Tagged: France

Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Red Shirt and Herringbone Jacket

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965). As cool as those sunglasses look, Bébel unfortunately never wears them with this outfit on screen.

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

French Riviera, Summer 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

He may spend most of Pierrot le Fou insisting his name is Ferdinand, but we all know he’s actually Jean-Paul Belmondo—also known as Bébel—the French star born 88 years ago today on April 9, 1933!

Pierrot le Fou was the third and final feature-length collaboration between Belmondo and Jean-Luc Godard, who had directed him to worldwide fame as the criminal protagonist in A bout de souffle (Breathless), considered a seminal work in establishing the French New Wave cinematic movement.

While both of these stylish films shared themes of criminality, philosophy, and doomed love, Pierrot le Fou pops from the screen with its colorful and surreal pop art-inspired presentation of the increasingly desperate Ferdinand Griffon abandoning his family life to join his dangerously free-spirited ex-girlfriend Marianne (Anna Karina) in a life of crime and seaside seclusion. Continue reading

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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Bonjour Tristesse: David Niven’s Coral Shirt and Sunglasses

David Niven as Raymond in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

David Niven as Raymond in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

Vitals

David Niven as Raymond, bon vivant widowed father

French Riviera, Summer 1957

Film: Bonjour Tristesse
Release Date: January 15, 1958
Director: Otto Preminger
Costume Coordinator: Hope Bryce

Background

Secluded for the summer at their villa in the Côte d’Azur, libertine Raymond and his equally free-spirited daughter Cécile (Jean Seberg) enjoy a comfortable and carefree season living la belle vie by the sea. In fact, Raymond and Cécile would have fared quite well had they needed to spend their summer in quarantine, as few outsiders enter their lives aside from whichever mistress (or two) Raymond is entertaining at the moment. These young women are typically no more than a few years older than Cécile, who grows particularly attached to his latest paramour, Elsa (Mylène Demongeot), to the extent that she joins Raymond in waking the vivacious blonde from her nude slumber and helps her apply sunscreen during one of their typical days spent on the beach.

While all may be cordial and close, there’s no getting between the fiercely intimate bond between Cécile and her father, of which Elsa comments: “You do not even need words… the perfect marriage!”

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The Snows of Kilimanjaro: Gregory Peck’s White Riviera Resortwear

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Harry Street, expatriate writer and former newspaper reporter

French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Summer 1936

Film: The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Release Date: September 17, 1952
Director: Henry King
Wardrobe Supervisor: Charles Le Maire

Background

Despite its wintry title, The Snows of Kilimanjaro was expanded significantly from Ernest Hemingway’s original short story for Henry King’s lush 1952 cinematic adaptation, featuring plenty of summertime fun in Côte d’Azur during its prewar heyday.

The rest of the world may have been suffering from the Great Depression, but Papa surrogate Harry Street has risen to literary stardom and is now living la belle vie, adrift in the Mediterranean while his latest paramour “Frigid Liz, the semi-iceburg of the semi-tropics” frolics in the warm sea around him. Though lovely, Countess Elizabeth (Hildegard Knef) is hardly the treasured Cynthia (Ava Gardner), and Harry admits he’s only attracted to Liz for her elusive qualities, describing in Papa-esque prose that “she was something to hunt down and trap and capture.”

In addition to today being the birthday of Ernest Hemingway, who entered the world July 21, 1899, today is also my 31st birthday!

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Pierrot le Fou: Belmondo’s Striped Shirt by the Sea

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina in Pierrot le Fou (1965)

Vitals

Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband

French Riviera, Summer 1965

Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Five years after their collaboration in À bout de souffle that established many of the unconventional conventions that would define French New Wave, director Jean-Luc Godard reteamed with charismatic star Jean-Paul Belmondo for a surreal and colorful classic with its scenes and themes of seclusion that make it feel all the more relevant during this strange summer that still finds many in self-isolation.

Life may always be sad, but it’s always beautiful.

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Alain Delon in Le Samouraï

Alain Delon as Jef Costello in Le Samouraï (The Samurai) (1967)

Alain Delon as Jef Costello in Le Samouraï (The Samurai) (1967)

Vitals

Alain Delon as Jef Costello, slick, taciturn, and meticulous contract killer

Paris, April 1967

Film: The Samurai
(French title: Le Samouraï)
Release Date: October 25, 1967
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

On Alain Delon’s 84th birthday, let’s explore Le Samouraï, arguably one of the best, most influential, and most stylish roles of Delon’s career and the frequent subject of requests from BAMF Style readers like Marcus and Mohammed.

Despite being Jean-Pierre Melville’s tribute to 1940s noir, Le Samouraï was also the maverick director’s first color production as he had evidently elected not to film in black-and-white. The color photography allows Melville to make the most of his shadowy settings from Jef Costello’s gray, barren apartment to the throwback glamour of the Parisian nightclub.

Delon stars as Jef Costello, a cold contract killer whose solitary lifestyle nods to Japanese lone warrior mythology—hence the title—and whose personal style co-opts the classic American noir anti-hero. Continue reading

Walter Matthau’s Navy Striped Suit in Charade

Walter Matthau as Carson Dyle in Charade (1963)

Walter Matthau as Carson Dyle in Charade (1963)

Vitals

Walter Matthau as Carson Dyle, posing as CIA administrator Hamilton Bartholomew

Paris, April 1963

Film: Charade
Release Date: December 5, 1963
Director: Stanley Donen

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today commemorates the 99th birthday of the great Walter Matthau, the New York-born actor and comedian. After playing heavies in movies like the Elvis vehicle King Creole (1958) and his self-directed Gangster Story (1960), Matthau got a chance to exercise his versatility and comedic chops with a delightfully duplicitous role in Stanley Donen’s romantic comedy thriller Charade (1963).

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Bonjour Tristesse: David Niven’s Chambray Shirt and Swim Trunks

David Niven and Jean Seberg as Raymond and Cécile in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

David Niven and Jean Seberg as Raymond and Cécile in Bonjour Tristesse (1958)

Vitals

David Niven as Raymond, bon vivant single father

French Riviera, Summer 1957

Film: Bonjour Tristesse
Release Date: January 15, 1958
Director: Otto Preminger
Costume Coordinator: Hope Bryce

Background

Thanks to Otto Preminger’s direction and Georges Périnal’s lush color cinematography that captures the richness of the French Riviera, the visual delights of Bonjour Tristesse secure its place among the great “summer movies” of Hollywood’s celebrated golden era.

Based on Françoise Sagan’s 1954 novelBonjour Tristesse—which translates to “Hello, Sadness” in English—tells the story of the precocious but undisciplined teenager Cécile’s (Jean Seberg) summer holiday in the Côte d’Azur with her libertine father Raymond (David Niven) and his bevy of mistresses, often barely older than Cécile herself. Continue reading

Gregory Peck’s Checked Summer Shirt in The Snows of Kilimanjaro

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Gregory Peck as Harry Street in Ernest Hemingway’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)

Vitals

Gregory Peck as Harry Street, expatriate writer and former newspaper reporter

French Riviera (Côte d’Azur), Summer 1936

Film: The Snows of Kilimanjaro
Release Date: September 17, 1952
Director: Henry King
Wardrobe Supervisor: Charles Le Maire

Background

As I spend this week on vacation, I reflect on how my birthday buddy Ernest Hemingway—born 120 years ago this week on July 21, 1899—would have spent his daiquiri-soaked summers. A brief vignette from Henry King’s The Snows of Kilimanjaro, an adaptation of Papa’s short story of the same name, may shed some light on the life of a bored writer spending the warm season in the French Riviera.

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Grand Prix: James Garner’s Burgundy Blazer and Shelby GT350H

James Garner as Pete Aron in Grand Prix (1966)

James Garner as Pete Aron in Grand Prix (1966)

Vitals

James Garner as Pete Aron, determined Formula One driver

Clermont-Ferrand, France, Summer 1966

Film: Grand Prix
Release Date: December 21, 1966
Director: John Frankenheimer
Costume Supervisor: Sydney Guilaroff

Background

#CarWeek continues with Grand Prix, the action-packed, globe-trotting racing epic that director John Frankenheimer made in the tradition of Grand Hotel with a talented international cast including James Garner, Eva Marie Saint (who celebrated her 95th birthday yesterday), Yves Montand, Toshiro Mifune, Jessica Walter, Brian Bedford, and Thunderball villain Adolfo Celi. As a talented driver in his own right, Garner looks natural behind the wheel as Pete Aron, the Formula One driver hoping to salvage his career after gaining a reckless reputation, and the unique racing cinematography—in part credited to “visual consultant” Saul Bass—make the film a must for fans of the racing genre and earned the film its well-deserved Academy Awards for Best Sound Effects (Gordon Daniel), Best Film Editing, and Best Sound (Franklin Milton).

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