Tagged: 1930s

Chinatown – J.J. Gittes’ Gray Striped Suit

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in Chinatown (1974)

Vitals

Jack Nicholson as J.J. Gittes, private investigator and ex-policeman

Los Angeles, September 1937

Film: Chinatown
Release Date: June 20, 1974
Director: Roman Polanski
Costume Designer: Anthea Sylbert

Background

J.J. Gittes begins his final day investigating the Mulwray case in Chinatown with his usual cheekiness, even when surprised by walking into a murder scene. He trades barbs with increasingly suspicious detectives, including the pugnacious Detective Loach (Richard Bakalyan) who inquires about Gittes’ sliced-up nose; Edward Norton’s character in Rounders would pay homage to Gittes’ response of “Your wife got excited. She crossed her legs a little too quick.”

But Gittes’ good humor wears off by the end, following a series of misadventures – mostly at gunpoint – involving sisters, daughters, and a shot-out eyeball. As his assistant Walsh (Joe Mantell) sagely – and now famously – advises him:

Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.

Continue reading

De Niro as Noodles – Charcoal Red-Striped Flannel Suit

Robert De Niro as "Noodles" Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984).

Robert De Niro as “Noodles” Aaronson in Once Upon a Time in America (1984).

Vitals

Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and violent ex-convict

New York City, December 1933

Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci

Background

83 years ago today, the 21st amendment was ratified to officially repeal Prohibition, delighting a thirsty American public but leaving many criminals who had made their fortunes from bootlegging effectively “unemployed”. This Mafia Monday post checks in with Robert De Niro as a mobster coming to terms with what that means for his career and personal life in 1984’s Once Upon a Time in America. Continue reading

Murder on the Orient Express: Connery’s Houndstooth Suit

Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave as Colonel Arbuthnot and Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave on set as Colonel Arbuthnot and Mary Debenham in Murder on the Orient Express (1974).

Vitals

Sean Connery as Colonel John Arbuthnot, British Indian Army commanding officer

The Orient Express, December 1935

Film: Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: November 24, 1974
Director: Sidney Lumet
Costume Designer: Tony Walton

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is my grandma’s 95th birthday, which she will be celebrating by going to her 9-to-5 job (where she never misses a day!) and then joining our family for a dinner out on the town. One of my favorite memories with Grandma includes Saturday mornings in her kitchen, watching old mystery movies together. This tradition instilled in me a love for the genre as well as an appreciation for classic movies and stars.

Murder on the Orient Express was one of our favorite movies to watch together. Although helmed by the excellent Albert Finney as a charismatic and near-cartoonish Hercule Poirot, the film is also rightly a celebration of some of the most talented women from the silver screen including Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress from her work in this movie. Continue reading

The Cincinnati Kid’s Black Waxed Jacket

Steve McQueen as Eric "The Kid" Stoner in The Cincinnati Kid (1965).

Steve McQueen as Eric “The Kid” Stoner in The Cincinnati Kid (1965).

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Eric “the Kid” Stoner, hotshot poker player

New Orleans, Fall 1936

Film: The Cincinnati Kid
Release Date: October 15, 1965
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

BAMF Style has received a few requests recently to explore the black jacket worn by Steve McQueen as Eric “The Kid” Stoner, a young up-and-coming poker player looking to establish his reputation in Depression-era New Orleans.

When he first meet The Kid, he is holding a hair in the sort of back-alley poker parlor where every guy’s nickname is Buck and there’s enough rusty razor blades in the bathroom that one won’t be missed if there’s trouble. Continue reading

Judge Wargrave’s Navy Suit in And Then There Were None

Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave in BBC's And Then There Were None (2015).

Charles Dance as Justice Lawrence Wargrave in BBC’s And Then There Were None (2015).

Vitals

Charles Dance as Lawrence Wargrave, retired judge

Devon, England, August 1939

Series Title: And Then There Were None
Air Date: December 26-28, 2015
Director: Craig Viveiros
Costume Designer: Lindsay Pugh

WARNING! Spoilers ahead! (Seriously.)

Background

Agatha Christie often regarded And Then There Were None to be her best work, and with 100 million sales to date and a classic plot that still builds nail-biting suspense nearly eight decades later, it’s no wonder that this timeless thriller has the reputation that it does.

Born 126 years ago today, on September 15, 1890, Agatha Christie has been listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling novelist of all time, no doubt due to her classics like Murder on the Orient ExpressDeath on the NileThe Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and – of course – And Then There Were None. I have a personal connection to this book, as I outlined to exhaustion in my post about Aidan Turner’s attire as Philip Lombard in what I consider the definitive adaptation of her finest work.

After more than a dozen adaptations for the stage and screen, Christie’s greatest novel finally received the adaptation it deserved in 2015 when Sarah Phelps was tasked with writing a three-part miniseries for BBC. Craig Viveiros’ direction, Phelps’ writing, and Lindsay Pugh’s costuming all came together with chilling cinematography and a talented cast to deliver this masterpiece. Continue reading

Robert Redford’s Black Tuxedo in The Sting

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting (1973).

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker in The Sting (1973).

Vitals

Robert Redford as Johnny Hooker, Depression-era con artist

Chicago, September 1936

Film: The Sting
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: George Roy Hill
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

To celebrate Robert Redford’s 80th birthday next week, I’m revisiting one of my favorite Redford flicks. After the incredible success of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the chemistry of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in the starring roles, both actors re-teamed four years later to play washed-up con artist Henry Gondorff (Newman) and his de facto protégé, Johnny Hooker (Redford). Continue reading

Philip Lombard’s Tweed Herringbone Jacket

Maeve Dermody and Aidan Turner as Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard in And Then There Were None (2015).

Maeve Dermody and Aidan Turner as Vera Claythorne and Philip Lombard in And Then There Were None (2015).

Vitals

Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard, adventurer and ex-mercenary

Devon, England, August 1939

Series Title: And Then There Were None
Air Date: December 26-28, 2015
Director: Craig Viveiros
Costume Designer: Lindsay Pugh

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None has been one of my favorite books since my sister first innocuously tossed me a copy in fifth grade. She had been reading it for a high school English class and correctly deduced that I would like it. What followed was a night-long reading experience that deluged me into such a state of overwhelming psychological horror that I have been trying desperately to duplicate ever since. It set off a course of events that caused me to eagerly consume as much of Christie’s work as I could, although few works of fiction have ever been able to deliver quite the same effect.

I eagerly sought out a filmed adaptation and discovered – back in the pre-DVD days of the internet’s infancy – that a relatively straightforward English version had been released in 1945, truer to the source than the many remakes in the following decades. I immediately scooped it up and enjoyed the classic flick with its lighthearted gallows humor and romanticized ending that Christie herself had penned for the play adaptation, but I still yearned for the sense of hopeless dread that pervaded the original novel. Continue reading