Warren Beatty in McCabe and Mrs. Miller
Warren Beatty as John McCabe, enterprising gambler and pimp
Presbyterian Church, Washington, Fall to winter 1902
Film: McCabe & Mrs. Miller
Release Date: June 24, 1971
Director: Robert Altman
Wardrobe Credit: Ilse Richter
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
There are moments every January where I envy the idiosyncratic wardrobe of John McCabe, warmly swaddled in hefty furs as he trots into the humble hamlet of Presbyterian Church, Washington, scored by Leonard Cohen’s mournful baritone.
One of the most prolific pioneers of the “New Hollywood” movement that began in the 1960s, Robert Altman followed up his maverick success with MASH (1970) and his artistic experiment with Brewster McCloud (1970) by setting his sights on one of the most venerated genres in American cinema. Altman and Brian McKay adapted a 1959 novel by Edmund Naughton to deliver McCabe & Mrs. Miller, which the director would ultimately deem an “anti-Western” for its subversion of genre conventions and expectations. Continue reading
Christopher Lee as Dracula
Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, debonair and deadly vampire
Transylvania, Spring 1885
Film: Dracula, aka Horror of Dracula
Release Date: May 7, 1958
Director: Terence Fisher
Wardrobe Credit: Molly Arbuthnot
With less than a week until Halloween, I was inspired by a request from BAMF Style reader Jonathan last month to bite into the Hammer horror films, specifically Christopher Lee’s iconic debut as Count Dracula in the 1958 adaptation of Dracula, also released as Horror of Dracula in the United States to avoid confusion with the 1931 movie starring Bela Lugosi.
Lee makes the most of his scant seven minutes of screen-time, speaking only sixteen lines for the entirety but re-establishing Bram Stoker’s famous vampire as a tragic romantic anti-hero, albeit still the embodiment of evil that Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) and Dr. Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) seek to destroy. Continue reading
Pal Joey: Sinatra’s Silk Loungewear
Frank Sinatra as Joey Evans, womanizing nightclub singer
San Francisco, Spring 1957
Film: Pal Joey
Release Date: October 25, 1957
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Jean Louis
The same year that Pal Joey was released, Frank Sinatra released A Swingin’ Affair!, his latest concept album from Capitol Records. The fourth track, “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan”, was written by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz in 1929, when it was introduced by Clifton Webb in the songwriting duo’s revue The Little Show.
I guess I’ll have to change my plan
I should have realized there’d be another man
Why did I buy those blue pajamas
Before the big affair began
Arsenic and Old Lace’s “Teddy Roosevelt”
John Alexander as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster
Brooklyn, Halloween 1941
Film: Arsenic and Old Lace
Release Date: September 23, 1944
Director: Frank Capra
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, was born this day 159 years ago on October 27, 1858. A son of New York City, the timid Theodore overcame his childhood asthma with his robust physical pursuits matched only by his professional ambition as a career soldier, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, and finally the youngest President of the United States when he assumed office at the age of 42 after the assassination of William McKinley.
The proximity of T.R.’s birthday to Halloween always makes me think of Arsenic and Old Lace, the Frank Capra-directed dark comedy set one Halloween in Brooklyn involving Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), his two dangerous but darling elderly aunts, and – like all of the best movies of the 1940s – Peter Lorre being Peter Lorre.
Originally a play (and doubtlessly one that your high school has performed), actor John Alexander reprised his role from the stage as “Teddy” Brewster, Mortimer’s delusional but harmless brother who believes that he is Teddy Roosevelt.
“So what?” says a friendly local cop who visits the Brewsters on his beat. “There’s a lot worse guys he could think he was.” Continue reading
Bond Style – Day Cravat and Navy Sweater in GoldenEye
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government secret agent
Monte Carlo, April 1995
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
BAMF Style is taking another look at James Bond for the 00-7th of April… well-established to be a “spring month” in GoldenEye.
Set nine years after GoldenEye‘s attention-grabbing intro in Russia, we catch up with 007 seemingly enjoying some leisure time while racing his vintage Aston Martin DB5 around Monaco’s winding mountain roads alongside a prim and nervous MI6 evaluator (whose name is Caroline, not that it matters.) While Bond is already a relatively unsafe driver while escorting the poor woman, he escalates their “pleasant drive in the country” when he catches the eye of a dangerous brunette in a sharp red Ferrari in what becomes a more light-hearted version of Bond meeting Tracy in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Continue reading
Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone
Sorry about the length in advance, but I wasn’t totally sure how to structure this one. If there is repeated information, consider it valuable knowledge that you should never ever forget.
Val Kilmer as John “Doc” Holliday, failed dentist, proficient gambler, and excellent gunfighter
Tombstone, AZ, October 1881
Release Date: December 24, 1993
Director: George P. Cosmatos (but really, Kurt Russell)
Costume Designer: Joseph A. Porro
Today is the 132nd anniversary of one of the most infamous shootouts in the history of the Old West, the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral! Continue reading