Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, charming part-time car service driver and full-time cad
London, Summer 1965
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
Tailor: Douglas Hayward
Make a married woman laugh and you’re halfway there with her.
Right off the bat, we learn that the titular Alfie Elkins is no gentleman.
Although he had already featured in several major British films through the ’60s, it was his Academy Award-nominated breakthrough role in Alfie that led Michael Caine to global stardom. Continue reading
David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race, dignified lawyer and war veteran
Egypt, September 1937
Film: Death on the Nile
Release Date: September 29, 1978
Director: John Guillermin
Costume Designer: Anthony Powell
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As we in the Northern Hemisphere enjoy the first full day of summer, BAMF Style is focusing on a classic warm weather look from the quintessential gentleman, David Niven. Niven’s character, Colonel Johnny Race, was written as an MI5 agent in Christie’s novels but appears here to be more of a lawyer who is tasked with a murder investigation due to his long friendship with Poirot and his dignified upper class standing.
David Niven was one of many stars featured in the trio of lavish Agatha Christie murder mystery adaptations in the ’70s and ’80s that were often studded with a cavalcade of international acting talent. 1978’s Death on the Nile alone featured Niven, Bette Davis, Mia Farrow, Angela Lansbury, and Maggie Smith plus the decade’s Shakespearean newcomers Jon Finch and Olivia Hussey as well as Jack “that’s what I call fuckin'” Warden. Peter Ustinov took over the role of the eccentric, brilliant, and pompous Hercule Poirot – a role he would play five more times – in a perfect example of marketing a famously mustached character without overdoing it.
Although the “series” was sumptuously costumed with period attire for all, Anthony Powell’s costume design talent won him both the Academy Award and the BAFTA for Death on the Nile. (It’s worth mentioning that Tony Walton’s costume design for Murder on the Orient Express had been nominated for an Academy Award and a BAFTA, and Powell’s work on Evil Under the Sun has been thrice featured on BAMF Style already.)
What’d He Wear?
Colonel Race exudes British military elegance in his double-breasted navy blazer, white trousers and shoes, and regimental striped tie. Continue reading
Roger Moore as James Bond, suave British MI6 agent
Sardinia, Italy, Summer 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
This installment of BAMF Style’s Car Week takes us underwater as James Bond heads off to Atlantis to meet his new nemesis, Karl Stromberg, in The Spy Who Loved Me… although our lothario seems more concerned about which of the two exotic women on his boat ride is more interested in him.
Stromberg discloses to Bond that he’s investing in an underwater society so it’s fitting that Bond drives a car with aquatic abilities in this flick. Bond’s “submarine” Lotus Esprit has joined the Aston Martin DB5 as one of the most popular 007 vehicles of all time. Even within the Bond universe, the KGB seems to have taken a special interest in the car when Major Anya Amasova discloses that she’s not unfamiliar with MI6’s secret plans for the Lotus.
This sequence includes many of the elements that make a Bond adventure so unique: exciting danger, beautiful women, a megalomaniac villain, an exotic location (in this case, the Cala Di Volpe in Porto Cervo), and – of course – beautifully tailored attire. Continue reading
George C. Scott as Harry Garmes, washed-up expatriate getaway driver
Portugal, Spring 1971
Film: The Last Run
Release Date: July 7, 1971
Director: Richard Fleischer
Wardrobe Supervisor: Annalisa Nasalli-Rocca
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
The Last Run is a relatively obscure crime flick from the early ’70s that starred George C. Scott, fresh off of his Oscar-winning turn in Patton, as a retired Bogart-esque criminal living the easy expatriate life in Europe à la Hemingway when he is called back for the proverbial “one last job”. Of course, anyone who’s ever seen any movie ever knows that “one last job” is never quite as easy as it sounds, and our aging protagonist finds himself facing more than he bargained for when driving escaped killer Paul Rickard (Tony Musante) and his girlfriend Claudie Scherrer (Trish Van Devere) across Portugal and Spain into France. Continue reading
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, British government secret agent
Monte Carlo, April 1995
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
In London, April’s a spring month. The same is true in Monte Carlo, the “international byword for the extravagant display and reckless dispersal of wealth” (according to The New Encyclopædia Britannica‘s 15th Edition), where April temperatures remain steady in the mid-50s°F range. Already sophisticated, Bond fits in nicely with this world of the elite as he tracks Xenia Onatopp, the Georgia-born (country, not state) femme fatale with connections to the Janus crime syndicate.
After Xenia’s night of passion gives new meaning to the term “thunder thighs”, Bond sneaks aboard the yacht where Xenia hosted her deadly tryst. Once he discovers the dead Royal Canadian Navy admiral (named “Chuck” rather than Charles?), Bond realizes Janus’s plan to steal the prototype Tiger helicopter. He takes off across the harbor, but it’s too late; Xenia has already escaped with the stolen helicopter. Foiled again! Continue reading
George Lazenby as James Bond, intrepid British secret agent
London, October 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
For the 007th of December, I’ll be focusing on a very holiday appropriate look from one of best-dressed (if not best-acted) Bonds, George Lazenby.
While this scene doesn’t exactly take place at Christmas, later scenes establish this film as “the Christmas Bond” and Lazenby’s attire when visiting M at Quarterdeck would be fine for a fashionable holiday outfit. Plus, the book On Her Majesty’s Secret Service features Bond sharing a Christmas dinner with M at the latter’s home.
(Since Bond receives two weeks leave sometime around September 15 and he’s still “on leave” when visiting M, this scene is likely set in late September or early October.) Continue reading
Sean Connery as James Bond, suave British government agent
Jamaica, Summer 1962
Film: Dr. No
Release Date: October 5, 1962
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Master: John Brady
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair
Yesterday’s Car Week post focused on a man on an assignment in the Caribbean wearing a blue sport coat and slacks, speeding a sporty roadster along the coast in the early 1960s. Today’s post is going to be exactly the same thing but different.
All kidding aside, plenty of the elements people know and love from James Bond films can be found in the very first movie, 1962’s Dr. No. Here, we see Bond sharply attired as he downs vodka martinis, shoots bad guys, beds exotic beauties, and gets into a car chase… all between cringe-worthy quips and double entendres. Today, I’ll be focusing on the very first James Bond “action car” seen on screen, a blue Sunbeam Alpine roadster. Continue reading