Gregory Peck as Jim McKay, “neat, clean, and polite” former sea captain and aspiring rancher
West Texas, Summer 1886
Film: The Big Country
Release Date: August 13, 1958
Director: William Wyler
Costume Design: Emile Santiago & Yvonne Wood
A couple years ago, I had received a request via Twitter from venerated BAMF Style reader Ryan to explore Gregory Peck’s “taupe city slicker suit” in The Big Country, which also happened to be the favorite movie of former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, born 129 years ago today on October 14, 1890. In fact, Ike was such a fan of William Wyler’s Technicolor Western that he screened the 166-minute epic on four separate occasions during his administration’s second term in the White House.
Humphrey Bogart as Harry Morgan, cynical fishing boat captain
Fort-de-France, Martinique, Summer 1940
Film: To Have and Have Not
Release Date: October 11, 1944
Director: Howard Hawks
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today is the 75th anniversary of the release of To Have and Have Not, the romantic adventure directed by Howard Hawks and adapted from Ernest Hemingway’s novel that staged the first meeting of iconic classic Hollywood couple Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.
Paul Muni as Tony Camonte, ruthless Italian-born bootlegger and mob enforcer
Chicago, Summer 1927
Release Date: April 9, 1932
Director: Howard Hawks
Today’s #MafiaMonday post goes back to the Prohibition era, the age that gave rise to the modern American gangster… and the American gangster movie.
After Warner Brothers scored back-to-back hits with Little Caesar (1931) and The Public Enemy (1931), effectively establishing the subgenre of the gangster film, Howard Hughes entered the fray with Scarface, an explosive, influential, and fast-paced criminal epic adapted from Armitage Trail’s novel that had been based on the life of Al Capone. Hughes had been warned against taking on Warner’s dominance in the genre, so he packed his production with talent including screenwriter Ben Hecht, director Howard Hawks, and lead actor Paul Muni, who was born 124 years ago yesterday on September 22, 1895.
In the wake of movies like Little Caesar and The Public Enemy, the Hays Office had been increasing its efforts to censor what it deemed to be glamorization of criminal lifestyles in cinema, but its notoriously restrictive production code had yet to be put into place, giving Scarface full reign to arm its vaguely incestuous central character with a Thompson submachine gun, once dubbed “the gun that made the twenties roar,” as he rose the ranks of the criminal underworld in a series of violent vignettes paralleling the life and crimes of the infamous Capone.
Marcello Mastroianni as Augusto Rusconi, bombastic Bolognese businessman and bon vivant
Rome, Summer 1963
Film: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
(Italian title: Ieri, oggi, domani)
Release Date: December 19, 1963
Director: Vittorio De Sica
Costume Designer: Piero Tosi
“It is sometimes said that the French spend their money on their food, the English on their gardens, and the Italians on their clothes,” wrote Sir Hardy Amies for his seminal ABCs of Men’s Fashion in 1964. “Certainly the Italians give the impression of taking great pains with their appearance, especially in summer when we see most of them.”
As summer comes to a close, let’s heed Sir Hardy’s words by focusing on the warm-weather menswear worn by Marcello Mastroianni in Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, which marked the fifth of his 13 collaborations with his frequent screen partner and real-life friend Sophia Loren, who celebrates her 85th birthday today. Continue reading
Sam Neill as Dr. Alan Grant, top paleontologist
“Isla Nublar”, 120 miles west of Costa Rica, Summer 1993
Film: Jurassic Park
Release Date: June 11, 1993
Director: Steven Spielburg
Costumes: Mitchell Ray Kenney, Sue Moore, Kelly Porter, and Eric H. Sandberg
Happy birthday, Sam Neill! The actor—born 72 years ago today on September 14, 1947—racked up plenty of BAMF Style points early in his career for his depiction of real-life spy Sidney Reilly in Reilly: Ace of Spies, a stylish mini-series that established Neill as a strong contender to succeed Roger Moore as James Bond. Neill’s greatest commercial success as a star was arguably his role of esteemed paleontologist Alan Grant in Jurassic Park, the 1993 blockbuster that needs no introduction.
Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin Braddock, nervous and aimless college graduate
Los Angeles, Summer through Fall 1967
Film: The Graduate
Release Date: December 22, 1967
Director: Mike Nichols
Costume Designer: Patricia Zipprodt
Dustin Hoffman’s Ivy style mastery in The Graduate has been a frequent request from BAMF Style readers including Kyle, Ryan, Zubair, and more, so—in the spirit of the “back to school” season—let’s take a look at one of the most iconic outfits that Hoffman wore as the listless Benjamin Braddock.
Benjamin is getting tired of his wordless, emotionless trysts with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the sultry and troubled wife of his father’s law partner. One night in their usual room at the Taft Hotel, Benjamin suggests that the two talk more. In the words of Simon and Garfunkel, “We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files / We’d like to help you learn to help yourself…”
Burt Reynolds as Bobby “Gator” McKlusky, paroled moonshine runner
Dunston County, Georgia, Summer 1975
Release Date: August 25, 1976
Director: Burt Reynolds
Costume Designer: Norman Salling
September 6 marks the sad one-year anniversary since Burt Reynolds’ death. One of the star’s most famous roles was that of “Gator” McKlusky, the “good ol’ boy” moonshiner introduced in White Lightning (1973) who was revisited, this time with Burt’s iconic mustache, in the Reynolds-directed Gator (1976). Continue reading
William Holden as Hal Carter, aimless former college football star and Army veteran
Kansas, Labor Day 1955
Release Date: February 16, 1956
Director: Joshua Logan
Costume Designer: Jean Louis
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This Labor Day, we celebrate one of the lesser-recognized cinematic holidays with a look at the Academy Award-nominated Technicolor hit Picnic. Continue reading
Henry Fonda as Charles “Hopsie” Pike, brewery heir and ophidiologist
SS Southern Queen, sailing north from South America,
Film: The Lady Eve
Release Date: February 25, 1941
Director: Preston Sturges
Costume Designer: Edith Head
Men’s Wardrobe: Richard Bachler
Last year on my girlfriend’s birthday, my commemorative BAMF Style post explored Henry Fonda’s summer-friendly formal wear in The Lady Eve, the romantic screwball comedy that I first discovered with her family. I’ve thus chosen to dive back into this classic directed by Preston Sturges (who would have turned 121 years old yesterday!) with another look at Fonda’s attire, this time a more casual ensemble as his character Charles “Hopsie” Pike romances Barbara Stanwyck at sea: “You have the darndest way of bumping a fellow down and bouncing him up again.” Continue reading
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
Putnam Valley, New York, August 2007*
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Soprano Home Movies” (Episode 6.13)
Air Date: April 8, 2007
Director: Tim Van Patten
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Happy birthday to Tony Soprano… and David Chase! According to Tony’s driver’s license in “Another Toothpick” (Episode 3.05) and his hospital bracelet seen in “Mayham” (Episode 6.03), Anthony Soprano was born on August 22, 1959, exactly 14 years to the day after his creator, David Chase.