Johnny Depp as Paul Kemp, expatriate American journalist
San Juan, Puerto Rico, Summer 1960
Film: The Rum Diary
Release Date: October 28, 2011
Director: Bruce Robinson
Costume Designer: Colleen Atwood
The end of this week means the start of summer, arguably the strangest summer I’ll have experienced in my thirty years. The global coronavirus pandemic has seen the cancellation of sunny getaways, a halt in peanut or crackerjack sales at old ballgames, and consumers foregoing bathing suit deals in favor of fashionable face masks (like these Magnum, P.I.-inspired masks made by my friends at Aloha Funwear!)
In the spirit of what promises to be a surreal summer, I’m exploring a functional look extracted from the chaos of The Rum Diary, adapted from Hunter S. Thompson’s semi-roman à clef inspired by his brief career with the Puerto Rican sporting magazine El Sportivo. More than a decade after he portrayed HST surrogate Raoul Duke in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Johnny Depp returned to star in this somewhat less successful adaptation of a chapter from his late friend’s life.
James Garner as Jim Rockford, wisecracking private detective and ex-convict
Los Angeles, Summer 1974
Series: The Rockford Files
Episode: “Backlash of the Hunter” (Pilot)
Air Date: March 27, 1974
Director: Richard T. Heffron
Creator: Roy Huggins & Stephen J. Cannell
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today would have been the 91st birthday of James Garner, the charismatic actor who grew to stardom with his starring roles on the Western series Maverick and in The Great Escape (1963) before taking on what would be his signature role as struggling private eye Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.
Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell developed The Rockford Files as a spiritual successor to Maverick, reinventing Garner’s charming gambler Bret Maverick as a modern-day private investigator with the same sarcastic yet sincere attitude and conflict-averse nature. Having already proven his private eye credentials by playing Raymond Chandler’s famous detective in Marlowe (1969), Garner stepped into Jim Rockford’s loafers and established one of the greatest TV roles ever.
This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and number. I’ll get back to you…
Steve McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, real-life bounty hunter
Los Angeles (among other locales), Fall 1979
Film: The Hunter
Release Date: August 1, 1980
Director: Buzz Kulik
Costume Designer: Thomas Welsh
On the anniversary of Steve McQueen’s passing, I’d like to explore his style in the final film he made before his untimely death at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980.
The Hunter starred McQueen as Ralph “Papa” Thorson, a colorful real-life bounty hunter who had reportedly logged more than 5,000 cases throughout his career including the capture of would-be presidential assassin and Manson family follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme.
The concept of a bounty hunter conjures the image of a deadly serious and dangerous enforcer. The real Ralph Thorson certainly looked the part at 310 pounds and 6’2″ though Christopher Keane’s 1976 biography counters this image by describing Thorson’s many roles and talents as “a church bishop, Master bridge champion, renowed astrology, criminology alumnus of the University of California Berkeley, child nutritionist, [and] aficionado of classical music.” Continue reading
Robert Shaw was born 90 years ago today, August 9, 1927. To celebrate the birth of this iconic actor and writer, BAMF Style presents another contributor post submitted by BAMF Style reader “W.T. Hatch”. Enjoy!
Robert Shaw as Quint, grizzled and tough shark hunter and U.S. Navy veteran
Amity Island, July 1974
Release Date: June 20, 1975
Director: Steven Spielberg
Costume Design: Louise Clark, Robert Ellsworth, and Irwin Rose
Y’all know me. Know how I earn a livin’. I’ll catch this bird for you, but it ain’t gonna be easy.
In 1975, director Steven Spielberg scared the bejesus out of America with the summer blockbuster hit Jaws. Based upon author Peter Benchley’s novel of the same name, Jaws is the harrowing tale of a 25′ man-eating shark which terrorizes the small beach community of Amity Island. Technical problems forced Spielberg to largely abandon the mechanical shark, dubbed “Bruce” after his attorney, instead using mood, music, and a set of yellow barrels to suggest the beast’s on-screen presence. One viewing of the film is enough to make even the bravest soul think twice before taking a swim in the ocean.
But one other persona in the movie is more frightening than the shark. I speak of the shark’s archenemy known only by the name of Quint. No doubt inspired by another single-minded sea captain, namely Ahab of Moby Dick, Quint is one of cinema’s most enigmatic, famous, and all-around badass characters. Continue reading
Frank Sinatra as Tony Rome, private investigator and compulsive gambler
Miami Beach, Spring 1967
Film: Tony Rome
Release Date: November 10, 1967
Director: Gordon Douglas
Costume Designer: Moss Mabry
BAMF Style’s biannual Car Week is back! For the first post of this summer’s installment of Car Week, let’s check in with Frank Sinatra in the sunny setting of late 1960s Miami Beach, where he plays the beer-swilling, boat-dwelling private eye Tony Rome. Continue reading
Josh Brolin as Llewelyn Moss, taciturn welder, hunter, and Vietnam veteran
Del Rio, Texas, to Mexico, Summer 1980
Film: No Country for Old Men
Release Date: November 9, 2007
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Mary Zophres
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Having found two million dollars in a briefcase at the scene of a drug deal gone sour, laconic welder Llewelyn Moss also finds himself the target of multiple groups of criminals.
Moss packs up his wife (Kelly MacDonald) and heads to the border town of Del Rio, Texas, where he shacks up in a motel. Eventually, Llewelyn is forced to face the fact that he’s not as wily as he thinks… however, he is crafty. Continue reading
John Wayne as Michael “Guns” Donovan, island saloon owner and U.S. Navy veteran
French Polynesia, December 1963
Film: Donovan’s Reef
Release Date: June 12, 1963
Director: John Ford
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Who better than John Wayne to feature on the day before that most American of holidays, the fourth of July?
Donovan’s Reef takes John Wayne from his familiar settings of the wild west or a world war and places him in French Polynesia (though actually filmed in Hawaii) as the grizzled manager of the titular island tavern.
John Wayne is hardly a name that comes to mind when thinking of classic beachgoers, but photographs like this from Duke’s Acapulco resort in the 1940s taken by Phil Stern prove that Wayne (and fellow macho pal Gary Cooper) could be quite natty when the time came to relaxing under the sun. Continue reading
Larry David as himself, a neurotic comedy writer
Los Angeles, Fall 2000
Series: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Episode: “The Pants Tent” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: October 15, 2000
Director: Robert B. Weide
Creator: Larry David
Costume Designer: Wendy Range Rao
Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t a show often celebrated for its sartorial style, but the trouser-centric faux pas that drives the plot of its first episode makes Larry David the perfect subject for BAMF Style’s annual April Fool’s Day post this year. Continue reading
Bruce Willis as Butch Coolidge, tough, taciturn boxer
Los Angeles, Summer 1992
Film: Pulp Fiction
Release Date: October 14, 1994
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Betsy Heimann
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
There have been several requests to see Butch Coolidge’s bomber jacket ensemble from Pulp Fiction get a proper BAMF Style analysis, so what better occasion would there be than Bruce Willis’ birthday? Happy 62nd, Bruce!
Like many classic fictional boxing stories before him, Butch Coolidge finds himself in a hard place between his pride and the mob…and ultimately decides that it’s the latter that should suffer. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as James Bond, swaggering and brash British government agent
Madagascar, July 2006
Film: Casino Royale
Release Date: November 14, 2006
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
To celebrate Daniel Craig’s 49th birthday today, BAMF Style is looking back to his “birth” in the Bond franchise in Casino Royale, exploring the scrappy summer attire during the dangerous first mission that Craig’s Bond took as a 00 agent.
After the globe-trotting double kills that led to James Bond’s eligibility for 00 status, Bond finds himself in Madagascar, working with bright-eyed and bushy-tailed MI6 agent named Carter (Joseph Millson) as they conduct surveillance on a bombmaker named Mollaka. The eager Carter’s inability to fit in compromises their identities, and Bond is forced to chase after Mollaka while Carter languishes in a mongoose pit.
Unfortunately for 007, Mollaka is played by French freerunner Sébastien Foucan, a parkour pioneer who sees the various cranes, walls, and heights as no obstruction to his getaway. Unfortunately for Mollaka, this Bond doesn’t rely on an arched eyebrow or a well-timed witticism to get the job done…this Bond runs through walls, dammit! Continue reading