John Alexander as “Teddy Roosevelt” Brewster
Brooklyn, Halloween 1941
Film: Arsenic and Old Lace
Release Date: September 23, 1944
Director: Frank Capra
Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, was born this day 159 years ago on October 27, 1858. A son of New York City, the timid Theodore overcame his childhood asthma with his robust physical pursuits matched only by his professional ambition as a career soldier, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, and finally the youngest President of the United States when he assumed office at the age of 42 after the assassination of William McKinley.
The proximity of T.R.’s birthday to Halloween always makes me think of Arsenic and Old Lace, the Frank Capra-directed dark comedy set one Halloween in Brooklyn involving Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant), his two dangerous but darling elderly aunts, and – like all of the best movies of the 1940s – Peter Lorre being Peter Lorre.
Originally a play (and doubtlessly one that your high school has performed), actor John Alexander reprised his role from the stage as “Teddy” Brewster, Mortimer’s delusional but harmless brother who believes that he is Teddy Roosevelt.
“So what?” says a friendly local cop who visits the Brewsters on his beat. “There’s a lot worse guys he could think he was.” Continue reading
Roger Moore as James Bond, suave British MI6 agent
Cairo, Egypt, August 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
Tailor: Angelo Vitucci
The Spy Who Loved Me was released 40 years ago today on July 7, 1977. As James Bond himself, the late Sir Roger Moore, noted in his highly entertaining 2012 book Bond on Bond: “The date on the posters read 07/07/77. Jim’s lucky numbers.” The day seems like an appropriate time for BAMF Style to celebrate the uniquely fashionable Bond so charmingly portrayed by Sir Roger during his 12-year tenure as 007. Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Max Vatan, Royal Canadian Air Force intelligence officer
Casablanca, Morocco, Fall 1942
Release Date: November 23, 2016
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Costume Designer: Joanna Johnston
As a fan of World War II spy stories, particularly those of the Special Operations Executive, I had been intrigued by Allied since production began last year. The film weathered (or, some say say, benefited from) the pre-release gossip that a romance between co-stars Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard had driven a nail in the coffin of the venerable Brangelina pairing, but off-screen whisperings shouldn’t diminish the impact of the finished product: a captivating period romance-thriller with all the beauty and intrigue of Casablanca in a glossy, well-executed package. (Though my hometown newspaper disagrees…) Continue reading