothing - the sort of thing a businessman would wear over his suit to keep it clean while inspecting cattle on horseback, and then visited the bank. But this implies that the gang members dressed in suits, or otherwise the disguise wouldn’t make sense. In the 1972 film, The Great Northfield, Minnesota Raid the James and Younger gangs ignore this bit of logic and wear dusters over their dirty cowboy clothes. In the later film The Long Riders [1980] the gang members actually do wear suits beneath their dusters, for the most part. But that hasn’t kept the duster from being shown on cowboys in trail-grimed clothing ever since.

Actually, one of the sharpest send-ups of the outlaw image of dusters comes in the Cohen Brothers film, Raising Arizona [1987], when modern-day bank robbers John Goodman and William Forsythe put on dusters over their street clothes before pulling a heist.


(korano) #7

I love that movie. Forgot abut here dusters though. Maybe the James gang didn’t where suit and hid this fact with there dusters. The James gang in the Assassinaton of jesse james don’t where dusters. maybe it meens something


(Stanton) #8

In the 39 version they wear suits most of the (film)time. And in the end like Buscadero said the dusters over them.

I always liked westerns with suit wearing protagonists. The costumes in the old JJ look great.


(Silvanito) #9

I have read that it was Eastwood himself who brought his own outfit when he went to Italy to shoot Fistful of Dollars

He bought the hat, black jeans, sheepskin vest, and poncho

His boots and gunbelt were props borrowed from Rawhide

And Leone was very anxious that all costumes used in his westerns should have a worn look


(buscadero) #10

I just pulled out my copy of The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and, as Korano said, they have dusters - real dusters this time. Lee Marvin and his gang wear them for the stage robbery in the beginning. In John Ford’s My Darling Clementine, all they had were rain slickers. They made sense in the early part of the film when the Earps and the Clantons were either out in the rain or just coming inside. Later, Ford has a stagecoach driver wear his rain slicker (you can tell it because it is made of shiny oilcloth) in the middle of a hot, dry desert. Clearly, he just liked the shape of the shape.


(Cheyenne) #11

From what I know, and it aint much…
Dusters were made of linnen and used to keep the dust of your clothes,
what ever you wore under them. Range coats were made of canvas or oil cloth
but many were painted with house paint to make and keep them water proof.
Yup, probably good old oil base lead paint. So they could be what ever color the
paint hapen to be. Civil war era tar impregnated rain coats were also used in
the old west. They were like a pocho of sorts, and were all black in color.
Everything was in short supply so what ever you had you used or made due
with. Just My 2 cents!

Cheyenne

Harmonica: I saw three of these dusters a short time ago, they were waiting for a train. Inside the dusters, there were three men.
Cheyenne: So?
Harmonica: Inside the men, there were three bullets.


(korano) #12

I should really watch Once Upon a Time … again soon. I like thecostumes in Mannaja. Probably not that accurate but cool.


(Cheyenne) #13

Way cool. Watch the extra DVD, It’s got loads of info on everything.
There is mention of costumes and how Leone used different material
to get the look he wanted.

Cheyenne

Cheyenne: That’s a crazy story, Harmonica, for two reasons. One, nobody around these part’s got the guts to wear those dusters except Cheyenne’s men. Two, Cheyenne’s men don’t get killed.


(buscadero) #14

[quote=“Cheyenne, post:11, topic:1415”]From what I know, and it aint much…
Dusters were made of linnen and used to keep the dust of your clothes,
what ever you wore under them. Range coats were made of canvas or oil cloth
but many were painted with house paint to make and keep them water proof.
Yup, probably good old oil base lead paint. So they could be what ever color the
paint hapen to be. Civil war era tar impregnated rain coats were also used in
the old west. They were like a pocho of sorts, and were all black in color.
Everything was in short supply so what ever you had you used or made due
with. Just My 2 cents!

Cheyenne[/quote]
The common name for the range coats of the kind you describe were either “slickers” or “fish.” The typical rain gear worn in the West is what John Ford shows in My Darling Clementine: a linen or cotton coat, at least ankle length, that was painted with oil-based paint, just as Cheyenne describes. The most common color was bright yellow. This kind of coat was shown by both Frederic Remington and Charles Russell.

Also, it is my impression that shortages of manufactured goods and supplies was not the usual situation in the Old West. There were stores everywhere, even in the so-called “Hells on Wheels” - the traveling towns that followed the railroad gangs. Pictures of Western towns always show buildings crowded with signs offering every kind of product. Newspapers in the Old West were crammed with advertisements for items in the shops, including the new mass-produced men’s clothing. Cowboys coming off the cattle trails in places like Dodge City typically threw all of their clothes away and bought everything brand new with their pay. Laundries were common as well, both French and Chinese. So, in the real Old West, your only excuse for looking shabby in town was that you had no money.


(Cheyenne) #15

Sorry, I should have stated that “on the trail” everything was in short supply.
I should have explained what I ment better.