James Cagney as Tom Powers, petty criminal
Chicago, Fall 1915
Film: The Public Enemy
Release Date: April 23, 1931
Director: William A. Wellman
Costume Designer: Edward Stevenson
Wardrobe Credit: Earl Luick
In the waning years of Prohibition, Warner Brothers met the public demand for bringing the violent daily headlines to the screen with a succession of films that firmly established the genre of American gangster cinema. One of the most enduring of these pre-Code hits is The Public Enemy, the 1931 movie that made an instant star out of James Cagney.
Robert Mitchum as Lucas “Luke” Doolin, moonshine driver and Korean War veteran
Rillow Valley, Tennessee, Fall 1957
Film: Thunder Road
Release Date: May 10, 1958
Director: Arthur Ripley
Wardrobe Credit: Oscar Rodriguez
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
There’s a Treasury agent down the line someplace with three bumpers hangin’ on his car.
For the first Car Week post of this year, and just in time for the fourth of July, BAMF Style celebrates the all-American tradition of car-racing and its moonshine-running origins with the 1958 action film Thunder Road.
Paul Newman as Lucas “Luke” Jackson, chain gang inmate, war veteran, and “natural-born world-shaker”
Florida Road Prison 36, summer, early 1950s
Film: Cool Hand Luke
Release Date: November 1, 1967
Director: Stuart Rosenberg
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach.
The iconic “failure to communicate” line in Cool Hand Luke is first uttered by Strother Martin as the stern, insensitive captain in charge of Road Prison 36 where most of the film is set. Lucas “Luke” Jackson (Paul Newman), recently sentenced to the facility after a drunken night of vandalizing parking meters, is proud to be one of the men that the captain can’t reach.
Just in time for the stifling midsummer heat, I’m focusing on Cool Hand Luke, voted one of the sweatiest movies of all time by the patrons of Cheers… in addition to various other accolades.
Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness, honest and intrepid federal agent
Canadian border, September 1930
Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance
Wardrobe: Giorgio Armani
Eliot Ness joins the other “untouchables” on an action-packed mission to the Canadian border following a tip that Al Capone would be importing a shipment of booze. With the help of the Mounties who aren’t yet versed in “the Chicago way”, Ness and his band of three are able to successfully halt the shipment and get their hands on a nervous informant who’s willing to talk… once he stops “muckin’ with the G here,” of course.
The mission comes at the expense of Ness having to take a life in the line of duty. Following some counseling from his cop buddy Jim Malone (“He’s as dead as Julius Caesar… would you rather it was you?”), Ness is able to absolve himself of his guilt and returns home to discover that his wife has given birth to their son. Continue reading
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher, badass drifter and former U.S. Army Military Police Corps officer
Pittsburgh, October 2012
Film: Jack Reacher
Release Date: December 21, 2012
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Costume Designer: Susan Matheson
Tom Cruise’s Costumer: Nancy Thompson
BAMF Style’s semi-annual Car Week is returning this winter with more looks at cool outfits and cool cars. Today’s post examines Jack Reacher, the 2012 adaptation of Lee Child’s 2005 novel One Shot. Although it was the ninth of Child’s novels to feature the character of Jack Reacher, the 2012 movie became the first time that the character was represented on screen. Continue reading
George Clooney as Jack (aka “Edward”), weary paid assassin/hitman and gunsmith
Rome, April 2010
Film: The American
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Director: Anton Corbijn
Costume Designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb
George Clooney is the titular hitman in The American, a 2010 film directed by Anton Corbijn based on Martin Booth’s novel A Very Private Gentleman. Though he’d played gun-wielding badasses before, The American was the first role placing Clooney in the now mythic film profession of paid assassin. Continue reading
Merry Christmas from BAMF Style to you and yours!
Bruce Willis as John McClane, LAPD detective
Washington, D.C., Christmas 1990
Film: Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Release Date: July 4, 1990
Director: Renny Harlin
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance
Bruce Willis’ Key Costumer: Charles Mercuri
One of the complaints about the Die Hard series is that there’s no way the same thing can keep happening to the one guy in the world who’s able to save it. Of course, these sort of complaints mostly started cropping up after the fourth installment in 2007 where John McClane literally saved the world. Prior to that, he’d saved about 30 lives in an office building, a few hundred in airplanes, and the population of New York City. Okay, so the scale kept getting bigger, but at least then he had a reason for being around. It’s even lampshaded in Die Hard 2 when McClane rants to himself:
Oh man, I can’t fucking believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?