Tagged: 1950s

The Godfather: Fredo’s Yellow Blazer in Las Vegas

John Cazale as Fredo Corleone in The Godfather (1972)

John Cazale as Fredo Corleone in The Godfather (1972)

Vitals

John Cazale as Fredo Corleone, insecure Mafia casino manager

Las Vegas, Summer 1954

Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 14, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone

Background

“New year, new you” is a theme constantly touted by clickbait articles and lifestyle magazines through early January so, in the spirit of #MafiaMonday and the start of the 50th anniversary year of The Godfather, let’s take a look at one of the more startling reinventions in the world of mob movies: Fredo Corleone’s attempted transformation from forgotten brother to flamboyant swinger.

Sure, Fredo may still need the occasional “straightening out”—after all, banging cocktail waitresses two at a time is hardly good for business—but Las Vegas presents him with the opportunity to shed his middle child syndrome and explore a more independent side of himself… for better or worse. Continue reading

White Christmas: Bing’s Fireside Flannel and Festive Socks

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace in White Christmas (1954)

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace in White Christmas (1954)

Vitals

Bing Crosby as Bob Wallace, Broadway crooner and World War II veteran

Pine Tree, Vermont, December 1954

Film: White Christmas
Release Date: October 14, 1954
Director: Michael Curtiz
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Merry Christmas Eve! One of my family’s favorite perennial movies to watch during the holiday season is White Christmas, the VistaVision that opened and closed with the iconic eponymous tune that Bing Crosby had introduced over a decade earlier in Holiday Inn.

Continue reading

The Grass is Greener: Cary Grant’s Velvet Dinner Jacket

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, in The Grass is Greener (1960)

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, in The Grass is Greener (1960)

Vitals

Cary Grant as Victor, Earl of Rhyall, deadpan but debonair nobleman

Rural England, Spring 1960

Film: The Grass is Greener
Release Date: December 23, 1960
Director: Stanley Donen
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Today marks the 35th anniversary since the death of screen legend and style icon Cary Grant. To commemorate the actor’s prolific career, I wanted to highlight his characteristically stylish clothing from one of his lesser-discussed works, the Stanley Donen-directed romantic comedy The Grass is Greener.

While The Grass is Greener isn’t among my favorite of Grant’s filmography, I can certainly appreciate its cast and style! The execution feels a little too stagey for my liking, which makes sense as it was adapted by Hugh Williams and Margaret Vyner from their own hit play, deriving its title from the centuries-old idiom that is paraphrased by Grant’s character when he admits that “indeed, the grass is always greener on the other side of the hedge.”

Continue reading

Dennis Haysbert’s Brown Plaid Jacket in Far From Heaven

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven (2002)

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan in Far From Heaven (2002)

Vitals

Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father

Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957 into Winter 1958

Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Todd Haynes’ 1950s-set Far From Heaven paid homage to Douglas Sirk’s visually stunning mid-century melodramas like All That Heaven AllowsImitation of LifeMagnificent Obsession, and Written on the Wind, addressing themes of love, class, and race, often against stunningly idyllic autumnal backdrops that belie the intense personal dramas beyond those white picket fences and manicured lawns.

After years of semi-satisfied suburban life, well-to-do housewife Cathy Whitaker (Julianne Moore) finds herself in a maelstrom of conflict after discovering her husband’s homosexuality as well as her own feelings for Raymond Deagan (Dennis Haysbert), the son of her family’s late gardener whose race has her “friends” and neighbors clutching their proverbial pearls in reaction to the developing relationship between the two. Continue reading

Picasso’s Terrycloth Leisurewear

Pablo Picasso, photographed by Arnold Newman, 1956.

Pablo Picasso, photographed by Arnold Newman, 1956.

Vitals

Pablo Picasso, influential Spanish painter

Cannes, French Riviera, September 1956

Photographs by Arnold Newman

Part of BAMF Style’s Iconic Photo Series, focusing on style featured in famous photography of classic stars rather than from specific productions.

Background

Born 140 years ago today on October 25, 1881, Pablo Picasso may be one of the few painters so associated with his craft that even those with little knowledge of art know his name. Thus, October 25 is also observed annually as International Artist’s Day, celebrating the contributions of creators around the globe.

A month shy of his 75th birthday, Picasso posed in his La Californie studio in Cannes for a series of portraits captured by Arnold Newman, the prolific photographer whose subjects ranged from Marilyn Monroe and Mickey Mantle to JFK and Alfried Krupp. Continue reading

Robert Mitchum’s Calypso Shirt in Thunder Road

Robert Mitchum and Keely Smith in Thunder Road (1958)

Robert Mitchum and Keely Smith in Thunder Road (1958)

Vitals

Robert Mitchum as Lucas “Luke” Doolin, moonshine driver and Korean War veteran

Rillow Valley, Tennessee, Fall 1957

Film: Thunder Road
Release Date: May 10, 1958
Director: Arthur Ripley
Wardrobe Credit: Oscar Rodriguez

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today would have been the birthday of Robert Mitchum, born August 6, 1917 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Now one of my favorite actors, the first Mitchum movie I had ever seen was Thunder Road, the Southern-set moonshine drama that Mitch developed, produced, and performed on the soundtrack.

My introduction to Mitchum—now one of my favorite actors—was by way of Thunder Road, the Southern-set moonshine drama I had been determined to see after growing up as a fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. Twenty years before the Duke boys painted the General Lee, Mitchum’s Lucas Doolin tore through the mountains of Tennessee in his souped-up Fords, evading syndicate gunmen and revenue agents while romancing a local nightclub singer, Francie (Keely Smith). Continue reading

Brando’s Gray Gambler Suit in Guys and Dolls

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls (1955)

Vitals

Marlon Brando as Sky Masterson, smooth gambler

New York, Spring 1955

Film: Guys and Dolls
Release Date: November 3, 1955
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff

Background

I always found it interesting to watch a method—ahem, that’s Method—actor like Marlon Brando navigating the artificially staged Broadway of Guys and Dolls, the gangland-adjacent musical by Frank Loesser, which had been based on a book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows… which had itself been based on several stories by Damon Runyon.

Continue reading

Bob Hope in Road to Bali

Bob Hope as Harold Gridley in Road to Bali (1952)

Bob Hope as Harold Gridley in Road to Bali (1952)

Vitals

Bob Hope as Harold Gridley, traveling comedian, “sportsman, raconteur, polo player, and all-around good egg”

South Pacific, Spring 1952

Film: Road to Bali
Release Date: November 19, 1952
Director: Hal Walker
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

I always associate summer with Tiki culture, spending sunny days wearing aloha shirts while enjoying tropical cocktails at Polynesian-themed watering holes. To combat a case of the winter blues earlier this year, I hoped to watch a Tiki-themed movie and was given the recommendation of Road to Bali, the only full-color entry of the seven “Road to…” comedies starring Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, and Bob Hope, the prolific entertainer born on this day in 1903.

Continue reading

Psycho: Norman Bates in Corduroy

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Vitals

Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, mother-obsessed motel proprietor and amateur bird taxidermist

Fairvale, California, Fall 1959

Film: Psycho
Release Date: September 8, 1960
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Rita Riggs (uncredited)
Costume Supervisor: Helen Colvig

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

A boy’s best friend is his mother…

Alfred Hitchcock would probably find some dark humor in choosing Mother’s Day to focus on Psycho, the story of a young man’s complicated relationship with his mother.

Continue reading

A Place in the Sun: Montgomery Clift’s Leather Jacket and Aloha Shirt

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor in A Place in the Sun (1951)

Vitals

Montgomery Clift as George Eastman, dangerously ambitious factory executive

Carthage, Missouri to “Loon Lake”, Spring to Summer 1950

Film: A Place in the Sun
Release Date: August 14, 1951
Director: George Stevens
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

April showers bring May flowers… and hopefully some floral shirts from the back of your closet!

Decades after Ellery J. Chun established his flowery-printed shirts as the signature garb of the Hawaiian islands, aloha shirts went mainstream on the mainland thanks in part to the American servicemen dazzled by the bright colors after being stationed in the Pacific. This postwar boom was felt at home in Hawaii, as Josh Sims wrote in Icons of Men’s Style that “by 1947, employees of Hawaii’s city councils were allowed to wear Hawaiian shirts to work and, in 1948, Aloha Wednesday, a precursor to dress-down Friday was introduced across the islands.”

Aloha style received an added boost from the on-screen advocacy of Montgomery Clift, first as the ambitious George Eastman in A Place in the Sun and then perhaps most famously as the conflicted rifleman at the heart of From Here to Eternity, both performances that earned Monty two of his four Academy Award nominations. Continue reading