Warren Oates as John Dillinger, Depression-era bank robber
Indiana, Fall 1933
Release Date: July 20, 1973
Director: John Milius
Costume Designer: James M. George
Eighty four years ago tonight – November 15, 1933. Four police cars converge on a small office building on Irving Park Boulevard in the Chicago Loop. In an upstairs doctor’s office, one of the most wanted men in the tri-state area is being treated for either a ringworm infection or “barber’s itch,” an inflammation of hair follicles, depending on which account you read. On the floor below, a cagey informant named Art McGinnis is signaling desperately to police that their quarry is upstairs. Fate, however, is on the side of the outlaw, a thirty-year-old bank robber named John Dillinger. Continue reading
Johnny Depp as John Dillinger, maverick Depression-era bank robber
Chicago, Spring 1934
Film: Public Enemies
Release Date: July 1, 2009
Director: Michael Mann
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
It’s been quite some time since I’ve visited Public Enemies, the Michael Mann-directed action thriller depicting the life and crimes of Depression-era desperado John Dillinger. The film received mixed to positive reviews upon its release with much of the praise going to Michael Mann’s usual attention to detail as well as Johnny Depp’s performance as the Indiana-born outlaw.
Colleen Atwood’s period costumes are also worthy of attention and praise. High fashion was the signifier of success for Depression-era gangsters, and Dillinger rarely led his gun-toting cronies into a bank without being dressed to the nines.
Even when on the run, such as this scene set not long after Dillinger’s narrow escape from an FBI ambush at the Little Bohemia lodge in Wisconsin, John Dillinger made a consistent effort to dress well. (The film plays with historical accuracy to present its own narrative, pushing Billie Frechette’s arrest to after the Little Bohemia raid; in real life, Billie was arrested on April 9, 1934, two weeks before Melvin Purvis’ federal agents attempted to trap the Dillinger gang at Little Bohemia.) Continue reading
Steve Buscemi as Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, corrupt Atlantic City politician and bootlegger
Atlantic City, January 1920
Series: Boardwalk Empire
– “Boardwalk Empire” (Episode 1.01, dir. Martin Scorsese, aired September 19, 2010)
– “The Ivory Tower” (Episode 1.02, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired September 26, 2010)
– “Broadway Limited” (Episode 1.03, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired October 3, 2010)
– “Hold Me in Paradise” (Episode 1.08, dir. Brian Kirk, aired November 7, 2010)
– “A Return to Normalcy” (Episode 1.12, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired December 5, 2010)
– “What Does the Bee Do?” (Episode 2.04, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired October 16, 2011)
Creator: Terence Winter
Costume Designer: John A. Dunn
Tailor: Martin Greenfield
This week, I’m taking a look at outfits worn by BAMFs in the first episodes of some of my favorite TV shows. #MafiaMonday is a great excuse to start with Boardwalk Empire, particularly the suit worn by Steve Buscemi as Atlantic County treasurer Enoch “Nucky” Thompson in the opening credits of the series’ five-season run… as well as a few early episodes. Continue reading
Colin Firth as Harry Hart, aka “Galahad”, sophisticated secret agent
London, Spring 2014
Film: Kingsman: The Secret Service
Release Date: January 29, 2015
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Tailor: Martin Nicholls
Today marks the U.K. release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, the long awaited follow-up to the criminally entertaining 2014 spy film Kingsman: The Secret Service. Featuring a group of quintessentially British spies operating out of a London tailor shop (of all places!), the stylish Kingsman franchise was basically built for BAMF Style readers… and I apologize that it’s taken this long to get a post together about it!
Colin Firth plays Kingsman agent Harry Hart, a dapper and witty spy well equipped for his “Galahad” codename. Continue reading
Aidan Turner as Philip Lombard, adventurer and ex-mercenary
Devon, England, August 1939
Series Title: And Then There Were None
Air Date: December 26-28, 2015
Director: Craig Viveiros
Costume Designer: Lindsay Pugh
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie’s classic mystery thriller, finds ten strangers summoned to a mysterious island off the English coast. Aside from the married couple hired to serve as butler and cook, the newcomers are all unknown to each other and are quickly thrown into a spiral of suspicion and death that would engulf them all.
The action in the novel lasted three days, beginning on August 8, 1939, making it 78 years ago to the day that the last survivors of the weekend were forced into a fatal confrontation of their own dangerous pasts. Continue reading
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British secret agent
London, November 1999
Film: The World is Not Enough
Release Date: November 8, 1999
Director: Michael Apted
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
February 27 is National Cigar Day according to some, and – while it may not be recognized universally – it’s always nice to have an extra reason to relax with your favorite cigar.
Like Roger Moore before him, Pierce Brosnan eschewed the cigarettes favored by the literary (and, at one point, cinematic) James Bond in favor of cigars. Both actors preferred cigars in real life as well, and it’s been recorded that Moore frequently received several thousand pounds worth of Montecristo cigars during his outings as 007.
In The World is Not Enough, Brosnan’s Bond returns from his action-packed trip to Bilbao for what should be a quiet day at the office that begins, as usual, by casually flirting with Miss Moneypenny (Samantha Bond). Continue reading
Cary Grant as T.R. Devlin, American government agent
Miami and Rio de Janeiro, Spring 1946
Release Date: September 6, 1946
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
It’s impossible to over-celebrate the elegant yet understated sartorialism of Cary Grant, born this day in 1904. One of my favorite of Grant’s movies is Notorious, the 1946 espionage adventure that paired him with Ingrid Bergman as a pair of American spies tasked with exposing Alexander Sebastian, a former Nazi played with charmingly evil affability by Claude Rains.
Notorious was the second collaboration between Grant and director Alfred Hitchcock, and it marked the start of a string of wildly successful and ultimately timeless movies that Hitch would direct over the next two decades. Continue reading
Robert De Niro as David “Noodles” Aaronson, mob bootlegger and violent ex-convict
New York City, December 1933
Film: Once Upon a Time in America
Release Date: May 23, 1984
Director: Sergio Leone
Costume Designer: Gabriella Pescucci
83 years ago today, the 21st amendment was ratified to officially repeal Prohibition, delighting a thirsty American public but leaving many criminals who had made their fortunes from bootlegging effectively “unemployed”. This Mafia Monday post checks in with Robert De Niro as a mobster coming to terms with what that means for his career and personal life in 1984’s Once Upon a Time in America. Continue reading
Humphrey Bogart as Philip Marlowe, archetypal hard-boiled private detective
Los Angeles, Fall 1945
Film: The Big Sleep
Release Date: August 23, 1946
Director: Howard Hawks
Wardrobe Credit: Leah Rhodes
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is a pretty special day for me, and I’d like to celebrate the woman who is the Bacall to my Bogie by reflecting on The Big Sleep, which was originally released in theaters 70 years ago tomorrow, eight days after its premiere on August 23, 1946.
The Big Sleep was the second of four films starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The had originally met while filming her cinematic debut, To Have and Have Not, which was released on October 11, 1944, the very day after production began on The Big Sleep. (To Have and Have Not is also the first movie that my girlfriend and I watched together!) Continue reading
Al Pacino as Tony Montana, impulsive and hotheaded cocaine kingpin
New York City to Miami, Fall 1983
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Tailor: Tommy Velasco
Even if you’re one of the 0.5% of the population who hasn’t seen Scarface, you’ve seen this suit and you know this scene. You’ve seen it on t-shirts, dorm room posters, memes, and anywhere that pop culture will allow it. The scene has become legendary over the last three decades as one of the greatest movie gunfights in history for many reasons: an unhinged Al Pacino who may or may not have been pretending to be high, an endless mob of cartel gunmen each meeting their fate at the end of his AR-15, and – of course:
Say hello to my little friend!