Elvis Presley as “Lucky” Jackson, mechanic and aspiring race car driver
Las Vegas, Summer 1964
Film: Viva Las Vegas
Release Date: May 20, 1964
Director: George Sidney
Costume Designer: Donfeld (Donald Lee Feld)
Regarded as one of the better movies of Elvis Presley’s acting career, Viva Las Vegas stars the singer opposite Ann-Margret, and it’s reported that the very real chemistry between the two was indicative of their off-screen friendship that briefly grew into romance.
On screen, however, Elvis played “Lucky” Jackson, a mechanic who wins – then literally loses – the money he had hoped to use to finance his own race car. To raise the money back, he takes a part-time gig in the Fabulous Flamingo casino in Las Vegas, where he meets sultry swimming instructor Rusty Martin (Ann-Margret, of course).
John Wayne as Sean Thornton, Irish-American former prizefighter
Inisfree, Ireland, spring during the 1920s
Film: The Quiet Man
Release Date: July 21, 1952
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Adele Palmer
John Ford’s cinematic love letter to his ancestral home remains a perennial St. Patrick’s Day favorite, even if it is a somewhat overly sanitized depiction of Irish life in the 1920s. As Duke’s outfit from The Quiet Man has been requested by at least three different BAMF Style readers over the last few years, I couldn’t imagine a better time to feature it than on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
Based on a 1933 short story by Maurice Walsh, The Quiet Man stars Ford’s favorite actor John Wayne as Sean Thornton, a former boxer from Pittsburgh who is returning home to reclaim his family’s land in Ireland. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, private investigator and compulsive gambler
Miami Beach, Spring 1967
Film: Tony Rome
Release Date: November 10, 1967
Director: Gordon Douglas
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
Over on my Instagram feed, I like to commemorate #SinatraSaturday each weekend, but today I felt Ol’ Blue Eyes deserved a dedicated post. Frank Sinatra starred as the titular character in Tony Rome, a 1967 adaptation of Marvin H. Albert’s novel Miami Mayhem. Tony Rome was Sinatra’s first cop role, playing a laidback private eye in the tradition of Humphrey Bogart who seems more interested in gambling, drinking, and skirt-chasing than actually solving a case. Continue reading
Paul Newman as Michael Armstrong, American physicist and amateur spy
East Berlin, September 1965
Film: Torn Curtain
Release Date: July 14, 1966
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Supervisor: Grady Hunt
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Alfred Hitchcock’s 50th film, Torn Curtain, marked his one and only collaboration with Paul Newman. Production on the Cold War spy thriller was plagued by the veteran director clashing with his leads, unused to method actor Paul Newman’s constant questioning of his character’s motivation. “Your motivation is your salary,” Hitch reportedly replied.
The famously easygoing Newman was a little more enthusiastic, later recalling, “I think Hitch and I could have really hit it off, but the script kept getting in the way.”
Indeed, the serious political thriller was a departure from Hitchcock’s usual scripts, developed in response to the growing popularity of the James Bond franchise through the ’60s. Continue reading
John Wayne as Jim Brannigan, tough Chicago PD lieutenant
London, Fall 1974
Release Date: March 26, 1975
Director: Douglas Hickox
Wardrobe Credit: Emma Porteous
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
If McQ was John Wayne’s Dirty Harry, then its spiritual successor Brannigan was his Coogan’s Bluff, a “fish out of water” cop film that finds the Duke’s taciturn American lawman in London to secure the extradition of arch-criminal Ben Larkin (John Vernon) under the watchful – and often judgmental – eye of the quintessentially English Scotland Yard Commissioner Swann (Richard Attenborough). Continue reading
Dean Martin, smooth and multi-talented entertainer
Burbank, California, 1965 to 1974
Series: The Dean Martin Show
Air Dates: September 16, 1965 – April 5, 1974
Director: Greg Garrison
Tailor: Sy Devore
On June 7, 1917, Dino Paul Crocetti was born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela and Gaetano Crocetti, the latter a barber from the Abruzzo region in Italy where much of my own family hails. One hundred years later, the world remembers him as Dean Martin, the charming crooner whose legendary career spanned half a century as a major headliner from nightclubs and casinos to movies and TV shows.
Effortlessly charismatic and unflappable, Dino brought his smooth star power to his popular comedy act with Jerry Lewis and later as a leader of the Rat Pack alongside Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. Continue reading
Michael Caine as Alfie Elkins, charming part-time car service driver and full-time cad
Middlesex, England, Summer 1965
Release Date: March 24, 1966
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Jean Fairlie
During his stay in a convalescent home earlier in the movie, Alfie Elkins (Michael Caine) befriended Harry Clamacraft (Alfie Bass, hey his name actually is Alfie!). Alfie later returns to visit Harry, who requests that Alfie give a ride to his tired-looking wife Lily (Vivien Merchant) in his Rolls-Royce.
The reluctant ride turns into a summertime seduction as Alfie and Lily make a fateful stop for “a nice cup of tea.” Continue reading