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
Samuel L. Jackson as Mitch Henessey, wisecracking private detective and ex-con
New Jersey, Christmas 1996
Film: The Long Kiss Goodnight
Release Date: October 11, 1996
Director: Renny Harlin
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston
As Christmas is only two weeks away, BAMF Style is taking a look at the Die Hard-meets-The Bourne Identity holiday action flick, The Long Kiss Goodnight.
The Long Kiss Goodnight has received a generally positive reception in the 20 years since it’s release, but there’s one review that stands out of particular importance for this blog. In 2001, an IMDB reviewer gave the movie the top rating of 10 stars with the added note:
Saw this film on TV just now for the first time in ages and realised what makes it so good… SAMUEL L. JACKSON’S WARDROBE.
Walton Goggins as Boyd Crowder, scrappy Harlan County criminal chieftain
Harlan County, Kentucky, Fall 2014
Episode: “The Hunt” (Episode 6.07)
Air Date: March 3, 2015
Director: John Dahl
Costume Designer: Patia Prouty
Next week is the start of deer hunting season here in western Pennsylvania*, so BAMF Style is taking a look at the appropriately titled “The Hunt”, the seventh episode of Justified‘s sixth and final season. The episode title primarily refers to the hunt for fugitive killer Ty Walker (played brilliantly by Timothy Olyphant’s fellow Deadwood alum Garret Dillahunt) but it also alludes to Boyd and Ava’s venture into the woods.
Ava: What the hell, Boyd?
Boyd: We going hunting.
Boyd: First day of razorback season, state of Kentucky. I already got the coffee going.
Ava: What time is it?
Boyd: It’s early. And we need to get to the stand while the sun is rising if we gonna bag us a shoat.
James Mason as Phillip Vandamm, urbane spy and secret-trader
Mount Rushmore, Fall 1958
Film: North by Northwest
Release Date: July 28, 1959
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Wardrobe Credit: Harry Kress
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
North by Northwest arguably set the tone for spy films in the following decade with its suave and well-suited hero, colorful settings, and elements of dangerous romance. James Mason’s urbane Phillip Vandamm is, in many ways, the archetypal James Bond villain: sinister and deadly but with the ability to be just as charming and debonair as the story’s protagonist.
Vandamm proves to be more sensitive and romantic than one would expect, and James Mason perfectly conveys just how badly Vandamm is stung by Eve’s betrayal. He zips through the Kübler-Ross model in record time, expressing denial (laughing off Leonard’s concerns), anger (punching Leonard), and acceptance (vindictively deciding Eve’s fate “from a great height…over water”) all within seconds of the same scene. Continue reading
Michael Pitt as Jimmy Darmody, ambitious war veteran and “half a gangster”
Atlantic City, January 1920
Series: Boardwalk Empire
* “Boardwalk Empire” (Episode 1.01, aired September 19, 2010, dir. Martin Scorsese)
* “The Ivory Tower” (Episode 1.02, aired September 26, 2010, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “Broadway Limited” (Episode 1.03, aired October 3, 2011, dir. Tim Van Patten)
* “Anastasia” (Episode 1.04, aired October 10, 2011, dir. Jeremy Podeswa)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
WARNING! Spoilers ahead! Continue reading