Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, levelheaded Mafia lawyer
Lake Tahoe, Fall 1958
Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The second Thursday in June is recognized as National Seersucker Day in the United States, an observance that began in Congress during the late 1990s to celebrate the traditional congressional summer dress in the days of the early 20th century before air conditioning reached the Capitol.
Apropos his quiet persona, Tom Hagen makes his inconspicuous return in The Godfather, Part II, seen almost in silhouette against the window as he greets the smarmy, crooked, and proudly blunt Senator Pat Geary (G.D. Spradlin) in the Don’s Lake Tahoe estate on the day of his son’s first communion. Continue reading
Dean Martin as Matt Helm, smooth secret agent
New Mexico, Summer 1966
Film: Murderers’ Row
Release Date: December 20, 1966
Director: Henry Levin
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy birthday, Dean Martin! The charismatic entertainer known for his laidback charm and boozy, breezy persona was born June 7, 1917, in Steubenville, Ohio. Having established himself as a singer and actor, first in his partnership with Jerry Lewis and then among the swingers of the Rat Pack, Dino set out on his own direction in the mid-1960s, first with his variety series The Dean Martin Show on NBC and then his starring role as easygoing counter-agent Matt Helm in a multi-film franchise based on Donald Hamilton’s espionage novels. Unlike their more straightforward and serious source material, Martin’s Matt Helm movies followed the decade’s zeitgeist for spy parodies in the spirit of Carry On Spying and Our Man Flint. If you thought James Bond was a womanizer, lounge lizard Matt Helm proves that you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman, listless library employee and Army veteran
Radcliffe College (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Fall 1968
Film: Goodbye, Columbus
Release Date: April 3, 1969
Director: Larry Peerce
Costume Designer: Gene Coffin
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Based on a novella by Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus marked the first major screen appearances for both Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw, who would receive a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer and a Laurel Award for Female New Face.
Goodbye, Columbus was released two years after The Graduate (though Roth’s source novella was published four years before Charles Webb’s The Graduate), and the similarities invited comparison between the two, with some critics like Dennis Schwartz favoring Goodbye, Columbus though it would be far lesser-known in the decades to follow. Continue reading
Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, ambitious English gangster
London, Spring 1979
Film: The Long Good Friday
Release Date: November 3, 1980
Director: John Mackenzie
Costume Designer: Tudor George
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is Good Friday, a liturgical observance often overshadowed by Easter but certainly not overlooked in the world of British gangster cinema thanks to The Long Good Friday. Considered among the top 25 British movies ever made in separate polls by BFI and Empire, The Long Good Friday has been a frequent request by BAMF Style readers including Dominic, Scott, and Wendi (and thank you, Wendi, for sending me the DVD copy used to source these screenshots!)
The title was intentionally chosen to suggest a tonal alignment with the works of Raymond Chandler, and our boisterous anti-hero, Harold Shand, would be a welcome presence in any noir. Specifically written for the actor, the role of Harold provided Bob Hoskins with his breakthrough performance as a London gangster seeking to take his enterprises in a legitimate direction, though he can’t outrun his criminal legacy as he finds his promising world collapsing among mob hits and bomb scares.
Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, volatile and violent Mafia associate
Brooklyn, New York, Summer 1963
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?
Well, Tommy, it is April Fool’s Day. Continue reading
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
Let’s dance into the new year with a dapper Fred Astaire in the dazzling opening sequence of Vincent Minnelli’s 1953 musical The Band Wagon, more than a decade after Astaire had danced across the screen with Bing Crosby, Virginia Dale, and Marjorie Reynolds for two on-screen New Year celebrations in Holiday Inn. Continue reading
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob chief
New Jersey, Fall 1999
Series: The Sopranos
– “46 Long” (Episode 1.02, dir. Dan Attias, aired 1/17/1999)
– “Pax Soprana” (Episode 1.06, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 2/14/1999)
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
As this year is the 20th anniversary of The Sopranos‘ groundbreaking debut season, I’ve been dedicating more BAMF Style posts than usual this year to the acclaimed HBO mob drama.
On what would have been series star James Gandolfini’s 58th birthday, let’s follow the journey that Tony Soprano made during each episode’s opening credits, emerging from the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel and snaking his Chevy Suburban through the Jersey turnpike, the suburbs of Newark, and finally his North Caldwell mansion, all to the thumping sound of A3’s “Woke Up This Morning”. Continue reading
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, top paleontologist
“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993
Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg
Happy birthday, Sam Neill! The actor—born 72 years ago today on September 14, 1947—racked up plenty of BAMF Style points early in his career for his depiction of real-life spy Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies, a stylish mini-series that established Neill as a strong contender to succeed Roger Moore as James Bond. Neill’s greatest commercial success as a star was arguably his role of esteemed paleontologist Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, the 1993 blockbuster that needs no introduction.
Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong, NASA astronaut and former U.S. Navy pilot
Houston, Texas, August 1962 through March 1966
Film: First Man
Release Date: October 12, 2018
Director: Damien Chazelle
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
In addition to being my 30th birthday, today is also the 50th anniversary of when Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the surface of the Moon at 02:56:15 UTC on July 21, 1969, six hours after he and Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle as part of the Apollo 11 spaceflight, a mission also manned by command module pilot Michael Collins.
Last year, Damien Chazelle directed Ryan Gosling in First Man, a biopic focused on Neil Armstrong’s life and career through the 1960s from the tragic death of his young daughter Karen to his triumphant first steps on the Moon… “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Continue reading
Robert Redford as Jack Weil, smooth gambler and U.S. Navy veteran
Santa Clara, Cuba, December 1958
Release Date: December 14, 1990
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack
Extending #CarWeek to get to casual Friday gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to Robert Redford’s classic casual warm-weather attire behind the wheel of a grand Cadillac convertible from the fabulous ’50s. The film in question is, of course, Havana, Sydney Pollack’s 1990 paean to Casablanca that starred Redford as Jack Weil, a cynical American gambler who finds love in the form of Cuban revolutionary Roberta “Bobby” Duran (Lena Olin) on the eve of that country’s revolution.