Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent
London, November 1999
Film: The World is Not Enough
Release Date: November 8, 1999
Director: Michael Apted
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
February 27 is National Cigar Day according to some, and – while it may not be recognized universally – it’s always nice to have an extra reason to relax with your favorite cigar.
Like Roger Moore before him, Pierce Brosnan eschewed the cigarettes favored by the literary (and, at one point, cinematic) James Bond in favor of cigars. Both actors preferred cigars in real life as well, and it’s been recorded that Moore frequently received several thousand pounds worth of Montecristo cigars during his outings as 007.
In The World is Not Enough, Brosnan’s Bond returns from his action-packed trip to Bilbao for what should be a quiet day at the office that begins, as usual, by casually flirting with Miss Moneypenny (Samantha Bond). Continue reading
Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan, pragmatic Irish mob fixer
Upstate New York, Fall 1929
Film: Miller’s Crossing
Release Date: September 21, 1990
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Miller’s Crossing is one of my favorite Coen Brothers movies as well as one of my favorite crime films. Perhaps overshadowed the year it was released by higher pedigree mob flicks like Goodfellas and, uh, The Godfather Part III, the Coens’ neo-noir black comedy has gained a cult following in the years since for its spirited tribute to the works of Dashiell Hammett, particularly Red Harvest (1929) and The Glass Key (1931). Continue reading
Cary Grant as Brian Cruikshank (aka Peter Joshua, Alexander Dyle, or Adam Canfield), U.S. Treasury agent
Paris, April 1963
Release Date: December 5, 1963
Director: Stanley Donen
Heading back to business for the first day in the new year, nothing is more appropriate for a winter’s day in the office than a charcoal flannel suit similar to the one that Cary Grant’s multi-named hero wore to the office for the finale of Charade. Continue reading
Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and violent ex-convict
New York City, December 1933
Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci
83 years ago today, the 21st amendment was ratified to officially repeal Prohibition, delighting a thirsty American public but leaving many criminals who had made their fortunes from bootlegging effectively “unemployed”. This Mafia Monday post checks in with Robert De Niro as a mobster coming to terms with what that means for his career and personal life in 1984’s Once Upon a Time in America. Continue reading
George Clooney as Jack (aka “Edward”), weary hitman and gunsmith
Castel del Monte, Abruzzo, Italy, May 2010
Film: The American
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Director: Anton Corbijn
Costume Designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Many eyes around the world are on America right now, so I’m responding to a recent request to see George Clooney’s sharp suit from the ending of The American, the quiet 2010 drama that featured Clooney as a semi-retired assassin and gunsmith in a small Italian town for the proverbial “one last job”. Continue reading
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, Mafia son and World War II hero
New York City, January 1946
Film: The Godfather
Release Date: March 15, 1972
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone
Happy birthday to Al Pacino, born this day in 1940. It was The Godfather that arguably catapulted Pacino into public consciousness as one of the greatest actors of his generation, an impressive feat for an actor with only two preceding film credits. Although Paramount production chief Robert Evans had more box office-oriented names in mind for its central role ranging from Jack Nicholson to Robert Redford, Francis Ford Coppola insisted on Pacino who delivered in spades and received both an Academy Award nomination as well as a massive salary increase (from $35,000 to $600,000) to return as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II only two years later.
Although all of The Godfather is an acting tour de force for Pacino, there is one monumental scene often cited as the moment that truly established him as one of the most talented stars in the industry. An outsider to his family’s illegitimate business, Michael Corleone surprised everyone by offering to retaliate for the attempt on his father’s life by personally gunning down both the drug-peddling gangster and the corrupt police captain. Armed with the family’s blessing, an escape route, and a .38 taped behind an old toilet, Michael finds himself sitting across from these two criminals for – ostensibly – a peace meeting. Continue reading
Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko, unscrupulously successful Wall Street businessman
New York City, Spring 1985
Film: Wall Street
Release Date: December 11, 1987
Director: Oliver Stone
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Tailor: Alan Flusser
BAMF Style is back to business on this Monday morning, taking a suggestion from commentors Jose, Andrey, and Ryan to heed the style – if not the business ethos – of Gordon Gekko, the corporate business raider of Wall Street who managed the task of making Charlie Sheen look like not such a bad guy.
“Greed…is good,” is how Wall Street is often best remembered, paraphrasing the famous speech given by Gekko while also summarizing his drive. Although frequently included in lists of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” (#57 by AFI and #70 by Premiere), it’s perhaps even more unnerving to know that it was inspired by the real words of stock trader Ivan Boesky. In 1986, the year before Wall Street was made, Boesky told the graduating class at the University of California:
Greed is all right, by the way. I want you to know that. I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself.
Of course, Boesky became infamous for paying $100 million that year to the SEC to settle insider trading charges, but the damage was done and the dangerous “greed is good” mentality led to a generation redefining capitalism with unrestrained avarice. Two decades later, everyone from Australian PM Kevin Rudd to Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone cited the “greed is good” ideology as a direct cause of the 2007 financial crisis. “It is perhaps time now to admit that we did not learn the full lessons of the greed-is-good ideology,” realized Rudd in a 2008 speech. “We are still cleaning up the mess of the 21st-century children of Gordon Gekko.” Continue reading