Matt Bomer as Monroe Stahr, charming studio wunderkind
Hollywood, fall 1936 and March 1937
Series: The Last Tycoon
– “Pilot” (Episode 1, dir. Billy Ray)
– “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar” (Episode 9, dir. Billy Ray)
Streaming Date: July 28, 2017
Developed By: Billy Ray
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
It’s Oscars night!
The Last Tycoon, Amazon Video’s gone-too-soon stylish ode to Hollywood’s Golden Age, ended its singular season during the 1937 Academy Awards. Interestingly, the 9th Academy Award ceremony was held on March 4, 1937, exactly 81 years ago tonight!
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, cold and calculating Mafia boss
Long Island, Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe, Winter 1959
Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
For #MafiaMonday, I’m exploring Michael Corleone at his most iconic, coldly receiving his siblings and family while holding court at his mother’s funeral. Continue reading
Gene Hackman as Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, gruff NYPD narcotics detective
New York City, December 1970
Film: The French Connection
Release Date: October 9, 1971
Director: William Friedkin
Costume Designer: Joseph Fretwell III
Happy birthday to Gene Hackman, born this day in 1930! This year’s Academy Award nominations were announced last week, so today’s post explores the birthday boy’s first Oscar-winning performance as NYPD narc “Popeye” Doyle in The French Connection.
Eddie Egan was a real detective with the NYPD who, with his partner Sonny Grosso, was instrumental in a 1961 investigation that dissolved a massive heroin ring. The case would form the basis of a 1969 non-fiction book by Robin Moore that was swiftly adapted into the fictionalized film The French Connection. Gene Hackman, who by now had two Oscar nominations to his credit, was tapped for the role of “Popeye” Doyle, the profane detective modeled after Egan, while Egan himself would serve as technical advisor and play the smaller role of Walt Simonson, Doyle’s supervisor. Continue reading
Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt Atlantic City politician and bootlegger
Atlantic City, January 1920
Series: Boardwalk Empire
Seasons: 1 – 2
Air Dates: September 19, 2010 – December 11, 2011
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield
In less than two hours, liquor will be declared illegal by decree of the distinguished gentlemen of our nation’s congress… to those beautiful ignorant bastards!
In the first episode of Boardwalk Empire, Enoch “Nucky” Thompson raises a glass to toast the ratification of the Volstead Act, a constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States, effective at midnight on January 16, 1920, exactly 98 years ago today. Continue reading
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, suave British government agent
London, Winter 2002
Film: Die Another Day
Release Date: November 20, 2002
Director: Lee Tamahori
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
I received a request for this outfit from Die Another Day which, for all of its shortcomings as a James Bond adventure, featured Pierce Brosnan’s 007 in elegant tailored clothing that is always worthy of discussion. Given the extreme chill in the air for the 00-7th of January today, it felt appropriate to explore his luxurious and layered businesswear upon arriving in London and reconnecting with his MI6 allies at the agency’s secret satellite station in an abandoned Underground tube station at Vauxhall Cross. Continue reading
William Powell as Nick Charles, retired private detective
San Francisco, New Year’s Eve 1936
Film: After the Thin Man
Release Date: December 25, 1936
Director: W.S. Van Dyke
Wardrobe Credit: Dolly Tree
After the Thin Man was released on Christmas 1936 as a continuation of The Thin Man, as its title implies. The all-original story was drafted by Dashiell Hammett himself immediately after the success of the first film, although Hammett had first envisioned circumstances that would send his witty detective duo back to New York City. Eventually, the decision was made to have the Charles couple solving a crime in their hometown of San Francisco. Continue reading
Max von Sydow as G. Joubert, French Alsatian contract assassin
Chevy Chase, Maryland, Christmas 1975
Film: Three Days of the Condor
Release Date: September 24, 1975
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Unlike BAMF Style holiday favorites Die Hard, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, or The Thin Man, Three Days of the Condor doesn’t directly address its Christmas setting, instead letting the otherwise cheery atmosphere, decor, and music be infiltrated by the increasing paranoia of its leading character, CIA researcher Joe Turner (Robert Redford), forced on the run after a massacre at his office.
Engineered by CIA Deputy Director Leonard Atwood (Addison Powell)’s secret intra-agency faction, the massacre was carried out under the supervision of Joubert, an enigmatic contract killer who takes it upon himself to finish the job after a timing snafu allows Turner, alias “Condor”, to escape. Continue reading
Cillian Murphy as Thomas “Tommy” Shelby, cunning Peaky Blinders gang leader and jaded WWI veteran
Birmingham, England, Fall 1919
Series: Peaky Blinders
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
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
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
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
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