Furs in Film – The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939)

While the Thin Man series of films are ripe for inclusion on this site, the “gentleman detective” genre was certainly not the lone province of William Powell and crew. The Lone Wolf was another. The Lone Wolf is a jewel thief named Mike Lanyard, featured in upwards of 20 pictures, a lot more than Nick and Nora. The incarnation in The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt is portrayed by Warren William, doing a good William Powell impression, and was released in the magical year of 1939.

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt – The Film

The Lone Wolf, a debonair jewel thief, has quit his jewel-thieving ways and is settling down with girlfriend Val Carson and daughter Patrica. A gang of spies is looking to swipe some plans for a new anti-aircraft artillery piece. The spies frame The Lone Wolf for theft to blackmail him into helping them. With the police aware of his past and unwilling to help, The Lone Wolf takes on the spy gang with Val’s mostly unwanted assistance. Despite having Rita Hayworth on their side, The Lone Wolf foils their plans and sends them all to the slammer.

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt – The Furs

It’s 1939, and this is a “gentleman’s detective” film, which means it’s only slightly less likely to have amazing furs than a “madcap heiress” film. It is certainly no disappointment in that regard, as we have both Ida Lupino and a very young, pre-super-stardom Rita Hayworth in large fox coats. Ida spends most of the film in one of 2 furs, while Rita, similarly, is rarely out of fur herself between a full-length and large that befits her stature as the main squeeze of the spy ring leader.

Val Carson, Mike Lanyard’s girlfriend, supplies much of the film’s comedy. Played by a barely over 20 Ida Lupino, she spends a great deal of time in this -trimmed jacket. Though not visible in this shot, a silver fox muff usually accompanies it.

Ida Lupino in Silver Fox Fur Trim - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

There’s the muff, a lovely combination with the hat and most likely a silk blouse.

Ida Lupino in Silver Fox Fur Trim - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

And here is Karen, played by Rita Hayworth, also barely over 20 and looking very refined in this full-length short-haired coat as she prepares to crash a date between Mike and Val.

Rita Hayworth in a Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Crash she does, as Miss Lupino’s expression indicates how overjoyed she is at this development.

Rita Hayworth in a Fur Coat and Ida Lupino in Silver Fox Fur Trim - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Throughout the film, Ida Lupino’s expressive face is one of the highlights, and here it is surrounded by silver fox fur.

Ida Lupino in Silver Fox Fur Trim - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Ida and Rita are not the only ones in fur in the film. This is Helen Lynd, playing a prospective buyer for The Lone Wolf’s completely legitimate antique business, who must deal with Val Caron’s jealous streak over her boyfriend.

Helen Lynd in a Silver Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Really jealous… Though perhaps not obvious from the stills, the scene is rather amusing and showcases Miss Lupio’s comic chops. Unfortunately, one of the few scenes in the film where she’s not wearing fur.

Helen Lynd in a Silver Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Somewhere around act 3, both Ida and Rita step up the fur quality, with Miss Lupino winning handily in this coat.

Ida Lupino in a White Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Briefly seen holding a cigarette in this sequence, though not actually smoking, the white fox is a classic example of the period, full but lacking any collar or cuffs, cape-like.

Ida Lupino in a White Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Not completely outdone, Rita and the gang show up to help her show off her black fox stroller coat. No doubt it’s black because she’s the bad girl in this flick, accented by her veiled black hat over her dark brunette locks.

Rita Hayworth in a Black Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

To drive that point home, she and Ida share the screen, good girl in white fox, bad girl in black fox, the way the universe intended it should be.

Rita Hayworth in a Black Fox Fur Coat and Ida Lupino in a White Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Like Ida earlier, Rita briefly holds a cigarette but never does much smoking.

Rita Hayworth in a Black Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

One more shot of the two together briefly because two great foxes are always better than one.

Rita Hayworth in a Black Fox Fur Coat and Ida Lupino in a White Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Finally, one of the best shots of Ida Lupino’s white fox coat occurs just before “THE END,” here at the police station after The Lone Wolf’s been hauled away as his chip-off-the-ole-block daughter presents the keys to his cell.

Ida Lupino in a White Fox Fur Coat - The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt - 1939

Though certainly not the only reason this film deserves mention, it is a great film for those interested in “fur runtime.” Not quite a Forever Lulu, but you certainly won’t fall asleep waiting for the next fur to show up (and hang around). In honor of The Green Fairy’s suggestion, I’ll post some “box stats” for each film from now on, so people know roughly how long you’ll be enjoying fur on screen in the films I post. The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt definitely clocks into the top 3 at this point.

Fur Runtime: approx 20 minutes
Film Runtime: 71 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 28%

10 thoughts on “Furs in Film – The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt (1939)

  1. I have this film in the Lone Wolf collection and I was very impressed with Ida Lupino’s furs and how long they were on screen. The rest of the films were not particularly ‘furry’ but Evelyn Ankers wore a magnificent stole in ‘The Lone Wolf in London’. Incidently there is a rather interesting scene where Alan Napier’s (Alfred from the 60’s Batman series) conniving girlfriend is demanding that he purchase her more furs.

  2. Sorry, I did not notice; thank you for your statistics. I could suggest some other fur films to look out for

  3. I have a very old cap of The Lone Wolf in London, not one quality enough for here, though.

    Always open for suggestions, particularly if they’re coming on TV soon (so I don’t forget). Oh, but The Mad Miss Manton doesn’t count ;).

  4. As promised; here are films in my collection that I would rate as Fur films.

    I will post in alphabetical order.

    ‘Dressed to Kill’ starring Patricia Morison. As far as i can remember she only wears three different furs but this film is well worth watching just to see them. Not only does she wear some gorgeous fur but she is also gorgeous; her character is conniving, spiteful and so wonderously sexual. The film used to be on Youtube but i have not checked.

    ‘Gambling Ship’ starring Benita Holmes. She wears several different furs that are all very impressive; i enjoyed this film just for the furs.

    Referring to ‘Lone Wolf in London’; is there any way that i can post a picture of Evelyn Ankers?

  5. You can send them to webmaster ‘at’ furglamor.com and I can create a gallery for your pics. Love to have contributions.

    Gambling Ship I don’t have, but turns out I do have an older cap of Dressed to Kill, or as it was shown on Encore Sherlock Holmes in Dressed to Kill. I have her in 2 furs, white fox and silver fox, but I’m betting the 3rd may have been a short hair, thus it probably didn’t make the cut.

    Benita was definitely a bad girl. Her henchman kills some guy, and he has the bad taste to expire on top of her white fox stole, which she then callously drags from under him as she sashays out of the room. Bonus points for the opera gloves, and a cigarette holder away from perfection.

  6. Picture sent; I hope that you receive it.

    To continue:

    ‘Love is News’ starring Loretta Young. She and other ladies seem to be wearing fur throughout the film.

    ‘Love Under Fire’ again starring Loretta Young. Only one fur that I can recall but she wears it for a large part of the film; and what a fur!

    PS I wonder if you have ever watched ‘Breakfast for Two’ starring Barabara Stanwyck only it looks to be good.

    PPS I presume that your caps from ‘Born Reckless’ are from the television only I am trying to get hold of a copy.

  7. Picture recieved, and I’ll set something up tomorrow.

    Wow, you found a slight error on the site, namely that I never created and listed the Love Is News gallery. Yes, not only do I have that one, I posted about it almost exactly a year ago:
    Love Is News. And now it has a link to the gallery.

    Love Under Fire is also unknown to me, I’ll try to check that one out.

    Breakfast for Two is currently on my major “want” list. TMC showed it once and the caps I made turned out poorly, which is highly annoying because the white fox in that film is epic… Not quite Awful Truth but amazing just the same.

    Born Reckless was indeed on Fox Movie Channel. Everything I have is from TV, though I’ve recently discovered a way to mirror my “process” with DVDs, I haven’t any to really test it out well with, though.

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