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
Roger Moore as James Bond, suave British MI6 agent
Sardinia, Italy, Summer 1977
Film: The Spy Who Loved Me
Release Date: July 7, 1977
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Wardrobe Supervisor: Rosemary Burrows
This installment of BAMF Style’s Car Week takes us underwater as James Bond heads off to Atlantis to meet his new nemesis, Karl Stromberg, in The Spy Who Loved Me… although our lothario seems more concerned about which of the two exotic women on his boat ride is more interested in him.
Stromberg discloses to Bond that he’s investing in an underwater society so it’s fitting that Bond drives a car with aquatic abilities in this flick. Bond’s “submarine” Lotus Esprit has joined the Aston Martin DB5 as one of the most popular 007 vehicles of all time. Even within the Bond universe, the KGB seems to have taken a special interest in the car when Major Anya Amasova discloses that she’s not unfamiliar with MI6’s secret plans for the Lotus.
This sequence includes many of the elements that make a Bond adventure so unique: exciting danger, beautiful women, a megalomaniac villain, an exotic location (in this case, the Cala Di Volpe in Porto Cervo), and – of course – beautifully tailored attire. Continue reading
Emile Hirsch as Clyde Barrow, bank robber with “second sight”
Northeast Texas, Spring 1932
Series Title: Bonnie and Clyde
Air Date: December 8, 2013
Director: Bruce Beresford
Costume Designer: Marilyn Vance
As an amateur criminal historian with a special interest in Depression-era desperadoes, I’d be remiss to let a year go by without commemorating the end of Bonnie and Clyde’s crime streak on May 23, 1934 when the now-famous duo was gunned down by a squad of expert lawmen on a rural road in Bienville Parish, Louisiana. Continue reading