James Garner as Jim Rockford, wisecracking private detective and ex-convict
Los Angeles, Fall 1975
Series: The Rockford Files
– “The Farnsworth Strategem” (Episode 2.02, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 9/19/1975)
– “The Deep Blue Sleep” (Episode 2.05, dir. William Wiard, aired 10/10/1975)
– “Pastoria Prime Pick” (Episode 2.11, dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired 11/28/1975)
– “The Girl in the Bay City Boys Club” (Episode 2.13, dir. James Garner, aired 12/19/1975)
– “Joey Blue Eyes” (Episode 2.17, dir. Meta Rosenberg, aired 1/23/1976)
– “Foul on the First Play” (Episode 2.21, dir. Lou Antonio, aired 3/12/1976)
Creator: Roy Huggins & Stephen J. Cannell
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo
James Garner, one of my favorite actors, was born today in 1928. Shortly after his decorated Korean War service that provided him with the relevant background for his eventual role as “the scrounger” in The Great Escape (1963), Garner found early acting success in films like Sayonara (1957) and his breakout role on the ABC western series Maverick. Though he would enjoy an illustrious, varied career for six decades until his death of a heart attack in 2014, the role most associate with Garner is that of the affable, beach-dwelling private detective Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.
Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan, tough San Francisco Police Department inspector
San Francisco, August 1972
Film: Magnum Force
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: Ted Post
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright
When the first Dirty Harry sequel was being conceptualized in the early 1970s, Clint Eastwood recalled a plot line introduced by Terrence Malick in an unused first draft for Dirty Harry that was fleshed out by John Milius to center around a group of young rogue officers in the San Francisco Police Department who formed a secret vigilante “death squad” to rid the city of its worst criminals. This neatly responded to criticism of Harry Callahan’s methods from the first film, illustrating that while Harry may be an antihero comfortable with skirting red tape to get the job done, he doesn’t extend down into the villainous domain that truly takes the law into their own hands, illustrated by the movie’s repeated motif that “a man’s got to know his limitations.” Continue reading
Max von Sydow as G. Joubert, French Alsatian contract assassin
New York City and Washington, D.C., Winter 1975
Film: Three Days of the Condor
Release Date: September 24, 1975
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
You may be walking, maybe the first sunny day of the spring, and a car will slow beside you, and a door will open, and someone you know – maybe even trust – will get out of the car, and he will smile a becoming smile… but he will leave open the door of the car and offer to give you a lift.
Happy Spring to my BAMF Style readers in the Northern Hemisphere! Among the many screen credits of the late Max von Sydow, who died at the age of 90 earlier this month, was the taciturn professional assassin known as G. Joubert in the ’70s espionage thriller Three Days of the Condor.
Charlton Heston as Colonel Robert Neville, MD, former military scientist and resourceful survivor
Los Angeles, August 1977
Film: The Omega Man
Release Date: August 1, 1971
Director: Boris Sagal
Costumers: Margo Baxley & Bucky Rous
Tailor: Albert Mariani
The second of three adaptations of Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend, The Omega Man stars Charlton Heston as Robert Neville, a survivor of a global pandemic. “The last man on earth… is not alone!” exclaimed the film’s advertising, and indeed Neville is forced to fortify himself into his home each night, warding off attacks from The Family, a violent cult of fellow survivors who—without the experimental vaccine that saved Neville—were mutated by the effects of the plague into nocturnal albinos.
Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, “a private investigator of great renown”
Massachusetts, November 2018
Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan
Happy birthday to Daniel Craig, born 52 years ago today on March 2, 1968! While Craig is likely best known as the most recent actor to portray James Bond, one of his most celebrated recent roles has been his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Knives Out as Benoit Blanc, an idiosyncratic detective who describes himself as a “respectful, quiet, and passive observer of the truth.”
Tom Selleck as Nick Lassiter, debonair jewel thief
London, June 1939
Release Date: February 17, 1984
Director: Roger Young
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane
While we’re still in the midst of tweed-friendly weather, I’d like to respond to a few requests I’ve had to focus on Tom Selleck’s gentlemanly style in Lassiter as an American thief in England, a far cry from the Aloha shirts he was famously wearing on Magnum, P.I. at the same time.
Released today in 1984, Lassiter starred Selleck as the titular jewel thief—Nick Lassiter—crafted in the daring and debonair tradition of cinematic cat burglars like Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief and David Niven’s “Phantom” in The Pink Panther. Much like his previous film, High Road to China, this movie compensated for the fact that Selleck had to pass on the role of Indiana Jones by giving him the role of a charismatic, resourceful, and risk-averse rogue facing danger from under the brim of a fedora in the years leading up to World War II.
Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino, old-school northeast Pennsylvania Mafia boss
Philadelphia to Detroit, Summer 1975
Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy 77th birthday, Joe Pesci! The Newark-born actor emerged from nearly 20 years of retirement to again collaborate with director Martin Scorsese and star Robert De Niro in The Irishman, which is up for multiple Academy Awards tonight including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Costume Design, and Best Supporting Actor for both Pesci and his co-star Al Pacino.
Should Pesci take home the statue tonight, it would be his second Academy Award after he received a well-deserved Oscar for Best Supporting Actor recognizing his work in Goodfellas. Continue reading
Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent
New Mexico to French Riviera, Summer 1966
Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Tailor: Sy Devore
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is National Wear Red Day, observed the first Friday of February to raise awareness of the dangers of the heart disease. In recognition, I wanted to feature an example of a movie or TV character prominently wearing red beyond just the usual red shirts, sweaters, or ties. Enter Matt Helm.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Winter 2000-2002
Series: The Sopranos
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
– “The Telltale Moozadell” (Episode 3.09, dir. Dan Attias, aired 4/22/2001)
– “Pine Barrens” (Episode 3.11, dir. Steve Buscemi, aired 5/6/2001)
– “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/10/2002)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Let’s kick off the first 2020 post about James Gandolfini’s expansive wardrobe on The Sopranos by looking ahead this week to Wear Red Day, the American Heart Association’s annual observance on the first Friday of each February that encourages people to wear red to show their support for the awareness of heart disease. Continue reading
John Dall as Bart Tare, armed robber on the run
San Lorenzo Valley, California, Fall 1949, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Spring 1950
Film: Gun Crazy
(also released as Deadly is the Female)
Release Date: January 20, 1950
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Costume Designer: Norma Koch (credited with Peggy Cummins’ costumes only)
Fifteen years after armed robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were ambushed and killed on a rural Louisiana road, one of the first attempts to adapt their story for the silver screen arrived in theaters. Sure, there had been Fritz Lang’s sympathetic melodrama You Only Live Once (1937) and the FBI-endorsed propaganda Persons in Hiding (1939), but Gun Crazy—released exactly 70 years ago today—most effectively latched onto the intrigue of a gun-toting couple on the run, and, “more than any other, emphasizes the powerful attraction of weaponry in the growing legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” according to John Treherne, author of The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde.
Gun Crazy‘s telling original title of Deadly is the Female reflects the narrative leaning into the noir-esque premise of a dominating femme fatale, an expert in firearms who seduces her lovestruck fella into a life of crime… an inverse of the generally accepted reality of the relationship between violent manipulator Clyde Barrow and the vulnerable and troubled Bonnie Parker.
A year after his chilling turn as the calculating, Loeb-like murderer in Hitchcock’s Rope, John Dall stars as the malleable Bart Tare, who finds himself fatefully—and fatally—drawn to the voluptuous carnival sharpshooter Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins), “the darling of London, England,” though it’s a toss-up whether it’s her tight pants, knowing wink, or dueling pistols that sink the hook into the already doomed Bart. Continue reading