Tagged: 1950s

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Gregory Peck as The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Tom Rath, hardworking business writer haunted by his war service

New York City and suburban Connecticut, Fall 1955

Film: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
Release Date: April 12, 1956
Director: Nunnally Johnson
Wardrobe Director: Charles Le Maire

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Born 105 years ago today on April 5, 1916, Gregory Peck enjoyed one of his most celebrated—and notably tailored—performances in The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Nunnally Johnson’s 1956 adaptation of the Sloan Wilson novel of the same name.

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Walk the Line: Johnny Cash in Rockabilly White and Black

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005)

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005)

Vitals

Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash, rising country rock star

Texarkana, Texas, Summer 1955

Film: Walk the Line
Release Date: November 18, 2005
Director: James Mangold
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Tailor: Pam Lisenby

Background

Eighty-nine years ago on February 26, 1932, J.R. Cash was born in Arkansas. His childhood was dominated by music, as there was little else to encourage the family enduring the hard years of the Depression made worse by a dangerous flood and the violent death of Jack, one of the seven Cash children. It was when he joined the military that the 18-year-old Cash expanded his first name as the Air Force wouldn’t allow just initials, though it wasn’t until cutting his first recording at Sun Records that he established the name that would become legendary: Johnny Cash. Continue reading

James Dean in Breton Stripes

James Dean, photographed by Sanford Roth, 1955.

James Dean, photographed by Sanford Roth, 1955.

Vitals

James Dean, enigmatic young actor and rebellious emblem

Los Angeles, Summer 1955

Photographs by Sanford Roth

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

Background

Today would have been the 90th birthday of James Dean, born in central Indiana on February 8, 1931. Considering his cultural impact, it’s remarkable that Dean condensed his entire career into less than a half decade in the early 1950s, acting in a series of commercials, TV anthology programs, and uncredited bit parts in movies until delivering a trio of enduring performances in East of EdenRebel Without a Cause, and Giant that would be released within a year and a half of each other.

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The Godfather, Part II: Michael Corleone’s Navy Jacket and Cravats

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974)

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II (1974)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, calculating Mafia boss

Havana, December 1958, and Lake Tahoe, Spring 1959

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

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

When “gangster style” comes to mind, you may think first of the silk suits from Goodfellas or tracksuits of The Sopranos, but Michael Corleone established an aristocratic sense of style as he grew into his leadership role in accordance with his reserved nature. Continue reading

White Christmas: Bing’s Gray Flannel Blazer

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 to all BAMF Style readers who celebrate! After a turbulent year, I know I’ve found comfort in the warm familiarity of the 1954 holiday classic White Christmas starring Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye as a pair of war buddies-turned-producers who stage yet another “yuletide clambake” to support their popular general (Dean Jagger)… as if you hadn’t already seen it!

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