The Man Who Haunted Himself: “Don’t be a slave to convention”

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Pelham-Olive-SuitIn celebrating Roger Moore’s 86th birthday, let’s look at an outfit that fit Roger Moore’s flamboyant tastes during the 1970s. In comparison to his James Bond and SImon Templar of The Saint, Roger Moore’s character Harold Pelham, in The Man Who Haunted Himself, dresses more conservatively and more old-fashionedly. Pelham sees a psychiatrist and as Pelham is leaving the psychiatrist comments on the traditional City clothing he wears:

Psychiatrist: I don’t like the look of all that.

Pelham: Of all what?

Psychiatrist: Your clothes. The bowler hat and umbrella. Your tie and starched collar. These things symbolise all that we want to get rid of. Be yourself, Mr. Pelham. Don’t be a slave to convention.

In the following scene, Roger Moore dons an outfit far flashier than what Bond or Templar would ever wear, but it probably suits Moore’s own tastes at the time and is along the lines of much of what Moore would wear in his next role: Lord Brett Sinclair in The Persuaders.

Pelham-Olive-Suit-2

The double-breasted suit, made by Cyril Castle, is olive with white pinstripes. The jacket is the double-breasted equivalent of the single-button jacket. There are only two buttons, with one to button, and the row is placed at the waist. Minimalism in this case is flasher than the typical six-button double-breasted jacket. The jacket has double vents, slanted pockets and an open-vent sleeve sans buttons—like Patrick MacNee wore here and here in The Avengers. The jacket is constructed with a clean chest and gentle shoulder padding. The trousers have a straight leg.

Pelham-Cocktail-Cuff

The pink shirt from Frank Foster has a spread collar and 2-button cocktail cuffs, with both buttons fastened on the left and only the first button fastened on the right. A pink shirt is a natural pairing with an olive suit, since red and green are complementary colours. The tie is a fancy print of white, green and pink, which picks up the colours of the suit and shirt. It is tied in a four-in-hand knot. Pelham wears brown shoes, which are out of the norm for City business but go well with this suit. The outfit may be flashy, but it’s well-coordinated, well-proportioned, well-tailored and well-suited to the story.

Pelham-Olive-Suit-3

11 COMMENTS

  1. I like the cut. Adding the others 4 buttons would be a classic double breasted; is not gaudy like the double breasteds of Lord Brett Sinclair in “The Persuaders”.
    Color is interesting,a olive pinstrip is a very sophisticated choice.
    The famous Florentine tailor Antonio Liverano show a similiar cloth for a suit in the documentary “I Colori di Antonio” (“Antonio’s colors”).
    The problem is the shirt and the tie, they cry 70s.
    But with all six buttons,straight pockets,four buttons to the sleeve and more sober tie and shirt,this suit could be worn by Prince Charles today.
    Is a greatcut.

    P,S.
    Why Pelham is wet in the last picture?

    • The tie is indeed very much of its time, but I don’t see what’s 70s about the shirt. With a blue or grey suit a pink shirt is a classic look, though the olive suit makes it stand out more.

      Pelham got caught in the rain. I’d recommend watching the film; it’s one of Moore’s best films.

  2. I like the suit and the tie matches ok, however, I would respectfully disagree regarding the pink shirt, Matt. To my eye, one of the pale cream or ecru color shirts which Roger Moore wore so often from The Saint right through to his Bond-age would work far better with a light olive suit like this. Then again, the intention, as you say, is to be flamboyant and indeed, the whole outfit is a bit of a precursor to his “Persauders” outfits, in particular a double breasted light grey suit I seem to recall from some episodes.
    As an aside, I was watching some interviews from the 1970’s on YouTube recently between the legendary British interviewer Michael Parkinson and Roger Moore’s friend (and I think, to some extent at least, role model for his image) David Niven. Before playing the interview Parkinson gave his thoughts and reminiscences and in doing so described Niven as possessing “many of the things we tend to make fun of nowadays. He was courteous, charming, polite and well spoken.” The same description could apply to Roger Moore. They both come from a long line of British “gentleman” actors and Moore is now the last existing in that line. Happy Birthday Roger.

    • Well said David, I was watching the same video with David Niven last Sunday, he and Roger are certainly one of a kind. Especially if one listens to David Niven’s biography “The moon is a balloon” which is also on youtube with him as a narrator, one can only realize that Ian Fleming was right in OHMSS when calling David Niven ” the only real gentleman in Holywood”.

  3. Agreed, Matt. I work a pink shirt into my rotation on a regular basis. It’s a classic option that breaks up my usual blues and whites.

  4. There’s a lot to like about this suit. The hacking style pockets are a classic British touch and I’ve seen the use of just two buttons (one to fasten) on a couple of double breasted jackets recently – it is an unusual modern minimalist stylish touch. The suit colour and pattern are interesting and definitely could work. The open flared suit sleeves are stylish in their own way, but don’t quite work for me. My main reservation, however, is that I think this suit would look significantly better with just a few of these touches, rather than all of them. Just the unusual buttoning but a more sober colour or the other way around, for example, would be a suit I would really like.

    And, whilst I have nothing against pink shirts, I’m not sure I would choose to pair it with that suit colour.

  5. Don’t be a slave to convention. Humm.
    I wish people would think or, better then, say that more often to all those mens wearing too short, too black, too shiny and most of all overly tight-fitting suits nowadays.

    About the suit I must confess I prefer Moore’s first conservative outfit -even though the dominant black color could be replaced by navy, it would look more interesting.
    Here the colors don’t blend well, first. An olive suit and a pink shirt, why not, but the grey color of the tie looks really incongruous with the rest of the colors to me. A navy (knitted?) tie would have been a nice touch. Or a brown (knitted/grenadine/whatever since it’s not a Bond movie after all) tie since it would fit Moore’s complexion well.
    Then the suit itself is well cut, that’s sure. I like the idea of a single lapel buttonhole with a double-breasted suit. But the 2×1 cut just looks off to me. Plus the button stance is quite high, and I think it thus makes Moore’s hips appear almost as large as his shoulders. If the idea was to make a bold cut, why not a one-button single breasted with the same kind of lapels ? Or in a color such as powder blue, like Lazenby wore once, or such as Marine blue which, as many people here have agreed, suits Moore’s complexion perfectly ?

    Nothing against the shirt though, even if the pink color is very intense.

    Matt, a question about the cocktail cuffs. They look a bit different than the ones you wrote about in your article about cocktail cuffs. It doesn’t look like Foster’s usual cocktail cuff, the buttons are less spaced apart and the cuffs seem more to roll than to fold. What do you think ? Or is it just my imagination ?

    • There is no grey in the tie, it’s green and pink on white, which matches the suit and shirt very well. But it’s a very dated tie.

      The button stance looks higher because the usual top and bottom rows are missing, but the button stance is exactly where it should be. By 1970, a one-button suit

      The Frank Foster cocktail cuff from my article is the design he has used since The Man With The Golden Gun. This cuff resembles an earlier design Foster used, and Peter Sellers wore the same kind of cuff in What’s New Pussycat. Foster told me he made the shirt for Sellers.

      • Interesting, Matt. Although the tie still looks like a brownish silver to me if one is not close enough, particulary in the first picture.

        About the button stance, do you think there is only one good button stance, ie around the natural waist ? Because I was thinking of 1940s and 1930s 6×2 double breasted suits, and their button stance looked lower than this suit, altough it was still at the part where the jacket had some waist suppression. I think it looked better too.

      • Most double-breasted suits from that era have the button stance at the same place as this suit, or, in the 1930s, even a little higher. The button stance could definitely be a little lower, and it usually is about an inch lower on Roger Moore’s suits. But it’s not too high either. See the photo below for what this jacket would look like with six buttons:

        Button 6

      • It looks very nice indeed.
        I still prefer a lower button stance though… but not as low as Moore’s DB blazer in FYEO.

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