Jeffrey Wright as Felix Leiter, cynical CIA agent
Bolivia, Summer 2008
Film: Quantum of Solace
Release Date: October 31, 2008
Director: Marc Forster
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
The brilliant Jeffrey Wright was the first actor to reprise the mercurial role of Felix Leiter in consecutive Bond outings, appearing as the reliable if cynical CIA agent in Quantum of Solace two years after his introduction in Casino Royale. (David Hedison is the only actor to have played Felix twice: first with Roger Moore’s Bond in Live and Let Die in 1973, then reprising his role with Timothy Dalton’s Bond in 1989’s Licence to Kill.)
Ian Fleming wrote Felix Leiter to be the closest thing to a friend that James Bond would have, first described as a lanky Texan in the first literary Bond adventure Casino Royale. Leiter reappeared in the next novel, Live and Let Die, where he lost his leg in an incident that fans of the 007 cinematic universe would recollect from the events of Licence to Kill. Continue reading
Edward Fox as “The Jackal”, mysterious professional assassin
Montemorro Forest, Italy, August 1963
Film: The Day of the Jackal
Release Date: May 16, 1973
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Costume Design: Joan Bridge, Rosine Delamare, and Elizabeth Haffenden
On le 14 juillet (or “Bastille Day,” as we Yanks call it), BAMF Style is exploring one of Edward Fox’s many simple but elegant casual outfits in The Day of the Jackal, where he plays an enigmatic British contract killer tasked with the assassination of French President Charles De Gaulle.
This installment of Car Week ends as it started, featuring a 1961 model year convertible. In this case, it’s the white Alfa Romeo that “The Jackal” – as our smooth assassin is codenamed – drives through Europe, including for this brief interlude as he tests his new customized sniper rifle in the Italian countryside. Continue reading
Jean-Paul Belmondo as Michel Poiccard, petty thief and killer on the run
Paris, August 1959
(French title: À bout de souffle)
Release Date: March 16, 1960
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Costume Designer: Ellen Mirojnick
Directed by Jean-Luc Godard from an original treatment by François Truffaut, À bout de souffle (or Breathless to us Americans) marked a defining moment in the evolution of French New Wave cinema. The lanky, youthful, and energetic Jean-Paul Belmondo shot to cinematic stardom as he became the new face of French New Wave, a term to which he charmingly admitted his own ignorance to P.E. Schneider of New York Times Magazine.
In that 1961 piece, Schneider was profiling Belmondo for a piece called “A Punk With Charm,” referring to the actor’s role in Breathless as the Bogart-idolizing Michel Poiccard, a swaggering and sociopathic walking id. Continue reading
Brad Pitt as Robert “Rusty” Ryan, casino heister and hotel manager
L.A. to Vegas, June 2007
Film: Ocean’s Thirteen
Release Date: June 8, 2007
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Costume Designer: Louise Frogley
With Memorial Day in our wake, it’s now sartorially safe to whip out the white suitings from the back of your closet when dressing to impress this summer.
One movie that most influenced my own summer style during my formative years was Ocean’s Thirteen, a celebration of sprezzatura from Al Pacino’s bold business wear to the vivid outfits sported by Bernie Mac. For me, it was Rusty Ryan’s flashy suits and sport jackets that lingered in my mind when eyeing new summer threads. Continue reading
Gabriel Byrne as Tom Reagan, pragmatic Irish mob fixer
Upstate New York, Fall 1929
Film: Miller’s Crossing
Release Date: September 21, 1990
Director: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
Costume Designer: Aude Bronson-Howard
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Miller’s Crossing is one of my favorite Coen Brothers movies as well as one of my favorite crime films. Perhaps overshadowed the year it was released by higher pedigree mob flicks like Goodfellas and, uh, The Godfather Part III, the Coens’ neo-noir black comedy has gained a cult following in the years since for its spirited tribute to the works of Dashiell Hammett, particularly Red Harvest (1929) and The Glass Key (1931). Continue reading
Sam Neill as Sidney Reilly, shrewd Russian-born British government triple agent
Port Arthur, China (then Manchuria), February 1904
Series: Reilly: Ace of Spies
Episode: “Prelude to War” (Episode 2)
Air Date: September 7, 1983
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Elizabeth Waller
Today’s Throwback Tuesday installment throws us all the way back to February 1904 on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War. According to Reilly: Ace of Spies, the newly minted Sidney Reilly is stationed in Port Arthur, Manchuria, ostensibly under the cover of a shipping agent but secretly working with the Japanese military developing their plans for a sneak attack to take the port away from the Russians. Reilly is shown to be a cold pragmatist, working with Japan against his better judgement and dispassionate regarding his poor wife, Margaret (Jeananne Crowley), whom he had married three years earlier after the mysterious* death of her clergic husband.
* Reverend Hugh Thomas’s death was even more mysterious in real life, with many suspecting that Reilly posed as a doctor in order to poison the clergyman.
Charles Dance as Lawrence Wargrave, retired judge
Devon, England, August 1939
Series Title: And Then There Were None
Air Date: December 26-28, 2015
Director: Craig Viveiros
Costume Designer: Lindsay Pugh
WARNING! Spoilers ahead! (Seriously.)
Agatha Christie often regarded And Then There Were None to be her best work, and with 100 million sales to date and a classic plot that still builds nail-biting suspense nearly eight decades later, it’s no wonder that this timeless thriller has the reputation that it does.
Born 126 years ago today, on September 15, 1890, Agatha Christie has been listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling novelist of all time, no doubt due to her classics like Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and – of course – And Then There Were None. I have a personal connection to this book, as I outlined to exhaustion in my post about Aidan Turner’s attire as Philip Lombard in what I consider the definitive adaptation of her finest work.
After more than a dozen adaptations for the stage and screen, Christie’s greatest novel finally received the adaptation it deserved in 2015 when Sarah Phelps was tasked with writing a three-part miniseries for BBC. Craig Viveiros’ direction, Phelps’ writing, and Lindsay Pugh’s costuming all came together with chilling cinematography and a talented cast to deliver this masterpiece. Continue reading