Rock Hudson as Ron Kirby, ambitious and independent-minded landscaper
New England, Fall to Winter 1955
Film: All That Heaven Allows
Release Date: August 25, 1955
Director: Douglas Sirk
Among the many classic movies commonly associated with Christmas – It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas to name a few – there are countless additional fine films from that same nostalgic postwar era that relied on the warmth of the holidays to set the scene.
Though it was released in London four months earlier, the Douglas Sirk-directed melodrama All That Heaven Allows made its United States debut on Christmas Day 1955. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra, multi-talented entertainer
Hollywood, December 1957
Series: The Frank Sinatra Show
Episode: “Happy Holidays with Bing & Frank” (Episode 1.10)
Air Date: December 20, 1957
Director: Frank Sinatra
Wardrobe Credit: Morris Brown
Tailor: Sy Devore
Happy birthday, Frank Sinatra! To celebrate the 103rd anniversary of Ol’ Blue Eyes entering the world in a Hoboken tenement, let’s look back at a time when Frankie was sittin’ on top of the world: the late 1950s.
After the low point of his life and the prospect of his career in ruins, Sinatra bounced back with an Academy Award-winning performance in From Here to Eternity (1953) and a seven-year recording contract with Capitol Records that yielded an impressive string of concept albums that remain among the best popular music ever recorded.
Sinatra was one of the biggest stars of the world in 1957 when ABC signed him to a $3 million contract for The Frank Sinatra Show, a variety and drama series for which Sinatra would have almost total artistic freedom.
As the Chairman of the Board was a lifelong Christmas fanatic, it was unquestioned that the series would feature a special holiday episode, which Sinatra himself stepped up to direct, though he knew the show would need a guest worthy of the season he loved. Continue reading
James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective
San Francisco, Fall 1957
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Let’s kick off the winter edition of BAMF Style’s semi-annual (or is that bi-annual) Car Week where I take an additional look at what these well-dressed characters are driving.
Vertigo, Alfred Hitchcock’s noir-esque 1958 thriller and the last of his four collaborations with James Stewart, finds the actor behind the wheel of a white DeSoto coupe as he follows Kim Novak’s character around San Francisco from her Nob Hill apartment and the Podesta Baldocchi flower shop to Mission Dolores and their fateful meeting at Fort Point on the southern end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Continue reading
Clark Gable as Victor Marswell, big game hunter
Kenya, Summer 1952
Release Date: October 9, 1953
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
Tailor: H. Huntsman & Sons, London
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
In my home state of Pennsylvania, the Monday after Thanksgiving is considered an unofficial holiday among hunters as the opening day of the state’s firearms deer season, a day when hunters are expected to bag approximately 25% of the season’s harvest, according to the Tribune-Review.
The 1953 adventure Mogambo stars Clark Gable as a hunter on safari in Africa with his eyes on even bigger game than deer: the hearts of Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.
Alain Delon as Tom Ripley, charming American con artist and sophisticated sociopath
Rome, Italy, August 1959
Film: Purple Noon
(French title: Plein soleil)
Release Date: March 10, 1960
Director: René Clément
Costume Designer: Bella Clément
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is the 83rd birthday of French actor and worldwide style icon Alain Delon. Born November 8, 1935, in Sceaux, a commune south of Paris, Delon entered the film world during a trip to the Cannes Film Festival shortly after his dishonorable discharge from the French Navy. Attending Cannes with his friend, actress Brigitte Auber, Delon caught the eye of one of David O. Selznick’s talent scouts. A contract was offered, but Delon would later choose to cancel the contract in favor of remaining in France to begin his film career there.
After a few leading roles in France, it was Plein soleil in 1960 that boosted Delon to international stardom. Released as Purple Noon in the English-speaking world, this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 thriller novel The Talented Mr. Ripley starred Delon as the cunning sociopath Tom Ripley, a portrayal that Highsmith herself highly approved of. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans, womanizing nightclub singer
San Francisco, Spring 1957
Film: Pal Joey
Release Date: October 25, 1957
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Jean Louis
The same year that Pal Joey was released, Frank Sinatra released A Swingin’ Affair!, his latest concept album from Capitol Records. The fourth track, “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan”, was written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz in 1929, when it was introduced by Clifton Webb in the songwriting duo’s revue The Little Show.
I guess I’ll have to change my plan
I should have realized there’d be another man
Why did I buy those blue pajamas
Before the big affair began
Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes, Hollywood director and screenwriter
Portofino, Italy, Fall 1953
Film: The Barefoot Contessa
Release Date: September 29, 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Rosi Gori (uncredited)
Humphrey Bogart’s role in United Artists’ 1954 Technicolor triumph The Barefoot Contessa was not dissimilar to the film’s director, writer, and uncredited producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who had been writing in Hollywood for a quarter century. Continue reading