On the Road: Dean Moriarty’s Fur-collar Flight Jacket

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty in On the Road (2012)

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty in On the Road (2012)

Vitals

Garrett Hedlund as Dean Moriarty, impulsive drifter based on Beat Generation figure Neal Cassady

New York to San Francisco, via New Orleans, Winter 1949

Film: On the Road
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Director: Walter Salles
Costume Designer: Danny Glicker

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Yesterday was the 65th anniversary of when On the Road was published on September 5, 1957. Jack Kerouac’s seminal Beat Generation novel had been years in the making, beginning with his continuous, single-spaced 120-page “scroll” that he typed across three weeks in April 1951, almost immediately after returning from the last of the book’s depicted travels.

With the coming of Dean Moriarty began the part of my life you could call my life on the road. Before that I’d often dreamed of going West to see the country, always vaguely planning and never taking off. Dean is the perfect guy for the road because he actually was born on the road, when his parents were passing through Salt Lake City in 1926, in a jalopy, on their way to Los Angeles.

Though Kerouac hardly shied away from including seedier details of his friend’s life, On the Road became something of a hagiography centered around Dean Moriarty, the alter ego he developed for his real-life pal Neal Cassady. With the same excitement of the Dexter Gordon, Lionel Hampton, and George Shearing performances they celebrate, the impulsive Dean steals the spotlight much as he and his fellow travelers steal to support their travels, or offset “the cost of living”, as they rationalize.

Despite considerable interest—including from the author himself—in cinematic adaptations, it wouldn’t be until more than a half-century passed that cameras would finally roll on bringing On the Road to the screen. Francis Ford Coppola had held the rights since 1979, holding on through decades of development hell until the artistic critical success of The Motorcycle Diaries encouraged him to hand over the reins to director Walter Salles and writer José Rivera. Salles again collaborated with cinematographer Éric Gautier, whose photography brought mid-century America back to life across the small towns, sandy deserts, and snowy hillsides that resisted generations of change.

Garrett Hedlund’s appropriately kinetic performance as the dangerously charismatic Dean also emerged as one of the strongest aspects of Salles’ On the Road adaptation, with Owen Gleiberman writing for Entertainment Weekly that “the best thing in the movie is Garrett Hedlund’s performance as Dean Moriarty, whose hunger for life—avid, erotic, insatiable, destructive—kindles a fire that will light the way to a new era.” Continue reading

The Great Gatsby: Sam Waterston’s Beige Linen Birthday Suit

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby (1974)

Vitals

Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, impressionable bachelor and bond salesman

Long Island to New York City, Late Summer 1925

Film: The Great Gatsby
Release Date: March 29, 1974
Director: Jack Clayton
Costume Designer: Theoni V. Aldredge
Clothes by: Ralph Lauren

Background

Just as the summer began with a look at Nick Carraway’s white linen suit as his portrayer Sam Waterston narrated his arrival at a pivotal dinner with the Buchanans in the 1974 cinematic adaptation of The Great Gatsby, let’s bring it to a close by looking at how Nick dresses when returning to their estate on the climactic afternoon of his 30th birthday, which likely would have been sometime around Labor Day. (The movie updated the setting to 1925, though F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel was set throughout the summer of 1922, which would have placed Nick’s birthday around 100 years ago today on Monday, September 4.)

Continue reading

Thunderball: Quist’s Cabana Style

Bill Cummings as Quist in Thunderball (1965)

Bill Cummings as Quist in Thunderball (1965)

Vitals

Bill Cummings as Quist, silent yet easily subdued SPECTRE henchman

Nassau, Summer 1965

Film: Thunderball
Release Date: December 29, 1965
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Designer: Anthony Mendleson

Background

As summer winds to an unofficial end, I want to continue celebrating some of my favorite warm-weather fashions. During a recent rewatch of Thunderball, I was again struck by how contemporary the men’s summer style remains almost sixty years later, with tropical prints and terry cloth still best-sellers for many modern-day outfitters.

Naturally, Sean Connery’s wardrobe as 007 remains a highlight, but I also delighted in the aloha shirts worn by his allies Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) as well as the beach-wear sported by a character so minor that he’s routinely dismissed not just by the characters, but even the movie itself as Bill Cummings’ performance goes uncredited in the official end credits cast roll. Continue reading

Day Shift: Jamie Foxx’s Vampire-Hunting Aloha Shirts

Jamie Foxx as Bud Jablonski in Day Shift (2022)

Jamie Foxx as Bud Jablonski in Day Shift (2022)
Photo by Andrew Cooper/Netflix

Vitals

Jamie Foxx as Bud Jablonski, maverick vampire hunter

San Fernando Valley, California, Summer 2022

Film: Day Shift
Release Date: August 12, 2022
Director: J.J. Perry
Costume Designer: Kelli Jones

Background

When I saw that Day Shift, the latest Netflix action comedy, centered around Jamie Foxx killing vampires while wearing a rotation of Hawaiian shirts, I knew I had to check it out.

Foxx stars as Bud Jablonski, whose job cleaning pools in the San Fernando Valley provides cover for his more serious occupation of hunting the undead. Continue reading

Hot Saturday: Cary Grant’s White Suit

Cary Grant as Romer Sheffield in Hot Saturday (1932)

Cary Grant as Romer Sheffield in Hot Saturday (1932)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Romer Sheffield, smooth playboy

Ohio, Summer 1932

Film: Hot Saturday
Release Date: October 28, 1932
Director: William A. Seiter

Background

Today being a hot Saturday in late summer reminded me of the early Cary Grant movie called, well, Hot Saturday. 1932 had been a breakout year for the Bristol-born star, as the erstwhile Archie Leach had worked his way in six months from his screen debut (This is the Night) to his first leading role, as the dapper playboy Romer Sheffield in Hot Saturday. (Curiously, this marks the second time both this month and in the decade-long history of this blog that I’m writing about a character named Romer!)

Romer provides a prototype of what would become Grant’s signature screen persona: charming, debonair, and romantic yet wickedly self-deprecating. We meet him on a warm afternoon in the fictional Ohio berg of Marysville, where he strolls into the local bank and makes a date with the young clerk, Ruth Brock (Nancy Carroll), despite his already scandalous living arrangement with a woman named Camille Renault (Rita La Roy). As Ruth already has a date set that weekend with co-worker Connie Billop (Edward Woods), Romer invites both to his lakeside estate for what promises to be a hot Saturday indeed. Continue reading

Ryan Gosling’s Gray Sharkskin Suit in The Gray Man

On “just another Thursday,” I’m pleased to present another guest post contributed by my friend Ken Stauffer, who has written several pieces for BAMF Style previously and chronicles the style of the Ocean’s film series on his excellent Instagram account, @oceansographer.

Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six in The Gray Man (2022)

Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six in The Gray Man (2022)

Vitals

Ryan Gosling as Courtland “Court” Gentry, a.k.a. Sierra Six, off-the-books CIA operative

London and Hong Kong, 2019

Film: The Gray Man
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
Costume Designer: Judianna Makovsky
Mr. Gosling’s Costumer: Mark Avery

Background

If you haven’t checked out The Gray Man yet, it seems you’re in the minority. Released last month directly on Netflix, the film has consistently stayed on the streamer’s top watched list around the globe. Based on Mark Greaney’s popular book series, it’s a bit of a throwback to ’90s action movies, chock full of offhand quips and casual explosions, but modernized with drone shots and a popular, A-list cast. Continue reading

Local Hero: Burt Lancaster’s Tweed in Scotland

Burt Lancaster as Felix Happer in Local Hero (1983)

Burt Lancaster as Felix Happer in Local Hero (1983)

Vitals

Burt Lancaster as Felix Happer, eccentric oil executive

Scotland, Fall 1982

Film: Local Hero
Release Date: February 17, 1983
Director: Bill Forsyth
Costumes: Shawn Dale, Pip Newbery, and Penny Rose

Background

I’m talking about the sky, MacIntyre. The constellation of Virgo is very prominent in the sky right now in Scotland. I want you to keep an eye on Virgo for me. Will you do that?

As Leo season transitions into Virgo season, Local Hero feels like the appropriate focus, given the curious astronomy-themed orders under which Knox Oil and Gas president Felix Happer (Burt Lancaster) sends underling “Mac” MacIntyre (Peter Riegert) to Scotland, urging him to keep watching the sky, particularly for comet activity under the Leo and Virgo constellations. Continue reading

David Hemmings in Blowup

David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave in Blowup (1966)

David Hemmings and Vanessa Redgrave in Blowup (1966)

Vitals

David Hemmings as Thomas, hip London photographer

Swinging London, Fall 1966

Film: Blowup
Release Date: December 18, 1966
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Costume Designer: Jocelyn Rickards

Background

Some people are bullfighters, some people are politicians… I’m a photographer.

August 19 being World Photography Day feels like an apt opportunity to delve into Blowup, Michelangelo Antonioni’s enticing and meandering mystery that won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and was nominated for two Academy Awards despite its then-unprecedented sexual content that defied the mainstream movies released under the aging Motion Picture Production Code that had been enforced in Hollywood for over three decades. Indeed, Blowup‘s critical popularity and box-office success has been credited as one of the final blows that killed the restrictive “Hays Code” once and for all, in favor of the MPAA rating system that ushered in a new, uninhibited era of American cinema.

Blowup centers around Thomas (David Hemmings), a stylish young photographer living the swinging London dream, though kept so busy that he bemoans “I haven’t even got a couple of minutes to have my appendix out.” Continue reading

Inside Daisy Clover: Robert Redford’s Breton Stripes at Sea

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

Robert Redford and Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Wade Lewis, cheeky, charismatic, and closeted actor

Santa Monica, California, Fall 1937

Film: Inside Daisy Clover
Release Date: December 22, 1965
Director: Robert Mulligan
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas

Background

Ahead of Robert Redford’s birthday tomorrow, let’s flashback to one of the actor and director’s earliest prominent roles. Redford had spent the early 1960s taking small parts in movies like Tall Story (1960) and War Hunt (1962), appearing occasionally on TV shows like MaverickPerry MasonRoute 66The Untouchables, and Alfred Hitchcock’s anthology series. His most significant performance at the time was on stage, originating the role of the hapless newlywed Paul Bratter in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, which would provide Redford’s breakthrough big screen success when adapted by Gene Saks in 1967.

The movie adaptation of Barefoot in the Park launched a nearly 40-year stretch where charismatic Redford exclusively played leading roles, following a two-year period of supporting performances in mostly forgettable movies like Inside Daisy Clover, which Gavin Lambert had adapted from his novel of the same name. Continue reading

Live By Night: Ben Affleck’s White Gangster Suit

Ben Affleck as Joe Coughlin in Live by Night (2016)

Ben Affleck as Joe Coughlin in Live by Night (2016)

Vitals

Ben Affleck as Joe Coughlin, gangster and war veteran

Ybor City, Florida, Spring 1933

Film: Live by Night
Release Date: December 25, 2016
Director: Ben Affleck
Costume Designer: Jacqueline West

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

After years of memes picturing him in various states of Dunkin’-fueled despair, Ben Affleck seems to be doing pretty well for himself these days, recently married to Jennifer Lopez as they have evidently to put the past—including Gigli—well behind them. On Affleck’s 50th birthday, let’s explore one of his more stylish roles as the Prohibition-era protagonist in Live By Night.

Continue reading