Tagged: Journalist

Sweet Smell of Success – J.J.’s Dark Birdseye Suit

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Vitals

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker, powerful and domineering newspaper columnist

New York City, Fall 1956

Film: Sweet Smell of Success
Release Date: June 27, 1957
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Costume Designer: Mary Grant

Background

In commemoration of Burt Lancaster’s birthday today, I’m exploring my favorite of his films, the atmospheric 1957 noir Sweet Smell of Success that starred Lancaster as acerbic columnist J.J. Hunsecker to Tony Curtis’ unscrupulous PR flack Sidney Falco.

J.J. Hunsecker is a man whose legendary power and mercurial temper is meant to intimidate nearly all in his orbit. Continue reading

The Rum Diary: Gabardine Windbreaker and Chinos

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp in The Rum Diary (2011)

Vitals

Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist

San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960

Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood

Background

“In summary, this airman, although talented, will not be guided by policy,” heralded Hunter S. Thompson’s honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in November 1957, a considerable understatement given the iconic writer’s eventual symbolic anti-authoritarian status.

Following his discharge, Thompson tried a few journalistic stints in New York but was fired by Time (for insubordination) and the Middletown Daily Record (for damaging a candy machine) and moved to Puerto Rico in 1960.

Having failed to procure a position with the San Juan Star, Thompson wrote for the El Sportivo sporting magazine… though it folded quickly after his arrival. His experiences in San Juan formed the basis of The Rum Diary, a novel that he penned shortly after his return to the U.S. the following year, although it wasn’t published for more than three decades.

While it would be inaccurate to describe The Rum Diary as a strict roman à clef, its morose, restless narrator Paul Kemp is clearly modeled on Thompson himself, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp was naturally tapped to play the role in the film adaptation. Continue reading

Sinatra’s Pink Shirt and Puppytooth Check in High Society

Frank Sinatra as Mike Connor in High Society (1956)

Frank Sinatra as Mike Connor in High Society (1956)

Vitals

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

Background

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

Sweet Smell of Success – J.J.’s Flannel Suit

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in a colorized photo from Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Vitals

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker, powerful and domineering newspaper columnist

New York City, Fall 1956

Film: Sweet Smell of Success
Release Date: June 27, 1957
Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Costume Designer: Mary Grant

Background

One of my favorite movies is Sweet Smell of Success, the atmospheric film noir starring Burt Lancaster as a Walter Winchell-like columnist and Tony Curtis as the opportunistic young PR flack desperate to get in good with him.

Ernest Lehman, who contributed to the screenplay based on his own novelette, declined to direct the film due to his fear of Lancaster, but the actor’s aggressive and volatile temperament paid off to create the needed aura of his intimidating character, the sort of man who could and would destroy an enemy’s career on a whim. Continue reading

All the President’s Men: Woodward’s Beige Cotton Sportcoat

Robert Redford as Bob Woodward in All the President's Men (1976)

Robert Redford as Bob Woodward in All the President’s Men (1976)

Vitals

Robert Redford as Bob Woodward, investigative journalist for The Washington Post

Washington, D.C., late summer 1972

Film: All the President’s Men
Release Date: April 9, 1976
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Supervisor: Bernie Pollack

Background

Bob Woodward had only been at The Washington Post for nine months when he received an assignment in June 1972 to look into the arrests of five men who had been caught breaking into the DNC office at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. As the story continued to build over the following months, Woodward and Carl Bernstein relentlessly investigated for a series of Post articles that would expose an unprecedented level of government corruption that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. Continue reading

Frank Sinatra Turns 100: High Society Black Tie

Frank Sinatra as Mac Connor in High Society (1956).

Frank Sinatra as Mike Connor in High Society (1956).

Vitals

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

Background

100 years ago today, on December 12, 1915, two Italian immigrants welcomed the birth of their son, Francis Albert Sinatra, in a Hoboken tenement. A century later, their legendary blue-eyed son has left an indelible legacy on our culture that can never be replicated. Sinatra’s style, stubbornness, and swagger complemented his natural skill and hard work to make him a living icon and one of the greatest singers of the 20th century.

After enjoying a decade of early success singing with the Harry James and Tommy Dorsey orchestras before his personal appeal allowed him to sign with Columbia as a solo artist, Sinatra’s popularity began to decline. The death of his publicist George Evans, his tumultuous public affair with Ava Gardner, and his own throat issues nearly meant the end of Sinatra’s career by the early 1950s.

Sinatra persevered. His records weren’t selling, and he was singing to county fairs in Hawaii, but he wasn’t going to give up that easily. His Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity (shades of The Godfather!) signified the start of a unprecedentedly booming career revival. 1953 also saw Sinatra signing his seven-year contract with Capitol Records that would produce his groundbreaking “concept albums” and – in my opinion – some of the greatest music ever recorded. Despite his perfectionist tendencies, even Sinatra couldn’t help but to agree. After hearing he and arranger Nelson Riddle’s first cut of “I’ve Got the World on a String”, Sinatra couldn’t help but to exclaim:

I’m back, baby, I’m back!

Continue reading

Will McAvoy’s Tan Cotton Sportcoat

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (2012).

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy on The Newsroom (2012).

Vitals

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, crusading TV news anchor and managing editor

New York City, Summer 2011

Series: The Newsroom
Episodes:
*
 “The Blackout Part I: Tragedy Porn” (Episode 1.08, aired August 12, 2012, dir. Lesli Linka Glatter)
* “The Blackout Part II: Mock Debate” (Episode 1.09, aired August 19, 2012, dir. Alan Poul)
* “The Greater Fool” (Episode 1.10, aired August 26, 2012, dir. Greg Mottola)
Costume Designer: Hope Hanafin

Background

The final three episodes of Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom find Will McAvoy in the midst of a rough summer. McAvoy is a brillianter-than-thou TV news journalist who had enjoyed popularity for years before he was reinvigorated to “do the news” right. This personal mission of his is equally inspired, bolstered, and hindered by his idealistic and talented executive producer Mackenzie MacHale (Emily Mortimer)… whom he also used to date before a messy breakup marred by some Paul Schneider-induced infidelity. Continue reading