John Garfield as Frank Chambers, restless drifter-turned-diner worker
Laguna Beach, California, Summer 1945
Film: The Postman Always Rings Twice
Release Date: May 2, 1946
Director: Tay Garnett
Costume Supervisor: Irene
As #Noirvember continues, let’s step away from the trench coats and fedoras to see how our hardboiled anti-heroes dress for a day at the beach. An ode to deviance that originated from James M. Cain’s 1934 novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice was adapted twice by European filmmakers before Hollywood dared to tackle it during the golden age of noir in the 1940s.
The lascivious source material had presented a challenge for presenting the story in a way that would satisfy the draconian Motion Picture Production Code and, even before it was published, a synopsis of Cain’s story had been deemed “definitely unsuitable for motion picture production” by the pearl-clutching Hays Office. After the two European adaptations were released, MGM was finally ready to proceed with its own version, inspired by the success of Double Indemnity, another piece from Cain’s poison pen centered around adultery and murder. By this time, nearly a dozen years into the rigid enforcement years of the Production Code, American filmmakers had mastered the art of stylized shadows and suggestive innuendo that allowed—and often enhanced—these films noir set in lurid worlds filled with unscrupulous and unsavory elements.
“It was on a side road outside of Los Angeles,” Frank Chambers begins his story, as the down-on-his-luck hitchhiker stumbles into the Twin Oaks diner boasting a $1.25 “best in the world” chicken dinner. The simple sign, “Man wanted,” echoes both the restaurant’s staffing needs as well as the sensuous needs of Cora (Lana Turner), the ambitious young platinum blonde who runs the roadside lunch room with her proud yet oblivious husband Nick (Cecil Kellaway)… and, even if you haven’t read or seen it, you probably already see where this is going.
Matthew McConaughey as Mud, mysterious fugitive and Arkansas River drifter
DeWitt, Arkansas, Summer 2012
Release Date: May 26, 2012
Director: Jeff Nichols
Costume Designer: Kari Perkins
As the weather’s getting warmer and days are getting more adventurous, BAMF Style is taking a look at the modern Mark Twain-style titular hero of 2012’s Mud.
Mud doesn’t give Matthew McConaughey the chance to show off any sharp clothes as any of his previous roles had, but it’s also part of the “McConnaissance” that has marked the complex roles of his more recent career. After a string of stupid romantic comedies and Kate Hudson vehicles, McConaughey decided to show the world he was a seriously talented actor with films like The Lincoln Lawyer, Bernie, Killer Joe, The Wolf of Wall Street, and Interstellar as well as his Academy Award-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club and nihilistically stunning role in the first season of HBO’s mind-fucking True Detective.
In Mud, McConaughey plays a mysterious drifter living in a boat in the backwoods off the Arkansas River. Mud promises two adventurous boys, Ellis and the awesomely-named Neckbone, that he will give them the boat if they get him food and help him reunite with his troubled ex-girlfriend Juniper (Reese Witherspoon). Continue reading