Clark Gable as Peter Warne, recently fired newspaper reporter
Miami to New York, Spring 1933
Film: It Happened One Night
Release Date: February 22, 1934
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Robert Kalloch
Tailor: Eddie Schmidt
Today marks the birthday of Clark Gable, born 118 years ago on February 1, 1901, as William Clark Gable, though he would shave off his first name to assume the stage name of Clark Gable by 1924. Within a decade, the young actor from Cadiz, Ohio, had turned Clark Gable into a household name.
Released 85 years ago this month, It Happened One Night earned Clark Gable his only Academy Award while also racking up wins in the category of Best Picture, Best Director (for Frank Capra), Best Actress (for Claudette Colbert), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Robert Riskin). In the decades since, only two other movies have won this “big five” quinfecta of Oscar categories: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs. Esteemed company, indeed.
With Gable’s birthday today and the 91st Academy Awards just four weeks from now, let’s take a look at the dapper actor’s style in this trailblazing pre-Code comedy that’s still charming, witty, and ageless the better part of a century later. Continue reading
Tom Selleck as Nick Lassiter, debonair jewel thief
London, June 1939
Release Date: February 17, 1984
Director: Roger Young
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane
Happy birthday, Tom Selleck!
On the actor’s 74th birthday, I’m responding to a frequent request from a fellow Tom who kindly brought my attention to Selleck’s pre-World War II style in the little-known 1984 caper film Lassiter, made during the actor’s Magnum P.I. heyday. Selleck starred as the title character, Nick Lassiter, a daring and debonair jewel thief in the tradition of David Niven’s “Phantom” from the Pink Panther series with a twist of Indiana Jones… perhaps to make up for the fact that Selleck had turned down Raiders of the Lost Ark before Harrison Ford made the iconic role his own.
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, cold and calculating Mafia boss
Havana, New Year’s Eve 1958
Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Happy New Year’s Eve!
On this transitional #MafiaMonday, we transport back 60 years to New Year’s Eve 1958, a tumultuous night in world history as armed rebels connected to the vanguard 26th of July Movement overthrew Cuba’s incumbent president Fulgencio Batista, ending the five-year Cuban Revolution and establishing a communist government under the movement’s leader Fidel Castro.
“Gentlemen, to a night in Havana! Happy New Year… Feliz Año Nuevo!” toasts a gregarious Fredo Corleone (John Cazale) as he holds court in the Cuban capital with a bevy of politicians and his brother, taciturn and thoughtful mob boss Michael (Al Pacino). Continue reading
Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Broadway crooner and World War II veteran
Pine Tree, Vermont, December 1954
Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Happy holidays, BAMF Style readers! I hope all who celebrate are having a very merry Christmas whether you’re spending it with loved ones or beloved movies.
One of the most esteemed entries in the ever-expanding world of holiday cinema is White Christmas (1954), the story of two World War II veterans who go into show business together. Continue reading
James Stewart as George Bailey, newlywed banker
Bedford Falls, NY, fall 1932 through spring 1934
Film: It’s a Wonderful Life
Release Date: December 20, 1946
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson
Although the film takes place over the course of one man’s whole life, It’s a Wonderful Life has earned a comfortable home among nostalgic holiday cinema. The man in question, George Bailey (James Stewart), spends a depressing Christmas Eve questioning his existence… prompting a visit from his guardian angel to remind him of the titular wonderful life that he has led.
Marcello Mastroianni as Renzo, Italian writer
Milan, Italy, October 1963
Film: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
(Italian title: Ieri, oggi, domani)
Release Date: December 19, 1963
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Costume Designer: Piero Tosi
Car Week continues with a focus on a classic Italian comedy released 55 years ago this month.
After four movies together in the 1950s, Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren reteamed in 1963 for Vittorio De Sica’s Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow – released in Italy as Ieri, oggi, domani – a stylish anthology about life and love. The film is split into three segments that each star Loren and Mastroianni as a different couple.
The second segment, “Anna”, is the shortest of the three and stars Loren as an industrialist’s glamorous wife – dressed to the nines in Christian Dior – as she is forced to choose between her husband’s Rolls-Royce and her unassuming lover Renzo (Mastroianni).
James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective
San Francisco, Fall 1957
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Let’s kick off the winter edition of BAMF Style’s semi-annual (or is that bi-annual) Car Week where I take an additional look at what these well-dressed characters are driving.
Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s noir-esque 1958 thriller and the last of his four collaborations with James Stewart, finds the actor behind the wheel of a white DeSoto coupe as he follows Kim Novak’s character around San Francisco from her Nob Hill apartment and the Podesta Baldocchi flower shop to Mission Dolores and their fateful meeting at Fort Point on the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Continue reading
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious advertising creative director
New York City, Spring to Fall 1960
Series: Mad Men
– “Ladies Room” (Episode 1.02), dir. Alan Taylor, aired 7/26/2007
– “New Amsterdam” (Episode 1.04), dir. Tim Hunter, aired 8/9/2007
– “Shoot” (Episode 1.09), dir. Paul Feig, aired 9/13/2007
– “The Wheel” (Episode 1.13), dir. Matthew Weiner, aired 10/18/2007
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
This particular suit makes sporadic appearances across the masterful debut season of Mad Men, AMC’s much-acclaimed drama set in the world of American advertising in the 1960s.
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath
Rome, Italy, August 1959
Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is the 83rd birthday of French actor and worldwide style icon Alain Delon. Born November 8, 1935, in Sceaux, a commune south of Paris, Delon entered the film world during a trip to the Cannes Film Festival shortly after his dishonorable discharge from the French Navy. Attending Cannes with his friend, actress Brigitte Auber, Delon caught the eye of one of David O. Selznick’s talent scouts. A contract was offered, but Delon would later choose to cancel the contract in favor of remaining in France to begin his film career there.
After a few leading roles in France, it was Plein soleil in 1960 that boosted Delon to international stardom. Released as Purple Noon in the English-speaking world, this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller novel The Talented Mr. Ripley starred Delon as the cunning sociopath Tom Ripley, a portrayal that Highsmith herself highly approved of. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Bob Woodward, investigative journalist for The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Summer 1972
Film: All the President’s Men
Release Date: April 9, 1976
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack
In the spirit of the U.S. midterm elections tomorrow, I’m exploring one of my favorite political-themed movies, the 1976 thriller All the President’s Men based on the real-life investigative reporting of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward during the Watergate scandal that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation as U.S. President.
June 18, 1972: Woodward had only been at The Washington Post for nine months when he was assigned to cover the arrest of five burglars who had been caught breaking into the DNC office at the Watergate hotel complex the previous evening. As Woodward continued to investigate with fellow Post reporter Carl Bernstein, the once-minor story connects the break-in to campaign contributions for Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President (aptly nicknamed “CREEP”), revealing then-unprecedented levels of political corruption. Continue reading