Robert Redford as Jack Weil, smooth, cynical gambler and U.S. Navy veteran
Havana, December 1958
Release Date: December 14, 1990
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack
Gambling is Jack Weil’s raison d’être. Having arrived in Havana on Christmas Day 1958 to make the most of the city’s poker scene, Weil never anticipated getting caught up in the throes of the Cuban Revolution… unless it would get him laid or make him an extra buck.
Of course, his chance meeting with Roberta Duran (Lena Olin) made both possibilities an enticing reason to help the cause. Continue reading
Denzel Washington as Frank Lucas, heroin kingpin
Harlem, January 1973
Film: American Gangster
Release Date: November 2, 2007
Director: Ridley Scott
Costume Designer: Janty Yates
Tailor: Leonard Logsdail
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Frank Lucas takes pride in not looking too flashy like some of his contemporary gangster pals, but this suit is a considerable – though not unattractive – exception to his rule. However, it’s telling that this is one of the last outfits that Frank wears before his eventual arrest. Continue reading
Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, cold and calculating Mafia boss
Havana, December 1958
Film: The Godfather Part II
Release Date: December 12, 1974
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Costume Designer: Theadora Van Runkle
Get into a smooth, summer relaxation mood for this Mafia Monday post that takes a look at Michael Corleone’s style for Hyman Roth’s birthday party in Havana… an appropriately timed post as my dad just returned from a trip to Cuba. (Yes, he brought back some Cohibas!)
What’d He Wear?
For all of his power and prestige, Michael Corleone has a very minimalist wardrobe, designed by the legendary Theadora Van Runkle (Bonnie and Clyde, Bullitt, and The Thomas Crown Affair are all among her repertoire.)
Michael makes good use of his four unique suits in The Godfather Part II, sometimes wearing a three-piece suit without a vest or, as we see in this case, adopting a more luxuriously casual look by swapping out the shirt and tie for a soft polo and a day cravat.
Although it appears a flat tan at the outset, this fully cut two-piece suit consists of a fine tan and cream plain weave glen check with teal blue on the outer check to create a teal windowpane effect throughout. Continue reading
Denzel Washington as Keith Frazier, NYPD detective
New York City, August 2005
Film: Inside Man
Release Date: March 24, 2006
Director: Spike Lee
Costume Designer: Donna Berwick
Thirty years after Al Pacino electrified audiences in Dog Day Afternoon, Spike Lee released Inside Man, another gripping film about a mid-day New York City bank robbery involving hostages, double-crosses, and character-driven comic moments biting into the suspense.
While Dog Day Afternoon focuses primarily on the criminals, Inside Man shifts focus to the other side of the law as the charismatic and somewhat cocky Detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington) is assigned to handle the robbery. His adversary is far more cunning than the emotional Sonny of Dog Day Afternoon, and Frazier is just the guy to match his wits. As Frazier himself bemoans:
Who ever heard of a bank robbers escaping on a plane with fifty hostages? You’ve seen Dog Day Afternoon! You’re stalling! Why? I don’t know.
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, sophisticated British government secret agent
Cuba, Spring 1995
Release Date: November 13, 1995
Director: Martin Campbell
Costume Designer: Lindy Hemming
Car Week continues with a second post of James Bond driving in the Caribbean, this time finding 007 “bombing around” Cuba in his sporty new BMW Z3. (Monday’s post featured the gray flannel suit and black ’57 Chevy in Dr. No.)
The scene begins peacefully with Bond driving his new ladyfriend Natalya around. Natalya lauds the Caribbean for its beauty with not another human in sight… just in time for Joe Don Baker to show up and brings that thought to a screeching halt. Continue reading
Al Pacino as Tony Montana, hotheaded Cuban-American cocaine dealer
Miami, August 1981
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
BAMF Style is continuing Car Week with the second grand American convertible from the automotive golden era – the 1963 Cadillac Series 62 owned by Tony Montana in 1983’s Scarface. Ironically, we first see this Caddy while Tony is actually shopping for a different luxury car, the silver 1979 Porsche 928 4.5L that he adds to his growing collection.
The ’63 Caddy convertible is clearly Tony’s favorite, though, driving it to show off his status even though Elvira pointedly tells him:
It looks like somebody’s nightmare.
Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine, cynical “gin joint” manager
Casablanca, Morocco, December 1941
Release Date: November 26, 1942
Director: Michael Curtiz
Before Casablanca was released in 1942, Humphrey Bogart had spent the majority of his career in secondary roles as sniveling bastards. His first major role in The Petrified Forest saw him as a Dillinger-esque armed robber far more interested in his six-shooter than romance. He was the foil to Jimmy Cagney’s criminal “hero” in Warner Brothers gangster flicks like Angels With Dirty Faces and The Roaring Twenties, and it wasn’t until 1941 when he finally received star billing in both High Sierra and The Maltese Falcon. The latter film is often considered his breakout role as the cynical P.I. Sam Spade, but it wasn’t until a year later with Casablanca that he would finally be a romantic lead.
The role of Rick Blaine was perfect for Bogie, finally allowing him to develop a romantic depth to his character’s cynicism. Casablanca was never intended to be anything out of the ordinary, despite the cavalcade of stars and writers involved in its production. Many, including those at Warner Brothers, considered it to be a mere copy of the now-forgotten 1938 film Algiers. The film exceeded all expectations and is considered to be one of the few true masterpieces in cinema. It took home the three major production Oscars in 1943 for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay (Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard E. Koch, and an uncredited Casey Robinson), and shines a contemporary look at World War II. Continue reading