Fred Astaire as Tony Hunter, musical comedy star
Washington, D.C., to Baltimore via train, Spring 1953
Film: The Band Wagon
Release Date: August 7, 1953
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Mary Ann Nyberg
In addition to being Mother’s Day, today also commemorates the birthday of the multi-talented song-and-dance legend Fred Astaire, born May 10, 1899, in Omaha. To honor this elegant dance legend and suggest an outfit that your mother may appreciate as you’re delivering flowers (or communicating via FaceTime, depending on your level of pandemic-informed social distancing today), let’s take a look at a pleasant but all-too-briefly featured outfit from Astaire’s 1953 musical The Band Wagon.
Robert De Niro as Sam, professional mercenary thief and ex-CIA operative
Nice, France, December 1997
Release Date: September 25, 1998
Director: John Frankenheimer
Costume Designer: May Routh
I recently received a request to explore Robert De Niro’s outfit in Ronin when his ex-CIA thief Sam accompanies Deirdre (Natascha McElhone) on a recon mission in Nice. Deirdre has hired Sam’s crew to attack an armed convoy to steal an unidentified briefcase that would serve as the film’s MacGuffin.
Rather than bothering with spy cameras and tactics, Sam merely brings Deirdre and his Leica R6 2 camera to the luxurious Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic (actually located in Cannes), posing as a pair of tourists and thus not raising any suspicions as they take a considerable amount of photos to prepare for the job. Continue reading
Colin Farrell as Ray Velcoro, troubled and crooked Vinci PD detective
Ventura County, California, fall 2014 to spring 2015
Series: True Detective
Air Dates: June 21, 2015 – August 9, 2015
Creator: Nic Pizzolatto
Costume Designer: Alix Friedberg
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The second season of HBO’s True Detective is, in my opinion, better judged when on its own than against its masterful and delightfully idiosyncratic first season. The second season brought together Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch, and Vince Vaughn in an acid neo-noir more in the pulp crime tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s worlds than that of Rust Cohle and Marty Hart.
Even the show’s fictional and corrupt berg of Vinci, California, shares some undeniable similarities with the Bay City of Chandler’s Philip Marlowe novels, though it was indeed based on the rough industrial city of Vernon, where it was partially filmed.
Our self-destructive, repressed, and expendable cop protagonists, portrayed by the Farrell-McAdams-Kitsch triad, practice maverick techniques that border on impropriety but their ideals and values align them with the incorruptible Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade… naturally leading to the straight-out-of-pulp “last stand” holed up in a secluded motel room with seemingly endless bottles of whiskey. Continue reading
Jack Nicholson as Bobby Dupea, aimless oil worker and classical piano prodigy
Puget Sound, Fall to Winter 1970
Film: Five Easy Pieces
Release Date: September 12, 1970
Director: Bob Rafelson
Wardrobe Credit: Bucky Rous
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Bobby Dupea’s homecoming leads to an existential crisis in Five Easy Pieces, one of the many triumphant highlights of Jack Nicholson’s early filmography and the second of his 12 Academy Award-nominated roles.
“When we sense the boy, tormented and insecure, trapped inside the adult man, Five Easy Pieces becomes a masterpiece of heartbreaking intensity,” reviewed Roger Ebert, who rated this four-star film to be his favorite of 1970 and went on to name it “one of the best American films.” Continue reading
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Fall 2007
Series: The Sopranos
– “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10, dir. Steve Shill, aired May 14, 2006)
– “Cold Stones” (Episode 6.11, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 21, 2006)
– “Walk Like a Man” (Episode 6.17, dir. Terence Winter, aired May 6, 2007)
– “The Second Coming” (Episode 6.19, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired May 20, 2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers (and a rather graphic screenshot) ahead! Continue reading
Clint Eastwood as Harry Callahan, tough San Francisco Police Department inspector
San Francisco, August 1972
Film: Magnum Force
Release Date: December 25, 1973
Director: Ted Post
Costume Supervisor: Glenn Wright
Earth tones are a fall favorite for many, so take a few notes for your Friday date night style from Clint Eastwood’s earthy ensemble in Magnum Force, the first of four sequels featuring the incorruptible Inspector Harry Callahan.
Continuing what must be a subconscious focus on tough ’70s cop movies from Wednesday’s Brannigan post, this scene features Harry swilling Schlitz in front of the TV with Carol McCoy (Christine White), the wife of a suicidal traffic officer. When his superiors get word of a potential grocery store holdup, Harry—who had been demoted to stakeout duty—is called into action with his trusty .44. Continue reading
Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, caddish Cockney car service driver and playboy
London, Fall 1962 through Spring 1965
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
Tailor: Douglas Hayward
Brown tweed is a great look for fall, so BAMF Style is focused on this outfit sported by Michael Caine in Alfie (as suggested by frequent blog commentor Ryan Hall) for this early October post.
Caine wears this outfit in several major scenes in Alfie: during an argument with Gilda (Julia Foster) following the birth of their son and when he meets the vivacious Ruby (Shelley Winters) while out hocking photographs on the streets of London. Continue reading
Lee Marvin as Walker, revenge-driven armed robber
San Francisco, Summer 1967
Film: Point Blank
Release Date: August 30, 1967
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Margo Weintz
Responding to another request from BAMF Style commenter Ryan Hall, this post looks at Lee Marvin’s wardrobe in 1967’s Point Blank, the first cinematic adaptation of Donald E. Westlake’s crime novel The Hunter. The book became the first in the long-running Parker series penned by Westlake (as “Richard Stark”) that led to a total of 23 books before Westlake’s death in 2008.
At this point in the film, Walker (the film’s re-named version of Parker) is edging closer to getting his $93,000 back. Together with his sister-in-law Chris (Angie Dickinson), Walker heads to the home of syndicate boss Brewster (a pre-All in the Family Carroll O’Connor) to move the endgame into place. Continue reading
Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, fugitive and former doctor trying to clear his name
Chicago, Spring 1993
Film: The Fugitive
Release Date: August 6, 1993
Director: Andrew Davis
Costume Designer: Aggie Guerard Rodgers
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
In addition to being one of the best modern thrillers, The Fugitive is also one of the best TV-to-movie adaptations, seamlessly updating the characters and story to transform four seasons of a 1960s TV show into a compelling and suspenseful 1990s action flick. Continue reading
Timothy Dalton as James Bond, British government agent
Oxfordshire, England, Fall 1986
Film: The Living Daylights
Release Date: June 27, 1987
Director: John Glen
Costume Designer: Emma Porteous
Costume Supervisor: Tiny Nicholls
For the 00-7th of March, I’m finally getting around to my first post celebrating Timothy Dalton’s brief tenure as James Bond. After a few tumultuous years for the Bond franchise which saw Roger Moore going head to head with Sean Connery’s Never Say Never Again, Pierce Brosnan briefly signed to take over the role before Remington Steele came calling back, and a geriatric Roger Moore going head to head with Grace Jones in A View to a Kill, the franchise gave itself its first attempt at a reboot.
Timothy Dalton had long been considered for the Bond role, first approached nearly 20 years earlier when Sean Connery walked away after You Only Live Twice. Dalton made the mature decision of realizing that – not yet 25 years old – he wasn’t old enough for every man’s dream role nor did he want to try to steal the spotlight from Connery. After Moore’s retirement and Brosnan’s recall to TV in 1986, Dalton was again approached and finally decided to take the role.
Dalton had been a fan of Ian Fleming’s novels, so his portrayal meant a return to the basics: less lavish outrageousness and more grounded seriousness. Dalton’s Bond was a seasoned, professional spy who shared his predecessors’ appreciation – if not weakness – for fast cars, women, and martinis.
In this scene, Bond is called to MI6’s Blayden House (actually Stonor House in Oxfordshire), where his superiors are debriefing with General Georgi Koskov, the loquacious ex-KGB official played by Jeroen Krabbé, the Dutch actor who seemingly specializes in playing charmingly eccentric villains whose treachery is always discovered in the final act. Continue reading