Patrick McGoohan as Number Six, recently resigned secret agent
“The Village”, Fall 1967
Series: The Prisoner
Created by: Patrick McGoohan & George Markstein
Wardrobe: Masada Wilmot & Dora Lloyd
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Born 94 years ago today, Patrick McGoohan emerged as one of the most unique auteurs of ’60s television as the star and executive producer (and, occasionally, writer and director) of the allegorical and avant-garde “spy-fi” miniseries The Prisoner, which he co-created with George Markstein.
The Prisoner centers around its title character who, upon his contentious retirement from a shadowy British intelligence agency, wakes up mysteriously transported to a picturesque Italianate island village from which he would spend the duration of the series trying to escape. Continue reading
Elliott Gould as Miles Cullen, mild-mannered bank teller
Toronto, Christmas 1977
Film: The Silent Partner
Release Date: September 7, 1978
Director: Daryl Duke
Wardrobe Credit: Debi Weldon
One of the most fun yet under-celebrated of Christmas-adjacent thrillers, The Silent Partner should sell most new viewers on the simple elevator pitch of Christopher Plummer as a gun-toting robber in a Santa Claus suit who increasingly torments Elliott Gould as a scheming teller.
The action begins on Tuesday, December 14—set exactly 44 years ago today—as the meek Miles Cullen (Gould) wraps up his daily duties at a First Bank of Toronto branch when his flirtatious sketches on a deposit slip wise him to a potential robbery plot. Continue reading
Richard Burton as Dr. Edward Hewitt, boarding school headmaster
Big Sur, California, Spring 1965
Film: The Sandpiper
Release Date: June 23, 1965
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff
Today would have been the 95th birthday of Richard Burton, the Welsh actor born November 10, 1925 perhaps best known for his Shakespearean talent and his back-to-back marriages with frequent co-star Elizabeth Taylor.
After engaging in an affair during the course of their first two films, Cleopatra (1963) and The V.I.P.s (1963), Liz and Dick finally tyed the knot—for the first time—on March 15, 1964, shortly before production commenced on their third film together, The Sandpiper. Continue reading
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