Tagged: 1950s

Steve McQueen in The Blob

Steve McQueen as Steve Andrews in The Blob (1958)

Steve McQueen as Steve Andrews in The Blob (1958)

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Steve Andrews, headstrong teenager

Chester County, Pennsylvania, Summer 1957

Film: The Blob
Release Date: September 12, 1958
Director: Irvin S. Yeaworth, Jr.

Background

As today would have been Steve McQueen’s 90th birthday, let’s take a look at his first starring role, a sci-fi/horror drive-in favorite called The Blob. A personal favorite of producer Jack H. Harris, The Blob was filmed on location in southeastern Pennsylvania on a low budget that, depending on the source, has been quoted as anywhere between $110,000 and $240,000, a cost kept low thanks in part to the low $3,000 salary that the then-struggling actor McQueen had accepted to afford short-term expenses like food and rent.

After two uncredited movie roles and scattered TV bit parts across the mid-1950s, McQueen’s credited feature film debut was in Robert Stevens’ 1958 crime drama Never Love a Stranger, which also featured his future Bullitt co-star Felice Orlandi. Less than a week after the premiere episode of Wanted Dead or Alive aired on CBS in September 1958, The Blob was released in theaters with “Steven McQueen” first-billed.

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It Started in Naples: Clark Gable’s Taupe Suit

Clark Gable as Mike Hamilton in It Started in Naples (1960)

Clark Gable as Mike Hamilton in It Started in Naples (1960)

Vitals

Clark Gable as Michael Hamilton, Philadelphia lawyer and World War II veteran

Naples to Capri, Italy, Late Summer 1959

Film: It Started in Naples 
Release Date: August 7, 1960
Director: Melville Shavelson
Costume Designer: Orietta Nasalli-Rocca

Background

Screen legend Clark Gable was born 119 years ago today on February 1, 1901, the start of a storied life that included an Academy Award for It Happened One Night (1934), acclaimed performances in iconic movies like Gone with the Wind (1939) and Mogambo (1953), and decorated service with the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II. While The Misfits (1961) co-starring Marilyn Monroe was Gable’s final film to be theatrically released, It Started in Naples was his final performance released during his lifetime. Continue reading

The Irishman: De Niro’s Brown Fleck Suit

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman (2019)

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman (2019)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, tough Mafia enforcer

Philadelphia to Chicago, Spring 1960

Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson

Background

I heard you paint houses.

After years of proving himself as an enforcer to Mafia families around Philadelphia and northeast Pennsylvania, former truck driver Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) gets the phone call of his life when controversial labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino) gets in touch with him for a “situation… that needs to be attended to.”

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The Bridges at Toko-Ri: William Holden’s Naval Flight Jacket

William Holden as LT Harry Brubaker in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

William Holden as LT Harry Brubaker in The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

Vitals

William Holden as LT Harry Brubaker, bitter U.S. Navy Reserve aviator

Off the Korean coast, November 1952

Film: The Bridges at Toko-Ri
Release Date: December 1954
Director: Mark Robson
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Mid-century flight must be my subconscious theme heading into the new year given my last few posts about Frank Sinatra’s jet-setting style and then Sean Connery’s charcoal traveling suit in Goldfinger. Let’s at least move forward from the fuselage to the cockpit where William Holden sits at the controls of his Grumman F9F-2 Panther in The Bridges at Toko-Ri as military aviator LT Harry Brubaker, flying for the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.

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The Band Wagon: Fred Astaire’s Gray Flannel Suit

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter in The Band Wagon (1953)

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter in The Band Wagon (1953)

Vitals

Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter, musical comedy star

New York, Spring 1953

Film: The Band Wagon
Release Date: August 7, 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Mary Ann Nyberg

Background

Happy 2020!

Let’s dance into the new year with a dapper Fred Astaire in the dazzling opening sequence of Vincent Minnelli’s 1953 musical The Band Wagon, more than a decade after Astaire had danced across the screen with Bing Crosby, Virginia Dale, and Marjorie Reynolds for two on-screen New Year celebrations in Holiday Inn. Continue reading

The Apartment: Jack Lemmon’s New Suit and Bowler

Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter in The Apartment (1960)

Jack Lemmon as C.C. Baxter in The Apartment (1960)

Vitals

Jack Lemmon as C.C. “Bud” Baxter, mild-mannered insurance accountant

New York City, Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve 1959

Film: The Apartment
Release Date: June 30, 1960
Director: Billy Wilder
Men’s Wardrobe: Forrest T. Butler (uncredited)

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The Apartment stars one of my favorite actors, Jack Lemmon, as bored, lonely office drone Calvin Clifford Baxter who, after nearly four years at the toxic Manhattan insurance company where he works (“one of the top five in the country!” he boasts), manages to climb the corporate ladder by lending out his West 67th Street apartment to his superiors for their extramarital affairs… though many of them don’t regard him any higher than “some schnook who works in the office.”

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Peter Lawford’s New Year’s Eve Suit in Ocean’s 11

Peter Lawford as Jimmy Foster in Ocean's Eleven (1960)

Peter Lawford as Jimmy Foster in Ocean’s Eleven (1960)

Vitals

Peter Lawford as Jimmy Foster, resentful profligate heir and 82nd Airborne veteran

Las Vegas, New Year’s Eve 1959

Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore

Background

“I made a cardinal rule never to answer the telephone during the month of December,” the urbane Jimmy Foster tells a masseuse deep at work in fixing his back in a Phoenix hotel suite he shares with his wartime pal. “One December, every time I picked up the phone, they’d send me out in the snow to play with my little friends,” he elaborates. “That was at the Bulge.”

Arguably the most famous film featuring the infamous Rat Pack, Ocean’s Eleven starred Frank Sinatra and his celebrated pallies Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford among a group of eleven veterans from the 82nd Airborne who gather in Las Vegas after Christmas “to liberate millions of dollars” from five major casinos as Sin City rings in the new year. Continue reading

Indiscreet: Cary Grant’s Christmas Dressing Gown

Cary Grant as Philip Adams in Indiscreet (1958)

Cary Grant as Philip Adams in Indiscreet (1958)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Philip Adams, sophisticated playboy economist

London, Christmas Eve 1957

Film: Indiscreet
Release Date: June 26, 1958
Director: Stanley Donen
Tailor: Quintino

Background

Merry Christmas, BAMF Style readers! In the spirit of the holidays, let’s continue looking at stylish dressers in “Christmas-adjacent” fare by focusing on that most famously elegant icon, Cary Grant, in what was reportedly the actor’s favorite among his own movies.

Stanley Donen’s 1958 romantic comedy Indiscreet reteamed Grant with Ingrid Bergman a dozen years after the two iconic stars had shared the screen in Hitchcock’s spy thriller Notorious (1946), though the suspense of Indiscreet is less a matter of international espionage and more romantic intrigue with Bergman’s character believing herself to be engaged in a clandestine affair with a married man… though Grant’s Philip Adams only pretends to be married to limit his commitments to the women he can’t resist.

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The Irishman: Joe Pesci’s Christmas Cardigan

Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino in The Irishman (2019)

Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino in The Irishman (2019)

Vitals

Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino, shrewd and pragmatic Mafia boss of northeast Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Christmas 1960

Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson

Background

Nearly 30 years after he and Daniel Stern embarked on their first foolhardy attempt to ruin Christmas for Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci was given the opportunity to redefine his yuletide association via a brief vignette in The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s latest crime epic and the subject of frequent requests from BAMF Style readers.

It’s Christmas 1960, more than a month after Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) cheered on John F. Kennedy’s win for the U.S. presidency. Russell and his pal Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) aren’t yet away of JFK’s plan to appoint his brother as United States Attorney General… and a particularly aggressive A.G. when it comes to organized crime. Ignorance being bliss in this instance, Russell and Frank enjoy a pleasant holiday evening at home with their families. Continue reading

The Irishman: De Niro’s Brown Leather Jacket

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman (2019)

Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran in The Irishman (2019)

Vitals

Robert De Niro as Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, tough truck driver-turned-Mafia enforcer

Philadelphia, winter 1956 through spring 1961

Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson

Background

Martin Scorsese’s latest crime epic, The Irishman, has been the subject of several requests since it was released on Netflix at the beginning of November. With one of my favorite directors helming some of my favorite actors in a subject and setting that held personal interest for me, The Irishman had been eagerly anticipated by me since the project was first announced… though I admit that I did have some hesitations about the running time and the advanced ages of all involved. As it turns out, the very factors I was most concerned about are what arguably contributed to the film being a modern masterpiece.

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