Tagged: 1920s

Jack McGurn in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Clint Ritchie as "Machine Gun" Jack McGurn in The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1967)

Clint Ritchie as “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (1967)

Vitals

Clint Ritchie as “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn, born Vincenzo Gabaldi, Chicago mob enforcer

Chicago, Winter 1928

Film: The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Release Date: June 30, 1967
Director: Roger Corman

Background

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre is one of the few true incidents from mob lore to have expanded into mainstream pop culture. The killing of seven men affiliated with Chicago’s North Side Gang on February 14, 1929, startled and intrigued the public with its brutality, and the event became symbolic of the ugly violence that permeated through Prohibition-era America. Continue reading

Gregory Peck’s Tweed in The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Harry Street, adventurous American expatriate writer and former newspaper reporter

Paris, Spring 1925

Film: The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Release Date: September 17, 1952
Director: Henry King
Wardrobe Supervisor: Charles Le Maire

Background

The snowy month of January—and my shared half-birthday with Ernest Hemingway on the 21st—makes today a perfect time to look at Gregory Peck’s style in The Snows of Kilimanjaro, the first of Henry King’s two adaptations of Papa’s work that would star Ava Gardner and Peck’s second go at playing a Hemingway protagonist.

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Scarface (1932) – Tony’s Silk Dressing Gown

Paul Muni and Karen Morley in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni and Karen Morley in Scarface (1932)

Vitals

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

Tomorrow would have been the 120th birthday of Al Capone, had the infamous gangster not rotted to his syphilic demise in 1947.

Capone’s story remains one of the most frequently adapted for movies and TV, beginning with Rod Steiger in the cleverly titled 1959 film Al Capone through Neville Brand (twice), Ben Gazzara, Jason Robards, Ray Sharkey, and F. Murray Abraham, up through Robert de Niro’s iconic performance in The Untouchables (1987). The gangster was most recently—and most prolifically—portrayed by Stephen Graham in all five seasons of Boardwalk Empire, though Tom Hardy is set to play Capone in the upcoming feature film Fonzo.

Of course, a larger-than-life character like Al Capone didn’t have to wait until after he was dead to see his story unfold on the screen. While his name was never used in movies released during his lifetime, Capone provided the obvious inspiration for a number of gangsters in pre-Code crime cinema, most famously the ambitious, smooth, and lethal Tony Camonte, played by Paul Muni in Scarface. Continue reading

The Godfather, Part II: Vito’s Brown Suit for Revenge

Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Vito Corleone, née Andolini, Sicilian-born gangster

Corleone, Sicily, Summer 1922

Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today’s #MafiaMonday post explores a much requested outfit – indeed, I’ve received at least three separate asks for it in the last 12 months alone – from The Godfather, Part II, often considered one of the greatest films of all time. In a mostly Italian-speaking performance that won him the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, Robert De Niro reprised the role of Vito Corleone that had been originated by Marlon Brando in The Godfather two years earlier.

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The Sun Also Rises: Gray Summer Sport Suit in Europe

Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises (1957)

Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes in The Sun Also Rises (1957)

Vitals

Tyrone Power as Jake Barnes, expatriate journalist and wounded World War I ambulance driver

Pamplona, Spain, July 1922

Film: The Sun Also Rises
Release Date: August 23, 1957
Director: Henry King
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup

Background

Today is my shared birthday with Ernest Hemingway, so I’m celebrating with a look at a cinematic adaptation of my favorite of Papa’s novels, The Sun Also Rises, which he had started writing on his 26th birthday, July 21, 1925.

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The Quiet Man: John Wayne’s Tweed Jacket

John Wayne as Sean Thornton in The Quiet Man (1952)

John Wayne as Sean Thornton in The Quiet Man (1952)

Vitals

John Wayne as Sean Thornton, Irish-American former prizefighter

Inisfree, Ireland, spring during the 1920s

Film: The Quiet Man
Release Date: July 21, 1952
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Adele Palmer

Background

John Ford’s cinematic love letter to his ancestral home remains a perennial St. Patrick’s Day favorite, even if it is a somewhat overly sanitized depiction of Irish life in the 1920s. As Duke’s outfit from The Quiet Man has been requested by at least three different BAMF Style readers over the last few years, I couldn’t imagine a better time to feature it than on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Based on a 1933 short story by Maurice Walsh, The Quiet Man stars Ford’s favorite actor John Wayne as Sean Thornton, a former boxer from Pittsburgh who is returning home to reclaim his family’s land in Ireland. Continue reading

Leo’s Charcoal Jacket and Gray Flannels in Miller’s Crossing

Albert Finney as Leo O'Bannon in Miller's Crossing (1990)

Albert Finney as Leo O’Bannon in Miller’s Crossing (1990)

Vitals

Albert Finney as Liam “Leo” O’Bannon, Irish Mob-connected political boss

Upstate New York, Fall 1929

Film: Miller’s Crossing
Release Date: September 21, 1990
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Following an assassination attempt that he foiled with his Thompson artistry, small-town political boss Leo O’Bannon summons his troops to his office. One of said troops, Hammett-esque anti-hero Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) uses the opportunity to earn the ire of his boss by revealing his affair with Leo’s main squeeze, Verna (Marcia Gay Harden).

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Nucky Thompson’s Charcoal Brown Windowpane Suit

Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 1.09: "Belle Femme")

Steve Buscemi and Kelly Macdonald on Boardwalk Empire (Episode 1.09: “Belle Femme”)

Vitals

Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt Atlantic City politician and bootlegger

Atlantic City, January 1920

Series: Boardwalk Empire
Seasons: 1 – 2
Air Dates: September 19, 2010 – December 11, 2011
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield

Background

In less than two hours, liquor will be declared illegal by decree of the distinguished gentlemen of our nation’s congress… to those beautiful ignorant bastards!

In the first episode of Boardwalk Empire, Enoch “Nucky” Thompson raises a glass to toast the ratification of the Volstead Act, a constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States, effective at midnight on January 16, 1920, exactly 98 years ago today. Continue reading

Sidney Reilly’s Gray Shawl-Collar Cardigan

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 10: "The Trust")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 10: “The Trust”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd anti-Bolshevik and former British agent

Long Island, Fall 1924

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “The Trust” (Episode 10)
Air Date: November 2, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

Following his trial in absentia for plotting against the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, British agent Sidney Reilly (Sam Neill) has been living in exile in New York, feverishly plotting an anti-Bolshevik invasion of Russia to be led by his comrade Boris Savinkov. Continue reading

Scarface (1932) – Tony’s Fancy Basketweave Suit

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte in Scarface (1932)

Vitals

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

I’m wrapping up what turned out to be a week focused on classic gangster style with a look at one of my favorite mob movies, the original Scarface released in 1932. Both the film and its source novel of the same name by Armitage Trail (Maurice R. Coons) were undoubtedly inspired by the rise and fall of Chicago kingpin Al Capone, who reportedly grew to love the film so much that the owned his own print of it.

Tony Camonte’s rise through the underworld is depicted by a Thompson submachine gun blowing through the pages of a calendar, stopping somewhere around Friday, August 26, for the action to begin. (August 26 fell on a Friday in 1927 and 1932; as the events that inspired the film occurred throughout the 1920s and production wrapped in mid-1931, it’s safe to assume that this scene picks up the action around the late summer of 1927. Anyway…)

Spectacularly attired in a bold new suit, Tony runs into Poppy (Karen Morley), his boss’s platinum blonde moll, who is getting a little warmer to Tony’s form after his repeated attempts at seduction. Continue reading