Chris Evans as Hugh “Ransom” Drysdale, arrogant “trust fund prick”
Massachusetts, November 2018
Film: Knives Out
Release Date: November 27, 2019
Director: Rian Johnson
Costume Designer: Jenny Eagan
Released a year ago this week, Knives Out offered a fresh spin on the classic “whodunit” genre, complete with an idiosyncratic detective—in this case, Daniel Craig as the observant Benoit Blanc—and a dysfunctional family plunged into a murder mystery at their palatial country estate. It’s that dysfunctional family element that inspired me to write about Knives Out today, on the eve of a Thanksgiving that’s sure to look different than usual for most households.
The last member of the Thrombey household to be introduced on screen is Ransom Drysdale—or Hugh to “the help”—the spoiled grandson of the late mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). Even before Knives Out reached theaters, the internet was ablaze with preview images of Chris Evans lounging in Ransom’s moth-eaten fisherman’s sweater, reintroducing the classic Aran knitting technique to a new generation.
Clark Gable as Peter Warne, recently fired newspaper reporter
Miami to New York, Spring 1933
Film: It Happened One Night
Release Date: February 22, 1934
Director: Frank Capra
Costume Designer: Robert Kalloch
Tailor: Eddie Schmidt
Today marks the birthday of Clark Gable, born 118 years ago on February 1, 1901, as William Clark Gable, though he would shave off his first name to assume the stage name of Clark Gable by 1924. Within a decade, the young actor from Cadiz, Ohio, had turned Clark Gable into a household name.
Released 85 years ago this month, It Happened One Night earned Clark Gable his only Academy Award while also racking up wins in the category of Best Picture, Best Director (for Frank Capra), Best Actress (for Claudette Colbert), and Best Adapted Screenplay (for Robert Riskin). In the decades since, only two other movies have won this “big five” quinfecta of Oscar categories: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The Silence of the Lambs. Esteemed company, indeed.
With Gable’s birthday today and the 91st Academy Awards just four weeks from now, let’s take a look at the dapper actor’s style in this trailblazing pre-Code comedy that’s still charming, witty, and ageless the better part of a century later. Continue reading
David Niven as Sir Charles Lytton, urbane master 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
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Going skiing this weekend? A surprisingly stylish look at elegant mid-century ski culture comes from The Pink Panther, the 1963 comedy crime caper starring David Niven that would spur a series of sequels focused on the bumbling Inspector Clouseau (Peter Sellers). Continue reading
Robert Redford as Dave Chappellet, U.S. Olympic ski team star
Wengen, Switzerland, Winter 1967
Film: Downhill Racer
Release Date: November 6, 1969
Director: Michael Ritchie
Costume Designer: Edith Head (uncredited!)
Wardrobe Credit: Cynthia May
I hope the new year has been off to a fine start for all BAMF Style readers! The first post of 2019 looks back to Robert Redford’s timeless winter style as the titular ski champion in Michael Ritchie’s Downhill Racer. Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, former United Nations investigator
Philadelphia, Fall 2012
Film: World War Z
Release Date: June 21, 2013
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Mayes C. Rubeo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
As Halloween approaches and witches, vampires, and zombies prepare their annual big screen takeover, there’s still talk in the air of a sequel to World War Z, the 2013 thriller starring Brad Pitt as a former U.N. investigator tasked with saving his family – oh, and the world – during a viral outbreak that spawns a zombie apocalypse.
The film is loosely adapted from Max Brooks’ innovative novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, that employed a docudrama-style narrative as “collected” by a U.N. commissioner, measuring the geopolitical impact of the plague and its subsequent conflicts. In fact, it was the geopolitical themes that drew Brad Pitt to the idea of a film adaptation, though they were dropped during the transition to the big screen in favor of more traditional “zombie film” elements.
Humphrey Bogart as Harry Dawes, Hollywood director and screenwriter
Portofino, Italy, Fall 1953
Film: The Barefoot Contessa
Release Date: September 29, 1954
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Costume Designer: Rosi Gori (uncredited)
Humphrey Bogart’s role in United Artists’ 1954 Technicolor triumph The Barefoot Contessa was not dissimilar to the film’s director, writer, and uncredited producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who had been writing in Hollywood for a quarter century. Continue reading
Rod Taylor as Mitchell “Mitch” Brenner, smooth defense lawyer
Bodega Bay, California, Summer 1963
Film: The Birds
Release Date: March 28, 1963
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rita Riggs
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
After the massive success of Psycho in 1960, Alfred Hitchcock knew his next thriller had to go above and beyond to meet the public’s expectations from the Master of Suspense. Inspiration fell from the skies the following summer when the California town of Capitola was besieged one August day by hundreds of sooty shearwaters slamming into their rooftops and littering the streets with bird corpses. Hitch, who vacationed in nearby Santa Cruz, saw the storytelling potential in this unique type of fear and immediately set to work developing a story with screenwriter Evan Hunter, adapting Daphne du Maurier’s novella The Birds from its postwar English setting to contemporary coastal California.
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
Jean-Pierre Cassel as Jean-François Jardie, dashing French pilot and resistance operative
France, Winter 1942
Film: Army of Shadows
(French title: L’armée des ombres)
Release Date: September 12, 1969
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Costume Designer: Colette Baudot
Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1969 French Resistance epic, released at a volatile time for France and the world at large, was barely seen by the rest of the world until decades later. Army of Shadows officially debuted in the United States in 2006 and quickly shot to the top of many critics’ “best of the year” lists.
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd anti-Bolshevik and former British agent
London, Fall 1925
Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “The Last Journey” (Episode 11)
Air Date: November 9, 1983
Director: Jim Goddard
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Sidney Reilly is just settling into life with his latest – and final – wife, the glamorous actress Nelly “Pepita” Bobadilla (Laura Davenport), when he is visited by Georgi and Maria Schulz, the Soviet double agents who have come to ensure him of his safe passage through Russia to meet with The Trust. Continue reading