Category: Two-Piece Suit

Cary Grant in The Bishop’s Wife

For this holiday treat, I again welcome BAMF Style contributor Ken Stauffer (@oceansographer on Instagram), here sharing his thoughtful analysis of a screen icon in a holiday classic.


Cary Grant and Loretta Young in The Bishop’s Wife (1947)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Dudley, debonair angel

New York City, December 1947

Film: The Bishop’s Wife
Release Date: December 9, 1947
Director: Henry Koster
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff

Background

Happy holidays, BAMF Style readers! To celebrate the season, we’re looking back at the Christmas classic The Bishop’s Wife, which premiered at the Astor Theater in Times Square exactly 75 years ago today. Interestingly, general audiences would not have a chance to see the movie until the following February, an odd marketing decision that shows how much the film industry has evolved over the years.

The film stars Cary Grant as Dudley, a literal angel on Earth, assigned to help Manhattan-based Episcopalian Bishop Henry Brougham, drolly performed by David Niven. While acting as the bishop’s assistant, Dudley finds himself drawn to his eponymous wife, Julia, played by Loretta Young in an enchanting turn. Continue reading

Remember the Night: Fred MacMurray’s Christmas Road Trip

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck in Remember the Night (1940)

Vitals

Fred MacMurray as John “Jack” Sargent, smooth-talking New York prosecutor

New York to Indiana, Christmas 1938

Film: Remember the Night
Release Date: January 19, 1940
Director: Mitchell Leisen
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

This year’s winter #CarWeek installment kicks off with a holly jolly hoosier holiday in Remember the Night, a 1940 romcom released at the outset of a decade that included many classics of Christmas cinema like The Shop Around the Corner (1940), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1942), Holiday Inn (1942), Christmas in Connecticut (1945), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), The Bishop’s Wife (1947), It Happened on Fifth Avenue (1947), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), 3 Godfathers (1948), and Holiday Affair (1949). Yet before all those classics came Remember the Night, arguably one of the earliest major movies to recognize how compellingly Christmas, both at its loneliest and most celebratory, could be effectively woven into a story.

“While it has remained for decades mysteriously under the radar, its tender romance and comedy are so skillfully blended—and its use of Christmas so poignant—that it stands among the very best holiday movies,” describes Jeremy Arnold in the TCM volume Christmas in the Movies. Continue reading

Devil in a Blue Dress: Don Cheadle as Mouse Alexander

Don Cheadle as Raymond “Mouse” Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Vitals

Don Cheadle as Raymond “Mouse” Alexander, smooth but dangerous gunsel

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Devil in a Blue Dress
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As #Noirvember comes to a close, I want to celebrate one of my favorite characters from neo-noir, the trigger-happy “Mouse” Alexander in Devil in a Blue Dress, played by Don Cheadle who was born November 29, 1964 and celebrates his 58th birthday today.

Fledgling private eye Ezekial “Easy” Rawlins (Denzel Washington) calls his old pal Mouse for some high-caliber help as the stakes climb but soon regrets his decision: “You ain’t been in my house five minutes and you gone and shot somebody already, Mouse!” Continue reading

Steve Martin in Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Steve Martin as Neal Page in Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

Vitals

Steve Martin as Neal Page, advertising executive and family man

New York City to Chicago… via Kansas and Missouri, Fall 1987

Film: Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Release Date: November 25, 1987
Director: John Hughes
Costume Designer: April Ferry
Steve Martin’s Costumer: Dennis Schoonderwoerd

Background

It’s two days to Thanksgiving! If you’re an ad man in New York for a creative presentation with an indecisive client, that should give you just enough time to unsuccessfully race Kevin Bacon for a taxi and join up with a talkative shower curtain ring salesman—excuse me, shower curtain ring sales director—for a series of transportation-related hijinks to make it home to Chicago just as that stuffed bird is ready to come out of the oven on Thursday.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles remains one of the few bona fide classic Thanksgiving comedies, released 35 years ago this week as commemorated today with an all-new 4K home video release that includes more than an hour of deleted and extended footage. The movie arguably succeeds best thanks to the comedic chemistry between Steve Martin and John Candy, balancing humor and heart as both the banal Neal and garrulous Del are humanized beyond initial stereotypes in what both actors described as a career-favorite film. Continue reading

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner: Sidney Poitier in a Navy Suit

Sidney Poitier as Dr. John Prentice in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Dr. John Wade Prentice, widowed physician and professor

San Francisco, Spring 1967

Film: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Release Date: December 12, 1967
Director: Stanley Kramer
Costume Designer: Joe King

Background

As we gear up for arguably the biggest family dinner of the year this week, I want to revisit one of the most famous “dinner movies” despite never actually seeing the titular meal on screen. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner broke ground upon its release 55 years ago for its positive portrayal of an interracial relationship when the white Joanna Drayton (Katharine Houghton) returns from a Hawaiian vacation with her new fiancé, a widowed black doctor named John Prentice (Sidney Poitier). Continue reading

Alan Ladd in This Gun for Hire

Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake in This Gun for Hire (1942)

Vitals

Alan Ladd as Philip Raven, cold-blooded, cat-loving contract killer

San Francisco to Los Angeles, Spring 1942

Film: This Gun for Hire
Release Date: April 24, 1942
Director: Frank Tuttle
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

I had already been planning to write about This Gun for Hire this month when I realized that today would have been the 100th birthday of Veronica Lake, who was born in Brooklyn on November 14, 1922 with the decidedly less glamorous name of Constance Ockelman. Lake was still in her teens when cast in her first starring role in Sullivan’s Travels (1941), the success of which convinced Paramount to cast her in their upcoming thriller, which would also be a vehicle to launch their next up-and-comer, Alan Ladd. Continue reading

Desert Fury: Wendell Corey’s Herringbone Tweed Suit

Wendell Corey as Johnny Ryan in Desert Fury (1947)

Vitals

Wendell Corey as Johnny Ryan, stone-cold mob enforcer

Nevada, Spring 1947

Film: Desert Fury
Release Date: August 15, 1947
Director: Lewis Allen
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

In the spirit of #Noirvember, I want to celebrate an entry in the relatively rare “color noir” category as well as the career of Wendell Corey, the Massachusetts-born actor and one-time AMPAS President who died on this day in 1968.

Corey was a familiar face in classic film noir like I Walk Alone (1948), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), and The File on Thelma Jordon (1950) before his perhaps most recognized performance as the skeptical Detective Tom Doyle assisting Jimmy Stewart‘s peeping amateur crime-solver in Rear Window (1954). It had been an impressive rise for an actor whose feature film debut had only been a few years earlier, appearing in Desert Fury (1947) as the gay-coded mob killer Johnny Ryan, right-hand man to smooth racketeer Eddie Bendix (John Hodiak).

Also starring Lizabeth Scott and Burt Lancaster, with whom Corey would again co-star in I Walk AloneDesert Fury joins contemporaries like Leave Her to Heaven (1945) and Niagara (1953) as the rare examples of full-color movies that maintain enough of the themes, style, and sinister story elements of traditional film noir to still qualify for this classification. Continue reading

The Godfather: Johnny Fontane’s Cream Silk Suit

Al Martino as Johnny Fontane in The Godfather (1972)

Al Martino as Johnny Fontane in The Godfather (1972)

Vitals

Al Martino as Johnny Fontane, down-on-his-luck crooner

Long Island, New York, Summer 1945

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 14, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

Today in 1927, Al Martino was born in Philadelphia to two Italian immigrants from Abruzzo, the same southern Italian region from which much of my family hails. Following his U.S. Navy service during World War II, the singer began earnestly following his career in entertainment. Twenty years after his first single, “Here in My Heart”, reached #1 in the U.S. Billboard and UK Singles charts, Martino joined the cast of The Godfather as Johnny Fontane, an Italian-American crooner whose early career parallels that of Martino’s contemporary Frank Sinatra. Continue reading

Dr. No: Bond’s Gray Mohair Suit and Walther in Jamaica

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No

Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No (1962)

Vitals

Sean Connery as James Bond, sophisticated and resourceful British government agent

Morgan’s Harbour, Jamaica, Spring 1962

Film: Dr. No
Release Date: October 5, 1962
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Master: John Brady
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

With the release of Dr. No sixty years ago today, October 5 has since been immortalized as Global James Bond Day in commemoration of when Sean Connery first uttered that now-iconic character introduction:

Bond. James Bond.

Dr. No had actually been Ian Fleming’s sixth novel featuring the worldly secret agent, set primarily in Jamaica as he penned the novel from his Jamaican estate Goldeneye. The author had tired of the character and left Bond’s fate somewhat ambiguous at the end of his previous novel From Russia With Love, though ultimately choosing that the agent would live to die another day and beginning Dr. No with 007’s recovery from the poison inflicted by the sharp-shoed Rosa Klebb.

Back to relatively full health, Bond finds his punishment in the form of a simple assignment meant to ease him back into duty (and possibly penalize him for letting his guard down), investigating the disappearance of a station chief and his secretary in Jamaica. There, Bond learns that the late chief had been investigating an eccentric recluse with the equally eccentric name of Doctor Julius No (Joseph Wiseman). With the help of his CIA buddy Felix Leiter (Jack Lord) and local contact Quarrel (John Kitzmiller), Bond ultimately determines that he and his newly issued Walther owe the good bad doctor a long-overdue visit. Continue reading

Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Sid Caesar in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Sid Caesar in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)

Vitals

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

Background

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.

Continue reading