Gregory Hines as Delbert “Sandman” Williams, affable and ambitious dancer
Harlem, Spring 1929
Film: The Cotton Club
Release Date: December 14, 1984
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Milena Canonero
One of the most celebrated tap dancers of all time, the multi-talented Gregory Hines died 20 years ago today on August 9, 2003. His charismatic performance as “Sandman” Williams in The Cotton Club remains a highlight from Francis Ford Coppola’s The Cotton Club, an ambitious and controversial part-musical, part-mob drama that producer Robert Evans spent five years bringing to the screen.
Centered around the legendary Cotton Club in Harlem, the movie boasts all the ingredients to entertain: an evocative Prohibition-era setting at an iconic nightclub, a pitch-perfect period soundtrack from John Barry that replicates the sounds of Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, and a talented cast that includes then-rising stars like Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Nicolas Cage, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Grey, James Remar, and Gregory and Maurice Hines. Continue reading
Warren Beatty as Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, “celebrity” gangster and casino builder
Los Angeles, Spring 1945 and Las Vegas, Fall 1946
Release Date: December 13, 1991
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Designer: Albert Wolsky
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Everybody deserves a fresh start once in a while.
At least three times while wearing this outfit alone, Warren Beatty’s Bugsy Siegel pontificates on the power of fresh starts. While the real Siegel may not have been quite as forgiving, Beatty plays him with the actor’s characteristic charisma to better communicate to audiences how a violent gangster could have charmed the stars of “golden age” Hollywood.
Rod Taylor as Les Mangrum, gregarious Australian tractor manufacturing mogul
Heathrow Airport, London, Winter 1963
Film: The V.I.P.s
(also released as Hotel International)
Release Date: September 19, 1963
Director: Anthony Asquith
Costume Designer: Pierre Cardin (uncredited)
A generation after Grand Hotel (1932) established the subgenre of the ensemble drama with a packed cast of international stars, Anthony Asquith updated the pattern for the jet age with the genteel director’s penultimate film, The V.I.P.s, which—appropriately enough, given its spiritual predecessor—had also been released as Hotel International. Continue reading
Max von Sydow as G. Joubert, French Alsatian contract assassin
Chevy Chase, Maryland, Christmas 1975
Film: Three Days of the Condor
Release Date: September 24, 1975
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Unlike BAMF Style holiday favorites Die Hard, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, or The Thin Man, Three Days of the Condor doesn’t directly address its Christmas setting, instead letting the otherwise cheery atmosphere, decor, and music be infiltrated by the increasing paranoia of its leading character, CIA researcher Joe Turner (Robert Redford), forced on the run after a massacre at his office.
Engineered by CIA Deputy Director Leonard Atwood (Addison Powell)’s secret intra-agency faction, the massacre was carried out under the supervision of Joubert, an enigmatic contract killer who takes it upon himself to finish the job after a timing snafu allows Turner, alias “Condor”, to escape. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Macauley “Mike” Connor, swaggering tabloid reporter
Newport, Rhode Island, Summer 1956
Film: High Society
Release Date: July 17, 1956
Director: Charles Walters
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
BAMF Style is fulfilling a timely request from Ryan to explore the puppytooth jacket, pink shirt, and tie worn by Frank Sinatra for his early scenes in High Society, the 1956 remake of The Philadelphia Story that found Sinatra acting with his idol, Bing Crosby. The film lives up to its title with an abundance of luxury cars, opulent homes, and plenty of champagne.
Though set in summer, Sinatra’s ensemble is a nice bold springtime look as the April showers turn to May flowers. Continue reading
Sean Connery as Colonel John Arbuthnot, British Indian Army commanding officer
The Orient Express, December 1935
Film: Murder on the Orient Express
Release Date: November 24, 1974
Director: Sidney Lumet
Costume Designer: Tony Walton
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is my grandma’s 95th birthday, which she will be celebrating by going to her 9-to-5 job (where she never misses a day!) and then joining our family for a dinner out on the town. One of my favorite memories with Grandma includes Saturday mornings in her kitchen, watching old mystery movies together. This tradition instilled in me a love for the genre as well as an appreciation for classic movies and stars.
Murder on the Orient Express was one of our favorite movies to watch together. Although helmed by the excellent Albert Finney as a charismatic and near-cartoonish Hercule Poirot, the film is also rightly a celebration of some of the most talented women from the silver screen including Lauren Bacall and Ingrid Bergman, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress from her work in this movie. Continue reading
Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, adventurous physician and amateur detective
London, August 1890
Film: Sherlock Holmes
Release Date: December 25, 2009
Director: Guy Ritchie
Costume Designer: Jenny Beavan
While the current British series Sherlock offers more universally adaptable wardrobe options due to its contemporary setting, I unfortunately have yet to see the show (which I know I will love) or own it on a screencappable medium. Thus, to celebrate Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 155th birthday this week – May 22 – I’ll be offering a suit worn by Jude Law in the 2009 adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.
Dr. John Watson is the second-greatest invention of Conan Doyle, forever influencing the “active narrator” present in mysteries and thrillers. Throughout the years, Dr. Watson evolved from Conan Doyle’s stoic if somewhat stodgy man of action into a total dolt whose friendship with Holmes was the only thing keeping him alive. Continue reading