Tagged: Newsboy Cap

Nightmare Alley: Comparing Carlisle’s Cardigans in 1947 vs. 2021

Left: Tyrone Power as Stan Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (1947)
Right: Bradley Cooper as Stan Carlisle in Nightmare Alley (2021)

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Tyrone Power (1947) and Bradley Cooper (2021) as Stanton “Stan” Carlisle, opportunistic drifter-turned-carny

Rural Kentucky, Summer into fall 1939

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: October 9, 1947
Director: Edmund Goulding
Costume Designer: Bonnie Cashin

Film: Nightmare Alley
Release Date: December 17, 2021
Director: Guillermo del Toro
Costume Designer: Luis Sequeira

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Almost immediately after William Lindsay Gresham published his 1946 novel Nightmare Alley chronicling the grifters, geeks, and gals populating a second-rate sideshow, Tyrone Power asked 20th Century Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck to purchase the film rights.

Power had built his swashbuckling screen image in movies like The Mask of Zorro (1940), Blood and Sand (1941), and The Black Swan (1942), but—as so many had—returned from his World War II service as a changed man. The decorated Lieutenant Power was released from Marine Corps active duty in January 1946 and, after flying dangerous transport missions during the war, sought roles that would expand his image beyond the romantic hero he had established.

Director Edmund Goulding helmed the production that brought Gresham’s creepy carnival world to life via a working carnival constructed on ten acres of the Fox back lot, even employing actual carnies and more than 100 sideshow attractions to add verisimilitude. The talented cast also included Joan Blondell, appropriately appearing about fifteen years beyond her Warner Brothers heyday as she deliciously dives into the role of the washed-up tarot reader “Mademoiselle Zeena” whom the unscrupulous Stanton Carlisle manipulates into revealing the trick to her successful mentalist act. The married Zeena allows herself to fall for Carlisle’s romantic advances despite being married to her alcoholic stage partner Pete (Ian Keith) and Carlisle’s own obvious interest in the ingenue Molly (Coleen Gray).

Nightmare Alley premiered 75 years ago today on October 9, 1947, with Power’s performance lauded by critics like James Agee, who noted for Time that he “steps into a new class as an actor,” playing against type as Carlisle.

The Nightmare Alley story was recently revived for Guillermo del Toro’s re-adaptation of the novel, reinstating some of the darker components to blend Gothic horror with the noir-ish elements that were also present in Goulding’s film. Released in December 2021, del Toro’s Oscar-nominated Nightmare Alley featured a star-studded cast led by Bradley Cooper as Carlisle, Toni Collette as Zeena, Rooney Mara as Molly, David Strathairn as Pete, and Cate Blanchett as Dr. Lilith Ritter, the mysterious femme fatale who Carlisle meets after escaping the carnival world and re-establishing himself as the debonair mentalist “The Great Stanton”. Continue reading

The Deep: Robert Shaw’s Striped Shirt and Cargo Pants

Robert Shaw as Romer Treece in The Deep

Robert Shaw as Romer Treece in The Deep (1977)

Vitals

Robert Shaw as Romer Treece, adventurous treasure hunter and lighthouse-keeper

Off the Bermuda coast, Summer 1976

Film: The Deep
Release Date: June 17, 1977
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Ron Talsky

Background

Following the record-setting blockbuster success of Jaws, adapted from Peter Benchley’s debut novel of the same name, Columbia Pictures quickly purchased the rights to Benchley’s next novel before it was even published. The Deep proved to be another box-office hit, if not as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, with much of its success attributed to an effective marketing campaign centered around Jacqueline Bisset’s white T-shirt.

Another casting decision that worked in The Deep‘s favor was Robert Shaw, born 95 years ago today on August 9, 1927. Continue reading

Sean Connery’s Tweed Coat and Cardigan in The Untouchables

Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)

Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)

Vitals

Sean Connery as Jim Malone, tough and honest Chicago beat cop

Canadian border, September 1930

Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

Background

Recently recruited off the streets of Chicago, aging beat cop Jim Malone is more than happy to bring his grizzled brand of tough justice to the Canadian border to assist federal agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) and their small but effective band of “untouchable” lawmen in stopping an illegal shipment of liquor from making its way into the United States.

Continue reading

The Natural – Roy Hobbs’ Cardigan

Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in The Natural (1984)

Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs in The Natural (1984)

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Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, eager baseball prodigy

Chicago, Spring 1923

Film: The Natural
Release Date: May 11, 1984
Director: Barry Levinson
Costume Design: Gloria Gresham & Bernie Pollack

Background

Tomorrow is MLB Opening Day, meaning baseball season is back and in full swing (forgive the pun), so let’s take a look at a look from one of the most classic of baseball movies, The Natural.

“I guess some mistakes you never stop paying for,” are the words that must echo through Roy Hobbs’ brain every day for the 16 years after he was shot by a self-destructive—or just generally destructive—baseball groupie, Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey).

When Bernard Malamud was working on his debut novel, The Natural, he took inspiration from the story of Eddie Waitkus, the former first baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies who was shot and nearly killed by an obsessive female stalker who, as she later told an assistant state attorney, wanted “to do something exciting in my life.”

Continue reading

Peaky Blinders – Tommy’s Charcoal Herringbone Suit and Model T

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Episode 2), stepping out of his Ford Model T in charcoal tweed suit and overcoat.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Episode 2), stepping out of his Ford Model T in charcoal tweed suit and overcoat.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Birmingham, England, Fall 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Season: 1
Air Dates: September 12, 2013 – October 17, 2013
Directors: Otto Bathurst (Episodes 1.01 – 1.03) & Tom Harper (Episode 1.04 & 1.06)
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie
Tailor: Keith Watson

Background

The fourth season of BBC Two’s brutally entertaining Peaky Blinders premiered last month in the U.K. and should arrive on Netflix just in time for Christmas for American fans eager to see Birmingham’s favorite crime family boozing and bleeding its way through the 1920s.

Car Week thus begins with a flashback to the show’s first season as Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) and his brothers roll up to a rendezvous with the Lee family in their flivver, a beautiful black Ford Model T that coordinates with Tommy’s dark three-piece suit and overcoat. Continue reading

Sean Connery’s Brown Corduroy Jacket in The Untouchables

Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)

Sean Connery as Jim Malone in The Untouchables (1987)

Vitals

Sean Connery as Jim Malone, tough and honest Chicago beat cop

Chicago, September 1930

Film: The Untouchables
Release Date: June 3, 1987
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

The Untouchables is a highly entertaining⁠—yet highly fictionalized⁠—saga of the successful legal campaign to bring down Al Capone’s criminal enterprise that terrorized Chicago through the 1920s with an all-star cast including Robert De Niro as Capone himself.

Eliot Ness had made a name for himself in the final years of Chicago’s beer wars as a relentless Prohibition agent, and he would use his fame decades later to pen The Untouchables, a memoir in which he credits himself with practically single-handedly sending Capone to prison. In real life, Ness’ raids were indeed disruptive, but it was the work of modest investigators U.S. Attorney George E.Q. Johnson and IRS agent Frank Wilson that eventually led to the charges that successfully convicted Capone. Continue reading

Tommy Shelby’s Blue Wedding Suit

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in the third season premiere of Peaky Blinders

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby in the third season premiere of Peaky Blinders.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Birmingham, England, February 1924

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episode: Episode 3.01
Air Date: May 5, 2016
Director: Tim Mielants
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Alexandra Caulfield

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Today’s Week of Weddings post focuses on the sadly short-lived union of Tommy Shelby and Grace Burgess that kicked off the third season of Peaky Blinders.

This is the second Peaky Blinders wedding to be featured on BAMF Style after the first season nuptials of John Shelby and Esme Lee. While that first wedding was considerably spontaneous (at least for the groom), this union had been in the fire since Tommy and Grace first laid eyes on each other across the Garrison in 1919. Five years and one dead Irish investigator later, the two are finally tying the knot.

Grace’s family is comprised of several members of the “King’s Irish” cavalrymen that nearly abandoned the Peaky Blinders on the battlefield a decade earlier, so Tommy is forced to lay down some relatively unorthodox rules for a wedding:

No cocaine. No sport. No telling fortunes. No racing. No fucking sucking petrol out of their fucking cars… But the main thing is, you bunch of fuckers, despite the provocation from the cavalry, no fighting!

As Michael Hogan from The Telegraph reported: “Sex, drugs and ragtime: welcome to a fairytale wedding, Shelby-style.” Continue reading

Peaky Blinders – Tommy’s Gray Striped Flannel Suit

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on the third episode of Peaky Blinders.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on the third episode of Peaky Blinders.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Gloucestershire, England, Fall 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episodes: Episodes 1.03 – 1.05
Air Dates: September 26, 2013 – October 10, 2013
Directors: Otto Bathurst (Episode 1.03) & Tom Harper (Episode 1.04 & 1.05)
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie
Tailor: Keith Watson

Background

While many will be celebrating their Irish heritage this week (whether it exists or not), fans of Peaky Blinders may be interested to know that tomorrow marks the beginning of the Cheltenham Festival, the prestigious annual four-day meeting in the National Hunt racing calendar that finds many of the best British and Irish-trained horses racing against the backdrop of the excited crowd’s “Cheltenham roar”. Continue reading

John Shelby’s Glen Plaid Suit for Peaky Blinders’ Gypsy Wedding

Joe Cole as John Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Ep. 1.04, 2013).

Joe Cole as John Shelby on Peaky Blinders (Ep. 1.04, 2013).

Vitals

Joe Cole as John Shelby, impulsive Peaky Blinder gang member

Birmingham, England, September 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episode: Episodes 1.04
Air Date: October 3, 2013
Director: Tom Harper
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie

Background

Week of Weddings continues with a look from BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders. In the fourth episode, the Shelby brothers gather the Peaky Blinders for what ostensibly seems like an attack on the rival gypsy Lee family. John, the hotheaded younger brother of gang leaders Tommy and Arthur, has recently come to his family requesting their blessing to marry the neighborhood’s most prolific prostitute. The Lees, on the other side of town, have a girl that’s “gone a bit wild”. Tommy sees the opportunity here to end things without blood. (Not including the blood symbolically drawn from each new spouse’s hand.)

On the morning of the big showdown, John shows up especially itching for a fight… until Tommy pins a boutonniere on John’s left lapel and directs him to his new wife Esme. Continue reading

Peaky Blinders – Tommy’s Gray Striped Herringbone Suit

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders.

Cillian Murphy as Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders.

Vitals

Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran

Birmingham, England, Fall 1919

Series: Peaky Blinders
Episodes: Episodes 1.01 – 1.05
Air Dates: September 12, 2013 – October 10, 2013
Directors: Otto Bathurst (Episodes 1.01 – 1.03) & Tom Harper (Episode 1.04 & 1.05)
Creator: Steven Knight
Costume Designer: Stephanie Collie
Tailor: Keith Watson

Background

BBC Two’s Peaky Blinders is often compared to Boardwalk Empire or The Wire, an unfair comparison as the show stands up excellently on its own and the creator – Steven Knight – has even admitted that he’s never seen either show. One could argue that Peaky Blinders would certainly appeal to watchers of both shows, taking the urban grit of The Wire and the post-WWI family gangsterdom of Boardwalk Empire and launching them both across the pond to settle in Birmingham, England. Continue reading