Tagged: Spy

Sam Neill’s Peacoat as Sidney Reilly

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 3: “The Visiting Fireman”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd and opportunistic Russian-born British agent

Hamburg, Germany, Spring 1905

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “The Visiting Fireman” (Episode 3)
Air Date: September 14, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

In honor of Sam Neill’s 75th birthday this week, I want to revisit one of my favorite roles for the New Zealand actor. Almost a decade before his starring role in the groundbreaking groundshaking blockbuster Jurassic Park, Neill had been one of the contenders suggested to replace Roger Moore as James Bond, though the actor himself had been reluctant to take what he’s since called a “mortifying” audition and was likely grateful when the role went to Timothy Dalton instead. Neill may have been considered after his excellent performance earlier in the ’80s as Sidney Reilly, a real-life spy whose early 20th century exploits had been cited by Ian Fleming as one of his inspirations for the literary 007. Continue reading

Ryan Gosling’s Gray Sharkskin Suit in The Gray Man

On “just another Thursday,” I’m pleased to present another guest post contributed by my friend Ken Stauffer, who has written several pieces for BAMF Style previously and chronicles the style of the Ocean’s film series on his excellent Instagram account, @oceansographer.

Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six in The Gray Man (2022)

Ryan Gosling as Sierra Six in The Gray Man (2022)

Vitals

Ryan Gosling as Courtland “Court” Gentry, a.k.a. Sierra Six, off-the-books CIA operative

London and Hong Kong, 2019

Film: The Gray Man
Release Date: July 22, 2022
Director: Joe and Anthony Russo
Costume Designer: Judianna Makovsky
Mr. Gosling’s Costumer: Mark Avery

Background

If you haven’t checked out The Gray Man yet, it seems you’re in the minority. Released last month directly on Netflix, the film has consistently stayed on the streamer’s top watched list around the globe. Based on Mark Greaney’s popular book series, it’s a bit of a throwback to ’90s action movies, chock full of offhand quips and casual explosions, but modernized with drone shots and a popular, A-list cast. Continue reading

Jason Bourne’s Style Across Four Movies

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity

Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity (2002)

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of when The Bourne Identity was widely released, check out this comprehensive breakdown of how Matt Damon’s style as the amnesiac assassin Jason Bourne, née David Webb, evolved over the course of the original Bourne trilogy and was updated a decade later in Jason Bourne.

Unlike his fellow J.B.-named super-spy, Bourne never dressed to impress, instead favoring a more subdued and utilitarian wardrobe consistent with the “gray man” philosophy of blending in, specifically in urban environments like the European capitals where he evades his one-time CIA overlords.

Continue reading

Roscoe Lee Browne in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois in Topaz (1969)

Vitals

Roscoe Lee Browne as Philippe Dubois, smooth-talking Martinican-American sleeper agent

New York City, Fall 1962

Film: Topaz
Release Date: December 19, 1969
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Costume Designer: Edith Head

Background

Following last month’s look at a “hero costume” from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1942 thriller Saboteur, I want to continue exploring style from the lesser-known entries in the Master of Suspense’s oeuvre. Loosely based on the “Martel affair” and events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Topaz was Hitch’s final movie centered around espionage, though I consider it to lack much of the spark that fueled his earlier successes like North by Northwest.

The single exception in Topaz may be a brief scene made more memorable by the appearance of Martinican agent Philippe Dubois, portrayed by Roscoe Lee Browne, the multi-talented star of stage and screen born 100 years ago today on May 2, 1922. Continue reading

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: Tom Hardy Echoes Steve McQueen’s Baracuta Jacket

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Vitals

Tom Hardy as Ricki Tarr, disillusioned British spy

Paris, Spring 1974

Film: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Release Date: September 16, 2011
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran

Background

With increasingly warmer weather as spring continues through the Northern Hemisphere, I’m swapping out wool coats for windbreakers at the front of my closet. Of course, on some recent climatically chaotic days that start at temperatures around freezing and then rise to over 70°F by mid-afternoon with the occasional burst of rain, I often rely on smart layers to effectively dress for this unpredictable weather.

One of my favorite examples of smart casual layering that illustrates versatility for different weather and situations is the combination of a Harrington jacket over a light sweater and open-necked shirt. William Claxton had famously photographed his friend Steve McQueen dressed accordingly in 1964, and these headshots are still used to illustrate the enduring style of both the jacket and the King of Cool himself.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen, dressed in his stone-colored Baracuta G9, open-neck shirt, and V-neck sweater, as photographed by his friend William Claxton in 1964.

Decades after his death in 1980, McQueen remains a seminal style icon whose blend of practicality and toughness has influenced scores of men from stars to schlubs (like yours truly)… and a few movie spies, as well. McQueen’s legacy seemed particularly prevalent on silver screen espionage fashions beginning in the late 2000s as Daniel Craig’s James Bond fully embraced Harrington jackets, shawl-collar cardigans, and suede boots as particularly seen in Quantum of Solace, his 007’s action-packed sophomore adventure.

Three years later, costume designer Jacqueline Durran also saw McQueen as her muse when dressing a fellow British agent, the more grounded—and cynical—Ricki Tarr, as portrayed by Tom Hardy in Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carré novel Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

“We very much looked to that kind of ’60s Steve McQueen look for all of them,” Durran explained to GQ of Ricki Tarr’s costumes, first dressing Tarr in a Belstaff shearling coat often associated with McQueen before pulling together the lighter layers as seen in McQueen’s MGM headshot shoot with Claxton as the film approached its conclusion with Tarr in Paris, working to flush out an MI6 mole. Continue reading

Bond’s Nehru Jacket in Dr. No

Sean Connery and Ursula Andress in Dr. No

Sean Connery and Ursula Andress in Dr. No (1962)

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Sean Connery as James Bond, sophisticated and resourceful British government agent

Crab Key, Jamaica, Spring 1962

Film: Dr. No
Release Date: October 5, 1962
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Master: John Brady
Tailor: Anthony Sinclair

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the cinematic James Bond, as screen-going audiences who may have missed the 1954 Climax! episode starring Barry Nelson as the American agent “Jimmy” Bond were properly introduced in 1962 to the debonair yet dangerous 007 embodied by Sean Connery.

It was sixty years ago today—March 30, 1962—when principal photography was completed on Dr. No, whose modest million-dollar budget belied its significance as of the first installment of what would become one of the longest-running franchises in movie history.

While a few ingredients were yet to be finessed, it was Dr. No that established many of the hallmarks of the series, from Monty Norman’s iconic theme song as arranged by John Barry to our hero’s “shaken, not stirred” vodka martinis and his signature introduction:

Bond. James Bond.

Continue reading

Sam Neill’s Peak-Lapel Dinner Jacket as Sidney Reilly

Sam Neill, Jeananne Crowley, Laura Davenport, and Celia Gregory in Reilly: Ace of Spies

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly on Reilly: Ace of Spies, with Jeananne Crowley, Laura Davenport, and Celia Gregory, who portrayed Reilly’s three wives.

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd British agent and anti-Bolshevik

New York City and Berlin, Fall 1924

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “The Trust” (Episode 10)
Air Date: November 2, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Although there’s little consensus on the details of his life—including his birth name—the famous adventurer who would eventually known as Sidney Reilly is said to have been born on March 24, though even the year is a question of debate; he may have been born Georgy Rosenblum in Odessa in 1873, or he may have been born Sigmund Rosenblum to a wealth Bielsk family in 1874. His escapades as a British agent during the Russian Revolution cemented his self-aggrandized reputation as the “Ace of Spies”, establishing a legend that would inspire no less than Ian Fleming when developing the character of his fictional agent James Bond.

The opportunistic Reilly—as he had rechristened himself during his initial service for Special Branch in the late 1890s—never missed a chance to build his wealth or reputation, crafting a legend during his lifetime that would live well beyond his ostensible execution by the Soviets in 1925. A household name by the end of the decade, Reilly was the subject of multiple books, including Ace of Spies, written by the son of R.H. Bruce Lockhart, the Scottish-born diplomat who had worked with Reilly in the infamous “Ambassadors’ Plot” attempt to overthrow the fledgling Bolshevik government in 1918 and resulted in both men being sentenced to death in absentia. Robin Lockhart’s book was adapted into Reilly: Ace of Spies, a stylish twelve-part miniseries that originally aired in ITV across the fall of 1983. Continue reading

The Prisoner: Patrick McGoohan’s Rowing Blazer as Number Six

Patrick McGoohan on The Prisoner

Patrick McGoohan as “Number Six” on The Prisoner (Episode 8: “Dance of the Dead”)

Vitals

Patrick McGoohan as Number Six, recently resigned secret agent

“The Village”, Fall 1967

Series: The Prisoner
Created by: Patrick McGoohan & George Markstein
Wardrobe: Masada Wilmot & Dora Lloyd

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!

Background

Born 94 years ago today, Patrick McGoohan emerged as one of the most unique auteurs of ’60s television as the star and executive producer (and, occasionally, writer and director) of the allegorical and avant-garde “spy-fi” miniseries The Prisoner, which he co-created with George Markstein.

The Prisoner centers around its title character who, upon his contentious retirement from a shadowy British intelligence agency, wakes up mysteriously transported to a picturesque Italianate island village from which he would spend the duration of the series trying to escape. Continue reading

Skyfall: James Bond’s SIS Training Gear

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall (2012). Adapted from an image sourced at thunderballs.org.

Vitals

Daniel Craig as James Bond, “resurrected” British secret agent

London, Spring 2012

Film: Skyfall
Release Date: November 9, 2012
Director: Sam Mendes
Costume Designer: Jany Temime

Background

Having been assumed dead after taking friendly fire in the field, James Bond returns from self-imposed exile. However, before he can go from “resurrection” to active duty, the British Secret Service needs to make sure their most famous secret agent can still shoot straight.

Following the attack on their Vauxhall Cross headquarters, SIS has set up temporary shop in the concrete bowels of the Old Vic tunnels under London, and it’s here that Bond runs through a variety of exercises from treadmills to crash drills. The service’s ever-affable chief of staff, Bill Tanner (Rory Kinnear), attempts to save time by bringing 007 up to speed on his new assignment, but months on a Greek beach fueled by Heineken and vintage Macallan haven’t made it easy for Mr. Bond to catch his breath.

Tanner: We can always do this later.
Bond: You know what? Let’s.

Although Daniel Craig’s 007 was often referred to by his Royal Navy rank, Commander Bond never actually appeared in uniform on film during Craig’s era. In fact, the closest we saw to Craig’s James Bond in any sort of uniform—aside from when the actor himself received his honorary commission in 2021—was when he was put to these tests in Skyfall, resurrected and ready to be retrained by his superiors… and dressed the part in an SIS-marked track jacket and training shirt.

SIS Training Gear recognized the opportunity for Bond fans to borrow from our favorite secret agent’s style, not with a tailored suit or trim navy polo but through an increasingly growing selection of activewear that started with just a pair of T-shirts and joggers, designed to resemble Craig’s screen-worn apparel. Since then, the collection has grown to a wide and exciting lineup of a range of casual styles that reference Bond films across the franchise’s 60 years. I’m pleased to announce that BAMF Style readers can save 10% at SIS Training Gear purchases by clicking here or adding the promo code “BAMF” at checkout. Continue reading

Sam Neill’s Half-Norfolk Jacket as Sidney Reilly

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 9: "After Moscow")

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies (Episode 9: “After Moscow”)

Vitals

Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd British agent and anti-Bolshevik

London, Fall 1918

Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “After Moscow” (Episode 9)
Air Date: October 26, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller

Background

I consider Sidney Reilly to be one of the most fascinating and mysterious figures of the 20th century. There’s little consensus on when he was born, when he died, or how he exactly spent he spent the fifty-odd years in between, though his oft-exaggerated exploits as a shadowy agent of the British secret service has established his enduring reputation as “the Ace of Spies”, aided by his own memoirs and an excellent 1983 twelve-part mini-series starring Sam Neill in the eponymous role of the Russian-born adventurer. Continue reading