James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New England, Fall 1999
Series: The Sopranos
– “College” (Episode 1.05, dir. Allen Coulter, aired 2/7/1999)
– “Nobody Knows Anything” (Episode 1.11, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/21/1999)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
No man can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.
So preaches Hawthorne, seemingly speaking directly to Tony Soprano, in the denouement of the classic episode “College” (Episode 1.05) from the first season. Positioned as Bowdoin College’s most famous alum as Tony brings his daughter Meadow (Jamie-Lynn Sigler) to visit the campus, Nathaniel Hawthorne also acts as a moral anchor to our protagonist after an unprecedented act of violence.
The fall 2020 semester will be a surreal experience for many returning to school across the United States as colleges adapt to remote learning or limited exposure in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, making the expected “back-to-school” keggers and social functions a relic of a not-so-distant past.
More than twenty years ago, audiences joined Meadow for her own surreal college experiences with a university tour with her father reveals more about him to her—and to the audience—than one would expect of the canned campus orientation. On August 22, the date established in-universe as Tony Soprano’s birthday (and creator David Chase’s actual birthday), let’s take a closer look at these pivotal scenes from the series’ first season. Continue reading
Troy Donahue as Johnny Hunter, college student and “silly sentimentalist”
New England, Spring 1959
Film: A Summer Place
Release Date: November 18, 1959
Director: Delmer Daves
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Sixty years after shaking up more genteel audiences with its frank but ultimately tame depictions of adultery and sexuality, A Summer Place may be most widely remembered for its serene theme song. Originally written by Max Steiner, it was Percy Faith’s arrangement of “Theme from A Summer Place” that transformed the instrumental ballad into a #1 hit that took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-breaking nine consecutive weeks in early 1960.
Richard Benjamin as Neil Klugman, listless library employee and Army veteran
Radcliffe College (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Fall 1968
Film: Goodbye, Columbus
Release Date: April 3, 1969
Director: Larry Peerce
Costume Designer: Gene Coffin
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Based on a novella by Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus marked the first major screen appearances for both Richard Benjamin and Ali MacGraw, who would receive a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer and a Laurel Award for Female New Face.
Goodbye, Columbus was released two years after The Graduate (though Roth’s source novella was published four years before Charles Webb’s The Graduate), and the similarities invited comparison between the two, with some critics like Dennis Schwartz favoring Goodbye, Columbus though it would be far lesser-known in the decades to follow. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc, “a private investigator of great renown”
Massachusetts, November 2018
Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan
Happy birthday to Daniel Craig, born 52 years ago today on March 2, 1968! While Craig is likely best known as the most recent actor to portray James Bond, one of his most celebrated recent roles has been his Golden Globe-nominated performance in Knives Out as Benoit Blanc, an idiosyncratic detective who describes himself as a “respectful, quiet, and passive observer of the truth.”
Dennis Haysbert as Raymond Deagan, affable gardener and widowed father
Suburban Connecticut, Fall 1957
Film: Far From Heaven
Release Date: November 8, 2002
Director: Todd Haynes
Costume Designer: Sandy Powell
A recent Instagram post from my friend @chimesatmidnight reminded me of the fantastic fall style and autumnal aesthetic in Far From Heaven, Todd Haynes’ tribute to the incandescent melodramas directed by Douglas Sirk in the 1950s. Influenced by movies like All that Heaven Allows, Imitation of Life, and Written on the Wind, Haynes employed techniques from the era to provide the same idyllic mid-century look, feel, and sound, with the help of Elmer Bernstein’s original score, Kelley Baker’s sound, the richly detailed world created by production designer Mark Friedberg, and Edward Lachman’s thoughtful cinematography.
Dennis Morgan as Jefferson Jones, U.S. Navy Chief Quartermaster and war hero
Connecticut, Christmas 1944
Film: Christmas in Connecticut
Release Date: August 11, 1945
Director: Peter Godfrey
Something about a naval uniform always reminds me of the holidays. Maybe it’s the happy homecoming of the heroic Commander Harry Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, or maybe it’s the charming naval hero in Christmas in Connecticut who finds himself instantly falling for Barbara Stanwyck (relatable enough) after he arrives on her doorstep to spend a memorable holiday in New England. Continue reading
Rock Hudson as Ron Kirby, ambitious and independent-minded landscaper
New England, Fall to Winter 1955
Film: All That Heaven Allows
Release Date: August 25, 1955
Director: Douglas Sirk
Among the many classic movies commonly associated with Christmas – It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street, and White Christmas to name a few – there are countless additional fine films from that same nostalgic postwar era that relied on the warmth of the holidays to set the scene.
Though it was released in London four months earlier, the Douglas Sirk-directed melodrama All That Heaven Allows made its United States debut on Christmas Day 1955. Continue reading
Bing Crosby as C.K. Dexter Haven, jazz musician
Newport, Rhode Island, Summer 1956
Film: High Society
Release Date: July 17, 1956
Director: Charles Walters
Costume Designer: Helen Rose
Happy St. Valentine’s Day! This year’s theme for the #WeekOfWeddings seems to be impromptu nuptials that find our cheeky protagonists thrust into taking the vows without a chance to don traditional wedding attire. Today, we’re following a mischievous summer weekend among the socialites of Newport, Rhode Island, in High Society, the musical remake of The Philadelphia Story.
High Society recasts The Philadelphia Story‘s leading gents Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart with the more musically inclined Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, respectively, though it’s interesting to note that Crosby is actually a few months older than Grant, making this surely one of the few times in movie history that a remake actually featured a performer older than his or her predecessor!
Katharine Hepburn’s role was recast with Grace Kelly, establishing High Society as the actress’ final film role before her retirement at the age of 26 upon marriage to Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In the spirit of marriage, Kelly wore her actual Cartier engagement ring from Rainier on screen. Continue reading
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, “professor of archeology, expert on the occult, and – how does one say it? – obtainer of rare antiquities”
New England, Fall 1936
Film: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Release Date: June 12, 1981
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Designer: Deborah Nadoolman
Following the exciting opening scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, the film transitions from a South American jungle to the genteel setting of the fictional Marshall College in Connecticut where Dr. Jones is introduced as a highly popular instructor of the college’s Archaeology 101 course. Continue reading
Robert Shaw was born 90 years ago today, August 9, 1927. To celebrate the birth of this iconic actor and writer, BAMF Style presents another contributor post submitted by BAMF Style reader “W.T. Hatch”. Enjoy!
Robert Shaw as Quint, grizzled and tough shark hunter and U.S. Navy veteran
Amity Island, July 1974
Release Date: June 20, 1975
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Design: Louise Clark, Robert Ellsworth, and Irwin Rose
Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy.
In 1975, director Steven Spielberg scared the bejesus out of America with the summer blockbuster hit Jaws. Based upon author Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, Jaws is the harrowing tale of a 25′ man-eating shark which terrorizes the small beach community of Amity Island. Technical problems forced Spielberg to largely abandon the mechanical shark, dubbed “Bruce” after his attorney, instead using mood, music, and a set of yellow barrels to suggest the beast’s on-screen presence. One viewing of the film is enough to make even the bravest soul think twice before taking a swim in the ocean.
But one other persona in the movie is more frightening than the shark. I speak of the shark’s archenemy known only by the name of Quint. No doubt inspired by another single-minded sea captain, namely Ahab of Moby Dick, Quint is one of cinema’s most enigmatic, famous, and all-around badass characters. Continue reading