Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, outlaw motorcycle club leader
Central California, Summer 1953
Film: The Wild One
Release Date: December 30, 1953
Director: László Benedek
“Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”
This famous exchange originated among the actual biker gangs that producer Stanley Kramer had brought on set to play themselves. When Kramer asked what it was they were “rebelling” against, a member cracked back to him, “Well, whaddaya got?” The line so encapsulated the culture and attitude of bikers during the era that it was incorporated into The Wild One, though the question is posed by Mildred, the platinum blonde beauty salon operator that one of Johnny’s boys picked up in a bar.
Inspired by actual events over a rambunctious fourth of July weekend in Hollister, California, in 1947, The Wild One was based on Frank Rooney’s short story “The Cyclists’ Raid” that appeared in Harper’s magazine in January 1951. It was swiftly adapted for the screen, though the locations involved were changed to the fictional California burgs of Carbondale and Wrightsville, the latter being the “screwball town”—according to Dextro (Jerry Paris)—where most of the action takes place.
The credits are a bit misleading, introducing Marlon Brando to us as The Wild One, though his character Johnny Strabler turns out to be the most restrained of his hell-raising confederates, particularly when compared to the obnoxious pipsqueak Mouse (Gil Stratton), the larcenous, simple-minded Pigeon (Alvy Moore), or rival gang leader Chino (Lee Marvin). Continue reading
Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, “full-bird colonel turned spy turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent”
Rosamond, California, to Louisiana, June 1995
Film: Captain Marvel
Release Date: February 27, 2019
Directed by: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Costume Designer: Sanja Milkovic Hays
Carol Danvers: Nicholas Joseph Fury… you have three names?
Nick Fury: Everybody calls me Fury. Not Nicholas. Not Joseph. Not Nick. Just Fury.
Carol Danvers: What does your mom call you?
Nick Fury: Fury.
Carol Danvers: What do you call her?
Nick Fury: Fury.
Carol Danvers: What about your kids?
Nick Fury: If I have them? They’ll call me Fury.
The 21st film released by Marvel Studios for the Marvel Cinematic Universe spends more time with Nick Fury than previous entries, giving us an ostensible origin story for the black-clad badass who’s been at the core of the MCU since his first appearance in the post-credits scene of Iron Man. As Captain Marvel is set in 1995, decades before the primary action of the MCU, Samuel L. Jackson was digitally de-aged to portray the character, then seen as a much lower-level agent in the S.H.I.E.L.D. bureaucracy and—perhaps most surprising—with both of his eyes intact. Continue reading
Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, troubled and crooked Vinci PD detective
Ventura County, California, October 2014
Series: True Detective
– “Night Finds You” (Episode 2.02, dir. Justin Lin, aired 6/28/2015)
– “Maybe Tomorrow” (Episode 2.03, dir. Janus Metz, aired 7/5/2015)
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Costume Designer: Alix Friedberg
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As we get deeper into autumn, let’s crib a fall-friendly look from the second episode of True Detective‘s divisive second season. Even if you weren’t a fan of the neo-noir sophomore season of Nic Pizzolatto’s HBO series, there’s still something undoubtedly fun about Ray Velcoro’s cowboy-inspired take on a detective’s daily attire. Continue reading
Kirk Douglas as John “Doc” Holliday, hot-tempered gambler, gunslinger, and ex-dentist
Dodge City, Kansas, October 1881
Film: Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Release Date: May 30, 1957
Director: John Sturges
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Let’s call today #WesternWednesday as we transport back to the 1880s, following the taciturn lawman Wyatt Earp (Burt Lancaster) and his infamous pal, tubercular dentist “Doc” Holliday (Kirk Douglas), as they travel from the “beautiful, biblious Babylon of the west” Dodge City—as the rowdy cow town was famously coined by a Chicago newspaper editor—back to Arizona Territory. The two arrive in Tombstone in time for the fateful shootout with the Clanton-McLaury cowboy faction that would be immortalized in countless books and movies, including the 1957 movie Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father
Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957
Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell
A recent Instagram post from my friend @chimesatmidnight reminded me of the fantastic fall style and autumnal aesthetic in Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ tribute to the incandescent melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk in the 1950s. Influenced by movies like All that Heaven Allows, Imitation of Life, and Written on the Wind, Haynes employed techniques from the era to provide the same idyllic mid-century look, feel, and sound, with the help of Elmer Bernstein’s original score, Kelley Baker’s sound, the richly detailed world created by production designer Mark Friedberg, and Edward Lachman’s thoughtful cinematography.
Gregory Peck as Captain Keith Mallory, experienced Allied spy and mountain climber
“Navarone Island”, Greece, Fall 1943
Film: The Guns of Navarone
Release Date: April 27, 1961
Director: J. Lee Thompson
Wardrobe Credit: Monty M. Berman & Olga Lehmann
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After leading his scrappy team of British Army commandos through Greece, Captain Keith Mallory finds himself at the crucial point of his mission, the infiltration of an enemy fortress on the fictional Navarone Island. Mallory and his team had been briefly detained in Mandrakos, where they turned the table on their Nazi captors and stole the German military uniforms to provide them ideal cover as they sneak into the fortress and disable the guns and, ideally, escape with their lives.
Ted Danson as Sam Malone, bartender and former baseball star
Boston, Spring 1983
– “Showdown, Part 2” (Episode 1.22, dir. James Burrows, aired 3/31/1983)
– “Power Play” (Episode 2.01, dir. James Burrows, aired 9/29/1983)
Created by: Glen Charles, Les Charles, and James Burrows
Costume Designer: Robert L. Tanella
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
One of the most pivotal moments in the early seasons of Cheers was Sam and Diane setting “will they or won’t they?” by getting together in the final seconds of the first season finale… then picking up abruptly in the second season premiere with their attempts at coupling that prove the fledgling relationship may already be doomed.
Robert Mitchum as Harry Kilmer, tough former detective
Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan, Spring 1974
Film: The Yakuza
Release Date: December 28, 1974
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Dorothy Jeakins
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Fall is here in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s my favorite season for the cooler weather, the changing leaves, and the increased sweaters, corduroys, and tweeds that make their way from the back of the closet back into regular rotation. These autumnal staples get some particularly badass exposure in Sydney Pollack’s 1974 Japanese-set neo-noir The Yakuza as a 57-year-old Robert Mitchum joins Ken Takakura as they fight their way through Honshu from Kyoto to Tokyo in a variety of natty turtlenecks layered under tweed jackets and corduroy suits.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob chief
New Jersey, Fall 1999
Series: The Sopranos
– “46 Long” (Episode 1.02, dir. Dan Attias, aired 1/17/1999)
– “Pax Soprana” (Episode 1.06, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 2/14/1999)
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
As this year is the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos‘ groundbreaking debut season, I’ve been dedicating more BAMF Style posts than usual this year to the acclaimed HBO mob drama.
On what would have been series star James Gandolfini’s 58th birthday, let’s follow the journey that Tony Soprano made during each episode’s opening credits, emerging from the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel and snaking his Chevy Suburban through the Jersey turnpike, the suburbs of Newark, and finally his North Caldwell mansion, all to the thumping sound of A3’s “Woke Up This Morning”. Continue reading
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, top paleontologist
“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993
Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg
Happy birthday, Sam Neill! The actor—born 72 years ago today on September 14, 1947—racked up plenty of BAMF Style points early in his career for his depiction of real-life spy Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies, a stylish mini-series that established Neill as a strong contender to succeed Roger Moore as James Bond. Neill’s greatest commercial success as a star was arguably his role of esteemed paleontologist Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, the 1993 blockbuster that needs no introduction.