Klaus Maria Brandauer as Maximillian Largo, billionaire businessman and SPECTRE terrorist
Monte Carlo, Spring 1983
Film: Never Say Never Again
Release Date: October 7, 1983
Director: Irvin Kershner
Costume Designer: Charles Knode
1983 was the year of the dueling James Bonds. Roger Moore continued as the canonical 007 in Eon Productions’ Octopussy, while Bond emeritus Sean Connery surprised audiences by starring in Never Say Never Again, an “unofficial” reimagining of Thunderball released 40 years ago next month by Jack Schwartzman’s Taliafilm.
Never Say Never Again resulted from a two-decade effort by producer Kevin McClory, who had collaborated with Ian Fleming and screenwriter Jack Whittingham on an original Bond screenplay in the late 1950s. When Fleming published a novelization of their unproduced screenplay as Thunderball in 1961, McClory and Whittingham sued and settled out of court, albeit with a string of conditions that ultimately maintained Eon’s rights to the story for up to ten years after the release of their own cinematic adaptation of Thunderball, released in 1965.
By the mid-1970s when McClory announced his plans to produce his own version of the story, both Whittingham and Fleming had died, and Connery had hung up 007’s shoulder holster—presumably for good—after reluctantly returning to the iconic role in Diamonds are Forever. After more legal and production hurdles, the end result released in October 1983 was Never Say Never Again, titled in reference to Connery reprising his role after twice saying he would never play Bond again. (While Moore turned 55 during the production of Octopussy, it’s Never Say Never Again that focuses more on Bond’s advancing age… despite Connery actually being three years younger than Moore and looking considerably more fit than the last time Connery starred as the “official” Bond in Diamonds are Forever a dozen years earlier.)
Not being produced by Eon meant many signature elements were missing, like the James Bond theme, the opening gunbarrel, and a familiar cast portraying 007’s allies at MI6. However, Bond still received his briefing from M (Edward Fox), flirted with Miss Moneypenny (Pamela Salem), and received his equipment from an uncharacteristically jolly Q (Alec McCowen) before jetting off to the Bahamas to investigate a missing nuclear warhead… just as he had in Thunderball.
Never Say Never Again globe-hops with more ferocity than Thunderball, and it’s not long before Bond arrives in southern France, tracking the enigmatic billionaire Maximilian Largo (Klaus Maria Brandauer) and his girlfriend Domino Petachi (Kim Basinger). Bond literally gets his hands on Domino at a Villefranche-sur-Mer massage parlor, where he learns that Largo is hosting a charity ball that night across the border in Monte Carlo. Good thing Bond packed his tuxedo!
Largo: Do you enjoy games, Mr. Bond?
Bond: Depends with whom I’m playing.
An oft-criticized scene from Never Say Never Again pits Bond against Largo during a duel for world domination… in the form of a pixilated video game that Largo invented. Titled “Domination”, the Atari-style game was clearly an attempt to make the story seem fashionable for the 1980s—though it likely seemed dated by the time its first audiences were already out of the theater. A beaming Largo explains that “unlike armchair generals, we will share the pain of our soldiers in the form of electric shocks.” Even after almost passing out from the pain, Bond keeps the game going—is it because he wants to prove a point to Largo, or does he just not want to give $58,000 to a children’s charity?
As September 12 is National Video Games Day (not to be confused with plain old “Video Games Day” observed on July 8), BAMF Style’s inaugural Never Say Never Again post will explore Largo’s creative black tie for the event. Continue reading
Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer
Chicago, Summer 1929
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Several years ago, I published a high-level overview of the various black tie ensembles across the male cast of the original 1932 version of Scarface, adapted from Armitage Trail’s pulp novel of the same name, which had been inspired by the then-contemporary exploits of the infamous Al Capone.
Now, after eight more years of learning, I want to focus specifically on the evening-wear worn by the eponymous Tony Camonte, portrayed by Paul Muni—who was born on this day in 1895—as Tony’s tuxedo had long been one of the driving sartorial influences in my choice to have a double-breasted dinner jacket made for my wedding, which will be one month from today. Continue reading
Henry Fonda as Charles “Hopsie” Pike, brewery heir and ophidiologist
SS Southern Queen, sailing north from South America,
Film: The Lady Eve
Release Date: February 25, 1941
Director: Preston Sturges
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Wardrobe: Richard Bachler
To celebrate the birthday today of my wonderful, patient, and charming girlfriend, I’d like to highlight the elegant evening wear worn by Henry Fonda in The Lady Eve, a classic screwball comedy that I first discovered with her family. Continue reading
Roger Moore as James Bond, suave and sophisticated British MI6 agent
Cairo, Egypt, August 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Tailor: Angelo Vitucci
A man in a sharply tailored tuxedo meets a beautiful woman over martinis in an exotic cocktail lounge. Hours later, he finds himself—Walther PPK in hand—stalking a seemingly unstoppable metal-mouthed killer through the Egyptian pyramids. This quintessential James Bond sequence is one of many iconic moments in Roger Moore’s third 007 outing, The Spy Who Loved Me, and it’s how I remember him on his first birthday since his passing last May at the age of 89. Continue reading
Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr, charming studio wunderkind
Hollywood, August 1936 through February 1937
Series: The Last Tycoon
– “Pilot” (Episode 1, dir. Billy Ray)
– “Eine Kleine Reichmusik” (Episode 5, dir. Gwyneth Horder-Payton)
– “A Brady-American Christmas” (Episode 6, dir. Stacie Passon)
– “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” (Episode 9, dir. Billy Ray)
Streaming Date: July 28, 2017
Developed By: Billy Ray
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Amazon recently announced the disappointing news that they are discontinuing production of The Last Tycoon, the second of its F. Scott Fitzgerald-inspired series to meet that fate following the cancellation of Z: The Beginning of Everything days earlier.
In its brief, nine-episode life, The Last Tycoon was true to its “golden age of Hollywood” roots with an emphasis on style rather than substance… but oh what style it was, and with strong performances to booth with Matt Bomer, Kelsey Grammer, Lily Collins, Rosemarie Dewitt, and others rounding out the talented cast of characters. Continue reading
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, shallow investment banker and possible serial killer
New York City, Spring 1988
Film: American Psycho
Release Date: April 14, 2000
Director: Mary Harron
Costume Designer: Isis Mussenden
Halloween approaching is a fine time to address a monster in human form like Patrick Bateman who may have been a sharp dresser (for the ’80s) but was undoubtedly a terrible human being (in any era!)
You can tell Bateman is trying his best to be seen as a classy host; he plays Phil Collins, after all! Of course, Bateman is hindered by the fact that no classy evening should ever include the words “don’t just stare at it, eat it!” Continue reading
Harvey Keitel as Winston Wolf, problem solver
Los Angeles, Summer 1992
Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann
I’m Winston Wolf. I solve problems.
Last Friday, Harvey Keitel turned 77 years old, a birthday that was almost certainly celebrated by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino has stated that “Harvey had been my favorite actor since I was 16 years old,” so he penned the character of criminal fixer Winston Wolf – and according to the screenplay, it is Wolf and not Wolfe – specifically for Keitel. Two years earlier, the actor’s involvement in Reservoir Dogs as the pragmatic career criminal “Mr. White” helped shoot Q.T. onto the map of filmmakers to watch. The Wolf may have also been a nod to Keitel’s role as Victor, the ruthlessly efficient “cleaner” in 1993’s Point of No Return. Continue reading
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, cynical “gin joint” manager and former arms dealer
Casablanca, Morocco, December 1941
Release Date: November 26, 1942
Director: Michael Curtiz
Although remembered today as one of the greatest romances to grace the screen, the Los Angeles Times‘s Bob Strauss was most accurate when he declared Casablanca a “near-perfect entertainment balance” of comedy, romance, and suspense. In fact, the movie has become so ingrained as a romance classic that few recall just how badass it actually is.
Take the leading man: Rick Blaine. Played by Humphrey Bogart (which already lends plenty of BAMF credibility), Rick is more cynical than any of the private eyes that Bogie ever played on screen. He owns a bar with an illegal gambling den and maintained a successful side racket of running guns to Ethiopia, in addition to packing his own pistol on most occasions.
When Ilsa, the love of his life, walks back into his bar after nearly two years, he takes to the bottle… and he does so with gusto. The bitter Rick refuses to help Ilsa’s crusading resistance leader husband, to which she responds by drawing her own gun. After sorting out conflicted feelings, old flames, and a bullet or two in the gut of a Nazi, Rick finally manages to find closure with his old love while paving the way for further shady business ventures. The end.
With just over a week left until Valentine’s Day, Rick Blaine provides a classic, dapper look sure to make your special lady swoon on this most hated of holidays. Good luck, fellas. Continue reading
Michael Stulhbarg as Arnold Rothstein, powerful New York gambler and racketeer
Vincent Piazza as Charlie “Lucky” Luciano, the Mafia’s smooth and ambitious future chief
Anatol Yusef as Meyer Lansky, Rothstein’s clever mob protégé
Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti, violent and hotheaded Italian-born gangster
Atlantic City, New Year’s Eve 1922
Series: Boardwalk Empire
Episode: “Resolution” (Episode 3.01)
Air Date: September 16, 2012
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield
Not every man is a Nucky Thompson. A group of New York gangsters choosing Nucky’s basement to talk business while a party oblivious heaves forward upstairs leads itself to a major conglomeration of styles – both in leadership and in attire – that illustrate just how much about a man can be determined by looking at the way he puts himself together. Continue reading
George Clooney as Danny Ocean, smooth-talking casino heister and con man
Las Vegas, Summer 2001
Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: December 7, 2001
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Jeffrey Kurland
Although he aimed to distance himself from the original Ocean’s Eleven as much as possible with this 2001 remake, Steven Soderbergh must have realized that you don’t have George Clooney in a movie about slick Vegas con men without placing him in a tuxedo. Danny Ocean’s tux was a very welcome throwback to a time when people didn’t wear graphic t-shirts, cutoff jorts, and fanny packs to casinos. (Although, since Frank Sinatra didn’t wear a tuxedo at all in the 1960 film, it could be argued that Clooney’s dinner suit is more of a throwback to characters like Cary Grant‘s gentleman thief in To Catch a Thief.) Continue reading