-There goes a thousand dollars.
-Your shoes cost a thousand dollars?
-That one did.

Nicholas & Christine – The Game (1997)

Michael Douglas

Michael Douglas signing up for The Game (1997)

On the show

In episode I speak to Bobby Morelli of Matched Perfectly on Instagram about one of the more stylish films of the 90s, The Game starring Michael Douglas and Deborah Kara Unger. The costume designer for The Game was Michael Kaplan, we’ve scrutinised his work before in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Below are some moments transcribed from my chat with Bobby. The podcast is available to listen on iTunes, Stitcher or Spotify or in the player below. You can also catch our chat on YouTube.

BOBBY

Just thinking about really stylish films with sartorial aspects that are really prevalent in the films, I thought Michael Douglas his performance is really good. It really holds up, it’s a bit obscure, for folks that haven’t seen it, they’ll find it entertaining.

The Game Michael Douglas Grey Suit

Silver Fox

ME

I fell in love again with Douglas.

BOBBY

He’s so good at being pompous, arrogant and self-centred in this, but you watch that break down over the course of The Game, seeing that arc for the character makes it interesting. It’s a very Hitchcockian position he’s put in, his reality is being distorted and played with. This may be my favourite Michael Douglas film, so much of this film references what he’s wearing, whether it’s a pen leaking on his shirt, or 1000 dollar shoe falling off. The clothes and the style of this are very much at the forefront.

ME

Yeah early on the tone is set with Douglas eating breakfast with the tie over the shoulder, this is how I’m going to drink my coffee from now on.

Michael douglas in The Game drinking coffee with his tie over his shoulder

How I’ll drink coffee from now on.

BOBBY

He’s very particular, the detail they go into with his shirts being monogrammed. And he’s very much a classic American business man. He looks like a quintessential business man, very wealthy very upper crust, isn’t it a shame that more people don’t dress like that now. His look is very purposeful. Very evident from the get-go. He’s suited the entire act and then some. And that’s what he’s comfortable in.

ME

The intro when he goes to work he is seen being driving to work over the hills of San Francisco, empty streets, but he’s driving along a mono rail, so it creates the illusion of him being driven to work, almost like he’s on a production line. It screams, uniform, it screams routine, mundanity.

BOBBY

Yeah most people would love that level of travel in San Francisco.

ME

You figure out who made the clothes?

BOBBY

Yeah Oxxford Clothes, I found some info on Style Forum. (Reads below).

BOBBY

This company go way back. I’ve never heard of them before ashamedly. They’ve tailored Joe Di Maggio’s wedding suit, when he married Marilyn Monroe, they’ve made things for Al Capone. It’s a very famous brand, when you talk of American tailoring at that time you think of Brooks Brothers or something like that.

ME

Or Ralph Lauren.

BOBBY

Yeah! But you can tell the quality of these suits in this film. There’s some real Cary Grant/vintage Connery looks in this, the film is colour graded, it’s really dark it’s tough to tell sometimes. It looks like a lot of it is grey pick and pick, and a pale blue dress shirt. Maybe this has aged well, the cut of the suit is great, but not too tight, not too baggy, really classic two button, wearing very tasteful grid pattern shirts and solid ties, Douglas is wearing these suits and he’s wearing them well.

ME

He’s doing so little, but doing so much, holding back, not giving himself away. And neither are his clothes. It’s cold, it’s uniform, it represents his background, his environment. Nothing flamboyant, nothing should stand out.

BOBBY

RIGHT! its very austere, his BMW is black, there’s nothing superfluous.

The Game Michael Douglas Deborah Kara Unger

Michael Douglas scolds the clumsy Deborah Kara Unger

ME

Question for you Bobby – Like Sean Penn did to Douglas in this film; how would you feel if I organised a birthday surprise for you. The surprise being I break into your house, spray every wall, drive you into a river and drain all your accounts of funds?

BOBBY

I’ll hit pause on that. But this film is all about his father’s suicide though, and Douglas turns 48 same age he did when his father passed away it’s that Ebenezer Scrooge type of redemption. He had to have everything taken away, and nothing left to live for. Getting his house repainted is worth the cost of getting his life re-centred.

ME

But they did shoot real bullets into his car.

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BOBBY

You have to suspend disbelief, you have to kind of go with it. But I’m curious what do you think of the suits?

ME

He looks like the A-Lister. I think for that grey suit, the look is always amplified when you have a good skin tone to contrast it, or a mop of silver hair swept back to book end it. There is a stigma against grey suits, but Cary Grant has been making them sexy in movies since the 50s, so it’s nothing new, and it won’t go away.

Credits & Sponsors

All images used sourced from IMDB used here under the fair use doctrine. This episode is sponsored by MyPostcard. Be sure to enter TAILORS25 at checkout to get your 25% discount of any postcard you send.