Bob Hoskins as Harold Shand, ambitious English gangster
London, Spring 1979
Film: The Long Good Friday
Release Date: November 3, 1980
Director: John Mackenzie
Costume Designer: Tudor George
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is Good Friday, a liturgical observance often overshadowed by Easter but certainly not overlooked in the world of British gangster cinema thanks to The Long Good Friday. Considered among the top 25 British movies ever made in separate polls by BFI and Empire, The Long Good Friday has been a frequent request by BAMF Style readers including Dominic, Scott, and Wendi (and thank you, Wendi, for sending me the DVD copy used to source these screenshots!)
The title was intentionally chosen to suggest a tonal alignment with the works of Raymond Chandler, and our boisterous anti-hero, Harold Shand, would be a welcome presence in any noir. Specifically written for the actor, the role of Harold provided Bob Hoskins with his breakthrough performance as a London gangster seeking to take his enterprises in a legitimate direction, though he can’t outrun his criminal legacy as he finds his promising world collapsing among mob hits and bomb scares.
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
New Jersey, Spring 2000
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Funhouse” (Episode 2.13)
Air Date: April 9, 2000
Director: Alan Taylor
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Things are good. What the fuck?
Tony Soprano can’t quite seem to believe his luck at the outset of “Funhouse”, the iconic second season finale that aired 20 years ago tonight and is considered to be among The Sopranos‘ finest hours.
All of Tony’s enemies have been vanquished in one way or another, he’s making boatloads of cash due to a lucrative calling card scam, and his daughter is graduating from high school with a promising future at a number of prestigious colleges. And yet, there’s something nagging at Tony Soprano… and it isn’t just the unfamiliar combination of a full Indian dinner followed by Artie Bucco’s potentially tainted zuppa di mussels that’s troubling his stomach.
Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski, Polish resistance leader
Belarus, August 1941 through April 1942
Release Date: December 31, 2008
Director: Edward Zwick
Costume Designer: Jenny Beavan
Daniel Craig’s fifth and final movie as James Bond, No Time to Die, was originally scheduled for release in the U.K. today. Last month, MGM and Eon Productions announced that they were pushing the release to November in response to concerns related to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. While the postponement may have defied the wishes of Bond fans (see where I’m going with this?), there’s still plenty of Craig’s filmography out there to stream, including the 2008 war film Defiance.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, mysterious advertising creative director
New York City, Spring 1960 and 1962
Series: Mad Men
– “5G” (Episode 1.05), dir. Lesli Linka Glatter, aired 8/16/2007
– “Red in the Face” (Episode 1.07), dir. Tim Hunter, aired 8/30/2007
– “The New Girl” (Episode 2.05), dir. Jennifer Getzinger, aired 8/24/2008
Creator: Matthew Weiner
Costume Designer: Janie Bryant
Happy birthday to Jon Hamm, born March 10, 1971, and arguably most famous for his Emmy-winning performance on AMC’s Mad Men as suave 1960s ad man Don Draper.
Donald Draper? What kinda name is that?
Rod Taylor as Bruce Templeton, charismatic aerospace lab chief
Long Beach, California, Spring 1966
Film: The Glass Bottom Boat
Release Date: June 9, 1966
Director: Frank Tashlin
Costume Designer: Ray Aghayan (credited with Doris Day’s costumes only)
In the years since I’ve started this blog, I’ve discovered that there are many unsung “style heroes” that are often lost in the discussion of Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Steve McQueen, including actors like Rod Taylor who brought understated elegance to flatteringly tailored suits and timeless casual attire alike.
I was first familiar with Taylor in The Glass Bottom Boat, one of my grandma’s favorite movies and one that we used to watch until we wore the VHS tape thin. Last year, I was delighted to see that my friends Shawn Bongiorno and Ryan Hall had collaborated on a series of Instagram posts that highlighted a look from the movie, and that inspired us to put our heads together and take a deeper dive at a springtime essential that Taylor wears.
Tom Selleck as Nick Lassiter, debonair jewel thief
London, June 1939
Release Date: February 17, 1984
Director: Roger Young
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane
While we’re still in the midst of tweed-friendly weather, I’d like to respond to a few requests I’ve had to focus on Tom Selleck’s gentlemanly style in Lassiter as an American thief in England, a far cry from the Aloha shirts he was famously wearing on Magnum, P.I. at the same time.
Released today in 1984, Lassiter starred Selleck as the titular jewel thief—Nick Lassiter—crafted in the daring and debonair tradition of cinematic cat burglars like Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief and David Niven’s “Phantom” in The Pink Panther. Much like his previous film, High Road to China, this movie compensated for the fact that Selleck had to pass on the role of Indiana Jones by giving him the role of a charismatic, resourceful, and risk-averse rogue facing danger from under the brim of a fedora in the years leading up to World War II.
Leonardo DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, washed-up TV actor
Los Angeles, February 1969
Film: Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
Release Date: July 26, 2019
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Costume Designer: Arianne Phillips
Now that Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood has been released on video and streaming services, I wanted to get cracking on the much-requested to cover Arianne Phillips’ fantastic costume design that brought the end of the swinging ’60s to life. Phillips’ costume design is one of ten categories for which Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a contender at the Academy Awards this Sunday, in addition to nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio, and Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt.
As Pitt’s yellow Aloha shirt and jeans was already the subject of a BAMF Style “preview” post last summer (with a more robust post to come, I assure you!), I wanted to turn my attention to Rick Dalton, the fading star of TV westerns who’s forced to admit at the start of the movie:
It’s official, old buddy. I’m a has-been.
Paul Newman as “Fast Eddie” Felson, liquor salesman and former pool hustler
Chicago, Spring 1986
Film: The Color of Money
Release Date: October 17, 1986
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Designer: Richard Bruno
Today would have been the 95th birthday of Paul Newman, the acclaimed actor, philanthropist, entrepreneur and motorsports enthusiast. Over his legendary career that spanned more than half a century, Newman’s sole Academy Award for acting recognized his performance in The Color of Money (1986), in which he reprised the role of “Fast Eddie” Felson that he had originated on screen in The Hustler (1961). Continue reading
John Dall as Bart Tare, armed robber on the run
San Lorenzo Valley, California, Fall 1949, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, Spring 1950
Film: Gun Crazy
(also released as Deadly is the Female)
Release Date: January 20, 1950
Director: Joseph H. Lewis
Costume Designer: Norma Koch (credited with Peggy Cummins’ costumes only)
Fifteen years after armed robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were ambushed and killed on a rural Louisiana road, one of the first attempts to adapt their story for the silver screen arrived in theaters. Sure, there had been Fritz Lang’s sympathetic melodrama You Only Live Once (1937) and the FBI-endorsed propaganda Persons in Hiding (1939), but Gun Crazy—released exactly 70 years ago today—most effectively latched onto the intrigue of a gun-toting couple on the run, and, “more than any other, emphasizes the powerful attraction of weaponry in the growing legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” according to John Treherne, author of The Strange History of Bonnie and Clyde.
Gun Crazy‘s telling original title of Deadly is the Female reflects the narrative leaning into the noir-esque premise of a dominating femme fatale, an expert in firearms who seduces her lovestruck fella into a life of crime… an inverse of the generally accepted reality of the relationship between violent manipulator Clyde Barrow and the vulnerable and troubled Bonnie Parker.
A year after his chilling turn as the calculating, Loeb-like murderer in Hitchcock’s Rope, John Dall stars as the malleable Bart Tare, who finds himself fatefully—and fatally—drawn to the voluptuous carnival sharpshooter Annie Laurie Starr (Peggy Cummins), “the darling of London, England,” though it’s a toss-up whether it’s her tight pants, knowing wink, or dueling pistols that sink the hook into the already doomed Bart. Continue reading
Cary Grant as Philip Shayne, smooth, sophisticated, and suave investment executive and “perfect gentleman”
Bermuda, Spring 1962
Film: That Touch of Mink
Release Date: June 14, 1962
Director: Delbert Mann
Tailor: Cardinal Clothes (credited “for Cary Grant’s suits”)
To commemorate the birthday of Cary Grant, born on this day in 1904, let’s celebrate the debonair actor who was seemingly born to wear a tuxedo. After three decades of a well-tailored career, the erstwhile Archie Leach sported his final on-screen dinner suit in the romantic comedy That Touch of Mink released in 1962, the same year as the first James Bond movie was released, thus heralding the transfer of the definitive screen dinner suit-wearer to 007. Continue reading