These days it’s easier to find media from the ’30s with mega furs than it is to find similarly well-fashioned media from the ’80s. 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 with I’m No Angel.
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, and it serves up a couple of 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 ’30s, 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 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 them sports this rather lovely white fox collar.
Kent’s fiancée doesn’t particularly care for Tira’s newfound interest, and 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; next, this coat is trimmed with an 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.
In a brief interlude, 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, the trial is on in the penultimate sequence, and Tira takes over as her own counsel. She’s dressed in a cape with a colossal 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 white fox was utterly unnecessary. Were it all white fox, it would undoubtedly be the same league as Irene Dunne’s white fox from The Awful Truth. Still, the collar and cuffs were spectacular enough as they are.