Robert De Niro as Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran, tough Mafia enforcer
Philadelphia, Christmas 1960
Film: The Irishman
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Director: Martin Scorsese
Costume Design: Sandy Powell & Christopher Peterson
Last year’s holiday season, there was plenty of buzz around The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s latest mob epic which had been released to Netflix following a brief limited theatrical run. At 209 minutes, The Irishman clocked in as Scorsese’s longest movie to date, following real-life enforcer Frank Sheeran (Robert de Niro) through his connections to the mob via Philadelphia boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and his friendship with outspoken labor leader Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino).
Everything seems to change for the boys after the Kennedy administration puts the mob in the government’s crosshairs, but they get one final moment of peace at Christmas 1960, just less than a month before JFK would take office. Frank and Russell gather with their families for an intimate holiday celebration where the only real tension is Frank’s 11-year-old daughter Peggy withholding her affection for the Bufalino patriarch, refusing to see him as a benevolent “Uncle Russell” despite his Christmas gift of skates lined with a C-note.
On #MafiaMonday with just a week until Christmas, let’s look a little deeper at Frank Sheeran’s seasonal style during this brief holiday scene. Continue reading
If you’ve been following BAMF Style for a few years, you know I like to take a break from the enviable style of Grant, McQueen, Poitier, and their ilk to tackle a problem many of us have faced: how to dress for the office Christmas party. Given that corporate America’s closets tend to have more in common with Michael Scott than with Steve McQueen, the American version of The Office rose to the occasion to address the phenomenon of ill-fitting sweaters and ill-advised ties that seems to plague my fellow cubicle-dwellers as they don their gay apparel for the holiday season.
2020 being the year that it’s been, many staff parties have been relegated to holiday happy hours via Zoom or Teams where there will likely be a better chance of catching glimpse of a co-worker’s sweatpants than Christmas ties. For this year’s ranking of Dunder Mifflin duds, it thus feels more appropriate to settle in for Michael Scott’s vision of a more intimate holiday gathering… which also hosts its fair share of snowball scenes that would no doubt result in severe HR violations.
“Classy Christmas” aired ten years ago, the second of three episodes to be directed by Rainn Wilson. It also marked Michael Scott’s final Christmas celebration at Dunder Mifflin Scranton before Steve Carell left the series at the end of the seventh season.
Sammy Davis Jr. as Josh Howard, casino heister, sanitation worker, and World War II veteran
Las Vegas, January 1960
Film: Ocean’s Eleven
Release Date: August 10, 1960
Director: Lewis Milestone
Costume Designer: Howard Shoup
Tailor: Sy Devore
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Sammy Davis Jr. was born 95 years ago today in Harlem. Nicknamed “Mr. Show Business” in recognition of his vast talents, Davis had gotten an early start to performing when he joined his father and uncle to create the Will Mastin Trio, named after his uncle. Following his service in World War II, Davis cultivated his career as a singer, dancer, actor, and comedian.
Davis’ natural talent, stage presence, and quick wit brought him into the orbit of pallies Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, who were forming the seeds of what would become immortalized as the Rat Pack. (Sinatra wisely followed Davis’ suggestion that the group not call themselves “the Clan”, instead referring to themselves as “the Summit.”)
1960 was the high watermark for the Summit, when they pulled together an ensemble cast to make Ocean’s 11, a stylish heist film set in Las Vegas. Continue reading
Telly Savalas as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, aka Comte Balthazar de Bleuchamp, megalomaniac terrorist
Piz Gloria, Switzerland, December 1969
Film: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
Release Date: December 18, 1969
Director: Peter R. Hunt
Costume Designer: Marjory Cornelius
‘Twas Christmastime at Piz Gloria, when all through the clinic
Not a creature was stirring, not even the agent from MI6.
The Angels of Death were snuggled in bed with care
in hopes that Sir Hilary’s bezants soon would be there.
As of 2020, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service remains the only James Bond movie prominently set during yuletide, as 007 (George Lazenby) disguises himself as genealogist Sir Hilary Bray in order to get close to SPECTRE chief Ernst Stavro Blofeld (Telly Savalas), under the pretense of investigating Blofeld’s claim to the title of Count Balthazar de Bleuchamp.
On the 00-7th of December, let’s see how one of Bond’s most iconic nemeses dresses for the holidays.
Tony Sirico as “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri, mob captain and Army veteran
New Jersey, early 2000s
Series: The Sopranos
– “From Where to Eternity” (Episode 2.09, dir. Henry J. Bronchtein, aired 3/12/2000)
– “Second Opinion” (Episode 3.07, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 4/8/2001)
– “…To Save Us All from Satan’s Power” (Episode 3.10, dir. Jack Bender, aired 4/29/2001)
– “Army of One” (Episode 3.13, dir. John Patterson, aired 5/20/2001)
– “Mergers and Acquisitions” (Episode 4.08, dir. Dan Attias, aired 11/3/2002)
– “Whoever Did This” (Episode 4.09, dir. Tim Van Patten, aired 11/10/2002)
– “Where’s Johnny?” (Episode 5.03, dir. John Patterson, aired 3/21/2004)
– “The Ride” (Episode 6.09, dir. Alan Taylor, aired 5/7/2006)
– “Made in America” (Episode 6.21, dir. David Chase, aired 6/10/2007)
Creator: David Chase
Costume Designer: Juliet Polcsa
Heh, heh… happy #MafiaMonday, folks. In response to a request I received from a BAMF Style reader, today’s subject would be particularly recognizable for fans of The Sopranos as a sartorial signature from the wardrobe of the singular Paulie Walnuts.
Walter Matthau as Zachary Garber, New York City Transit Authority police lieutenant
New York City, December 1973
Film: The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
Release Date: October 2, 1974
Director: Joseph Sargent
Costume Designer: Anna Hill Johnstone
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today would have been the 100th birthday of Walter Matthau, perhaps best known to today’s audiences for his roles opposite Jack Lemmon such as The Odd Couple and the Grumpy Old Men movies, though the New York-born actor’s rich filmography expands a range of genres from westerns and war movies to comedies and crime capers. One of my favorites falls into the latter category, the action thriller The Taking of Pelham One Two Three. Continue reading
Daniel Craig as Tuvia Bielski, Polish resistance leader
Belarus, August 1941 through April 1942
Release Date: December 31, 2008
Director: Edward Zwick
Costume Designer: Jenny Beavan
Daniel Craig’s fifth and final movie as James Bond, No Time to Die, was originally scheduled for release in the U.K. today. Last month, MGM and Eon Productions announced that they were pushing the release to November in response to concerns related to the worldwide COVID-19 outbreak. While the postponement may have defied the wishes of Bond fans (see where I’m going with this?), there’s still plenty of Craig’s filmography out there to stream, including the 2008 war film Defiance.
Max von Sydow as G. Joubert, French Alsatian contract assassin
New York City and Washington, D.C., Winter 1975
Film: Three Days of the Condor
Release Date: September 24, 1975
Director: Sydney Pollack
Costume Designer: Joseph G. Aulisi
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
You may be walking, maybe the first sunny day of the spring, and a car will slow beside you, and a door will open, and someone you know – maybe even trust – will get out of the car, and he will smile a becoming smile… but he will leave open the door of the car and offer to give you a lift.
Happy Spring to my BAMF Style readers in the Northern Hemisphere! Among the many screen credits of the late Max von Sydow, who died at the age of 90 earlier this month, was the taciturn professional assassin known as G. Joubert in the ’70s espionage thriller Three Days of the Condor.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, BAMF Style readers! What could be a more appropriate focus on this green-bedecked holiday than focusing on one of the most famous movie and TV bartenders rocking a green shirt?
Ted Danson as Sam Malone, bartender and former baseball star
Boston, Early Winter 1983
Episode: “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Call You Back” (Episode 2.10)
Air Date: December 8, 1983
Director: James Burrows
Created by: Glen Charles, Les Charles, and James Burrows
Costume Designer: Robert L. Tanella
WARNING! Spoilers ahead! Continue reading
Ben Affleck as Tony Mendez, CIA covert operations officer
Tehran, Iran, January 1980
Release Date: October 12, 2012
Director: Ben Affleck
Costume Designer: Jacqueline West
A month ago on my Instagram page, I posted about Ben Affleck’s tweedy look in Argo to coincide with the 40th anniversary of what became known as the “Canadian Caper”, the successful 1980 rescue of six American diplomats who had been taking refuge with Canadian diplomatic personnel after the seizure of the U.S. embassy in Tehran.
The six diplomats—Bob Anders, Cora and Mark Lijek, Henry Lee Schatz, and Joe and Kathleen Stafford—had managed to escape after militants first stormed the embassy on November 4, 1979, evading the 444 days of captivity that befell more than 50 Americans who were detained in what would become known as the “Iran hostage crisis”. The escapees initially received help from the British embassy but deemed their situation too risky due to the militants’ raids of diplomatic compounds. Eventually, the sextet found a safer, longer-term solution sheltered at the homes of Canadian immigration officer John Sheardown and Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor.
Taylor first contacted the Canadian government, who expressed support for the sanctuary and instigated a plan to create six Canadian passports for the Americans to safely fly out of Iran. The joint Canadian-American operation also required the participation of the CIA, particularly the efforts of Antonio “Tony” Mendez, a decorated agent and expert in disguises and exfiltration. Continue reading