Good thing I’ve already posted Night Shift because we have a new heavyweight champion for “great fox screen time,” one that will be hard to beat. Also can be added to that concise list of films where a fur coat is integral to the plot. Fortunately, the one in Forever Lulu has a better screen presence than the one in Butterfield 8.
Forever Lulu – The Film
Forever Lulu is the story of a German immigrant and aspiring writer named Elaine (Hanna Schygulla), who’s having a particularly bad day, leading to a minor psychotic break in a rainy back alley where she waves a gun around like a lunatic. A nearby couple mistakes these antics for a stickup, and before you know it, Elaine walks away one soaking wet, full-length white fox fur coat richer.
With the coat comes another man’s wallet with a photo of a blonde woman with the words “Forever Lulu” penned upon it. Elaine embarks on a journey to find Lulu (Deborah Harry), who always seems to turn up where she is, though she never notices.
Forever Lulu – The Furs
The dinnertime encounter contributes to Elaine’s minor mental breakdown in the alley, where these fine people turn over their valuables, including the white fox coat, to the crazy lady waving a gun. Not having seen a full-length white fox fur coat soaking wet, I’m not sure if this is the real deal or perhaps a “stunt faux” for that purpose.
Returning with her “loot,” Elaine catches her reflection in the mirror with the coat hoisted over her shoulders and proceeds to wrap her face with the soaking wet coat, openly admiring the results in the mirror. A rare direct cinematic exploration of the power of a beautiful fur coat… and something you won’t see on screen much after 1988.
The coat kicks off Act 2 of the film, where Elaine constantly wears it with few interruptions between minute 22 and minute 49.
Life turning around, Elaine lets her lovely new fur coat dry out and takes it for a spin. She makes a minor effort to return it by placing a classified ad that incorrectly describes the coat. You could assume it’s a goof on the part of the film, but I think it’s reasonable that Elaine wouldn’t know what kind of coat it is.
Following up on the photo in the wallet, she arrives at an address only to witness a mob deal gone bad, escaping notice by throwing a sheet or something over her head and standing very still, in a move I think Bugs Bunny pioneered.
The cops arrive, and she reveals herself, leading to what I can reasonably assume is the only time in cinema history a white lady in a full-length white fox coat is given a pat-down.
Elaine’s good luck is inversely proportional to the luck of everyone around her, and the cops and everyone else die, leaving two very large suitcases of cash around, to which Elaine helps herself.
As anyone other than Elaine might imagine, stealing mob money will supply some Act 3 complications, but for now, she makes a successful escape.
Elaine turns her tale into a successful book and is interviewed by Dr. Ruth. Since I’m updating this in 2022, just click the link. Dr. Ruth cameos and big fox coats are very, very 80s. I also think this is the exact same stole worn earlier in the film.
The movie still has some plot left. Elaine’s best friend borrows the coat and is immediately kidnapped by the mobsters in a case of mistaken identity. Elaine and the weak excuse for a love interest have to get her back.
Elaine saves her friend and develops self-confidence, the true moral of this film (I guess). This is demonstrated by her foiling a convenience store holdup. She does so in this fur-trimmed coat. Maybe some kind of raccoon, not sure.
And, yes, Elaine finally bumps into Lulu at the end of the film, where Debby Harry utters one of her around three lines total, and everyone lives happily ever after (except all the dead guys, we presume).
It’s 2022, and a comment about this film actually fostered my addition of Fur Ratios to future reviews. I never went back and updated this one, so let’s fix that:
- Film Runtime: 85 mintues
- Fur Runtime: 28:45 minutes
- On-Screen Fur Ratio: 33.82%
That makes Forever Lulu the best fur film of the 1980s. One-third of the movie has fur in it, and most of that is a full-length white fox coat. I’ll be more than happy to accept challenges to this assessment because that means there are 80s movies with even more fur, and I’d love to see them. Just make sure you show your work.
Find-a-Fur, Forever Lulu, 1986
- 18:00 – 21:15 – Black Fox Stole
- 22:30 – 49:00 – White Fox Coat (Most of Act 2)
- 54:00 – ”
- 55:40 – 57:20 – Black Fox Stole
- 1:10:00 – 1:03:10 – ”
- 1:06:40 – 1:09:05 – White Fox Coat
- 1:09:05 – 1:11:00 – White Fox Coat to Racoon? Collar to White Fox Coat Again
- 1:14:20 – White Fox Coat
- 1:20:25 – 1:23:00 (end) – Racoon? Collar to White Fox Coat