When I’m zipping through the channel guide for TCM looking for stuff to drop on the DVR for later review, I follow specific rules. Certain “thematic factors” argue either for or against the likelihood there will be some good fur in the film in question. One of the “against” factors is “war movie,” even “war movie from the ’30s.” So, ordinarily, I wouldn’t have bothered with The Eagle and the Hawk. But, TCM was running Carole Lombard as an actor of the month, and they had some “new” films. This was one of them, and I reserve the right to break the rules for anything TCM hasn’t shown before.
The Eagle and the Hawk – The Film
Lucky I did. I know the rules are a gamble, there could be furs in a war movie or a western, but I play the odds to keep the amount of stuff I have to deal with manageable. So I DVR’d this war movie and period piece (another “against”) The Eagle and the Hawk, a 1933 film set during World War I about a Royal Air Force squadron and 3 American volunteers flying for it. A supposed “hidden gem” of a movie, it’s certainly not a showpiece for Carole Lombard, who appears in about 2 scenes as a woman who’s known only in the credits as “The Beautiful Lady.” Certainly a title she embodies, especially in one of her 2 scenes… Truly a hidden gem.
The Eagle and the Hawk – The Furs
The Eagle and the Hawk is literally a “one fur wonder.” Like Rendezvous, the designers probably took a little liberty with this particular outfit. Someone on the IMDb helpfully pointed out the anachronisms in the planes they used, but not this monster beauty of a white fox-trimmed coat. I say trimmed, but the trim is virtually a coat unto itself. So sumptuously large are the collar and cuffs they easily hide the silk or satin body of the coat.
The whole sequence lasts about 5 and a half minutes, showing “Jerry Young” (Frederic March) taking “The Beautiful Lady” out to a park, and Jerry picks her up in a cab. Miss Lombard smokes in the enormous white fox beauty while she chats with Jerry in the back.
Light plays across both actors as the cab moves along, alternating between light and shadow, incredibly alluring as The Beautiful Lady smokes in her furs.
Exiting the cab to head for the park gives the best view of the enormity of the collar, fringe, and cuffs. Only a tiny patch of the satin on Carole Lombard’s shoulder manages to peak through.
The chat on the park bench occupies the rest of the sequence, alternating between this wide shot…
And angles of both…
and, thankfully, beautiful closeups of The Beautiful Lady…
Not a poor use of 5 minutes of screen time. If you’re going to put Carole Lombard in a film for less than 10 minutes total, then choosing to do so with this enormous white fox fur collar and cuffs for half that time was an excellent decision. Sure, I’ll say the entire thing could have been a white fox, but even in its current state, it shot to a top spot on my “best movie furs” list. Indeed, a pleasant surprise from a film I assumed would be a waste of time.