Tim Roth as “Pumpkin”, aka “Ringo”, an otherwise unnamed small-time crook
Los Angeles, Summer 1992
Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Now that it’s summer—and already a hot one!—I’ve started rotating my favorite aloha shirts and tropical prints into my wardrobe. Luckily for me, bright Hawaiian-style resort shirts have been undergoing a wave of revival each summer, perhaps encouraged by Brad Pitt’s now-famous yellow aloha shirt in Quentin Tarantino’s latest, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Style in QT’s early movies typically conjures the well-armed professional criminals in their uniforms of black suits, white shirts, and black ties, but outside of this lethal look, characters in the Tarantino-verse often pulled from the Hawaiian shirts in their closet. The first example would be Harvey Keitel’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it palm-print shirt before taking Tim Roth’s Mr. Orange for tacos in Reservoir Dogs. Two years later, it was Roth himself that would be tropically attired for the next of Tarantino’s defining cinematic works. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, retired British secret agent
Jamaica to Cuba, Spring 2020
Film: No Time to Die
Release Date: September 30, 2021
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Costume Designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy 00-7th of June! The weather continues warming up as we approach summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and I’m sure I won’t be alone in turning to James Bond for inspiration as I begin rotating summer style staples back to the front of my closet.
To dissect the phrasing of his literary creator, you could say James Bond had lived enough for two lifetimes by the time we find the globetrotting secret agent now retired toward the start of No Time to Die. Continue reading
Christopher Lee as Francisco Scaramanga, sophisticated freelance assassin
Bangkok, Thailand, Spring 1974
Film: The Man with the Golden Gun
Release Date: December 20, 1974
Director: Guy Hamilton
Wardrobe Supervisor: Elsa Fennell
Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sir Christopher Lee, the imposing yet debonair screen icon known to many for portraying Count Dracula a total of nine times while Bond fans may know him best as Francisco Scaramanga, the eponymous villain who faced off against Roger Moore’s James Bond in Moore’s sophomore 007 outing, The Man with the Golden Gun.
John Garfield as Nick Robey, desperate small-time thief
Los Angeles, Summer 1951
Film: He Ran All the Way
Release Date: June 19, 1951
Director: John Berry
Wardrobe Credit: Joe King
John Garfield, one of the most talented and naturalistic actors of Hollywood’s “golden age”, died 70 years ago today on May 21, 1952. Garfield had long been troubled with heart health issues, but it’s been argued that the resulting stress brought on by harassment from the notorious House Un-American Activities Committee contributed to his early death at the age of 39, nearly a year after the release of his final film, He Ran All the Way (1951).
Susumu Terajima as Ken, laconic yakuza lieutenant
Ishigaki Island, Japan, Summer 1993
(Japanese title: ソナチネ)
Release Date: September 10, 1993
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Costume Design: Junichi Goto & Alen Mikudo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Takeshi Kitano wrote, directed, edited, and starred in Sonatine, an offbeat yakuza film that blends the genre’s usual violence with elements of black comedy and an almost surreal, dreamlike beauty. Kitano stars as Murakawa, a Tokyo crime boss who has grown increasingly numb as he advances into middle age.
Murakawa and his loyal right-hand man, Ken (Susumu Terajima), are sent to Okinawa with a gang ranging from veteran gangsters to young gunsels like the eager Ryōji (Masanobu Katsumura).
Before any progress can be made in their ostensible mission to mediate and intra-gang conflict, the body count rises after their headquarters are bombed and their number further diminished during a barroom ambush. Murakawa and his fellow survivors—including the increasingly convivial Ken and Ryōji—take refuge on the isolated beaches of Ishigaki Island, where their day-to-day life devolves into a surreally idyllic getaway full of games, gags, and gunplay. Continue reading
Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, volatile and violent Mafia associate
New York, Spring 1970
Release Date: September 19, 1990
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy Mother’s Day! One of my favorite cinematic sequences depicting the relationship between a son and his mother comes by way of my favorite movie, in which master auteur Martin Scorsese cast his own mother Catherine as the charming Mrs. DeVito, mother to the psychotic gangster Tommy (Joe Pesci) who brings his cohorts Henry (Ray Liotta) and Jimmy (Robert De Niro) seeking a shovel in a covert night-time stop to fetch a shovel… only to be sweet-talked into an early breakfast.
Catherine Scorsese endearingly embodies the familiar archetype of the aging Italian-American matriarch with her plastic-covered furniture, the gift to effortlessly slip between American English and Italian dialects, and the fierce desire to feed her children and their friends… regardless of whether they’re hungry or not. Continue reading
Jean-Paul Belmondo as Ferdinand Griffon, runaway husband
Paris, Spring 1965
Film: Pierrot le Fou
Release Date: November 5, 1965
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Born 89 years ago on April 9, 1933, today marks the first of Jean-Paul Belmondo’s birthdays since the iconic French actor died in September 2021. One of Bébel’s most memorable movies is the colorful Pierrot le Fou, a pop art equivalent of the French New Wave cinematic movement that marked the actor’s third and final collaboration with director Jean-Luc Godard. Continue reading
Robert De Niro as Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, tough Mafia enforcer
New York City, Spring 1972
Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
Fifty years ago tonight, Mafia violence shook the streets of New York City when dangerous mobster “Crazy Joe” Gallo was shot and killed while celebrating his 43rd birthday with his family at Umbertos Clam House on Mulberry Street.
The most widely accepted facts attribute the slaying to four associates of the Colombo crime family, in retaliation for their suspicions that Gallo had ordered the attempted assassination of boss Joseph Colombo during an Italian-American Civil Rights League rally the previous June. Gallo’s widow recalled multiple men of short stature and likely Italian descent storming the Mulberry Street restaurant, where more than 20 shots were fired at her husband, who staggered onto the sidewalk and died shortly before 5:30 a.m. on April 7, 1972.
However, Charles Brandt’s nonfiction best-seller I Heard You Paint Houses includes an explosive claim by labor official and mob hitman Frank Sheeran that he alone was responsible for the hit. Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Jesse James, legendary outlaw
Missouri, Fall 1881 through Spring 1882
Film: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Release Date: September 21, 2007
Director: Andrew Dominik
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
An old adage advises us to never meet our heroes, as they’re sure to disappoint. This theme permeates one of my favorite Westerns, Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, depicting the months leading up to the titular betrayal that surprised the country 140 years ago today.
All these years later, Jesse James remains a household name, wisely portrayed on screen by A-lister Brad Pitt to reinforce to audiences the presence that the bandit would have commanded during his heyday. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, “resurrected” British secret agent
London, Spring 2012
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime
Having been assumed dead after taking friendly fire in the field, James Bond returns from self-imposed exile. However, before he can go from “resurrection” to active duty, the British Secret Service needs to make sure their most famous secret agent can still shoot straight.
Following the attack on their Vauxhall Cross headquarters, SIS has set up temporary shop in the concrete bowels of the Old Vic tunnels under London, and it’s here that Bond runs through a variety of exercises from treadmills to crash drills. The service’s ever-affable chief of staff, Bill Tanner (Rory Kinnear), attempts to save time by bringing 007 up to speed on his new assignment, but months on a Greek beach fueled by Heineken and vintage Macallan haven’t made it easy for Mr. Bond to catch his breath.
Tanner: We can always do this later.
Bond: You know what? Let’s.
Although Daniel Craig’s 007 was often referred to by his Royal Navy rank, Commander Bond never actually appeared in uniform on film during Craig’s era. In fact, the closest we saw to Craig’s James Bond in any sort of uniform—aside from when the actor himself received his honorary commission in 2021—was when he was put to these tests in Skyfall, resurrected and ready to be retrained by his superiors… and dressed the part in an SIS-marked track jacket and training shirt.
SIS Training Gear recognized the opportunity for Bond fans to borrow from our favorite secret agent’s style, not with a tailored suit or trim navy polo but through an increasingly growing selection of activewear that started with just a pair of T-shirts and joggers, designed to resemble Craig’s screen-worn apparel. Since then, the collection has grown to a wide and exciting lineup of a range of casual styles that reference Bond films across the franchise’s 60 years. I’m pleased to announce that BAMF Style readers can save 10% at SIS Training Gear purchases by clicking here or adding the promo code “BAMF” at checkout. Continue reading