Tagged: Criminal

James Caan in Thief: Frank’s Black Leather Jacket

James Caan as Frank in Thief (1981)

James Caan as Frank in Thief (1981)

Vitals

James Caan as Frank, professional jewel thief

Chicago, Spring 1980

Film: Thief
Release Date: March 27, 1981
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Supervisor: Jodie Lynn Tillen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Michael Mann—born today in 1943—directed (and wrote) his feature-length debut, Thief, a moody neo-noir thriller that would portend his particular brand of stylized crime dramas to follow like ManhunterHeat, and Collateral, as well as his work on the landmark series Miami Vice. The source material was the 1975 novel The Home Invaders: Confessions of a Cat Burglar by “Frank Hohimer”, a real-life criminal named John Seybold who served as an on-set technical advisor despite the pending FBI warrants against him.

As the eponymous thief, James Caan’s Frank establishes an early template for the professional criminals that populate Mann’s work, subdued in appearance and demeanor but ruthless against any target getting in the way of his payday…and his freedom.

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A Bullet for Pretty Boy: Fabian’s Navy Suit

Fabian Forte as Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd in A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970)

Fabian Forte as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd in A Bullet for Pretty Boy (1970)

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Fabian Forte as Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, Depression-era bank robber

Kansas City, Spring 1930 and 1931

Film: A Bullet for Pretty Boy
Release Date: June 1970
Director: Larry Buchanan (and Maury Dexter, uncredited)
Wardrobe Credit: Ron Scott

Background

After Warner Brothers’ success with Bonnie and Clyde in 1967, American International Pictures (AIP) leapt at the chance to capitalize on the emerging trend of Depression-era crime movies using their own brand of inexpensive, exploitative filmmaking. This wasn’t AIP’s first rodeo in the realm of ’30s public enemies, having earlier produced The Bonnie Parker Story and Machine Gun Kelly, both released in May 1958. Their B-movie output in the decade that followed Bonnie and Clyde ranged from fictional stories like Boxcar Bertha (1972) directed by Martin Scorsese to those loosely based on actual criminals like Bloody Mama (1970) starring Shelley Winters as a caricature of “Ma” Barker (alongside a young Robert De Niro as one of her sons) to Dillinger (1973).

Even before that arguably most famous ’30s bank robber would be played by a grizzled Warren Oates, one-time teen idol Fabian got a shot to rebrand his image by playing Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, the outlaw whose moniker alone lent itself to suit the fresh-faced Mr. Forte.

The real Charles Arthur Floyd was born 117 years ago on February 3, 1904, in Adairsville, Georgia, though his family moved to Oklahoma when Floyd was seven, and it was the Cookson Hills that he would consider home for the 30 years of his life.

A fellow Aquarius, Forte was born only three days (and 39 years) later on February 6, 1943, making him 26—the same age as Floyd was for his first bank robbery—when A Bullet for Pretty Boy was filmed from June to October 1969. A Bullet for Pretty Boy loosely follows the facts of Floyd’s life, albeit exaggerated and certainly simplified for the sake of AIP’s low-budget, short-runtime formula for success that would thrill teens at the drive-ins just before these audiences found the real thrills in their own back seats later that night. Continue reading

The Sopranos: Paulie’s Black Velvet Tracksuit

Tony Sirico as "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in "The Strong, Silent Type", the tenth episode of the fourth season of The Sopranos.

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in “The Strong, Silent Type”, the tenth episode of the fourth season of The Sopranos.

Vitals

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran

New Jersey, Spring 2002 and Fall 2006

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “The Strong, Silent Type” (Episode 4.10, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 11/17/2002)
– “Moe n’ Joe” (Episode 6.10, dir. Steve Shill, aired 5/14/2006)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

November 21 was proclaimed World Television Day by the United Nations in 1996, so this Saturday evening feels like a fine opportunity to pop down in your favorite plastic-covered chair to read about one of the greatest TV shows of all time. And, as I discovered far too late in life, there are few outfits more comfortable for such indulgence than a velvet tracksuit.

I feel that I’ve demonstrated several times my appreciation for the once-in-a-lifetime character of Paulie Walnuts on The Sopranos, a perfect character for the world of the acclaimed series as well as a role that could have only been played by Tony Sirico, the Brooklyn-born actor and one-time “half a wiseguy” who lent his quirks, mannerisms, style, and even biographical details to the character.

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Goodfellas: Henry’s Adidas Tracksuit in Prison

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990)

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990)

Vitals

Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, imprisoned New York mob associate

United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg, Fall 1975

Film: Goodfellas
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

Background

As an Italian-American with no known organized crime affiliations, I was always drawn to Goodfellas for how much I could resonate with the prominence of food—particularly Italian food—throughout my life, such as large family dinners with heaping portions of delicious pasta, sauce, and meats, usually with Dean Martin or Tony Bennett crooning from the hi-fi in the corner. In the spirit of that most relatable element from my favorite movie, I wish you all a Happy National Pasta Day! (And for those outside the United States, let’s all come together to celebrate World Pasta Day a week from now on October 25.)

Last month, as I was rounding up my 30 favorite style moments for Goodfellas‘ 30th anniversary, I realized it had been almost four years since I last explored any of Ray Liotta’s mobbed-up threads as famous turncoat Henry Hill. When I saw back-to-back celebrations of the Italian culinary tradition in October, I knew it was time to explore one of the most famous scenes from Martin Scorsese’s magnum opus.

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The Sopranos: Paulie’s Black Leather-and-Suede Jacket

Tony Sirico as "Paulie Walnuts" Gualtieri in "Where's Johnny?", the third episode of the fifth season of The Sopranos.

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri in “Where’s Johnny?”, the third episode of the fifth season of The Sopranos.

Vitals

Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran

New Jersey, early 2000s

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “From Where to Eternity” (Episode 2.09, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/12/2000)
– “Second Opinion” (Episode 3.07, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 4/8/2001)
– “…To Save Us All from Satan’s Power” (Episode 3.10, dir. Jack Bender, aired 4/29/2001)
– “Army of One” (Episode 3.13, dir. John Patterson, aired 5/20/2001)
– “Mergers and Acquisitions” (Episode 4.08, dir. Dan Attias, aired 11/3/2002)
– “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/10/2002)
– “Where’s Johnny?” (Episode 5.03, dir. John Patterson, aired 3/21/2004)
– “The Ride” (Episode 6.09, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 5/7/2006)
– “Made in America” (Episode 6.21, dir. David Chase, aired 6/10/2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

Heh, heh… happy #MafiaMonday, folks. In response to a request I received from a BAMF Style reader, today’s subject would be particularly recognizable for fans of The Sopranos as a sartorial signature from the wardrobe of the singular Paulie Walnuts.

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Alain Delon’s Leather Jacket in Any Number Can Win

Alain Delon as Francis Verlot in Any Number Can Win (Mélodie en sous-sol) (1963)

Alain Delon as Francis Verlot in Any Number Can Win (Mélodie en sous-sol) (1963)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Francis Verlot, swaggering small-time thief

Paris, September 1960

Film: Any Number Can Win
(French title: Mélodie en sous-sol)
Release Date: April 3, 1963
Director: Henri Verneuil

Background

Any Number Can Win was adapted from Zekial Marko’s 1959 novel The Big Grab, the first of the author’s crime stories that would be adapted to films starring Alain Delon. Marko himself would adapt his novel Scratch a Thief into Once a Thief (1965), starring Delon, Ann-Margret, and Van Heflin.

Considered one of the best and certainly among the most stylish movies of the early 1960s, the ice-cool Any Number Can Win—released in France as Mélodie en sous-sol—begins with recently released ex-con Charles (Jean Gabin) searching for a new partner to help him with his ambitious heist. “I have a kid who just might jut cut it… I hope I don’t find him good for scrap.”

We then cut to what looks like a messy bachelor pad, where a young man is sprawled out on his bed, snapping his fingers to the jazz on his record player. He’s already dressed for larceny in his leather jacket, a dinner plate doubling as an ashtray—crowded with spent Gitanes and shelved on a pile of books—not far from his reach. Pulling back, we reveal that the “bachelor pad” is merely a corner of the family apartment that the young man shares with his reasonably concerned mother, whose shout from the kitchen leaps him to attention… revealing the one and only Alain Delon!

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Martin Sheen in Badlands

Martin Sheen as Kit Carruthers in Badlands (1973)

Martin Sheen as Kit Carruthers in Badlands (1973)

Vitals

Martin Sheen as Kit Carruthers, garbage collector-turned-spree killer

South Dakota through the Montana Badlands, Spring 1959

Film: Badlands
Release Date: October 15, 1973
Director: Terrence Malick
Costume Designer: Rosanna Norton (uncredited)
Wardrobe Credit: Dona Baldwin

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Terrence Malick made his impressive cinematic debut writing, producing, and directing Badlands, the romanticized re-interpretation of the infamously violent crime spree of Charles Starkweather and his teenage girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, that left ten dead across the Great Plains during eight brutal and bloody days in January 1958. Continue reading

Goodfellas: Tommy’s “Funny” Gray Silk Suit

Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (1990)

Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas (1990)

Vitals

Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, volatile and violent Mafia associate

Brooklyn, New York, Summer 1963

Film: Goodfellas
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno

Background

You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?

Well, Tommy, it is April Fool’s Day. Continue reading

The Sopranos: Christopher’s Black Leather Blazer

Michael Imperioli with Drea de Matteo and Lola Glaudini on The Sopranos (Episode 4.02: "No Show")

Michael Imperioli with Drea de Matteo and Lola Glaudini on The Sopranos (Episode 4.02: “No Show”)

Vitals

Michael Imperioli as Christopher Moltisanti, Jersey mob acting capo

New Jersey, Fall 2002

Series: The Sopranos
Episodes:
– “No Show” (Episode 4.02, dir. John Patterson, aired 9/22/2002)
– “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/10/2002)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

Happy birthday, Michael Imperioli! Born 54 years ago today in Mount Vernon, New York, the actor won an Emmy Award for his role of hotheaded Christopher Moltisanti on HBO’s The Sopranos.

With Paulie Walnuts out of commission while he serves a jail sentence in Youngstown (in fact, actor Tony Sirico was out for the first half of the fourth season due to back surgery), Silvio Dante (Steven Van Zandt) breaks the news to the Soprano family—somewhat begrudgingly—that Christopher has been chosen to temporarily take over as capo of Paulie’s crew.

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The Sopranos: “Acting Boss” Silvio in Silver Flecked Silk

Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos (Episode 6.03: "Mayham")

Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos (Episode 6.03: “Mayham”)

Vitals

Steven Van Zandt as Silvio Dante, Jersey mob consigliere and “acting boss”

New Jersey, Spring 2006

Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Mayham” (Episode 6.03)
Air Date: March 26, 2006
Director: Jack Bender
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa

Background

Happy birthday, Steven Van Zandt!

While The Sopranos introduced him to new audiences after the show’s premiere in 1999, “Little Steven” had been a longtime guitarist with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Van Zandt first toured with the Boss in the 1970s before embarking on his own successful solo career and launching a series of ventures where he could share his encyclopedic knowledge of rock and pop music as a radio host, Sirius program director, label producer, and more! Miami Steve had never formally acted before taking the role of Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, and the cool-headed (but cold-hearted) consigliere quickly rose to become a fan favorite, known for his bouffant and his bold, idiosyncratic fashion sense that wasn’t unlike the man portraying him.

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