Tagged: Ankle Boots

Dracula A.D. 1972: Peter Cushing’s Vampire-Killing Suede

Peter Cushing as Lorrimer Van Helsing in Dracula A.D. 1972

Peter Cushing as Lorrimer Van Helsing in Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Vitals

Peter Cushing as Professor Lorrimer Van Helsing, occult researcher and descendant of the famous vampire hunter

London, Fall 1972… A.D. 1972, that is

Film: Dracula A.D. 1972
Release Date: September 28, 1972
Director: Alan Gibson
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows

Background

Happy Halloween! Today’s post takes us back fifty years to 1972—A.D. 1972, to be exact—when Hammer Film Productions reunited Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing as the debonair vampire Count Dracula and his nemesis Van Helsing, respectively, for the first time since Dracula (1958), a.k.a. Horror of Dracula.

I was first made aware of Dracula A.D. 1972 by BAMF Style reader Alan, who had suggested Cushing’s wardrobe that remained timelessly tasteful despite the film’s setting at the dawn of the disco era. Continue reading

Nightmare Alley: Comparing Carlisle’s Cardigans in 1947 vs. 2021

Left: Tyrone Power as Stan Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (1947)
Right: Bradley Cooper as Stan Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (2021)

Vitals

Tyrone Power (1947) and Bradley Cooper (2021) as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, opportunistic drifter-turned-carny

Rural Kentucky, Summer into fall 1939

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: October 9, 1947
Director: Edmund Goulding
Costume Designer: Bonnie Cashin

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: December 17, 2021
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Costume Designer: Luis Sequeira

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Almost immediately after William Lindsay Gresham published his 1946 novel Nightmare Alley chronicling the grifters, geeks, and gals populating a second-rate sideshow, Tyrone Power asked 20th Century Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck to purchase the film rights.

Power had built his swashbuckling screen image in movies like The Mask of Zorro (1940), Blood and Sand (1941), and The Black Swan (1942), but—as so many had—returned from his World War II service as a changed man. The decorated Lieutenant Power was released from Marine Corps active duty in January 1946 and, after flying dangerous transport missions during the war, sought roles that would expand his image beyond the romantic hero he had established.

Director Edmund Goulding helmed the production that brought Gresham’s creepy carnival world to life via a working carnival constructed on ten acres of the Fox back lot, even employing actual carnies and more than 100 sideshow attractions to add verisimilitude. The talented cast also included Joan Blondell, appropriately appearing about fifteen years beyond her Warner Brothers heyday as she deliciously dives into the role of the washed-up tarot reader “Mademoiselle Zeena” whom the unscrupulous Stanton Carlisle manipulates into revealing the trick to her successful mentalist act. The married Zeena allows herself to fall for Carlisle’s romantic advances despite being married to her alcoholic stage partner Pete (Ian Keith) and Carlisle’s own obvious interest in the ingenue Molly (Coleen Gray).

Nightmare Alley premiered 75 years ago today on October 9, 1947, with Power’s performance lauded by critics like James Agee, who noted for Time that he “steps into a new class as an actor,” playing against type as Carlisle.

The Nightmare Alley story was recently revived for Guillermo del Toro’s re-adaptation of the novel, reinstating some of the darker components to blend Gothic horror with the noir-ish elements that were also present in Goulding’s film. Released in December 2021, del Toro’s Oscar-nominated Nightmare Alley featured a star-studded cast led by Bradley Cooper as Carlisle, Toni Collette as Zeena, Rooney Mara as Molly, David Strathairn as Pete, and Cate Blanchett as Dr. Lilith Ritter, the mysterious femme fatale who Carlisle meets after escaping the carnival world and re-establishing himself as the debonair mentalist “The Great Stanton”. Continue reading

Johnny Depp’s Red Leisure Suit in Blow

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Johnny Depp as George Jung in Blow (2001)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as George Jung, successful cocaine smuggler

Massachusetts, Fall 1979

Film: Blow
Release Date: April 6, 2001
Director: Ted Demme
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges

Background

One of the more formative movies in developing my appreciation for more outlandish period style is Blow, Ted Demme’s Scorsese-inspired chronicle of the rise and fall of real-life drug smuggler George Jung, who was born 80 years ago today in Weymouth, Massachusetts. The DVD (does anyone remember its white case?) was in almost constant rotation when friends would come over in high school, and Mark Bridges’ costume design resonated to such a degree that, thanks to eBay, I may have been one of the few high-schoolers in the early 2000s to own a vintage polyester leisure suit. Continue reading

Titanic – Jack Dawson’s Steerage Style

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic (1997)

Vitals

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, charismatic American artist

North Atlantic Ocean, April 1912

Film: Titanic
Release Date: December 19, 1997
Director: James Cameron
Costume Designer: Deborah Lynn Scott
Tailor: Dominic Gherardi

Background

110 years ago today, the sinking of the RMS Titanic resulted in the deaths of more than 1,500 passengers and crew. The global mourning and focus on transportation safety in the tragedy’s aftermath was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, so to speak, as the disaster and those involved have continued to be mythologized in countless books, movies, plays, songs, and more.

Continue reading

Johnny Cash on Columbo

Johnny Cash as Tommy Brown on Columbo

Johnny Cash as Tommy Brown on Columbo (Episode 3.07: “Swan Song”)

Vitals

Johnny Cash as Tommy Brown, homicidal gospel singer

From Bakersfield to Los Angeles, Spring 1974

Series: Columbo
Episode: “Swan Song” (Episode 3.07)
Air Date: March 3, 1974
Director:
Nicholas Colasanto
Credited by: Richard Levinson & William Link

Background

Johnny Cash was born 90 years ago today on February 26, 1932. Following more than a decade and a half of country hits, the Man in Black riffed on his own image as the villainous guest star in the penultimate episode of Columbo‘s third season, airing just a week after his 42nd birthday. Continue reading

Nightmare Alley: Bradley Cooper’s Plaid Mackinaw Jacket

Bradley Cooper as Stanton Carlisle in Nightmare Alley

Bradley Cooper as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (2021)

Vitals

Bradley Cooper as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, opportunistic drifter-turned-carny

Rural Kentucky, Summer into fall 1939

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: December 17, 2021
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Costume Designer: Luis Sequeira

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

William Lindsay Gresham’s novel Nightmare Alley was first adapted to the screen in 1947, just a year after its initial publication, via Edmund Goulding’s classic noir starring Tyrone Power. Guillermo del Toro’s newly released version is a less a remake of Goulding’s movie and more a reimagining of the source material from a screenplay he co-wrote with Kim Morgan, presented as a vividly stylish Gothic quasi-horror that landed a quartet of worthy Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Costume Design.

Continue reading

Frank Sinatra’s 1971 Retirement Concert Tuxedo

Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra sings his ’40s-era hit “All or Nothing at All” during his June 1971 retirement concert in L.A.

Vitals

Frank Sinatra, multi-talented entertainer facing retirement

Los Angeles, Summer 1971

Series: Sinatra: All or Nothing At All
Air Date: April 5-6, 2015
Director: Alex Gibney

Background

Born December 12, 1915, Frank Sinatra had recently turned 55 when he started talking seriously with close friends about retirement. For more than 30 years, the entertainer had enjoyed a landmark career, beginning with his days as a pop idol, then a career downturn in the early ’50s that was reinvigorated by an Oscar win for From Here to Eternity and a series of concept albums for Capitol Records that launched him to massive success.

Throughout the ’60s, Sinatra evolved from one of the most popular entertainers in the nation to one of the most influential entertainers across the world. He had founded his own record label with Reprise Records, been a confidante of a sitting U.S. President (before their famous falling-out), and continued to prove his success on the charts with songs like “My Way” (despite his resentment for this particular tune.)

Like so many successful 55-year-old Americans, Ol’ Blue Eyes decided to hang up his tilted hat and retire, with his final performance to be June 13, 1971, at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles. Alex Gibney’s 2015 HBO documentary Sinatra: All or Nothing at All was framed around the singer’s hand-chosen setlist for the concert, and how the eleven musical milestones Sinatra selected essentially told the story of his life to that point. Continue reading

Wild Card: Jason Statham’s Corduroy Car Coat and Ford Torino

Jason Statham as Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Jason Statham as the Ford Torino-driving Nick Wild in Wild Card (2015)

Vitals

Jason Statham as Nick Wild, tough security consultant and bodyguard-for-hire

Las Vegas, Christmas 2013

Film: Wild Card
Release Date: January 14, 2015
Director: Simon West
Costume Designer: Lizz Wolf

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Car Week continues into December with a little-discussed action movie that—like The Bourne Identity and Three Days of the Condor—is set during against a Christmas backdrop complete with carols on the soundtrack, though the holiday timing has little impact on the plot. (I don’t include Die Hard in this category because, as many have argued, Christmas is the reason for the whole plot!)

Reviving a role originated by Burt Reynolds in William Goldman’s 1986 movie Heat, Jason Statham plays Nick Wild, a “security consultant” for Las Vegas lawyer Pinchus “Pinky” Zion (Jason Alexander), who makes his daily commute from a seedy motel in a snazzy ’69 Ford Torino. Continue reading

Devil in a Blue Dress: Easy’s Champion Aircraft Jacket

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins in Devil in a Blue Dress (1995)

Vitals

Denzel Washington as Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, laid-off aircraft mechanic and World War II veteran

Los Angeles, Summer 1948

Film: Devil in a Blue Dress
Release Date: September 29, 1995
Director: Carl Franklin
Costume Designer: Sharen Davis

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Like a man told me once: you step out of your door in the morning, and you are already in trouble. The only question is are you on top of that trouble or not?

With its dark themes and moral questions, film noir emerged as a cinematic sanctum for depicting the struggles of returning World War II veterans. Movies like Crossfire (1947), Act of Violence (1948), and Thieves’ Highway (1949) showcased the psyche of servicemen who had been to hell and back, depicting them not solely as one-dimensional heroes but as three-dimensional humans whose postwar life requires them to come to terms not just with the trauma encountered overseas but also the impact of returning to a changed home. (I recommend reading more about the connection between veterans and noir in James Barber’s recent article “How the Struggles of WWII Veterans Came to Life in Film Noir” for Military.com.)

Protagonists made cynical by their experiences continued as a theme through the development of neo-noir, whether that’s J.J. Gittes trying to put Chinatown out of his mind or Easy Rawlins, whose lifetime has seen his mother’s early death, his father forced to leave, racial inequities, the scars of wartime service, and—where we find him at the start of Devil in a Blue Dress—just having lost his job at the Champion Aircraft assembly plant. Continue reading

Zodiac: Paul Avery’s Layered Corduroy and Denim

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007)

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery in Zodiac (2007)

Vitals

Robert Downey Jr. as Paul Avery, San Francisco Chronicle crime reporter

San Francisco, Fall 1969 to Fall 1970

Film: Zodiac
Release Date: March 2, 2007
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Casey Storm

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Last week, the volunteer investigative group The Case Breakers released their research suggesting the identity of the infamous Zodiac Killer was Gary Francis Poste, adding a new suspect to a list that includes Arthur Leigh Allen, Rick Marshall, and Ted Cruz. While many experts have been quick to disprove the Poste theory, the current zeitgeist of fascination with true crime and every other podcast inspiring waves of amateur detectives encouraged me to revisit Zodiac, David Fincher’s extensively researched thriller that has been considered one of the best movies of the 21st century… despite being outgrossed by Wild Hogs during its opening weekend.

In addition to its eponymous killer, Zodiac centers around three real-life figures—San Francisco police inspector Dave Toschi (Mark Ruffalo), San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), and Chronicle crime writer Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.)—each driven to obsession by their relentless parallel pursuits to uncover the serial murderer’s identity. Continue reading