Archive for October, 2009

2009/10/25

Furs in Film – The Hotel New Hampshire

Were I possessed of any sense of timing, this would have been a great week to post the Dr. Phibes update. Halloween, etc… Lacking any suitable alternatives from the horror genre (again, not a lot of furs there, and “SyFy” doesn’t show Dracula’s Daughter anymore); I’ll go with young Jodie Foster in fox fur stoles. Never a bad fall back position. The film in question is The Hotel New Hampshire. It’s notable to me because I’ve capped it multiple times, and I still have no clue what’s happening in this movie no matter how many times I fast forward through it.

The Hotel New Hampshire – The Film

Off to Wikipedia, where I learn the film is based on a book of the same name by John Irving. Then I read the plot summary of the film on Wikipedia and quickly realize why I’ve never really been able to put everything together since it seems there’s enough material in there for eight different films. There’s at least 2 different Hotels New Hampshire, a plot to blow up the Vienna State Opera, and very “non-traditional” family interaction. This isn’t the first R-rated film I’ve profiled, but it’s the first one that suggests I actually point that out.

The Hotel New Hampshire – The Furs

With the massive amount of “stuff” that happens, it’s fortunate the costumers were well aware that it was 1984 and, accordingly, provided a fine selection of nice, thick fox furs, and one coyote. The latter is featured most prominently in a few scenes, whereas Jodie Foster’s fox stoles are not quite as lovingly documented.

On the one hand, attempting to set up the backstory of each sequence with this film is tricky due to sheer mass of said backstory, so for this one, let’s go with… nice looking blush fox collar:

In the second Hotel New Hampshire, in Austria, John Berry (Rob Lowe) encounters one of the ladies of easy virtue that lodges there. Again, it’s 1984 and we follow the “all hookers wear fox” rule.

John Berry, amongst the myriad other plot threads for his character, is in love with his sister, Franny (Jodie Foster), so he resists the temptation, something the hooker doesn’t particularly appreciate.

After the whole terrorist plot to blow up something in Vienna part of the film ends, the family returns to the states, with “Susie the Bear” in tow. Susie is played by Nastassja Kinski, who did this film right after the remake of Unfaithfully Yours, another film that I should put up here someday.


Susie spent a lot of time in a bear costume, thus the “the Bear” part of her name, so the fact that she wears this coyote fur coat a lot is probably “significant.” I agree, because it’s Natassja Kinski in a big coyote fur coat, and that is significant. It would only be more significant if it were fox.


We now get to what the intro paragraph teased, Jodie Foster in a black fox fur stole. In the film, Franny Berry writes a book and becomes famous. Then she writes another one and becomes less-famous. This is the press conference where the latter fact is driven home.


Jodie storms off, her stole complimenting the primary red suit jacket nicely. A combination of a fox dyed that color and the stole would have worked better, I think.


Later, as more massive amounts of plot have happened, Susie and John get together for another chat, giving us another opportunity to see Natassja in fur.


Franny eventually marries a guy from high-school that, eons ago in this film, helped break up a little a non-consensual sex act. White fox as a bridal fashion accessory just isn’t as common as it should be, even back then.


This is John hugging Franny, which is awkward for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which are those shorts.


Eons later in the film, Franny has committed suicide and the surviving members of the family mourn, including Susie, who shows up one last time in her big coyote fur coat.


Suffice to say, there’s stuff in The Hotel New Hampshire that could make viewers of a more delicate constitution a bit uncomfortable. So, fairly warned be thee, says I. Still, it’s a good flick for the number of furs, and especially for 80’s sex symbol Natassja Kinski in the big coyote stroller. I would have put Kinski in a fox instead of a coyote, but if you really need to see her in a full length fox for a long time, that’s what the 1984 version of Unfaithfully Yours is for.

The Furs of The Hotel New Hampshire – Full Gallery

2009/10/18

Furs in Film – The Dolly Sisters

Films show up here for 2 reasons, what I’ve come to call “1 Epic Fur” or “Fur Overload.” 1 Epic Fur is pretty obvious, that’s the The Great Bank Hoax from last week, or the poster child of the entire “genre” The Awful Truth. Fur Overload is the Roberta‘s of film, a bunch of good stuff all in one place. Sometimes there are crossovers, such as The Dolly Sisters, which is loaded with beautiful furs, and anchored by something that would make it noteworthy if there weren’t a single other fur in the entire film.

The Dolly Sisters – The Film

The film The Dolly Sisters is a biopic of the real Dolly Sisters, who were identical twins famous for working in early film and on Broadway in the early 19th Century. Though the original sisters were identical twins (and brunettes), there wasn’t a spare Betty Grable laying around so in the film, the sisters aren’t quite so identical. June Haver fills in as the other sister, and she looks quite a bit like Betty, though no one is going to confuse the two. The film traces their rise from Hungarian emigrants to stardom, though the ending is a bit happier than it was in reality, especially for Jenny Dolly.

The Dolly Sisters – The Furs

This film is full of great fur fashion, though one particular piece does stand out above all the rest. Since it’s better to save it up for the end, so to speak, I’m going to run through the furs outside of the film’s chronological order. I’m also going to shamelessly add something that I know isn’t really fur, but looks pretty good nonetheless. The Dolly Sisters is well stocked all around, in terms of both the stars and supporting characters in lovey foxes and another furs.

We do open somewhat chronologically with the Sisters Dolly, Betty Grable and June Haver, doing a little command performance set up by Uncle Latsie (S.Z. Sakall playing the “S.Z. Sakall role”). Yes, those are feathers, not fur, but ultimately they’re meant to be evocative of fur, and they’re nice and big, and pastel, so I’m including them.

This film is interesting in that Betty Grable doesn’t show up in gray fox, something her costume designers saw fit to wrap her in many times over her film career (Moon over Miami, Down Argentine Way, etc.). Gray fox does make an appearance in this reasonably short sequence.

As the Dolly sisters grow in prominence, they do some shows in Paris. These ladies appear as part of the opening to one of their stage performances. Not sure why they decided to divorce the cigarette holder from the white fox stole.

The sisters, successful, return home in these heavily mink trimmed coats. When the “trim” is the entire sleeve, that’s trim I can love. The big shawl collars are a perfect match.

This is Jenny Dolly’s love interest Harry Fox (John Payne), and her romantic rival in the story, Lenora Baldwin (Trudy Marshall), tastefully outfitted in a fox stole the likes of which probably wasn’t all that common for the time period, but these are the kind of anachronisms I enjoy the most.

We’re going to skip to the happy ending of the film for a moment, where many Jenny and Harry reunite at the big show. Here’s the show’s MC, who’s got an excellent white fox collar going on there.

Lenora holds onto Harry, oblivious that she’s about to lose this little romantic entanglement. It’s hard to tell here, but she’s wearing a black fox stole over her arm.

Better close up of the MC’s fox collar. No, can’t remember who this is, but she wears “giant white fox collar” well.

Close up of Trudy Marshall as Lenora, with the black fox stole on her shoulder this time.

Here’s the best shot of the stole and the collar together. The black fox stole has a full three tiers, very nice and full, and makes for a nice juxtaposition to the big white fox collar.

And here we are, the reason The Dolly Sisters would be on this site if there weren’t a single other fur in the film. This coat is technically only “trim” but this is my favorite kind… the kind where is damn hard to tell it’s only trim.

Fortunately the director of photography was obviously no dummy, and set up this shot just to show off this beauty in its entirety. As you can see, it is in fact an enormous set of white fox cuffs and huge fox collar, backed up by the trim along the sweep of the coat.

Closer now, the ¾ shot gives us the perfect view of the best part of this coat, the collar and cuffs in all their silky white glory.

This part of the film chronicles a real incident in Jenny Dolly’s life, a car accident in 1933. Perhaps the date explains the giant white fox coat.

In the movie Jenny loses control of the car and she, and this amazing white fox coat, careens over a cliff. In the movie she awakens later with a band-aid on her face.

In the film, Jenny Dolly recovers fully and reunites with her man at the show with the MC and her white fox collar shown earlier above. The Dolly Sisters is a musical from 1945, so happy endings were pretty much mandatory. The reality was that after the wreck and the subsequent set of surgeries (not just a band-aid), the real Jenny Dolly hung herself in her hotel room in 1941. Yeah, that would have been a bit of a downer ending for a big budget musical, so they played around a little with the facts. Historical inaccuracies aside, the film provides a great showcase for fur fashion, and the massive white fox trimmed coat from Jenny’s accident is one of the best you’ll find anywhere.

Full Gallery – Fur Fashions of The Dolly Sisters

2009/10/11

Furs in Film – The Great Bank Hoax

As mentioned in the last film update, films from the 30’s with an heiress are “must-record”. Films about small towns are… fur fashion kryptonite, so to speak, even if they’re also from the 70’s. Sometimes wild, random hunches pay off, as they did in the case of The Great Bank Hoax. Maybe it was the 1978 glowing in the program guide that suggested that, yes, there was promise here. Expecting five minutes lost to a pointless fast-forward, what I found was a most pleasant surprise.

The Great Bank Hoax – The Film

The plot of the The Great Bank Hoax is virtually immaterial to why it ended up on this site. It’s about 2 officers at a small town bank, Burgess Meredith and Richard Basehart (miss ya, Gypsy), who concoct a scheme to defraud their own bank by way of a teller’s “test” embezzlement. The teller, Richard Smedley (Paul Sand), had done it to prove it could be done and give the money back, but his bosses realize there’s even more money to be made if the embezzlement appears to be quite real. This has nothing to do with the minor sub-plot at the beginning of the film with a lady named Patricia and her desperate need for a loan…

The Great Bank Hoax – The Fur

Patricia is played by Constance Forslund, whose filmography is dotted with a lot of TV guest roles between the odd film. She was on 2 different episodes of CHiPs! Patricia meets up with the 70’s small town bank teller equivalent of a a white knight hacker, Richard, after a game of bingo and takes him back to her place, where…

Where she puts on her full length silver fox fur coat and attempts to seduce him into giving her a loan. Yes, this is an example of the “seduction in fur” cinematic cliché. Granted, I’m not sure how much of a cliché it is, after all, I’d think it would have to happen a lot more often to reach that status. I’d love it if happened a lot more. Patricia’s lovely, large, silver fox is the only fur in the film, but it gets its cinematic due and is used oh so effectively.

Patricia shows off her coat to Richard. This was 1978, and I was 3, and full length silver fox coats were something to be shown off, admired, and used as tool of seduction. Sadly, many of those facts have changed today.

Richard, being that good, honest guy he is, takes a few minutes to catch on.

Though, at a certain point, even he catches the clue train. Right about the time Patricia and her big silver fox fur coat are on top of him, then underneath him, and in generally very close proximity.

As we enjoy a close up of a rejected Constance Forslund laying on the floor in her fur, now would probably be an appropriate time to point out the movie is a family friendly PG comedy. So, get your dirty minds out of the gutter, nothing actually happens.

Not the least of which is because Richard can’t give Patricia the loan she wants, so he feels it would be wrong to take advantage. Patricia shows up at the bank the next day, searching for someone who can give her a loan. She ends up with Jack Stutz (Burgess Meredith).

Patricia arrives working not only the big full length silver fox coat, but a cigarette holder as well.

Sadly, the director of photography for second sequence kind of let everyone down. Outside of a wonderful intro shot as she enters the bank and the camera pans up from her heels over the fur, to her face, the rest of the sequence doesn’t showcase the fur or the holder very well.

Yes, I can find something to complain out in a movie where a blonde vamps it up in a full length sliver fox fur and a cigarette holder. I suppose had been editing the film, the director would have called me in and asked why they never saw Burgess Meredith once in the entire sequence, and lingered on b-roll of Constance smoking with the holder.

Patricia and her attempts to seduce her way to bank loan liquidity are confined to the top of the film, and once she’s gone, there’s no more fur. Still, any film that indulges the fur seduction mystique then tosses in a cigarette holder for good measure is worth some time. Goes to show that sometimes good furs will show up in most unlikely of places.

Full Gallery – The Great Bank Hoax

2009/10/09

Single Pic – Unique White Fox Trim

This is some enterprising use of white fox trim. I’m a big fan of big fur cuffs, and this is an interesting place to find them:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/9329626@N05/3993712842/

Seems like a vintage shot, though I don’t know who, if anyone, it is.

2009/10/04

Furs in Film – No More Orchids

After our last 70’s horror flicks, it’s back to one of my co-favorite decades, the 1930’s, with another Carole Lombard outing. This is No More Orchids, which, though it predates The Eagle and the Hawk by only a year, is actually separated chronologically by three other Carole Lombard films. This was back when movie studios, you know, made movies. Lot’s of ’em.

No More Orchids – The Film

Miss Lombard stars as Anne Holt, a “spoiled heiress.” To provide some insight into my methodology for picking films to record, any combination of 193x and “heiress” are “must haves.” Grass is green, the sky is blue, and films from the 30’s about heiresses have fur in them, this is pretty much a universal law. I’m close to adding a “+divorce” rider to that, but No More Orchids doesn’t have a divorce plot. No, it’s a pretty straightforward “love conquers all” plot with Anne falling in love with Tony, and overcoming betrothal and blackmail on the part of her grandfather, the richest man in America.

No More Orchids – The Furs

As alluded to earlier, heiresses from the 30’s wear furs, and Anne Holt is no exception. Anne wears three different fox and fox trimmed outfits over the course of the film. The opener is probably the best, but the others are quite enjoyable as well. We have white fox, and

We open on Anne Holt, passed out in her cabin on a cruise. Passed out in style in this big white fox wrap.

Anne get’s a ride from Tony Gage (Lyle Talbot).

The ride was at the behest of Anne’s grandmother, also on the cruise with Anne, seen here later as Anne has replaced her white fox warp with, black and white being what it is, what may be a red or blue fox wrap. It may be electric pink fox, but I doubt it. The wrap accents what appears to be a black satin dress nicely.

Anne and Tony meet again on the deck, where, as they stare out a the ocean, we get a good glimpse of the rear of the wrap. Always appreciate it when a good fur is shown from all angles over the course of a scene.

Anne and Tony start to fall in love. Altogether now… Awwwww…

Closeup of Carole Lombard’s face framed by fox fur, because that’s pretty much what this site is about.

Later on, her grandfather’s threats to their relationship pile up, Anne goes to get advice from her father. She does this in a dress trimmed with very large fox sleeves.

This is one of those things I wish never went out of fashion, big fox trim on random evening wear.

No More Orchids is one of those films that’s not particularity memorable, well, for anything but the furs. In terms of film history, it merely exists, but for fur fashion, it provides a nice contribution. Lombard in fur looks amazing as always, despite the fact there were no full length coats in the film, the wraps and trim are used to great effect.

Gallery Link: The Furs of 1932’s No More Orchids