Robert Redford as Wade Lewis, cheeky, charismatic, and closeted actor
Santa Monica, California, Fall 1937
Film: Inside Daisy Clover
Release Date: December 22, 1965
Director: Robert Mulligan
Costume Designer: Bill Thomas
Ahead of Robert Redford’s birthday tomorrow, let’s flashback to one of the actor and director’s earliest prominent roles. Redford had spent the early 1960s taking small parts in movies like Tall Story (1960) and War Hunt (1962), appearing occasionally on TV shows like Maverick, Perry Mason, Route 66, The Untouchables, and Alfred Hitchcock’s anthology series. His most significant performance at the time was on stage, originating the role of the hapless newlywed Paul Bratter in Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, which would provide Redford’s breakthrough big screen success when adapted by Gene Saks in 1967.
The movie adaptation of Barefoot in the Park launched a nearly 40-year stretch where charismatic Redford exclusively played leading roles, following a two-year period of supporting performances in mostly forgettable movies like Inside Daisy Clover, which Gavin Lambert had adapted from his novel of the same name. Continue reading
Robert Shaw as Romer Treece, adventurous treasure hunter and lighthouse-keeper
Off the Bermuda coast, Summer 1976
Film: The Deep
Release Date: June 17, 1977
Director: Peter Yates
Costume Designer: Ron Talsky
Following the record-setting blockbuster success of Jaws, adapted from Peter Benchley’s debut novel of the same name, Columbia Pictures quickly purchased the rights to Benchley’s next novel before it was even published. The Deep proved to be another box-office hit, if not as critically acclaimed as its predecessor, with much of its success attributed to an effective marketing campaign centered around Jacqueline Bisset’s white T-shirt.
Another casting decision that worked in The Deep‘s favor was Robert Shaw, born 95 years ago today on August 9, 1927. Continue reading
William Daniels as Austin Tucker, paranoid ex-political aide
Marina Del Rey, California, Spring 1974
Film: The Parallax View
Release Date: June 14, 1974
Director: Alan J. Pakula
Costume Designer: Frank L. Thompson
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Based on Loren Singer’s novel of the same name, The Parallax View became the second installment of director Alan J. Pakula’s political paranoia “trilogy” across the 1970s, reflecting the uncertainty and cynicism of an era increasingly marred by assassination, war, and government scandal.
The cast included William Daniels, one of the steadiest character actors of the era with credits like Two for the Road, The Graduate, and 1776 in his filmography before his memorable appearance in The Parallax View as Austin Tucker, the one-time aide to a presidential contender who had been assassinated three years earlier. (The now 95-year-old Daniels would later gain lasting recognition among more modern audiences as the principled principal Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World.) Now, Tucker remains the only remaining witness to the crime… and is justifiably paranoid regarding his prospects as he agrees to meet the crusading reporter Joe Frady (Warren Beatty) on his boat.
Today, I’ll be joining friends for less lethal nautical adventures—specifically, sipping tequila on a pontoon boat up the Allegheny River—but it felt like the right opportunity to see how the once buttoned-up Tucker now embraces a more casual sense of dress while dodging the dangerous clutches of the shadowy Parallax Corporation. Continue reading
Paul Newman as Michael Gallagher, wholesale liquor distributor
Miami, Fall 1980
Film: Absence of Malice
Release Date: December 18, 1981
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Bernie Pollack
Ethan Hawke’s recently released HBO Max docuseries The Last Movie Stars chronicling Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s iconic marriage inspired me to respond to a few earlier requests analyzing the blue-eyed actor’s warm-weather everyman style in Absence of Malice, Sydney Pollack’s 1981 exploration of journalistic integrity.
Newman stars as Michael Gallagher, a Miami liquor wholesaler surprised to find himself the subject of a front-page Miami Standard newspaper story written by reporter Megan Carter (Sally Field), suggesting his potential involvement in the presumed murder of a local union official. He directly confronts Megan and her bosses to understand the basis for their claims, beginning a relationship with the reporter that ranges from contentious to flirtatious. Finally, Michael takes Megan up on her offer to listen to his side of the story, thus ostensibly ensuring that her reporting is as accurate and comprehensive a possible.
Michael: How long you got for lunch?
Megan: Long as I want!
Michael: Good job…
Megan slyly invites a photographer—the “weird” and conspicuous Walker (William Kerwin)—to follow them, but this part of the plan is foiled when Michael surprises her by inviting her to lunch on his yacht, the 1934-built “Rum Runner” so named in tribute to his bootlegger father. Continue reading
Charlton Heston as CAPT Matthew Garth, U.S. Naval Aviator
Pearl Harbor to Midway Island, Spring 1942
Release Date: June 18, 1976
Director: Jack Smight
Many familiar with World War II history are familiar with the significance of Monday’s date as, on June 6, 1944, the Allies landed at Normandy in northern France as part of the “D-Day” invasion that laid the groundwork for the eventual Allied victory. Two years earlier, the Americans had been engaged in yet another decisive battle that would turn the tide of the second World War.
The Battle of Midway had commenced 80 years ago today on June 4, 1942, following intelligence gathered by the U.S. Navy that allowed it to prepare for a counterattack against the Imperial Japanese Navy. Three days of battle followed, with American forces destroying all four Japanese fleet carriers that had engaged and—in both a tactical and symbolic victory—had also been part of the six-carrier force that attacked Pearl Harbor six months earlier.
Though the Americans also suffered the loss of a carrier, a destroyer, and approximately 150 aircraft, casualties were considerably higher on the Japanese side (including nearly double the amount of aircraft lost), marking an early turning point of the Pacific War in favor of the Allies and which historian John Keegan has called “the most stunning and decisive blow in the history of naval warfare.”
In addition to an 18-minute color documentary directed during the battle by John Ford, the Battle of Midway has been the subject of two major movies, mostly recently in 2019. A star-studded retelling of the battle and its lead-up was produced by The Mirisch Company in 1976, starring—among many others—Henry Fonda as Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, commander of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet. Having served in the Navy in real life during World War II, Fonda had actually partly narrated Ford’s 1942 documentary and also appeared as an unnamed admiral inspired by Nimitz in the 1965 epic In Harm’s Way.
The cast was rounded out by both established international stars from Robert Mitchum to Toshiro Mifune and relative newcomers like Dabney Coleman, Erik Estrada, and a non-mustached Tom Selleck. Being made just over 30 years after World War II ended meant a number of actual veterans among its cast; in addition to Fonda, Glenn Ford, Charlton Heston, Hal Holbrook, Cliff Robertson, and Robert Webber had all served.
Though most of its characters are real-life figures, Midway centers around a fictionalized hero in the form of naval aviator CAPT Matthew Garth (Heston), for whom the battle presents the culmination of his increasing personal and professional troubles. Continue reading
John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States and U.S. Navy veteran
Off the New England coast, August 1962
Photographs by Robert Knudsen
Part of BAMF Style’s Iconic Photo Series, focusing on style featured in famous photography of classic stars and style icons rather than from specific productions.
On the anniversary of his May 29, 1917 birthday, I wanted to revisit the 35th President of the United States, who has often been credited as the man who brought a new sense of style to the White House during the brief Age of Camelot.
One of my most visited posts on this page was a comprehensive look at John F. Kennedy’s style, from suits and sport jackets to white tie and windbreakers, which I had published to commemorate his legacy on the 50th anniversary of his November 1963 assassination… and which I imagine is in dire need of revision after nearly a decade.
Kennedy once said: “Sailing has given me some of the most pleasant and exciting moments of my life. It also has taught me something of the courage, resourcefulness, and strength of men who sail the seas in ships.” Continue reading
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, New Jersey mob boss
Miami Beach, Fall 2007
Series: The Sopranos
Episode: “Remember When” (Episode 6.15)
Air Date: April 22, 2007
Director: Phil Abraham
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Even gangsters get to go on spring break! Of course, being gangsters, Tony Soprano’s trip to Florida with Paulie Walnuts (Tony Sirico) is less about tequila shots on the beach and more about laying low to avoid the heat after an old murder resurfaces from 1982… but the two wiseguys still get plenty of time to relax in the sun while the remaining arm of the DeMeo crime family scrambles to control any potential damage. Continue reading
Lee Marvin as Walker, drunken sailor and future thief
San Francisco, early 1960s
Film: Point Blank
Release Date: August 30, 1967
Director: John Boorman
Costume Designer: Margo Weintz
Lee Marvin, Academy Award-winning actor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran of World War II, was born 98 years ago today on February 19, 1924. Marvin would be established as one of the most charismatic tough guys of the screen, particularly due to movies like The Killers (1964), The Professionals (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967), and Point Blank (1967).
Adapted from Donald E. Westlake’s pulp crime novel The Hunter (published under the pseudonym Richard Stark), Point Blank stars Marvin as the mononymous Walker, a thief left for dead by his wife Lynne (Sharon Acker) and his double-crossing partner-in-crime Mal Reese (John Vernon) after a dangerous heist. Continue reading
Tom Hanks as CDR Ernest Krause, USN, commanding officer of USS Keeling
North Atlantic Ocean, February 1942
Release Date: July 10, 2020
Director: Aaron Schneider
Costume Designer: Julie Weiss
Military Costume Consultant: Steve McColgan
…the goods will be delivered by this nation, whose Navy believes in the tradition of “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt, October 27, 1941
Greyhound begins just over three months after the United States entered World War II and nearly five months after FDR’s address for Navy and Total Defense Day, in which he reinforced with the above words the protection that the U.S. Navy would offer merchant ships carrying supplies to support the Allied war effort. The eponymous “Greyhound” is the codename for USS Keeling, one of the American destroyers assigned to protect a 37-ship convoy on its way to Liverpool.
We join up with the multi-national convoy HX-25 as it enters its first of two days traveling through the “Black Pit”, the area of the North Atlantic considered most vulnerable as it was beyond the range of air cover. Leading the convoy’s military escort from the bridge of USS Keeling is straight-laced Commander Ernest Krause, played by Tom Hanks. Continue reading
Robert Redford as John Gage, smooth billionaire and proposer of indecency
Off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, Summer 1993
Film: Indecent Proposal
Release Date: April 7, 1993
Director: Adrian Lyne
Costume Design: Beatrix Aruna Pasztor, Bernie Pollack, & Bobbie Read
Happy birthday, Robert Redford! To celebrate the screen legend and style icon turning 85 today, I asked my Instagram followers a few weeks ago which of Redford’s yet-uncovered looks I should cover in today’s post: his black tuxedo for his on-screen introduction in 1974’s The Great Gatsby or the cream Cerruti suit he wears for consummation of the eponymous Indecent Proposal. With more than 3,000 votes cast, it was a close race, but Indecent Proposal won by just over 70 votes.
For those who haven’t seen Indecent Proposal, Redford stars as super-billionaire John Gage who—rather than launching himself into space—offers to provide a struggling young couple, David and Diana, with one million dollars… in exchange for one night with Diana. Continue reading