Tagged: Costume design by Theadora Van Runkle

Clyde Barrow’s Death Car and Attire

Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde.

Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow, slightly incompetent bank robber

Rural Louisiana, May 1934

Film: Bonnie & Clyde
Release Date: August 13, 1967
Director: Arthur Penn
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

The sun was shining brightly on a rural road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana on Wednesday, May 23, 1934. An old Ford Model A truck idled by the side of the road. Hidden in the bushes by the side of the road, six lawmen sat in wait, armed with heavy duty Colt Monitors and Remington hunting rifles. They’d been there all night, sacrificing their skin for the many hungry insects in the woods. By dawn, they’d waited long enough. Tired, hungry, and dirty, the men planned to head back to their motel rooms after another half hour. Almost at that same time, the unmistakable sound of a Ford V8 engine was heard up the road. Continue reading

Bullitt’s Navy Suit

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Bullitt.

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).Vitals

Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, maverick SFPD inspector

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Tailor: Douglas Hayward

Background

There is little dispute among both film and automobile fans that 1968’s Bullitt features the best car chase scene in movie history. Steve McQueen faces off in a fastback Mustang GT against two hitmen in a black Charger. By now, diehard fans of the film know that the Charger legendarily overtook and outpowered the Mustang during the actual filming, although it was still edited to have McQueen’s driving emerge victorious as the Charger ended up, sadly, in a ball of flame. Continue reading

Clyde Barrow’s Dapper Dark Pinstripe Suit

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the title characters in Bonnie and Clyde.

Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as the title characters in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Today marks the 79th anniversary of the death of Bonnie and Clyde on a rural road in Louisiana. While I wouldn’t want to honor a killer like Barrow, it’s certainly the right day to commemorate with a suit from 1967’s iconic Bonnie and Clyde.

Vitals

Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow, romantic but flawed Depression-era bandit

Texas, early 1930s

Film: Bonnie & Clyde
Release Date: August 13, 1967
Director: Arthur Penn
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

With his violently quick temper and poor skill for actually robbing banks, there is little reason for Clyde Barrow to have the fame he does today. However, Clyde chose to bring along young Texas waitress Bonnie Parker for his adventures and a legend was born. Continue reading

Bullitt’s Cardigan at the Hospital

Steve McQueen as Bullitt

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968)

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, renegade San Francisco inspector

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

Steve McQueen’s character in Bullitt is often remembered for two things: his handling of the green fastback Mustang during the car chase and the iconic tweed sport jacket and rollneck jumper he wore. Just before that sequence, we see Lieutenant Bullitt pulling an all-nighter at the hospital after the fatal shooting of the witness his men were protecting.

Our groggy lieutenant arrives at the hospital with a thick, high-fastening cardigan layered over his casual open-neck shirt, trousers, and—of course—his shoulder holster. Continue reading

Michael Corleone’s Gray Dupioni Silk Suit

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, Part II (1974)

Vitals

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, powerful Mafia boss

Lake Tahoe, Fall 1958

Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

The Godfather is an American cultural phenomenon that needs no explanation. (For all the people secretly bummed out that I won’t give an explanation, here: It’s an epic three film journey following the rise of a Mafia family in the United States from 1901 to 1979).

There are differing opinions as to whether the first or the second part was the best. (No one ever says it’s the third one.)

In the first two films especially, costumes were a large indicator of the story. Much credit for this should be given to costume designer Theadora Van Runkle. When Michael is a proud Marine, he wears his uniform. When he is a college man looking for work, he wears a simple odd jacket, tie, and trousers. As he grows into the Don we have come to know, he wears expensive suits. Interestingly, Michael never wears a hat (aside from his USMC officer’s cap) until he becomes involved in the family.

This post will focus on the first act of The Godfather, Part II, where Michael Corleone is holding court on the day of his son’s Communion. Continue reading

Bullitt

Steve McQueen’s iconic style in Bullitt was one of my first BAMF Style posts, originally published in October 2012. As my writing style and the information available to me has evolved over the years, this post has been in a state of constant revision and updates, most recently in April 2021.

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

Steve McQueen as Bullitt (1968).

Vitals

Steve McQueen as Lt. Frank Bullitt, maverick San Francisco inspector

San Francisco, Spring 1968

Film: Bullitt
Release Date: October 17, 1968
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle

Background

When I originally set out to learn more about Lieutenant Bullitt’s clothing, I came across a blog dedicated to Steve McQueen’s style that instantly made me feel seen with the declaration:

One thing sane people do, as we all know, is spend a good portion of their spare time on eBay searching for a brown tweed jacket a bit like the one in Bullitt.

Thanks to movies like The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, and The Thomas Crown Affair—to name just a few—the Indiana-born McQueen has been firmly established as an icon of tough and timeless style, though its arguably his wardrobe as the eponymous hardworking and hard-driving SFPD detective in Bullitt that’s most singularly responsible for his enduring reputation as the “King of Cool”.

McQueen cycles through three distinct outfits in Bullitt—four, if you count his paisley pajamas—though it’s the tweed jacket, turtleneck, and boots that he wears while speeding his green ’68 Mustang fastback through the sloping streets of San Francisco in pursuit of a villainous black Dodge Charger R/T during the film’s unmatched ten-minute car chase that remains his most famous look. Continue reading