Edward Fox as “The Jackal”, mysterious professional assassin
Southern France, near Grasse, August 1963
Film: The Day of the Jackal
Release Date: May 16, 1973
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Costume Design: Joan Bridge, Rosine Delamare, and Elizabeth Haffenden
The only time we see Edward Fox’s enigmatic Jackal in a non-earthtone ensemble outside of his numerous disguises is this brief interlude for a summer evening in the south of France, near Grasse, as he chats up Colette (Delphine Seyrig) in a hotel parlor. His seduction induces Colette into his cadre of temporarily useful – but ultimately disposable – assets as he kills his way across Europe to his ultimate target. Continue reading
Humphrey Bogart as Harry Morgan, cynical fishing boat captain
Fort-de-France, Martinique, Summer 1940
Film: To Have and Have Not
Release Date: October 11, 1944
Director: Howard Hawks
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today in 1957, the world lost one of the most iconic actors of the classic Hollywood era with the death of Humphrey Bogart at the age of 57. In the last days of his life, Bogie was surrounded by friends and loved ones like Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, and his loving wife, Lauren Bacall.
Bogie and Bacall had first met 14 years earlier when she was making her debut in To Have and Have Not, an adaptation of what director Howard Hawks considered to be the worst of Ernest Hemingway’s novels that would translate to the screen as a war romance full of wit, style, and intrigue in the tradition of Casablanca, the film that had cemented Bogart’s stardom two years earlier. Continue reading
John Wayne as Michael “Guns” Donovan, island saloon owner and U.S. Navy veteran
French Polynesia, December 1963
Film: Donovan’s Reef
Release Date: June 12, 1963
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Edith Head
A decade after John Wayne traveled to Hawaii to play the titular anti-communist agent in Big Jim McLain, the actor returned for the production of Donovan’s Reef, a more lighthearted and less politically motivated film and the final of Duke’s many cinematic collaborations with prolific director John Ford.
Donovan’s Reef is set during the holidays in French Polynesia where ex-Navy gunner’s mate Michael “Guns” Donovan operates a saloon on the fictional island of Haleakaloha. Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, hotel owner and international thief
En route Amsterdam, November 2004
Film: Ocean’s Twelve
Release Date: December 10, 2004
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero
Pitt’s Costumer: Bruno de Santa
Bomb cyclone. Polar vortex. Whatever you call it, the frigid cold is here in the north, and you’d be well-advised to prep for it by bundling up and/or getting out of town. (Readers in the Southern Hemisphere, my frosty self envies you!)
Robert De Niro as Sam, professional mercenary thief and ex-CIA operative
Nice to Paris, France, December 1997
Release Date: September 25, 1998
Director: John Frankenheimer
Costume Designer: May Routh
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Several BAMF Style readers have requested to see Robert De Niro’s style from Ronin, the sensational and fast-paced thriller that follows a team of mercenaries carrying out a high-profile robbery in France. The film has been particularly singled out for its realistic car chases, filmed across stunning French settings by cinematographer Robert Fraisse as De Niro et al pursue their prey in European luxury sedans from more modern Audis and BMWs to a classic Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 performance sedan.
Shortly before Christmas, the mercenaries carry out their heist, ambushing a well-armed convoy in La Turbie and absconding with the film’s MacGuffin. A running gun battle and car chase ensues as the mercenaries pursue the surviving convoy to the port of Nice. The convoy is exterminated, but mercenaries Sam (De Niro) and Vincent (Jean Reno) then realize that they’ve been double-crossed by a deceptive confederate. Continue reading
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd anti-Bolshevik and former British agent
Long Island, Fall 1924
Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “The Trust” (Episode 10)
Air Date: November 2, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Following his trial in absentia for plotting against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, British agent Sidney Reilly (Sam Neill) has been living in exile in New York, feverishly plotting an anti-Bolshevik invasion of Russia to be led by his comrade Boris Savinkov. Continue reading
Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, troubled and crooked Vinci PD detective
Ventura County, California, fall 2014 to spring 2015
Series: True Detective
Air Dates: June 21, 2015 – August 9, 2015
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Costume Designer: Alix Friedberg
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The second season of HBO’s True Detective is, in my opinion, better judged when on its own than against its masterful and delightfully idiosyncratic first season. The second season brought together Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn in an acid neo-noir more in the pulp crime tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s worlds than that of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart.
Even the show’s fictional and corrupt berg of Vinci, California, shares some undeniable similarities with the Bay City of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, though it was indeed based on the rough industrial city of Vernon, where it was partially filmed.
Our self-destructive, repressed, and expendable cop protagonists, portrayed by the Farrell-McAdams-Kitsch triad, practice maverick techniques that border on impropriety but their ideals and values align them with the incorruptible Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade… naturally leading to the straight-out-of-pulp “last stand” holed up in a secluded motel room with seemingly endless bottles of whiskey. Continue reading