Furs in Film – The Awful Truth (1937)

I 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, perhaps I haven’t done much to establish those high editorial standards yet. I think a film needs quality and quantity to distinguish itself. The previous film, Roberta, is a perfect example. Fabulous furs and a lot of them.

1937’s The Awful Truth only really has one of note. But that one may be the most incredible in film history.

The Awful Truth – The Film

The term “divorce comedy” probably sums up the plot. Mining the light-hearted comedy inherent in the gut-wrenching emotions of divorce was a bit more common in the ’30s. Irene Dunne and Cary Grant star as Jerry and Lucy Warriner. Jerry divorces his wife after returning home to 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.

The Awful Truth – The White Fox Fur

Irene Dunne in a Huge White Fox Fur Coat - The Awful Truth, 1937

Not two 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.

Irene Dunne in a Huge White Fox Fur Coat - The Awful Truth, 1937

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

Irene Dunne in a Huge White Fox Fur Coat - The Awful Truth, 1937

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

Irene Dunne in a Huge White Fox Fur Coat - The Awful Truth, 1937

What are you lookin’ at?

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.

Irene Dunne in a Huge White Fox Fur Coat - The Awful Truth, 1937

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.

The Awful Truth – The Other Furs

Bess Flowers in Fur Stole - The Awful Truth, 1937

When I originally wrote this update, I ignored everything else. My editorial standards have slightly improved. Thus, we will look at “the rest of the story.” Such as this road kill stole worn by Bess Flowers.

Wyn Cahoon in Silver Fox Fur Stole - The Awful Truth, 1937

As well as this example of the most common silver fox fur stole in all of movie media worn by Wyn Cahoon.

Cecil Cunningham in Fox Fur Collar - The Awful Truth, 1937

Finally, there is Cecil Cunningham’s fox collar. All three have the misfortune of sharing the scene with Irene Dunne’s white fox, so they are easy to overlook.

Irene Dunne in a Fox Fur Stroller - The Awful Truth, 1937

Much later in the film, Irene wears this fox very briefly. It is nice, but can’t compete with the white fox either. You will find another couple of others in the updated gallery that have similarly limited screen time and are even less compelling.

As far as I can currently remember, Irene Dunne’s white fox coat in The Awful Truth is the most extraordinary ever seen in film history. To quibble with this assessment, please use the film suggestion form to prove your work. Sure, I’ve seen a few other mega foxes in print that may outshine it in a side-by-side comparison, but I can’t think of anything better on film. 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 justice. Perhaps a couple of barrel muffs would have been the perfect addition. I am proving (if nothing else) that I can be picky enough to find fault with the most significant white fox fur in film history.

Fur Runtime: approx 5.5 minutes total, of which about 2 is the white fox
Film Runtime: 91 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 6%

Find-a-Fur: The Awful Truth, 1937

  • 02:45 – 07:50 – other randos to the main event
  • 13:20 – 16:20 – maybe ermine
  • 23:20 – ”
  • 26:30 – silver fox cape
  • 1:01:11 – 02:30 – spots to mink stole

7 responses to “Furs in Film – The Awful Truth (1937)”

  1. […] Miss Stanwyck’s crystal fox coat is notable not only because it’s the largest fox in the film and lovingly documented, but from a fashion perspective, the coat is very similar to many white fox coats of the day that I’ve documented in previous updates. The broad shoulders and lack of a collar are instantly familiar. If it where white it would be a few pelts short of Irene Dunne’s famous coat from The Awful Truth. […]

  2. […] update out of just one really nice fur in a single film can be tricky… unless you’re The Awful Truth. Since many films don’t quite warrant the full treatment yet shouldn’t be overlooked […]

  3. […] sequence would have been a little better had Dietrich been wearing Irene Dunne’s coat from The Awful Truth, but that almost seems a bit disingenuous. After all, part of the magic of the sequence is the fact […]

  4. the fur turns me on.

  5. […] the massive white fox coat from The Awful Truth slips away far too soon, the remake does a fine job showcasing this beauty from all […]

  6. […] to say, “it should have been a fox.” I’m just saying, imagine this scene and the coat from The Awful Truth. It would have been a fox coat if this had been made in […]

  7. […] Fur Fashion Review: The Awful Truth Fur Fashion Gallery: The Awful Truth Fur Fashion GIFs: The Awful Truth […]

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