Robert Mitchum as Jeff Markham, aka Jeff Bailey, laconic gas station owner and former private detective
Bridgeport, California, Fall 1946
Film: Out of the Past
Release Date: November 25, 1947
Director: Jacques Tourneur
Costume Credit: Edward Stevenson
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today marks the 75th anniversary since the release of Out of the Past, often considered among the best of classic film noir, the shadowy sub-genre known for its murky morals, gat-toting gumshoes, and double-crossing dames.
We begin in the small northern California town of Bridgeport, where laconic gas station owner Jeff Bailey enjoys a quiet fishing date with his girlfriend Ann Miller (Virginia Huston) until he’s silently interrupted by his deaf employee, “The Kid” (Dickie Moore), signing for Jeff to return. Back in town, Jeff is greeted by Joe Stefanos (Paul Valentine), a mob torpedo sent to invite Jeff—whom we learn is actually an ex-private investigator named Jeff Markham—to Lake Tahoe to meet a mysterious figure from… out of his past. Continue reading
Warren Oates as “GTO”, an otherwise unnamed former TV producer
Arizona through Tennessee, Fall 1970
Film: Two-Lane Blacktop
Release Date: July 7, 1971
Director: Monte Hellman
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
A race for pink slips between a ’55 Chevy and a GTO across a long-gone America when the road was much more than a shopping aisle. Three road hogs and an underage girl riding in back with the tools. The nights are warm and the roads are straight. This one’s built from scratch, and, as Warren Oates says, “Those satisfactions are permanent.” — Tom Waits
“Because there was once a god who walked the earth named Warren Oates,” Richard Linklater included among the sixteen reasons why he loves Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman’s low-buedget 1971 road movie that has become a cult classic.
One of my favorite actors, Oates was born 94 years ago today on July 5, 1928 in Depoy, an unincorporated community in western Kentucky. His craggy features suited him well to early roles as cowboys and criminals, though he rose to more prominent stardom through the ’70s beginning with his co-starring role as the garrulous, tragi-comic motorist who impulsively bets his showroom-bought Pontiac GTO in a cross-country race against James Taylor and Dennis Wilson’s “homegrown” ’55 Chevy in Two-Lane Blacktop. Continue reading
John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States and U.S. Navy veteran
Off the New England coast, August 1962
Photographs by Robert Knudsen
Part of BAMF Style’s Iconic Photo Series, focusing on style featured in famous photography of classic stars and style icons rather than from specific productions.
On the anniversary of his May 29, 1917 birthday, I wanted to revisit the 35th President of the United States, who has often been credited as the man who brought a new sense of style to the White House during the brief Age of Camelot.
One of my most visited posts on this page was a comprehensive look at John F. Kennedy’s style, from suits and sport jackets to white tie and windbreakers, which I had published to commemorate his legacy on the 50th anniversary of his November 1963 assassination… and which I imagine is in dire need of revision after nearly a decade.
Kennedy once said: “Sailing has given me some of the most pleasant and exciting moments of my life. It also has taught me something of the courage, resourcefulness, and strength of men who sail the seas in ships.” Continue reading
Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr, disillusioned British spy
Paris, Spring 1974
Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran
With increasingly warmer weather as spring continues through the Northern Hemisphere, I’m swapping out wool coats for windbreakers at the front of my closet. Of course, on some recent climatically chaotic days that start at temperatures around freezing and then rise to over 70°F by mid-afternoon with the occasional burst of rain, I often rely on smart layers to effectively dress for this unpredictable weather.
One of my favorite examples of smart casual layering that illustrates versatility for different weather and situations is the combination of a Harrington jacket over a light sweater and open-necked shirt. William Claxton had famously photographed his friend Steve McQueen dressed accordingly in 1964, and these headshots are still used to illustrate the enduring style of both the jacket and the King of Cool himself.
Decades after his death in 1980, McQueen remains a seminal style icon whose blend of practicality and toughness has influenced scores of men from stars to schlubs (like yours truly)… and a few movie spies, as well. McQueen’s legacy seemed particularly prevalent on silver screen espionage fashions beginning in the late 2000s as Daniel Craig’s James Bond fully embraced Harrington jackets, shawl-collar cardigans, and suede boots as particularly seen in Quantum of Solace, his 007’s action-packed sophomore adventure.
Three years later, costume designer Jacqueline Durran also saw McQueen as her muse when dressing a fellow British agent, the more grounded—and cynical—Ricki Tarr, as portrayed by Tom Hardy in Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
“We very much looked to that kind of ’60s Steve McQueen look for all of them,” Durran explained to GQ of Ricki Tarr’s costumes, first dressing Tarr in a Belstaff shearling coat often associated with McQueen before pulling together the lighter layers as seen in McQueen’s MGM headshot shoot with Claxton as the film approached its conclusion with Tarr in Paris, working to flush out an MI6 mole. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, retired British secret agent
Sea of Japan, Spring 2020
Film: No Time to Die
Release Date: September 30, 2021
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Costume Designer: Suttirat Anne Larlarb
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
What happens to the hero after he rides off into the sunset?
Aside from the occasional epilogue featuring James Bond and his lady du jour, we hadn’t really received much of an answer until No Time to Die, Daniel Craig’s fifth and final movie as the stylish super-spy. On the 00-7th of March—which is Craig’s birth month, as the actor turned 54 five days ago—let’s revisit how his tenure ended after the martinis stopped being shaken. Continue reading
Robert Wagner as George Lytton, smooth con artist and aspiring jewel thief
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, Winter 1963
Film: The Pink Panther
Release Date: December 19, 1963
Director: Blake Edwards
Wardrobe Supervisor: Annalisa Nasalli-Rocca
Given the ridiculous nature of the later entries that focus more heavily on the madcap misadventures of Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers), it may surprise first-time viewers to see The Pink Panther so fashionably depict the elegance of winter jet-setters as they take to the Alpine ski resorts of Cortina d’Ampezzo in northern Italy, spending days on the slopes and evenings by the fire.
As February extends into the Olympic games and ski-trip season, I had wanted to revisit the stylish skiwear seen in The Pink Panther, only to realize that Robert Wagner’s 92nd birthday today coincides with the timing of the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Wagner appeared in The Pink Panther as George Lytton, a small-time con man and nephew of the suave Sir Charles Lytton (David Niven). After George discovers his urbane uncle is actually a master jewel thief known as “The Phantom”, he sets out to learn from Sir Charles… even attempting to seduce his mistress, Simone Clouseau (Capucine), who just happens to be the wife of the bumbling Sûreté inspector on their trail. Continue reading
Robert Redford as Dave Chappellet, U.S. Olympic ski team star
Switzerland, Winter 1968
Film: Downhill Racer
Release Date: November 6, 1969
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Edith Head (uncredited!)
Wardrobe Credit: Cynthia May
In the spirit of the 2022 Winter Olympics that opened last night in Beijing, I wanted to revisit one of my favorite movies around the winter games, Downhill Racer.
Released just a month after his breakthrough performance in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Robert Redford stars as the cocky skier Dave Chappellet, whose well-honed talent on the slopes lands him on the U.S. Olympic team. His only internal competition had been the promising talent Johnny Creech (Jim McMullan), whose own hopes for the gold were dashed after he was badly injured just weeks before the games. The resentful team and their passionate coach, Eugene Claire (Gene Hackman), find themselves looking to Chappellet as their best hope fo securing a gold medal. Continue reading
Paul Newman as Ram Bowen, temperamental jazz trombonist
Paris, Fall 1960
Film: Paris Blues
Release Date: September 27, 1961
Director: Martin Ritt
On this day in 1958, one of the most legendary marriages in Hollywood history began when Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward tied the knot in Las Vegas, three days after his 33rd birthday. The two had met earlier that decade during a Broadway production of Picnic and reunited while filming The Long, Hot Summer for director Martin Ritt. Newman and Woodward would co-star in several subsequent movies together, but their next collaboration with their ostensible “matchmaker” Ritt was Paris Blues, adapted from Harold Flender’s 1957 novel of the same name.
Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway, impressionable bachelor and bond salesman
Long Island, New York, Summer 1925
Film: The Great Gatsby
Release Date: March 29, 1974
Director: Jack Clayton
Costume Designer: Theoni V. Aldredge
Clothes by: Ralph Lauren
To celebrate Sam Waterston’s 81st birthday today, I wanted to return to the actor’s breakthrough performance as Nick Carraway, the central character in Jack Clayton’s stylish The Great Gatsby, adapted from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel of the same name.
Ryan O’Neal as Oliver Barrett IV, newlywed Harvard graduate
Boston, Fall to Winter 1968
Film: Love Story
Release Date: December 16, 1970
Director: Arthur Hiller
Costume Design: Alice Manougian Martin & Pearl Somner
If all goes to plan, I’ll be getting married exactly one year from today so it felt appropriate to revisit some of the fall-friendly fashions from one of the most famous—or infamous, if you’re so inclined—romance movies of all time, Love Story.
Ryan O’Neal and Ali MacGraw star as the Ivy League lovers Oliver and Jenny who, once she overcomes her distaste for his upper-class roots (drink every time she calls him “preppy”), defy his blue-blood father’s wishes and get married, beginning their humble lives together in a Boston apartment following his graduation.
Oliver remains defiantly bitter following his father’s rejection of Jenny, cutting off all contact. After receiving an invitation to his estranged father’s 60th birthday party, Oliver refuses to even respond with their regrets, resulting in his and Jenny’s first major argument. She runs from the apartment, sending Oliver on an increasingly desperate search from local shops to music classes, until he returns home that night to find her waiting on their stoop.
Regretting his behavior, Oliver offers his apologies, to which Jenny responds by hitting him with one of the most criticized lines in movie history:
Love means never having to say you’re sorry.