Tagged: Classic Hollywood

In a Lonely Place: Bogie’s Dark Suit and Bow Tie

Humphrey Bogart as Dixon "Dix" Steele in In a Lonely Place (1950)

Humphrey Bogart as Dixon “Dix” Steele in In a Lonely Place (1950)

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Dixon “Dix” Steele, frustrated screenwriter who’s “been out of circulation too long”

Los Angeles, Summer 1949

Film: In a Lonely Place
Release Date: May 17, 1950
Director: Nicholas Ray

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

As #NoirVember continues, we shift our sartorial focus to a seminal figure in the development and enduring popularity of film noir: Humphrey Bogart. In movies like The Maltese Falcon (1941) and The Big Sleep (1946), Bogie cemented the wisecracking private eye persona often driving the heart of this subgenre, but he did not play a detective in the suspenseful thriller considered to be among his best, In a Lonely Place.

This 1950 noir co-starred Gloria Grahame and directed by Nicholas Ray, her husband at the time, though both Bogie and screenwriter Edmund North had envisioned the then-Mrs. Bogart, Lauren Bacall, to take the role of the “sultry and smooth… striking-looking girl with high cheek bones and tawny hair” as the character of Laurel Gray was described in the North’s screenplay. While Warner Brothers refused to lend Bacall to Bogart’s Santana Productions, Bogie was able to keep the leading role to deliver one of the most explosive and authentic performances of his prolific career.

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Fred MacMurray’s Flannel Sport Suit in Double Indemnity

Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff in Double Indemnity (1944)

Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff in Double Indemnity (1944)

Vitals

Fred MacMurray as Walter Neff, slick insurance salesman

Los Angeles, May through July 1938

Film: Double Indemnity
Release Date: July 3, 1944
Director: Billy Wilder
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

What’d you think I was, anyway? A guy that walks into a good-lookin’ dame’s front parlor and says, “Good afternoon, I sell accident insurance on husbands. You got one that’s been around too long, one you’d like to turn into a little hard cash? Just give me a smile and I’ll help you collect?”

Let’s finally kick off Noir-vember with the quintessential film noir, Double Indemnity, the quotable masterpiece from the pen of James M. Cain, adapted for Billy Wilder’s screen direction by pulp writer Raymond Chandler and photographed by inventive cinematographer John F. Seitz. Double Indemnity is the one that has it all: the seductive femme fatale (Barbara Stanwyck), the wisecracking protagonist willing to murder for her (Fred MacMurray), and the intrepid investigator, though in this case it’s not a trench coated private detective but an energetic, experienced, and irascible insurance claims manager played by Edward G. Robinson at his best.

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The Wild One: Brando’s Motorcycle Jacket

Marlon Brando as Johnny Stabler in The Wild One (1953)

Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler in The Wild One (1953)

Vitals

Marlon Brando as Johnny Strabler, outlaw motorcycle club leader

Central California, Summer 1953

Film: The Wild One
Release Date: December 30, 1953
Director: László Benedek

Background

“Hey, Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”

“Whaddaya got?”

This famous exchange originated among the actual biker gangs that producer Stanley Kramer had brought on set to play themselves. When Kramer asked what it was they were “rebelling” against, a member cracked back to him, “Well, whaddaya got?” The line so encapsulated the culture and attitude of bikers during the era that it was incorporated into The Wild One, though the question is posed by Mildred, the platinum blonde beauty salon operator that one of Johnny’s boys picked up in a bar.

Inspired by actual events over a rambunctious fourth of July weekend in Hollister, California, in 1947, The Wild One was based on Frank Rooney’s short story “The Cyclists’ Raid” that appeared in Harper’s magazine in January 1951. It was swiftly adapted for the screen, though the locations involved were changed to the fictional California burgs of Carbondale and Wrightsville, the latter being the “screwball town”—according to Dextro (Jerry Paris)—where most of the action takes place.

The credits are a bit misleading, introducing Marlon Brando to us as The Wild One, though his character Johnny Strabler turns out to be the most restrained of his hell-raising confederates, particularly when compared to the obnoxious pipsqueak Mouse (Gil Stratton), the larcenous, simple-minded Pigeon (Alvy Moore), or rival gang leader Chino (Lee Marvin). Continue reading

Bogart’s Nautical Blazer and Cap in To Have and Have Not

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944)

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not (1944)

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Morgan, cynical fishing boat captain

Fort-de-France, Martinique, Summer 1940

Film: To Have and Have Not
Release Date: October 11, 1944
Director: Howard Hawks

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today is the 75th anniversary of the release of To Have and Have Not, the romantic adventure directed by Howard Hawks and adapted from Ernest Hemingway’s novel that staged the first meeting of iconic classic Hollywood couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

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Scarface (1932) – Tony’s Brown Striped Suit

Paul Muni, flanked by Vince Barnett and Karen Morley, in Scarface (1932)

Paul Muni, flanked by Vince Barnett and Karen Morley, in Scarface (1932)

Vitals

Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer

Chicago, Summer 1927

Film: Scarface
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks

Background

Today’s #MafiaMonday post goes back to the Prohibition era, the age that gave rise to the modern American gangster… and the American gangster movie.

After Warner Brothers scored back-to-back hits with Little Caesar (1931) and The Public Enemy (1931), effectively establishing the subgenre of the gangster film, Howard Hughes entered the fray with Scarface, an explosive, influential, and fast-paced criminal epic adapted from Armitage Trail’s novel that had been based on the life of Al Capone. Hughes had been warned against taking on Warner’s dominance in the genre, so he packed his production with talent including screenwriter Ben Hecht, director Howard Hawks, and lead actor Paul Muni, who was born 124 years ago yesterday on September 22, 1895.

In the wake of movies like Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, the Hays Office had been increasing its efforts to censor what it deemed to be glamorization of criminal lifestyles in cinema, but its notoriously restrictive production code had yet to be put into place, giving Scarface full reign to arm its vaguely incestuous central character with a Thompson submachine gun, once dubbed “the gun that made the twenties roar,” as he rose the ranks of the criminal underworld in a series of violent vignettes paralleling the life and crimes of the infamous Capone.

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The Lady Eve: Henry Fonda’s White Sports Coat

Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941)

Henry Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve (1941)

Vitals

Henry Fonda as Charles “Hopsie” Pike, brewery heir and ophidiologist

SS Southern Queen, sailing north from South America,
August 1940

Film: The Lady Eve
Release Date: February 25, 1941
Director: Preston Sturges
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Wardrobe: Richard Bachler

Background

Last year on my girlfriend’s birthday, my commemorative BAMF Style post explored Henry Fonda’s summer-friendly formal wear in The Lady Eve, the romantic screwball comedy that I first discovered with her family. I’ve thus chosen to dive back into this classic directed by Preston Sturges (who would have turned 121 years old yesterday!) with another look at Fonda’s attire, this time a more casual ensemble as his character Charles “Hopsie” Pike romances Barbara Stanwyck at sea: “You have the darndest way of bumping a fellow down and bouncing him up again.” Continue reading

The Barefoot Contessa: Bogie’s Olive Suit and Bow Tie

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes in an MGM studio portrait for The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes in an MGM studio portrait for The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

Vitals

Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes, Hollywood director and screenwriter

Madrid, Spring 1951

Film: The Barefoot Contessa
Release Date: September 29, 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Rosi Gori (uncredited)

Background

August 28 is National Bow Tie Day, believe it or not, so today’s post commemorates one of the most badass bow tie wearers of classic Hollywood, Humphrey Bogart.

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Jimmy Stewart’s Brown Tweed Sports Coat in Vertigo

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

James Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo (1958)

Vitals

James Stewart as John “Scottie” Ferguson, former San Francisco detective

San Juan Bautista, California, Fall 1957

Film: Vertigo
Release Date: May 9, 1958
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Let’s wrap up this week’s commemoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday with another exploration of the style in Vertigo, now considered one of the Master of Suspense’s masterpieces though it may have been overlooked during his lifetime and resulted in the end of his successful collaborations with James Stewart.

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To Catch a Thief: Cary Grant’s Casual Riviera Style

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch a Thief (1955)

Cary Grant and Grace Kelly on location for To Catch a Thief (1955)

Vitals

Cary Grant as John Robie, retired cat burglar and jewel thief

French Riviera, Summer 1954

Film: To Catch a Thief
Release Date: August 5, 1955
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

In commemoration of Alfred Hitchcock’s 120th birthday on August 13, this week continues with a look at one of the Master of Suspense’s most stylish movies, the 1955 romantic caper To Catch a Thief.

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Bruno’s Hitch-Designed Lobster Tie in Strangers on a Train

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951)

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony in Strangers on a Train (1951)

Vitals

Robert Walker as Bruno Antony, obsessive psychopath who “never seemed to do anything”

On the train from Washington, D.C., to New York, Late Summer 1950

Film: Strangers on a Train
Release Date: June 30, 1951
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Leah Rhodes

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This week, BAMF Style commemorates the birthday of Alfred Hitchcock, showcasing some notable men’s style across the oeuvre of the “Master of Suspense” who was born 120 years ago today on August 13, 1899. Continue reading