Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious ad man and wannabe family man
Ossining, New York, Spring 1962
Series: Mad Men
Episode: “Three Sundays” (Episode 2.04)
Air Date: August 17, 2008
Director: Tim Hunter
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The anthological fourth episode of Mad Men‘s second season checks in with our regulars—particularly Don Draper and Peggy Olsen—with explorations of parenting and piety leading up to Easter Sunday 1962.
Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker, taciturn Mossad agent, and
Amir Khoury as Salim Al-Khadar, aka “Michel”, Palestinian revolutionary leader
Athens to Munich, Spring 1979
Series: The Little Drummer Girl (Episodes 1-3)
Air Date: October 28, 2018 to November 11, 2018
Director: Park Chan-wook
Costume Design: Sheena Napier & Steven Noble
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
John le Carré was one of the most prolific espionage authors, penning more than two dozen novels including The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Tailor of Panama, many of which were successfully adapted as movies or limited series that made the most of le Carré’s richly drawn worlds of deception.
Le Carré died in December 2020 at the age of 89, following in death within the month by his half-sister Charlotte Cornwall. Charlotte reportedly inspired the titular character at the center of his novel The Little Drummer Girl about a free-spirited, idealistic, and impressionable actress named Charmian “Charlie” Ross who gets pulled into the world of espionage. Continue reading
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Spring 2000
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “House Arrest” (Episode 2.11)
Air Date: March 26, 2000
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
It’s been almost six months since we last checked in on some of James Gandolfini’s costumes as the powerful mob boss at the center of The Sopranos. Considering that the 2021 Masters Tournament begins one week from today, which also happens to be the day Wallace Beery was born in 1885, I think the time is right to look at how Tony Soprano dresses for hobnobbing on the green during the Garden State Carting Association’s 13th Annual Couples Invitational Golf Classic!
Warren Beatty as Joe Frady, maverick political reporter
Rural Washington state, Spring 1974
Film: The Parallax View
Release Date: June 14, 1974
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Designer: Frank L. Thompson
Happy birthday to Warren Beatty, born 84 years ago today on March 30, 1937. A rising star through the ’60s, Beatty established himself as a forced to be reckoned with when he spearheaded production of Bonnie & Clyde in 1967, not only starring in but producing the acclaimed gangster film. Following his innovative success with Bonnie & Clyde, Beatty slowed down his career to only occasional movies, frequently going several years without acting while putting much of his energy into political activism and—more notoriously—dating his way through many of Hollywood’s hottest before marrying Annette Bening after the two co-starred in Bugsy.
One of Beatty’s most notable post-Bonnie & Clyde films was The Parallax View, the second in a trio of Alan J. Pakula’s paranoid political thrillers of the ’70s. Continue reading
James Caan as Frank, professional jewel thief
Chicago, Spring 1980
Release Date: March 27, 1981
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Supervisor: Jodie Lynn Tillen
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Considered by many to be one of the director’s best movies, Michal Mann’s debut Thief was released in theaters 40 years ago today. Thief established many of what would become Mann trademarks, from its “principled” yet ruthless professional character who expertly handles a .45 to the setting city elevated to a secondary character itself, particularly its less glamorous underbelly as photographed at night. (Originally titled Violent Streets, even the one-word title would become a Mann signature as evidenced by his future features Ali, Blackhat, Collateral, Heat, and Manhunter.)
Mann adapted the 1975 novel The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar by real-life thief John Seybold (writing as “Frank Hohimer”) for his screen debut, retaining the first name of Seybold’s nom de plume for the taciturn thief that would be memorably played by James Caan, who celebrated his 81st birthday yesterday.
Steve McQueen as LT Ferguson “Fergie” Howard, enterprising U.S. Navy officer
Venice, Summer 1961
Film: The Honeymoon Machine
Release Date: August 23, 1961
Director: Richard Thorpe
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
To commemorate Steve McQueen’s birthday 91 years ago today, let’s take a look at how the King of Cool incorporated some of his personal style into one of his earliest—and least popular—movies.
Based on Lorenzo Semple Jr.’s 1959 play The Golden Fleecing, The Honeymoon Machine belongs to that unique sub-genre of ’60s farce that made light of Cold War paranoia and seemed to end up with everyone throwing punches (executed suitably in The Glass Bottom Boat, poorly in the 1967 Casino Royale.)
The role of the mischievously ambitious, Nietzsche-quoting naval lieutenant Fergie Howard was originally intended for Cary Grant, however the middle-aged actor was nearing his retirement and turned the job down. Rather than casting another screen vet of Grant’s age and standing, the production went in the opposite direction and brought on Steve McQueen for what would be his third top-billed movie after The Blob (1958) and The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959).
The Honeymoon Machine turned a profit but McQueen considered it a dark mark on his career, reportedly walking out of the first public screening and vowing never to work for MGM again. Don’t worry, Steve… The Great Escape is only two years away! Continue reading
Fred Rogers, America’s favorite neighbor
Pittsburgh, late 1960s through early 2000s
Series: Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood
Air Dates: February 19, 1968 through August 31, 2001
Created by: Fred Rogers
I’ve written plenty about characters and figures who may have influenced my fashion sense and lifestyle, but today I want to recognize someone who (I hope!) had one of the most significant impacts on my personality during my formative years. Fred Rogers was born 93 years ago today on March 20, 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, just about an hour east of where I currently live. For more than thirty years, he celebrated acceptance, inclusiveness, curiosity, emotional intelligence, open-mindedness, and love as the warm host of the Emmy Award-winning series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, filmed at WQED Studios in Pittsburgh.
To celebrate Kurt Russell’s 70th birthday, please enjoy this submission from BAMF Style reader and contributor “W.T. Hatch” featuring a frequently requested character said to be the actor’s personal favorite from his filmography.
Kurt Russell as S.D. “Snake” Plissken, “cycloptic cynic ’80s cyberpunk” as one reader eloquently described
Manhattan Island Maximum Security Prison, Summer 1997
Film: Escape from New York
Release Date: July 10, 1981
Director: John Carpenter
Costume Designer: Stephen Loomis
Call me Snake.
Set in John Carpenter’s dystopian vision of the future, Escape from New York is the story of a one-man rescue attempt to save the President of the United States from a maximum security penitentiary located on Manhattan Island. Police Commissioner Bob Hauk, played by the legendary Lee Van Cleef, offers recently captured bank robber S.D. “Snake” Plissken a deal: save the President (Donald Pleasence) in under 24 hours and receive a full pardon. Continue reading
Cleavon Little as Super Soul, blind radio DJ
Nevada Desert, Summer 1971
Film: Vanishing Point
Release Date: March 13, 1971
Director: Richard C. Sarafian
Wardrobe Master: Ed Wynigear
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Before he blazed into Rock Ridge as the controversial new sheriff, Cleavon Little was already shaking up the desert as Super Soul, the almost mystic blind radio DJ who guides our laconic hero in in his white Dodge Challenger through the blue highways of the west in Vanishing Point, released 50 years ago today on March 13, 1971.
The Oklahoma-born Little was already a stage star at the time he walked Super Soul’s dog to the KOW radio booth in Goldfield, Nevada, having won a Tony Award in Ossie Davis’ Purlie just one year after making his Broadway debut. Vanishing Point was only his third credited screen role, his charismatic energy a contrast to Barry Newman’s taciturn Kowalski, whom Super Soul dubs “the last American hero.” Continue reading
Glenn Ford as Ben Wade, bandit leader
Arizona Territory, 1880s
Film: 3:10 to Yuma
Release Date: August 7, 1957
Director: Delmer Daves
Costume Designer: Jean Louis
Looking for a movie to watch on 3/10? I recommend 3:10 to Yuma, the swift, suspenseful, and compelling Western based on an early short story by Elmore Leonard.
Modern audiences may be more familiar with the 2007 adaptation starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as the outlaw and the rancher, respectively, though the original black-and-white version was produced in 1957, four years after Leonard’s story was published in Dime Western Magazine.
A decade before revisionist Westerns would become fashionable in “New Hollywood”, the original 3:10 to Yuma followed in the allegorical tradition of High Noon (1952) with complex characters and moral questions that paint a worldview where the concept of right and wrong are less black and white than the cinematography.