Tagged: 1950s

The Wild One: Brando’s Motorcycle Jacket

Marlon Brando as Johnny Stabler in The Wild One (1953)

Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler in The Wild One (1953)

Vitals

Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, outlaw motorcycle club leader

Central California, Summer 1953

Film: The Wild One
Release Date: December 30, 1953
Director: László Benedek

Background

“Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”

“Whaddaya got?”

This famous exchange originated among the actual biker gangs that producer Stanley Kramer had brought on set to play themselves. When Kramer asked what it was they were “rebelling” against, a member cracked back to him, “Well, whaddaya got?” The line so encapsulated the culture and attitude of bikers during the era that it was incorporated into The Wild One, though the question is posed by Mildred, the platinum blonde beauty salon operator that one of Johnny’s boys picked up in a bar.

Inspired by actual events over a rambunctious fourth of July weekend in Hollister, California, in 1947, The Wild One was based on Frank Rooney’s short story “The Cyclists’ Raid” that appeared in Harper’s magazine in January 1951. It was swiftly adapted for the screen, though the locations involved were changed to the fictional California burgs of Carbondale and Wrightsville, the latter being the “screwball town”—according to Dextro (Jerry Paris)—where most of the action takes place.

The credits are a bit misleading, introducing Marlon Brando to us as The Wild One, though his character Johnny Strabler turns out to be the most restrained of his hell-raising confederates, particularly when compared to the obnoxious pipsqueak Mouse (Gil Stratton), the larcenous, simple-minded Pigeon (Alvy Moore), or rival gang leader Chino (Lee Marvin). Continue reading

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Dennis Haysbert’s Yellow Plaid Coat 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

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

Background

A recent Instagram post from my friend @chimesatmidnight reminded me of the fantastic fall style and autumnal aesthetic in Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ tribute to the incandescent melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk in the 1950s. Influenced by movies like All that Heaven Allows, Imitation of Life, and Written on the Wind, Haynes employed techniques from the era to provide the same idyllic mid-century look, feel, and sound, with the help of Elmer Bernstein’s original score, Kelley Baker’s sound, the richly detailed world created by production designer Mark Friedberg, and Edward Lachman’s thoughtful cinematography.

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William Holden in Picnic

William Holden as Hal Carter in Picnic (1955)

William Holden as Hal Carter in Picnic (1955)

Vitals

William Holden as Hal Carter, aimless former college football star and Army veteran

Kansas, Labor Day 1955

Film: Picnic
Release Date: February 16, 1956
Director: Joshua Logan
Costume Designer: Jean Louis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This Labor Day, we celebrate one of the lesser-recognized cinematic holidays with a look at the Academy Award-nominated Technicolor hit Picnic. Continue reading

The Barefoot Contessa: Bogie’s Olive Suit and Bow Tie

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes in an MGM studio portrait for The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes in an MGM studio portrait for The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes, Hollywood director and screenwriter

Madrid, Spring 1951

Film: The Barefoot Contessa
Release Date: September 29, 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Rosi Gori (uncredited)

Background

August 28 is National Bow Tie Day, believe it or not, so today’s post commemorates one of the most badass bow tie wearers of classic Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart.

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Jimmy Stewart’s Brown Tweed Sports Coat in Vertigo

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

Vitals

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Juan Bautista, California, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Let’s wrap up this week’s commemoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday with another exploration of the style in Vertigo, now considered one of the Master of Suspense’s masterpieces though it may have been overlooked during his lifetime and resulted in the end of his successful collaborations with James Stewart.

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To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant’s Casual Riviera Style

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch a Thief (1955)

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch a Thief (1955)

Vitals

Cary Grant as John Robie, retired cat burglar and jewel thief

French Riviera, Summer 1954

Film: To Catch a Thief
Release Date: August 5, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

In commemoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday on August 13, this week continues with a look at one of the Master of Suspense’s most stylish movies, the 1955 romantic caper To Catch a Thief.

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Bruno’s Hitch-Designed Lobster Tie in Strangers on a Train

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951)

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951)

Vitals

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony, obsessive psychopath who “never seemed to do anything”

On the train from Washington, D.C., to New York, Late Summer 1950

Film: Strangers on a Train
Release Date: June 30, 1951
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week, BAMF Style commemorates the birthday of Alfred Hitchcock, showcasing some notable men’s style across the oeuvre of the “Master of Suspense” who was born 120 years ago today on August 13, 1899. Continue reading

The Talented Mr. Ripley: Dickie’s White-and-Gray Shirt

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf in The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Vitals

Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, narcissistic profligate playboy

Italy, Summer 1958

Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: December 25, 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Costume Design: Ann Roth & Gary Jones

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As this summer continues into August, so too did summer advance for the idiosyncratic trio of rich Amalfi Coast playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), his girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), and their pathological companion Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) in Anthony Minghella’s 1999 adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s classic psychological thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley.

Spending time with Marge and Dickie allows Tom Ripley to grow increasingly enamored with the latter, and the young con artist manipulates an opportunity for the couple to insist that he remain with them at the picturesque seaside villa in Mongibello. Continue reading

Bonjour Tristesse: David Niven’s Chambray Shirt and Swim Trunks

David Niven and Jean Seberg as Raymond and Cécile in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

David Niven and Jean Seberg as Raymond and Cécile in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

Vitals

David Niven as Raymond, bon vivant single father

French Riviera, Summer 1957

Film: Bonjour Tristesse
Release Date: January 15, 1958
Director: Otto Preminger
Costume Coordinator: Hope Bryce

Background

Thanks to Otto Preminger’s direction and Georges Périnal’s lush color cinematography that captures the richness of the French Riviera, the visual delights of Bonjour Tristesse secure its place among the great “summer movies” of Hollywood’s celebrated golden era.

Based on Françoise Sagan’s 1954 novelBonjour Tristesse—which translates to “Hello, Sadness” in English—tells the story of the precocious but undisciplined teenager Cécile’s (Jean Seberg) summer holiday in the Côte d’Azur with her libertine father Raymond (David Niven) and his bevy of mistresses, often barely older than Cécile herself. Continue reading

The Band Wagon: Fred Astaire Dances in Beige and Yellow

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in The Band Wagon (1953)

Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse 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

On National Dance Day (July 27), who better to feature on BAMF Style than that most elegant, sophisticated, and talented of dancers, Fred Astaire. In particular, let’s look at an iconic dance sequence in The Band Wagon, that most homaged and visually spectacular of Astaire’s prolific filmography.

We encounter song and dance man Tony Hunter as he gets out his aggression about the Faustian creative direction of what was supposed to be his latest lighthearted musical comedy as well as his contentious relationship with his co-star, virtuoso ballerina Gabrielle Gerard (Cyd Charisse). Continue reading