Tagged: Sidney Poitier

Paris Blues: Sidney Poitier’s Jazzy Flannel Suit

Sidney Poitier in Paris Blues (1961)

Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook in Paris Blues (1961)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Eddie Cook, expatriate jazz saxophonist

Paris, Fall 1960

Film: Paris Blues
Release Date: September 27, 1961
Director: Martin Ritt

Background

Ten years ago, the United Nations established April 30 as International Jazz Day, a global celebration envisioned by Grammy-winning musician and UNESCO Goodwill ambassador Herbie Hancock “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.” The observance feels ideal for taking a first look at the sleek style in Martin Ritt’s cooler-than-ice 1961 drama, Paris Blues, starring Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier as yankee jazzmen making their living in a French nightclub and romancing a pair of American tourists played by Joanne Woodward and Diahann Carroll.  Continue reading

A Warm December: Sidney Poitier’s Navy Double-Breasted Blazer

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Matt Younger, widowed father and clinic physician

London, Summer 1972

Film: A Warm December
Release Date: May 23, 1973
Director: Sidney Poitier
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Happy birthday to screen legend Sidney Poitier, born 94 years ago today on February 20, 1927 in Miami. After two decades of screen success that landed him the Academy Award for Best Actor (and he remains both the oldest living and longest surviving recipient), Poitier began directing his own movies in the early 1970s, beginning with the groundbreaking 1972 Western Buck and the Preacher.

Poitier proved the diversity of his directorial talent by sliding to the other end of the genre spectrum the following year when he released the romantic drama A Warm December, in which he also starred as a recently widowed doctor who finds love across the Atlantic when he meets the magnetic Catherine (Esther Anderson) during an extended trip to London with his daughter.

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Lilies of the Field: Sidney Poitier’s Lee Westerner Jacket and Jeans

Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963)

Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith, helpful handyman

Arizona, Summer 1963

Film: Lilies of the Field
Release Date: October 1, 1963
Director: Ralph Nelson
Wardrobe Credit: Wesley Sherrard

Background

“That is your car?” Mother Maria asks Homer Smith, to which he proudly corrects: “That’s my home!” With that attitude, Homer would have been well-prepared for a road trip decades later in the 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic found Americans taking to the road for their summer getaways in increased numbers said to recall the age of the mid-century “great American road trip.”

In his Academy Award-winning role, Sidney Poitier plays handyman Homer Smith, traveling through the Arizona desert when his station wagon’s dire need for water brings him to the Catholic convent overseen by the solemn Maria (Lilia Skala), who requests that the newcomer stop to assist with a roofing repair. His initial reluctant assistance leads to staying for dinner and an enthusiastic English lesson (“phonograph… record!”) to the German sisters, parlayed into spending the night camped out in the back of his Plymouth, where Mother Maria corners him the next morning and asks—er, orders—him to stay and build the nuns a chapel. Continue reading

A Warm December: Sidney Poitier’s Diamond-Grid Suit

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

Sidney Poitier as Dr. Matt Younger in A Warm December (1973)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Matt Younger, widowed father and clinic physician

London, Summer 1972

Film: A Warm December
Release Date: May 23, 1973
Director: Sidney Poitier
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

Despite its title, Sidney Poitier’s second directorial effort A Warm December is actually set during a summer in London. (The title is contextualized during one of the film’s final scenes, so I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it!) Poitier plays Dr. Matt Younger, a recent widow who brings his daughter across the pond for what he hopes to be a mindless vacation spent riding his motorbike until he makes the acquaintance of the mysterious and magnetic Catherine (Ester Anderson) and falls for her.

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Sidney Poitier’s Navy Jacket in To Sir, with Love

Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray in To Sir, with Love (1967)

Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray in To Sir, with Love (1967)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Mark Thackeray, novice high school teacher

London, June 1966

Film: To Sir, with Love
Release Date: June 14, 1967
Director: James Clavell
Wardrobe Supervisor: John Wilson-Apperson

Background

As many students are returning back to school at the end of August, BAMF Style takes a look at Sidney Poitier’s scholarly style as the patient teacher in To Sir, with Love, based on E.R. Braithwaite’s autobiographical novel from 1959. The film was produced, directed, and adapted for the screen by James Clavell, the prolific writer whose works include “the Asian Saga” (including Shōgun) and the screenplay for The Great Escape.

Sidney Poitier stars as Mark Thackeray, the determined teacher who takes his first appointment (or “job,” as he is politely corrected) instructing a senior class of troubled—and often troubling—high school students at the North Quay Secondary School in London’s East End just a few weeks before the students were scheduled to graduate.

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Sidney Poitier’s Printed Shirt in Lilies of the Field

Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963)

Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith in Lilies of the Field (1963)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Homer Smith, helpful handyman

Arizona, Summer 1963

Film: Lilies of the Field
Release Date: October 1, 1963
Director: Ralph Nelson
Wardrobe Credit: Wesley Sherrard

Background

Happy first day of summer! As the Northern Hemisphere officially enters its warmest season, menswear retailers have been dutifully swapping out their pea coats and sweaters in favor of tropical-printed short-sleeved shirts.

While some prints are wild and some just get weird, the most timeless styles of floral or natural patterns have remained the same in the more than eight decades since Ellery Chun first advertised his Aloha shirt in The Honolulu Advertiser in the summer of 1935.

Even the famously fashionable Sidney Poitier wore a classic Aloha shirt for his Academy Award-winning role in Lilies of the Field as Homer Smith, the traveling handyman whose brief stop outside of Tucson for water for his station wagon turns into an extended job as he eventually takes on the task of building a new chapel for a group of nuns. Continue reading

Sidney Poitier in In the Heat of the Night

Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs in In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Vitals

Sidney Poitier as Virgil Tibbs, Philadelphia homicide detective

Sparta, Mississippi, September 1966

Film: In the Heat of the Night
Release Date: August 2, 1967
Director: Norman Jewison
Costume Designer: Alan Levine

Background

Happy birthday to the great Sidney Poitier, born 92 years ago today on February 20, 1927. The actor’s personal favorite among his prolific filmography is In the Heat of the Night, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1967, a year that found him pulling off a peerless hat trick that included that film as well as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? and To Sir, with Love. Continue reading