John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe in The Trouble with Harry (1955)
John Forsythe as Sam Marlowe, touchy artist who scores the town with his belting baritone
Vermont, Fall 1954
Film:The Trouble with Harry Release Date: September 30, 1955 Director: Alfred Hitchcock Costume Designer: Edith Head
As we settle into what looks like a comfortable autumn—at least for fallphiles like me—I want to highlight what must be one of the earliest movies to truly capture the season’s striking colors.
Though regarded as the “Master of Suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock had long incorporated humor into his movies. The Trouble with Harry differentiates itself among Hitch’s more earnest thrillers and mysteries by emphasizing the comedy, resulting in what may be among of the director’s least suspenseful outfit but still entertaining and certainly aesthetically satisfying. Continue reading →
Hi, BAMF Style readers! Today is the 10th anniversary of my first-ever post, analyzing the iconic suit worn by Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 thriller North by Northwest. In the ten years since that post went live on September 26, 2012, I’ve been honored to connect with so many great people as I’ve felt welcomed into the online menswear community.
It’s been a lifelong journey for yours truly, from being a 7th grader hobbling together a rusty pinstriped suit with my grandfather’s flat cap in the hopes of emulating Robert Redford in The Sting to taking countless screenshots from my James Bond and Mad Men DVDs in my college dorm to try to crack the secrets of sartorial success to ultimately—and quite nervously—clicking “Publish” on that first post detailing my observations of Mr. Grant’s attire as the wrongly accused Roger Thornhill.
While I could never look quite as stylish as the erstwhile Archie Leach, this was certainly how my anxiety felt when I decided to begin a ridiculously titled blog about men’s style in my favorite movies.
To tell the truth, I almost never hit “Publish” on that first post… after all, we all know the internet can be a vicious forum that brings out the worst in people. I even considered just making this a private site, accessible only to me, where I could curate my growing knowledge about the style in movies that I admired without fear of criticism, either for my lack of knowledge or the topic itself. Slowly but surely, I realized that there was not only an audience for this type of blog but an actual community of people who cared about the same things! I would have never guessed that, within 10 years, I would have nearly 10 million views from people around the world reading my humble scribblings about the intersection of my interests. (And, if I had known, I surely would have put more thought into what I called it!)
The last decade has been filled with plenty of exploring, connecting, learning, and—most importantly—getting to know so many of you through your comments and emails, and I remain grateful each day for the empowering impact of those with whom I share this digital space. I was a green 23 years old when I started the blog and now, somewhat grayer at 33, I’m lucky that this little hobby has remained fun and fruitful to a rewarding degree. While I’m not 100% sure what the future may hold for BAMF Style, I hope to continue writing for as long as it stays fun… and we’ll see if my anxiety can continue stubbornly resisting the current trends in content sharing, be it TikTok, starting a podcast, or the next great thing.
With much gratitude, I thank you all!
Should any of you be curious, I delved into my web insights and metrics to deliver a few morsels of BAMF Style trivia…
Total number of BAMF Style posts: 1,365 Total number of views: 9,486,372 Total number of visitors: 4,041,718
Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy in The Nice Guys (2016)
Russell Crowe as Jackson Healy, unlicensed private detective
Los Angeles, Fall 1977
Film:The Nice Guys Release Date: May 20, 2016 Director: Shane Black Costume Designer: Kym Barrett
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
I was pleased to again join my friends Pete Brooker and Ken Stauffer on another episode of Pete’s podcast From Tailors With Love, this time discussing the fun ’70s style of Shane Black’s action comedy The Nice Guys.
For those unfamiliar, the “nice guys” in question are Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling, bringing back Black’s signature buddy comedy style in a big way as competing private eyes Jackson Healy and Holland March, respectively.
The older and worldlier yet paunchier Jack is more an enforcer than investigator, balancing his limb-breaking toughness with at least some remaining scruples, particularly when compared to the younger and less experienced Holly, who’s not above taking a case agreeing to help an aging woman track down her “missing” husband… whose ashes rest in an urn just a few feet away from them.
Like Crowe’s star-making turn almost twenty years earlier, The Nice Guys’ conspiratorial heartbeat is driven by Kim Basinger’s role at the intersection of corruption and porn in the City of Angels forty years prior, but the villains’ overcomplicated scheme are certainly secondary to the comedic chemistry between Crowe and Gosling, whom I—and Crowe himself—would love to see re-team for a follow-up… and with a built-in sequel title like The Nicer Guys, what’s stopping them? Continue reading →
Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer
Chicago, Summer 1929
Film: Scarface Release Date: April 9, 1932 Director: Howard Hawks
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Several years ago, I published a high-level overview of the various black tie ensembles across the male cast of the original 1932 version of Scarface, adapted from Armitage Trail’s pulp novel of the same name, which had been inspired by the then-contemporary exploits of the infamous Al Capone.
Now, after eight more years of learning, I want to focus specifically on the evening-wear worn by the eponymous Tony Camonte, portrayed by Paul Muni—who was born on this day in 1895—as Tony’s tuxedo had long been one of the driving sartorial influences in my choice to have a double-breasted dinner jacket made for my wedding, which will be one month from today. Continue reading →
Today is the 25th anniversary since the official release of L.A. Confidential, which premiered at Cannes in May 1997 but would finally hit theaters four months later on September 19, introducing audiences to James Ellroy’s murky world of corrupt cops, crooks, celebrities, and courtesans in ’50s Los Angeles.
Among its ensemble cast, L.A. Confidential centers around three LAPD officers: the tough but unsophisticated “Bud” White (Russell Crowe), the smooth yet morally compromised Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey), and the ambitious and stubbornly upright Ed Exley (Guy Pearce). Not to spoil too much of the plot for those who have missed this gem in the last quarter-century, but one of my favorite Letterboxd reviews—submitted by user David Sims—compares the movie to The Wizard of Oz as “Bud gets a brain, Jack gets a heart, Ed gets the courage.” Continue reading →
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 3: “The Visiting Fireman”)
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd and opportunistic Russian-born British agent
Hamburg, Germany, Spring 1905
Series:Reilly: Ace of Spies Episode: “The Visiting Fireman” (Episode 3) Air Date: September 14, 1983 Director: Martin Campbell Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
In honor of Sam Neill’s 75th birthday this week, I want to revisit one of my favorite roles for the New Zealand actor. Almost a decade before his starring role in the groundbreaking groundshaking blockbuster Jurassic Park, Neill had been one of the contenders suggested to replace Roger Moore as James Bond, though the actor himself had been reluctant to take what he’s since called a “mortifying” audition and was likely grateful when the role went to Timothy Dalton instead. Neill may have been considered after his excellent performance earlier in the ’80s as Sidney Reilly, a real-life spy whose early 20th century exploits had been cited by Ian Fleming as one of his inspirations for the literary 007. Continue reading →
Ian McShane as Flight Sergeant Andy Moore in Battle of Britain (1969)
Ian McShane as Flight Sergeant Andy Moore, Royal Air Force pilot
England, Summer 1940
Film:Battle of Britain Release Date: September 15, 1969 Director: Guy Hamilton Wardrobe Credit: Bert Henrikson
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today commemorates the anniversary of a decisive aerial battle in the skies over England that marked one of the first substantial Allied victories in World War II. Luftwaffe attacks on British ports and fleets had launched the Battle of Britain in June 1940, followed by sporadic and deadly raids that culminated with a German attempt to essentially eradicate any British defenses to clear the way for Operation Sea Lion, Hitler’s intended invasion of England. On September 15, two waves of German attacks on London were successfully repelled by the Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy, primarily the No. 11 Group RAF, a decisive defense that prompted then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill to famously declare: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
29 years later to the day, Battle of Britain was released in the grand tradition of star-studded war epics, boasting a talented cast that included Michael Caine, Trevor Howard, Kenneth More, Laurence Olivier, Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, and a relative newcomer named Ian McShane. Continue reading →
Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine in A Star is Born (2018)
Bradley Cooper as Jackson Maine, charismatic country-rock star
Los Angeles, Spring 2017
Film:A Star is Born Release Date: October 5, 2018 Director: Bradley Cooper Costume Designer: Erin Benach
My friend @thestyleisnotenough recently recommended writing about Bradley Cooper’s style in his directorial debut A Star is Born, in which he starred as Jackson Maine, a rock star with an outlaw country image that belies his self-esteem and substance abuse issues. Continue reading →
Cary Grant as Walter Eckland in Father Goose (1964)
Cary Grant as Walter Eckland, crude and reluctant wartime coast-watcher
Pacific Islands, Spring 1942
Film:Father Goose Release Date: December 10, 1964 Director: Ralph Nelson Costume Designer: Ray Aghayan (uncredited)
Last month, I reflected on the elegant white suit that Cary Grant wore at the start of his stylish career in the pre-Code drama Hot Saturday. More than 30 years later, Grant was firmly established as one of the most charming—and enduringly best-dressed—stars of the era, subverting his screen reputation for his penultimate movie, the World War II-set comedy Father Goose opposite Leslie Caron. Continue reading →
Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Sid Caesar as Melville Crump, honeymooning dentist
Southern California, Summer 1962
Film:It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World Release Date: November 7, 1963 Director: Stanley Kramer Costume Designer: Bill Thomas
Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sid Caesar, the pioneering comic actor whose influential variety series Your Show of Shows set a new standard during what some call the first “Golden Age of Television”, though I first knew Caesar for his part among the ensemble cast of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.