Bill Cummings as Quist, silent yet easily subdued SPECTRE henchman
Nassau, Summer 1965
Release Date: December 29, 1965
Director: Terence Young
Wardrobe Designer: Anthony Mendleson
As summer winds to an unofficial end, I want to continue celebrating some of my favorite warm-weather fashions. During a recent rewatch of Thunderball, I was again struck by how contemporary the men’s summer style remains almost sixty years later, with tropical prints and terry cloth still best-sellers for many modern-day outfitters.
Naturally, Sean Connery’s wardrobe as 007 remains a highlight, but I also delighted in the aloha shirts worn by his allies Q (Desmond Llewelyn) and Felix Leiter (Rik Van Nutter) as well as the beach-wear sported by a character so minor that he’s routinely dismissed not just by the characters, but even the movie itself as Bill Cummings’ performance goes uncredited in the official end credits cast roll. Continue reading
Tony Bickley as Donald Westerhazy, affable and affluent advertising executive
Suburban Connecticut, Summer 1966
Film: The Swimmer
Release Date: May 15, 1968
Director: Frank Perry
Wardrobe Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone
It was one of those midsummer Sundays when everyone sits around saying, “I drank too much last night.”
… begins John Cheever’s 1964 short story “The Swimmer”, which was adapted by the husband-and-wife team of director Frank Perry and screenwriter Eleanor Perry into a hallucinatory drama starring Burt Lancaster as the eponymous Ned Merrill, a well-tanned embodiment of the failed American dream.
The focus of today’s post is a little more esoteric than usual, not necessarily because of the movie—which is relatively well-known, if offbeat—but more the relatively minor character and his little-known portrayer, Tony Bickley. The Swimmer was Bickley’s fifth and final screen credit and his only significant movie role, more than a decade after his four sporadic appearances in TV anthologies during the early 1950s.
Bickley co-starred in The Swimmer as Donald Westerhazy, a gregarious suburbanite whose palatial home is Ned’s first stop on what becomes his route to “swim home” through the backyard pools of his neighbors. Donald and his wife Helen (Diana Van der Vlis) are nursing hangovers from the previous evening’s party… with the help of martinis, of course. Continue reading
Jude Law as Dickie Greenleaf, narcissistic profligate playboy
Italy, Summer 1958
Film: The Talented Mr. Ripley
Release Date: December 25, 1999
Director: Anthony Minghella
Costume Design: Ann Roth & Gary Jones
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Last year around this time, I finally read Patricia Highsmith’s thriller novel The Talented Mr. Ripley that provided the source material for two stylish adaptations: the lush French production Purple Noon (Plein soleil) released in 1960 and Anthony Minghella’s more faithful The Talented Mr. Ripley released on Christmas 1999.
The central drama follows a trio of American jet-setters cavorting on Italy’s scenic Amalfi Coast: spendthrift playboy Dickie Greenleaf (Jude Law), his charming on-and-off girlfriend Marge Sherwood (Gwyneth Paltrow), and their mysterious companion Tom Ripley (Matt Damon), who seems to have taken an obsessive interest in Dickie. Continue reading
Jake Lacy as Shane Patton, smug and spoiled newlywed
Maui, Hawaii, Summer 2020
Series: The White Lotus
Episode: “The Lotus-Eaters” (Episode 1.05)
Air Date: July 11, 2021
Director: Mike White
Creator: Mike White
Costume Designer: Alex Bovaird
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
While I’m on vacation this week, it feels appropriate to continue covering the Emmy-nominated resort style of The White Lotus, this time turning a sartorial eye onto the hotel’s arguably most troublesome guest: the frat-tastic newlywed Shane Patton. Continue reading
Susumu Terajima as Ken, laconic yakuza lieutenant
Ishigaki Island, Japan, Summer 1993
(Japanese title: ソナチネ)
Release Date: September 10, 1993
Director: Takeshi Kitano
Costume Design: Junichi Goto & Alen Mikudo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Takeshi Kitano wrote, directed, edited, and starred in Sonatine, an offbeat yakuza film that blends the genre’s usual violence with elements of black comedy and an almost surreal, dreamlike beauty. Kitano stars as Murakawa, a Tokyo crime boss who has grown increasingly numb as he advances into middle age.
Murakawa and his loyal right-hand man, Ken (Susumu Terajima), are sent to Okinawa with a gang ranging from veteran gangsters to young gunsels like the eager Ryōji (Masanobu Katsumura).
Before any progress can be made in their ostensible mission to mediate and intra-gang conflict, the body count rises after their headquarters are bombed and their number further diminished during a barroom ambush. Murakawa and his fellow survivors—including the increasingly convivial Ken and Ryōji—take refuge on the isolated beaches of Ishigaki Island, where their day-to-day life devolves into a surreally idyllic getaway full of games, gags, and gunplay. Continue reading
Pablo Picasso, influential Spanish painter
Cannes, French Riviera, September 1956
Photographs by Arnold Newman
Part of BAMF Style’s Iconic Photo Series, focusing on style featured in famous photography of classic stars rather than from specific productions.
Born 140 years ago today on October 25, 1881, Pablo Picasso may be one of the few painters so associated with his craft that even those with little knowledge of art know his name. Thus, October 25 is also observed annually as International Artist’s Day, celebrating the contributions of creators around the globe.
A month shy of his 75th birthday, Picasso posed in his La Californie studio in Cannes for a series of portraits captured by Arnold Newman, the prolific photographer whose subjects ranged from Marilyn Monroe and Mickey Mantle to JFK and Alfried Krupp. Continue reading
Alain Delon as Jean-Paul Leroy, moody ad agency writer on vacation
French Riviera, Summer 1968
Film: The Swimming Pool
(French title: La Piscine)
Release Date: January 3, 1969
Director: Jacques Deray
Costume Designer: André Courrèges
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
More than a half-century after its release, La Piscine remains hailed as one of the most stylish movies, not just for French designer André Courrèges’s costumes but also its sun-drenched Côte d’Azur setting, Michel Legrand’s jazzy score, and the smoldering expressions of its quartet of stars. “The less you put in words, the more you will oblige me to have imagination,” director Jacques Deray reportedly screenwriter instructed Jean-Claude Carrière.
Deray’s “imagination” draws the most from the dangerously intense sexual tension among its leads, beginning with Alain Delon and Romy Schneider as the vacationing couple spending their summer in an opulent villa secluded in the French Riviera. Continue reading
Don Cheadle as Buck Swope, porn actor and aspiring electronics store owner
San Fernando Valley, Summer 1977
Film: Boogie Nights
Release Date: October 10, 1997
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
In the mood for some midweek summer leisure looks, I was inspired by the parade of ’70s style in Boogie Nights. As with so many period productions set during the disco era, Boogie Nights features plenty of the big collars, flashy jewelry, and polyester we’ve come to associate with that decade, and its focus on the porn industry—despite Jack Horner’s insistence that his “pictures” may be a higher art than the era’s run-of-the-mill smut—takes us through the tackier side of a decade already oft reviled for its sartorial excess.
Among the sprawling ensemble cast, I’ve always enjoyed Don Cheadle’s performance as Buck Swope, the conflicted actor in Horner’s troupe constantly wrangling with his identity. Continue reading
Mel Gibson as Dale “Mac” McKussic, retired drug dealer
Los Angeles, Summer 1988
Film: Tequila Sunrise
Release Date: December 2, 1988
Director: Robert Towne
Costume Designer: Julie Weiss
Following his success as a screenwriter—credited and uncredited—on some of the most memorable movies of the ’70s, Robert Towne intended for his sophomore directorial film, Tequila Sunrise, to be something of a spiritual follow-up to Chinatown, which… it isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, I did get some enjoyment out of Tequila Sunrise and there’s no denying that it’s refreshingly original—almost to a questionable degree—but I would argue it’s not even close to the same league as Chinatown, let alone Bonnie & Clyde, The Godfather, The Last Detail, Marathon Man, or the other excellent films that benefited from Towne’s contributions.
Several had recommended Tequila Sunrise to me for its style, and I’ll admit the name intrigued me, so I mentally scheduled to watch it and write about it in time for #NationalTequilaDay, celebrated annually on July 24… so happy National Tequila Day!
Alexander Skarsgård as Gadi Becker, aka “Peter”, mysterious Mossad agent
Naxos, Greece, Spring 1979
Series: The Little Drummer Girl (Episode 1)
Air Date: October 28, 2018
Director: Park Chan-wook
Costume Design: Sheena Napier & Steven Noble
Today marks the start of my beach vacation, an annual getaway that finds me clad almost exclusively in tropical-printed or terry cloth shirts as I laze about in the sun and sand with tequila in hand, trying not to think about the hundreds of emails amassing to greet me when I open my inbox exactly one week from now.
And then there are those lucky enough who actually get to do this for a living, particularly the globe-trotting super-spies penned by the likes of Ian Fleming and John le Carré, whose 1983 novel The Little Drummer Girl was recently re-adapted for the screen via a stylish six-part miniseries starring Florence Pugh and Alexander Skarsgård. Continue reading