Tagged: 1900s

Arsenic and Old Lace’s “Teddy Roosevelt”

John Alexander as "Teddy Roosevelt" Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace (1941)

John Alexander as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace (1941)

Vitals

John Alexander as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster

Brooklyn, Halloween 1941

Film: Arsenic and Old Lace
Release Date: September 23, 1944
Director: Frank Capra

Background

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, was born this day 159 years ago on October 27, 1858. A son of New York City, the timid Theodore overcame his childhood asthma with his robust physical pursuits matched only by his professional ambition as a career soldier, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, and finally the youngest President of the United States when he assumed office at the age of 42 after the assassination of William McKinley.

The proximity of T.R.’s birthday to Halloween always makes me think of Arsenic and Old Lace, the Frank Capra-directed dark comedy set one Halloween in Brooklyn involving Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), his two dangerous but darling elderly aunts, and – like all of the best movies of the 1940s – Peter Lorre being Peter Lorre.

Originally a play (and doubtlessly one that your high school has performed), actor John Alexander reprised his role from the stage as “Teddy” Brewster, Mortimer’s delusional but harmless brother who believes that he is Teddy Roosevelt.

“So what?” says a friendly local cop who visits the Brewsters on his beat. “There’s a lot worse guys he could think he was.” Continue reading

The Sundance Kid’s Charcoal Dress Suit

Robert Redford as Harry “the Sundance Kid” Longbaugh in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Harry Longbaugh, aka “The Sundance Kid”, American outlaw

New York City to Bolivia, Spring 1901

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Release Date: October 24, 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

For Western Wednesday, BAMF Style is taking a look at one of the most classic and unique films in the genre, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

The film is loosely based on the true story of the turn-of-the-century outlaws who fled to South America after their gang, the Wild Bunch, was broken up by the long arm of the law. William Goldman’s witty, engaging screenplay became a hot commodity in Hollywood once studio execs warmed up to the idea of its Old West heroes fleeing. A veritable “who’s who” of the era’s most popular actors were considered for the titular leading roles before Paul Newman and Robert Redford were cast, cementing their place in film history as one of the most dynamic buddy duos to hit the screen. Continue reading

Sidney Reilly’s Corduroy Suit in Manchuria

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 2: "Prelude to War")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 2: “Prelude to War”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd Russian-born British government triple agent

Port Arthur, China (then Manchuria), February 1904

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “Prelude to War” (Episode 2)
Air Date: September 7, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Today’s Throwback Tuesday installment throws us all the way back to February 1904 on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War. According to Reilly: Ace of Spies, the newly minted Sidney Reilly is stationed in Port Arthur, Manchuria, ostensibly under the cover of a shipping agent but secretly working with the Japanese military developing their plans for a sneak attack to take the port away from the Russians. Reilly is shown to be a cold pragmatist, working with Japan against his better judgement and dispassionate regarding his poor wife, Margaret (Jeananne Crowley), whom he had married three years earlier after the mysterious* death of her clergic husband.

* Reverend Hugh Thomas’s death was even more mysterious in real life, with many suspecting that Reilly posed as a doctor in order to poison the clergyman.

Continue reading

Stanford White’s Midnight Blue Dinner Jacket

Ray Milland as Stanford White in The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955).

Ray Milland as Stanford White in The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955).

Vitals

Ray Milland as Stanford White, debonair playboy architect

New York City, June 1906

Film: The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing
Release Date: October 1, 1955
Director: Richard Fleischer
Wardrobe Director: Charles Le Maire

Background

Tomorrow is the 110th anniversary of the famous Madison Square Garden shooting of architect Stanford White by the deranged Harry Kendall Thaw, one of the first of many incidents dubbed as “The Trial of the Century” by contemporary reporters due to the juicy scandal embellished by manipulative millionaires and illicit sex.

On June 25, 1906, the psychotic Thaw was escorting his wife, actress and artists’ model Evelyn Nesbit, to the premiere performance of Mam’zelle Champagne at Madison Square Garden’s rooftop theater. Nesbit, renowned for her beauty as the archetypical “Gibson Girl”, had married Thaw the previous year despite his violent and manipulative desire to control her. One of Thaw’s most tenacious provocations was the subject of Stanford White, Nesbit’s former lover and the man who had – in Thaw’s eyes – robbed her of her virtue. Continue reading

Meeting Sidney Reilly – A Cream Suit in Baku

Sam Neill as SIdney Reilly in "An Affair with a Married Woman", the first episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies.

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in “An Affair with a Married Woman”, the first episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies.

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sigmund Rosenblum, later known as Sidney Reilly, Russian-born British Secret Service agent

Baku, Russian Empire (now Azerbaijan), Spring 1901

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “An Affair with a Married Woman” (Episode 1)
Air Date: September 5, 1983
Director: Jim Goddard
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Super Bowl XLIX viewers last Sunday surely didn’t miss the new trailer for Jurassic World, the newest entry in the franchise that began more than 20 years ago with Jurassic Park. Unfortunately, Sam Neill will not be reprising his role as Dr. Alan Grant in the newest film, so Neill fans itching to fill the void can revisit the brilliant 1983 mini-series Reilly: Ace of Spies. Continue reading

The Sundance Kid’s Gray Wool Traveling Suit

Paul Newman, Katharine Ross, and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Paul Newman, Katharine Ross, and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Harry Longbaugh, aka “The Sundance Kid”, American outlaw and sharpshooter

Colorado to Bolivia (via New York City), Spring 1901

Film: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Release Date: October 24, 1969
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

For Throwback Tuesday (that’s a thing, right?), BAMF Style is focusing on another BAMF hero – Robert Redford, who celebrated his 78th birthday yesterday – in the role that arguably shot his career into megastardom.

As Harry Longbaugh, alias “The Sundance Kid”, Redford played a level-headed – if pessimisitc – ying to the optimistic dreamer Butch Cassidy played by Paul Newman. Butch and the Kid were outlaws, killers, and thieves, but William Goldman’s script, George Roy Hill’s direction, and Newman and Redford’s bickering chemistry reinvented the two bandits’ image. Continue reading

Sidney Reilly’s Edwardian Charcoal Striped Suit

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in the first episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies.

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in the first episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies.

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sigmund Rosenblum, later renamed “Sidney Reilly” upon his entry into the British Secret Service

London, Spring 1901

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “An Affair with a Married Woman” (Episode 1)
Air Date: September 5, 1983
Director: Jim Goddard
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

The first episode of Reilly: Ace of Spies, “An Affair With A Married Woman”, is a crash course on the early life and origins of the legend of Sidney Reilly. I say “legend” because he was a notorious embellisher (liar) and the details of his life are murky at best. We slowly learn more throughout the episodes, but this extra-length opening episode establishes the series’ world where Reilly – née Rosenblum – was a trusted agent of the British Secret Service in 1901, eight years before it was actually founded! While on a mission in Baku, he met the young wife of an elderly and uptight minister and seduced her to escape captivity. Thus, “An Affair With A Married Woman”. Continue reading