Tuesday, April 3, 2012

cinematic style - Robert Redford in All the President's Men

Okay - here are two slightly shameful things. Firstly, the reason I first decided I wanted to become a journalist was because I watched All The President's Men. And secondly, I have major jones for Robert Redford. Actually you know what, I stand by that second one. So I'm really only ashamed of the first one. While I may have waved those dreams of investigative reporting a fond farewell - unless some kind of deep throat incident occurs in the fashion industry, in which case, count me in, trench coat and all - I still love the way that this movie evoked those classic ideas of the journalist and the art of reportage. The journalist as some kind of lone maverick wearing very fitted camel pants and shirts striped to perfection. The journalist as an upstart Yale alumnus whose only sign of stress is in the unbuttoning of the top collar. 

For guys there's nothing remarkable about what Robert Redford (I think I'm unable to refer to him by just one name) wears in this film, it's stock standard 9 to 5 wear, no? But there's something about the shapes and the colours that has always drawn me in. I love that he wears so many different tones of brown in the one outfit, from a honey-soaked jacket to a dark molasses pair of pants. The mix of prints is also so awful it's delightful, like how a paisley tie somehow finds its match with a striped shirt. I know some of the boys who do my degree could learn a trick or two from Robert Redford. Journalism isn't quite journalism without a thick leather belt, a rolex submariner and a trench coat with the collar turned up. Some of it is nostalgia for a bygone era. The golden age of journalism - such as it was - where you smoked in the office and you had a notepad with a spiral along the top and you tucked it in the front pocket of your shirt.  Boys wore their hair long - too long, maybe - and they all had signet rings and they spent hours on the telephone "chasing down leads". But it's clothes like this that make those scant few truly tense moments of modern journalism okay. In a low partioned office, with a stack of papers on your desk, how else do you make that tedious business of sorting fact from fiction look good if you can't wear a double breasted nubuck blazer? And, oh, doesn't Robert Redford look good in classic camel and blue?


ps. the first and last screencaps don't really have anything to do with style, but I love the cinematography in this film so much. The symmetry that is set up, in the office, in the library of congress, later in the parking lot when Bob meets deep throat is so great. It creates the tense environment that the film thrives off.


Jess said...

If only the genuine journalists of today (the ones like Nick Davies) offered such sartorial inspiration! (How many drab, pale blue, button-up shirts does Mr Davies own, precisely? Like, four hundred? Come on, Davies!) But I'm more than happy to just appreciate their inspirational efforts to truly honour their roles as journalists and get to the truth. I don't care if someone's amazingly dressed if they're also just unthinkingly republishing Reuters releases almost verbatim in order to generate enough material to meet an arbitrary quota for a 24-hour news cycle. Although if anyone could manage to magically bring some style and respect to churnalism, presumably it would be Robert Redford!

talisa said...

Can't believe I haven't seen this, thanks Han! Will make sure to watch over easter. xx

Charlotte said...

I think the third picture is my favourite, the outfit is so wrong yet it works, skinny pants and all. And his hair! I think we may have the same watch, rose gold michael kors? And yes I would happily trade, I feel the need to replace skinnies with loose, tapered jeans x

Annabel Wendt (LoveMore) said...

this is what i am TALKING ABOUT! brilliant post! love it!

ahhhh film...my love


Camille said...

I agree with you, the mix of the odd paisley tie with the striped shirt is so good--it's something I realised I often do (because I'm cold!) but with silk scarves. Yep, so aweful it's delightful haha!
I've only ever seen scenes from this movie, but have never watched the whole thing. In one of my high school history classes, my teacher had told us about the movie when he covered the Watergate scandal. When I came to write the exam, for a moment I could only remember "Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman" instead of the actual names of the journalists!

blackcatwildfox said...

ive never seen this movie, but these guys made my father become a journalist as well!

Alice said...

I haven´t seen this film, but I sure should do so!
Btw, your blog is very nice, followed!