Troy Donahue as Johnny Hunter, college student and “silly sentimentalist”
New England, Spring 1959
Film: A Summer Place
Release Date: November 18, 1959
Director: Delmer Daves
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Sixty years after shaking up more genteel audiences with its frank but ultimately tame depictions of adultery and sexuality, A Summer Place may be most widely remembered for its serene theme song. Originally written by Max Steiner, it was Percy Faith’s arrangement of “Theme from A Summer Place” that transformed the instrumental ballad into a #1 hit that took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks in early 1960.
Frank Sinatra as Dan Edwards, workaholic advertising executive
Los Angeles, Fall 1965
Film: Marriage on the Rocks
Release Date: September 24, 1965
Director: Jack Donohue
Costume Designer: Walter Plunkett
On this #SinatraSaturday, we celebrate the famous singer’s favorite color by commemorating his appearance on the cover of LIFE magazine 55 years ago this week when he was photographed by John Dominis in an orange cardigan, white turtleneck, and houndstooth trilby for a cover story titled “Sinatra Opens Up”.
Around the same time, Frank Sinatra was filming the amusing ’60s romp Marriage on the Rocks with his friends and occasional co-stars Dean Martin and Deborah Kerr. The movie also provided Nancy Sinatra with her first opportunity to act opposite her father, playing his daughter on-screen as well. (The original title was Divorce American Style until Cy Howard’s original screenplay was deemed too offensive, resulting in rewrites under the title Community Property before all settled on the Rat Pack-friendly title Marriage on the Rocks.)
Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino, shrewd and pragmatic Mafia boss of northeast Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Christmas 1960
Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
Nearly 30 years after he and Daniel Stern embarked on their first foolhardy attempt to ruin Christmas for Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci was given the opportunity to redefine his yuletide association via a brief vignette in The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s latest crime epic and the subject of frequent requests from BAMF Style readers.
It’s Christmas 1960, more than a month after Pennsylvania mob boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) cheered on John F. Kennedy’s win for the U.S. presidency. Russell and his pal Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) aren’t yet away of JFK’s plan to appoint his brother as United States Attorney General… and a particularly aggressive A.G. when it comes to organized crime. Ignorance being bliss in this instance, Russell and Frank enjoy a pleasant holiday evening at home with their families. Continue reading
Richard Burton as Dr. Edward Hewitt, self-righteous Episcopal boarding school headmaster
Pebble Beach, California, Spring 1965
Film: The Sandpiper
Release Date: June 23, 1965
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Costume Designer: Irene Sharaff
This Thursday, June 13, the USGA U.S. Open begins at Pebble Beach Golf Links, a renowned public golf course in Monterey County celebrating its centennial this year. 2019 marks the sixth time that Pebble Beach has hosted the U.S. Open, the first time being in 1972, seven years after Richard Burton teed off for a brief scene in The Sandpiper.
The Sandpiper recognizes the golf course’s significance in business transactions, even for school headmasters like Dr. Edward Hewitt (Burton) and his group of major donors. One fellow golfer offers to donate $300,000 to the school’s chapel fund if Dr. Hewitt hits the green… unfortunately, his ball flies into the water instead. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, eager baseball prodigy
Chicago, Spring 1923
Film: The Natural
Release Date: May 11, 1984
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Design: Gloria Gresham & Bernie Pollack
Tomorrow is MLB Opening Day, meaning baseball season is back and in full swing (forgive the pun), so let’s take a look at a look from one of the most classic of baseball movies, The Natural.
“I guess some mistakes you never stop paying for,” are the words that must echo through Roy Hobbs’ brain every day for the 16 years after he was shot by a self-destructive—or just generally destructive—baseball groupie, Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey).
When Bernard Malamud was working on his debut novel, The Natural, he took inspiration from the story of Eddie Waitkus, the former first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies who was shot and nearly killed by an obsessive female stalker who, as she later told an assistant state attorney, wanted “to do something exciting in my life.”
Brad Pitt as Benjamin Button, reverse-aging adventurer and family man
New Orleans, Fall 1967
Film: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Release Date: December 25, 2008
Director: David Fincher
Costume Designer: Jacqueline West
Now that spring is here, venturing outside will require not a heavy wool coat but instead some intentional lightweight layering, a casual sartorial approach mastered by Steve McQueen in the ’60s and revived with Jacqueline West’s thoughtful costume design in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The premise of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is very curious indeed, following the story of a man born on Armistice Day 1918 with the appearance of an octogenarian who ages in reverse over the course of the 20th century. Early in his youth, the titular Benjamin makes the acquaintance of Daisy, a young girl who—like the rest of us—ages in the traditional fashion. The two reconnect several times over the following decades, but it isn’t until the early 1960s when Benjamin (Brad Pitt) and Daisy (Cate Blanchett)—now each in their 40s—are able to establish a lasting connection. Continue reading
James Cagney as Tom Powers, petty criminal
Chicago, Fall 1915
Film: The Public Enemy
Release Date: April 23, 1931
Director: William A. Wellman
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson
Wardrobe Credit: Earl Luick
In the waning years of Prohibition, Warner Brothers met the public demand for bringing the violent daily headlines to the screen with a succession of films that firmly established the genre of American gangster cinema. One of the most enduring of these pre-Code hits is The Public Enemy, the 1931 movie that made an instant star out of James Cagney.
Lee Marvin as Henry “Rico” Fardan, tough mercenary
Texas, January 1917
Film: The Professionals
Release Date: November 2, 1966
Director: Richard Brooks
Wardrobe Credit: Jack Martell
Written, produced, and directed by prolific auteur Richard Brooks, The Professionals depicts a band of mercenaries hired by rancher baron Joe Grant (Ralph Bellamy) to rescue his wife. Though it is often overlooked in the shadow of its “bigger” contemporaries like The Wild Bunch, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Sergio Leone’s “Man With No Name” trilogy of spaghetti westerns, The Professionals was Columbia Pictures’ biggest hit of 1966.
Lee Marvin starred as Henry “Rico” Fardan, a cynical weapons specialist whose experience fighting under Pancho Villa’s command makes him invaluable to the team pursuing one of Villa’s former revolutionaries who supposedly kidnapped Grant’s wife Maria (Claudia Cardinale). Continue reading
Steve McQueen as Eric “the Kid” Stoner, hotshot poker player
New Orleans, Fall 1936
Film: The Cincinnati Kid
Release Date: October 15, 1965
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
“King of Cool” Steve McQueen could also be called the king of the cardigan, considering his role in re-establishing the sweater as a functional and fashionable garment for young rebels rather than as the staid staple of TV dads like Ward Cleaver.
Both on and off screen, the shawl collar cardigan was a McQueen favorite. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, British government agent
Prague, Winter 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
For the first 00-7th of the new year, I want to recall the first on screen appearance of Daniel Craig’s James Bond. Continue reading