Archive for October, 2008

2008/10/30

Furs in Film – I’m No Angel

These days it’s easier to find media from the 30’s with mega furs than it is to find similarly well fashioned media from the 80’s. Despite what chronological order may suggest, even plumbing the depths of cable rarely turns up any 80’s gems. So we return to the by gone days of power furs and the women who knew who to use them.

I’m No Angel – The Film

This time the woman in question is Mae West, who could pull off a power fox like few others. 1933’s I’m No Angel is considered one of her classic roles. It serves up a couple very classic fox outfits in addition to a variety of classic Mae West lines.

Mae stars as Tira, a circus performer who rises from circus obscurity to circus stardom as the lion tamer. Fortunately the circus paid really well back in the 30’s, at least lion taming must have. Now much better off, Tira climbs the social ladder, ditching her boyfriend and trading up to the New York social scene. After one of those wacky misunderstandings, she ends up suing would-be boyfriend Jack Clayton (Cary Grant) for “breach of promise.”

Tira arrives to the trial exceptionally well dressed, and ends up winning, both the trial, and her boyfriend back. The moral of the story is that all attractive women should wear fox to civil litigation.

I’m No Angel – The Furs

Tira first meets Jack’s cousin Kent when he and some friends visit her after an evening of lion taming. One of the friends sports this rather nice white fox collar.

Kent’s fiancée doesn’t particularly care for Tira’s new found interest. She drops by to dissuade Tira from pursuing Kent. Gertrude Michael as Alicia Hutton wears the fox trimmed wrap in this scene, but Mae is in charge. The cigarette holder is a nice touch.

The marquee fur is up next, this coat trimmed with enormous white fox collar and huge cuffs. Wisely we see it all when Miss West first enters, putting the entire coat on display. The combination collar / full fringe on the coat is perfect.

Closer shot, highlighting the sheer size of the white fox collar on the coat. Fashion is fickle, but why did this ever go out of style?

This shot is worth it just for Mae West’s expression alone. The white fox collar is the perfect frame.

A brief interlude when Tira consults her lawyer before heading to trial against Jack. The silver fox muff and trim on the dress are just a prelude to the final act.

Finally, in the penultimate sequence, the trial is on, and Tira takes over as her own counsel. She’s dressed the part in a cape with a huge fox collar and matching muff. The trail sequence lasts a good 10 minutes and she’s in this fur the entire time.

Close up of the collar, because it’s definitely worth it.

Victorious, Tira plays to the press, but realizes she loves Jack after all. Jack’s definitely the lucky one.

Were I to gripe, I’d say that gold fabric on the the white fox was completely unnecessary. Were it all white fox, it would certainly be same league as Irene Dunne’s white fox from The Awful Truth. Still, the collar and cuffs were spectacular enough as they are.

Enjoy: I’m No Angel Fur Gallery.

2008/10/25

Welcome FFG

Looks like someone at Cookie’s little slice of heaven found the blog.  Greetings all.  I can assure it is a “real” website, heh.

Thing about Open Source software like WordPress is, it relies on the good graces of the people who chose to use it to throw them a little recognition in exchange for the fact that they let you use it for free and all…

Admittedly, leaving the “login” section up was somewhat lazy on my part, since it was just a shortcut for me.  I pulled it off to avoid any confusion.  There isn’t any paywall, everything here is free.  It’s vidcaps of old movies and TV shows, why wouldn’t it be?

It does take a little time to put together these posts, so I can’t promise anything like an update a day or antyhing, but I’m working at getting more up.  Feel free to leave comments, there’s no rule against that either.

2008/10/23

Furs on TV – Another World

“Another” from the “Back Catalog”

Like ships passing in the night, SoapNet’s programming schedule and my best days of capping were not destined to meet up at the appropriate time. Those early days of a schedule permeated with 80’s nighttimes soaps did help hone my skills. Unfortunately they weren’t what they are today.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have a large back catalog from that time that, by virtue of the fact it will probably never be updated, I’ll throw out from time to time. The Paper Dolls gallery was one such example.

Another World – The Show

Between about 2003 and 2007, SoapNet showed Another World. Only somewhat fortunately, they decided to start showing episodes starting from 1987. That provided a decent couple years before the combination of a waning fashion cycle propelled by a changing cultural zeitgeist that would make the 1990’s a barren wasteland of televised fur fashion from which we still have not completely recovered.

Another World ran from 1964 to 1999, I’d have preferred SoapNet pick out something around 1975 to 1990, but I have to accept what I get, and it wasn’t bad, as the caps will prove. Like anything that lasted upwards of 30 years, the details are long and complex, so I’ll skip trying to fill in the plot and get to what we’re here for….

Another World – The Furs

These are in roughly chronological order in the sequence the episodes were shown in. I can’t place a fur to an episode name or number at this point. In the few years they showed Another World, I grabbed good shots from only about 17 episodes, a very tiny fraction compared to shows like Dynasty. Again, the fact that any of these beauties showed up on television so close to the 90’s was blessing enough.

Starting here with the recognizable member of the cast, a very young Anne Heche wearing a perfect example of a “mega fox,” this one crystal flavor. Youthful Miss Heche wears it very well.

Moving to another great white fox stroller on actress Joanna Going. The sleeves of the stroller are exceptionally full here.

80’s hair and 80’s fox on this lady. I think her hair manages to be fuller than the fox fur coat, which is actually quite an accomplishment.

Linda Dano, “Felicia,” wearing a huge power fox, golden isle flavor. If Another World was showing furs like this so late in the game, I certainly wonder what amazing ones I missed through the 80’s.

Wide shot lacks a little detail due to the low data rates I worked with back then, unfortunately, but this one deserves a second look to show the sheer size of the full length fox beauty.

Joanna Going in a shorter haired mink or marten. Though I usually pass on “documenting” the less full furs, the brighter colors of one like this can make it worthy of notice.

Anne returns in another mega fox, this one blue. She looks equally at home in this as the previous crystal fox.

Nice close up of Anne Heche in the blue fox power fur.

Not sure who this blond is, though she is appropriately outfitted in the kind of big fox coat that reminds me why I miss the 80’s.

Carmen Duncan playing Iris in a blush fox trimmed blush mink jacket.

Joanna Going is back for a Christmas episode in this big white fox wrap. Christmas was always a giving time of season back then.

Linda Dano in an interesting and rather tall fur pillbox hat. Should have “accessorized” with a giant white fox coat, but time was growing short for fur at all on Another World at this point.

All wasn’t completely gone, though, as series mainstay Victoria Wyndham appears in yet another full length power fox.

Though not on the show for more than a few years, Joanna Going racked up an impressive score, appearing here in a very full silver fox stroller coat.

And with Miss Wyndham in this set, which is a pretty much where Another World‘s wardrobe department basically gave up against the unrelenting tide of the 90s. Granted, this was a very fine pair to go out on.

In all, this set just keeps my fingers crossed for what will probably be inevitable, some kind of 80s soap nostalgia network. I think SoapNet claimed to be working on something like that. If it ever appeared, it would be a bit of a double edged sword, as it may generate more “work” than I’m prepared for. But that would be one of those “good problems to have.”

If nothing else, this set will win you an argument if your friends says “No way Anne Heche wore enormous fox fur coats!”

Here’s the full gallery, biggest one yet at 40 pics: Another World Fur Gallery.

2008/10/15

Furs in Film – Libeled Lady

From 1936, we have Jean Harlow and Myrna Loy draped in some beautiful furs for the film Libeled Lady. Not sure what it is about divorce, but man, toss that into the plot and the costumers seem to really break out the furs. This film had no roots in anything but the script that birthed it, though it was remade later as Easy to Wed.

What’s great about Easy to Wed is they dressed almost exactly the same way… I’ll get to Easy to Wed later. Much like a sequel though, it didn’t quite live up to the quality of the original.

The Film

Libeled Lady tells the story of Connie Allenbury, who sues a newspaper for 5 million bucks for… libel. Miss Allenbury was falsely accused of… breaking up a marriage, in other words, causing a divorce. The newspaper’s editor (Spenser Tracy) sends suave lady’s man reporter (William Powell in “The William Powell Role”) to catch her en flagrante delicto with him when his wife walks in.

The “wife” is played by Jean Harlow, who is only posing as such at the behest of the editor, to whom she is doing a favor as they are in love. Complications arise, multiple divorces occur, and everyone lives happily ever after. Or rather, they all end up arguing when “The End” title card shows up.

The Furs

Bill Chandler’s (William Powell) plan to catch the lovely, wealthy Miss Allenbury starts on a cruise ship. It’s cold in the Atlantic, and Connie shows up for dinner in a beautiful white fox cape.

Connie is with her father, so Bill has to chat them both up at the same time.

Some girlfriends arrive, who are far less interestingly dressed.

Cinematographers are to be rewarded when they care enough to give a glimpse of all sides of a classic white fox cape like this:

Up next, Jean Harlow as put-upon faux bride Gladys Benton wears what is probably just a marabou feather sleeved nightgown. Anything that suggests an entire sleeve becoming a single cuff warrants mention. Those “cuffs” are huge.

Jean leaves the feathers behind for this chinchilla jacket / cape.

The collar looks like an errant sleeve cuff hanging off her shoulder, an interesting design.

Finally, as the screwball hi-jinks reach their apex, Miss Harlow spends the last ten minutes or so of the film in this dress coat with an enormous fox collar and trim. It’s there right up until the closing credits.

This shot shows the full dress coat in its entirety. Though the wide collar would probably be enough, the lower trim bookends nicely.

The collar literally fills the screen in this reaction shot, which occurs only once and is entirely too brief at about 2 seconds. Perfect framing:

I’d like to think Myrna is admiring that collar in this shot in a rather roomy bathroom. Then I realize my mind is wondering a bit too far.

Libeled Lady doesn’t skimp on Jean Harlow’s last huge fox trimmed dress. As mentioned, she literally spends the last 10 minutes of the film wearing it. It’s right there as it fades to credits. In terms of quality, Myrna Loy’s white fox cape is probably my preference, but the huge collar of Harlow’s dress is definitely the very close runner up.

Full Gallery: The Furs of the 1936 Film Libeled Lady

2008/10/03

Furs in Film – The Awful Truth

I’d like to think I have pretty high editorial standards for singling out an individual film for recognition. Since this is only the second one I’ve done, then perhaps I haven’t done a great deal to establish those high editorial standards yet. Personally, I think a film needs both quality and quantity to really distinguish itself. The previous film, Roberta, is a perfect example. Great furs and a lot of them.

1937’s The Awful Truth only really has one of any note. But… That one may just be the greatest one in film history.

The Film

The term “divorce comedy” probably sums up the plot. Mining the light-hearted comedy inherent in gut wrenching emotions of divorce was a bit more common in 30s. Irene Dunne and Cary Grant star as Jerry and Lucy Warriner. Jerry divorces his wife after she returns home the country with her music teacher, the suspiciously named “Armond.”

What she returns home wearing we’ll get to in a moment.

Naturally, it was all a misunderstanding, but Jerry ends up divorcing Lucy, and hilarity ensues. Not to spoil the ending, but yes, they get back together. Irene Dunne’s luck in love holds steady from Roberta, apparently.

The Fur

“The” is correct; there’s only one that really matters. Not 2 years earlier Irene Dunne sashayed down the steps of a French boutique in a dress fringed by possibly the biggest white fox wrap ever seen. In The Awful Truth, she gets to top it.

Shortly after entering, Lucy greets Jerry with a big hug. Lucky Jerry.

Jerry notices Armand, demonstrating a rather unnatural amount of willpower.

The scene continues, and I’m no longer really paying any further attention to anything but Miss Dunne’s staggeringly enormous white fox coat.

Fortunately the cinematography gives this singular white fox beauty much of the time it deserves. We see Lucy up close, and enjoy the rather large collar.

One more shot in which the coat is framed perfectly.

Sadly, the tone of this light-hearted divorce comedy is shattered to one of shock and terror as… she takes the coat off…

Irene Dunne’s white fox coat in The Awful Truth is, as far as I can currently remember, the greatest fur coat ever seen in film. Sure, I’ve seen a few other mega foxes in print that would hold outshine it in side-by-side comparison, but on film, I can’t think of anything that’s better. Lucky Irene, going from the white fox wrap in Roberta to this.

Let me say, were I to quibble with greatness, I would have added a couple of cuffs that did the collar and coat as whole justice. Perhaps a couple barrel muffs would have been the prefect addition.

Proving (if nothing else) that I can be picky enough to find fault with the greatest fur in film history.

Full Gallery: The Fur in the 1937 Film, The Awful Truth