Sean Connery as James Bond, British government agent
South America, Spring 1971
Film: Diamonds are Forever
Release Date: December 17, 1971
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Master: Ray Beck
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
Making mud pies, 007?
Did you know that today, August 19, is National Potato Day? In Diamonds are Forever, James Bond’s hunt for vengeance after the events of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service leads him to an undisclosed location in search of his enemy, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, who has taken to cloning himself in order to form a group of decoy doubles to distract 007. Part of the pre-operation procedure consists of a volunteer decoy resting in an 80°F mud bath (while armed with a revolver, for some reason), and that’s where National Potato Day comes in. Continue reading
David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race, lawyer and war veteran
Egypt, September 1937
Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Following the grand success of 1974’s Murder on the Orient Express, one of the few adaptations of her work actually endorsed by Agatha Christie herself, producers rushed to find the next of her books to be adapted into a lavish, star-studded affair.
Death on the Nile was published in 1937, three years but ten books after Murder on the Orient Express, and included all of the necessary ingredients for success: the return of eccentric detective Hercule Poirot, an exotic location, and a glamorous victim among an international cast of characters… all of whom had the motive and means to commit the crime.
Poirot’s “boy Friday” to help him solve the case came in the form of Colonel Race, a steadfast Brit who first appeared in Christie’s earlier novel The Man in the Brown Suit. David Niven affably portrays the capable colonel with dignified charm and deadpan wit, often serving as the straightforward foil to Peter Ustinov’s more bombastic Poirot. Continue reading
John Wayne as Lon “McQ” McHugh, taciturn Seattle PD lieutenant
Seattle, Fall 1973
Release Date: February 6, 1974
Director: John Sturges
Wardrobe Credit: Luster Bayless
It’s no Hollywood secret that McQ was originally developed as a vehicle for Steve McQueen. Five years after McQueen sat behind the wheel of a hunter green Mustang GT390 careening through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, the role of gruff Seattle police lieutenant Lon McHugh was retooled for screen legend John Wayne, who took on his first detective role at the age of 66.
Wayne, whose entire left lung had been surgically removed after a bout with cancer a decade earlier, could only walk short distances without needing oxygen – much to the chagrin of director John Sturges – but still turned in a surprisingly energetic performance as a cop who combines Dirty Harry’s stubborn grit with Bullitt’s propensity toward speeding around the city in a sporty dark green American muscle car. Continue reading
Roger Moore as James Bond, suave British MI6 agent
Cairo, Egypt, August 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Tailor: Angelo Vitucci
The Spy Who Loved Me was released 40 years ago today on July 7, 1977. As James Bond himself, the late Sir Roger Moore, noted in his highly entertaining 2012 book Bond on Bond: “The date on the posters read 07/07/77. Jim’s lucky numbers.” The day seems like an appropriate time for BAMF Style to celebrate the uniquely fashionable Bond so charmingly portrayed by Sir Roger during his 12-year tenure as 007. Continue reading
Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard, petty thief and killer on the run
Paris, August 1959
(French title: À bout de souffle)
Release Date: March 16, 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard from an original treatment by François Truffaut, À bout de souffle (or Breathless to us Americans) marked a defining moment in the evolution of French New Wave cinema. The lanky, youthful, and energetic Jean-Paul Belmondo shot to cinematic stardom as he became the new face of French New Wave, a term to which he charmingly admitted his own ignorance to P.E. Schneider of New York Times Magazine.
In that 1961 piece, Schneider was profiling Belmondo for a piece called “A Punk With Charm,” referring to the actor’s role in Breathless as the Bogart-idolizing Michel Poiccard, a swaggering and sociopathic walking id. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Macauley “Mike” Connor, swaggering tabloid reporter
Newport, Rhode Island, Summer 1956
Film: High Society
Release Date: July 17, 1956
Director: Charles Walters
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
BAMF Style is fulfilling a timely request from Ryan to explore the puppytooth jacket, pink shirt, and tie worn by Frank Sinatra for his early scenes in High Society, the 1956 remake of The Philadelphia Story that found Sinatra acting with his idol, Bing Crosby. The film lives up to its title with an abundance of luxury cars, opulent homes, and plenty of champagne.
Though set in summer, Sinatra’s ensemble is a nice bold springtime look as the April showers turn to May flowers. Continue reading
Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, volatile and violent Mafia associate
New York, Spring 1979
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
We always called each other “good fellas.” Like you said to somebody, “You’re gonna like this guy. He’s all right. He’s a good fella. He’s one of us.” You understand? We were good fellas. Wiseguys.
The line may have been an afterthought to explain the new Goodfellas title after Scorsese was unable to use the book’s original Wiseguy title, but it provides the perfect context and framework for Tommy DeVito prepping for his “made man” ceremony, especially against the optimistic driving piano exit of Derek and the Dominoes’ “Layla”.
Of course, little does Tommy know that he’s in for the ultimate case of the [Mafia] Mondays… Continue reading