Professor Dent: Cocktails Cuffs Are Not Just For James Bond

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Professor-Dent-Blue-Shirt

Professor Dent’s (Anthony Dawson) clothing has a few similarities to Bond’s, but overall he dresses in a far more ordinary fashion. Dent’s suit is a two and two check in black and white. The jacket is a button three with the lapels rolled to the middle button, and it is cut full with natural shoulders. The cuffs have two buttons, spaced apart. Dent’s narrow tie has wide red, olive and black stripes—in the opposite direction from most regimental stripes—and he ties it in a Windsor knot. He wears black shoes and a black belt with the suit.

Professor-Dent-White-Shirt

Dent wears two different shirts with this suit. The first (above) is white with a button-down collar, placket and square-cut barrel cuffs. The second (top) is ice blue with a spread collar, placket and cocktail cuffs. Bond was not the only person in Dr. No to wear cocktail cuffs, but Dent’s are not the same. They both are rounded and have a wide spread, but Dent’s lay flat and have the buttons spaced further apart. Whilst Turnbull & Asser made Sean Connery’s shirts, Frank Foster made this blue shirt (and perhaps also the white) for Anthony Dawson.

 

23 COMMENTS

  1. I like this a lot. Foster seems to have placed Dent’s button a lot closer to the cuff here than he did with Moore’s shirts in LALD. Certainly better than the one-button, button-down turnbacks in NSNA.

    Matt, what would be your opinion of button-down cocktail cuffs on a button-down collar shirt? Too much? I know I’ve always thought of french cuffs with a button-down collar as strange.

    • Dick Van Dyke wore button-down shirts with regular cocktail cuffs on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and I thought it was nice. Button-down cocktail cuffs with a button-down collar I think would be a fun shirt. I agree that french cuffs with a button-down collar is very strange.

    • If you think a button-down collar shirt with french cuffs is strange, back around 1968-69 Sears sold a double-knit acetate turtleneck shirt with french cuffs. While the late Sixties is my favorite era for menswear (actually the Sixties is my favorite era for just about all aspects of design), that one had me shaking my head in amusement.

  2. Nice article, Matt. It’s always interesting to take a look at some of the other characters’ clothes.

    Is there a hard and fast rule about wearing a button down collar with a suit? I don’t do it, but I know plenty of people who do. I have always thought of it was a distinctly American practice, but I defer to your expertise.

    • I’ve seen a few other Englishmen in film in the 1960s wear a button-down collar with a suit and tie. It’s typically an American practice, and I feel that a button-down collar is too casual for a suit. Dent’s two-button jacket cuffs were also very popular in America in the 1960s. Anthony Dawson may be wearing an American sack suit, but I would think that’s unlikely for a British production. I can’t see enough of the chest to tell if it’s darted.

      • Hello Matt,
        you’re right, it’s an American practice. It’s interesting, that one of the few times I have ever seen Roger Moore wearing a button down collar with a suit, is in an episode of The Saint (“Luella”) from 1963, where he first pretends to be an American and then James Bond! (David Hedison also starring….)
        DB

      • Matt, I recall George Bush Snr. wearing button down collar shirts with his suits when he was President

      • Matt,
        To add my contribution, Cary Grant himself -but I guess he was quite an Ivy League-follower too, although English in origin- wore only button-down collar shirts with French cuffs in A. Hitchcock’s Notorious, with double-breasted suits as well as with sport jackets. Quite earlier than the 60s !… and quite strange as an association.
        French actor Jean Gabin also did it in some movies in the early 60s.
        I have the funny feeling this combination is something almost only well-dressed actors have worn in some movies, as a kind of challenge or something ! I wouldn’t be surprised if Fred Astaire did had the same idea, for example.

  3. The blue cocktail cuff shirt is nice, but I cannot say the same for the cut of Dent’s jacket.

    Come to think of it, the whole combination is a bit of an odd duck (right down to the two button jacket cuffs) – but eerily suited to the character of a second-rate, slovenly henchman on an island.

    -Kurt

    • You are quite severe… I wish there were more slovenly-like people nowadays, dressed the way you were thinking about !
      But I grant you his second outfit is quite slovenly and dull allright.

  4. FS, Moore wore button down collar shirts which Frank Foster produced, open neck, with a couple of casual outfits in his final Bond appearance in “A View to a Kill”.
    https://www.bondsuits.com/?p=2470
    https://www.bondsuits.com/?p=164

    Around this period he also wore these style Foster-produced shirts with a tie and accompanying either a sports coat or blazer (but I don’t believe with a suit) privately. He appeared in a couple of TV interviews promoting “AVTAK” in such outfits and these can be found on YouTube. In the 1987, 25 year anniversary documentary “Happy Birthday 007” which Moore presented, he wore a white button down shirt with a blazer and burgundy tie. Personally, I don’t find them half as pleasing to the eye as his usual style, tall moderate spread collar which he wore with his ties in the Bond films though. However, just for variation I have ordered a blue one from Foster which can be worn casually.
    I agree with Kurt K. though, apart from the novelty of the shirt I don’t think the rest of this character’s outfit has much to recommend it.

  5. I’m fairly sure that Dent’s tie is the Royal Scots regiment. I’m not sure if the actor, Anthony Dawson, served in the regiment, but he was Scottish.

    • It’s not a Royal Scots regiment tie because the stripes are the wrong direction. The stripe that looks black here is blue on the Royal Scots tie. I see no hint of blue in Dent’s tie, but it could possibly still be blue. If the colours are the same, the stripes being in the wrong direction would probably mean he was not in the regiment.

      • Matt, I don’t think Dent’s suit was Dawson’s own. In the DVD audio commentary on Dr No the actor who played Strangeways states that he had his suit tailored just for that brief sequence wich he then got to keep, something that obviously he wasn’t used to as an actor, saying that “I guess Sean got a lot of suits then.” or something like that. Dent’s suit also looks like it’s of the same (bad) cut as the tan jacket and cream coloured trousers he wears later in the film, so I doubt it was his own clothes.

    • As an earlier poster commented, it is an I Zingari cricket club tie. I Zingari are one of the oldest ‘wandering’ cricket clubs in the world (meaning they have no home ground or stadium), and probably one of the most exclusive. Membership is still very much by invitation only – you cannot ask to join!

  6. I very much prefer the T&A cuffs to these ones, but that’s just me. Otherwise, Dawson’s outfit seems very interesting and had some character, with several details typical of the 60s.
    Matt, do you think that the orientation of the tie stripes, the two-button sleeve detail and the rather roomy cut, like Leiter’s in Goldfinger, are all clues to identify Dawson’s suit -and perhaps himself too- as American ?

  7. How did this knave get his hands on such fine shirts? Dr. No did not seem to be a generous employer, judging by how he dealt with Dent when he went to Crab Key to report on the threat posed by Bond. Therefore, Dent has bought an economy, “one size fits all” suit and spent the money saved on fine shirts and cigars. A moral wreck like him has no right to cocktail cuffs!

  8. The cool thing about Dent, or rather Anthony Dawson, is that he’s a dead-ringer for Blofeld’s described in the novels. Dawson not-so-famously was the first to portray Blofeld in From Russia With Love, his face completely hidden obscured from view, and he continued to play “shadowy” Blofeld in Thunderball. The “bald Blofeld” (Donald Pleasance, Telly Savalas) more resembled other Fleming characters. Charles Gray wasn’t bad (The nehru collars all three wore were appropriate for “Japan-era” Blofeld, as was Gray’s sense of vanity.), but Dawson really fit the bill and looked (and sounded, voiceover or not!) a great deal scarier in a ‘business-like’ manner of dress that almost mirrors Bond’s pragmatic ‘no frills’ approach.

    When I read the novels I often find myself substituting other actors for roles, though in some cases it’s hardly needed. For instance, Telly Savalas becomes Le Chiffre (resemblance to Crowley). Colombo becomes Marcello Mastroianni. Henderson becomes Lazenby. Mathis becomes Jean-Paul Belmondo.

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