Furs in Film – Blond Cheat (1938)

Another lower wattage star power film today. Though not Born Reckless, it features a young Joan Fontaine before the height of her career. Blond Cheat is from 1938 and is about rich people, so they could have cast any random starlet, and the costume department would have had a winner on their hands.

Blond Cheat – The Film

A slightly more twisty pot in this one than the usual boy-meets-girl thing. An officer in a loan company, Michael Ashburn (Derrick DeMarney), is tasked with safeguarding some costly diamond earrings. No big deal, right? Keep the little box in his pocket, and he’s home free… But wait! The earrings are “non-removable” and currently attached to a young blond woman named Julie Evans (Joan Fontaine). Michael apparently isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, so he buys this and spends the evening with Julie, blowing off his social-climbing fiancee. That’s the first half-hour, things get more complicated from there, but the one thing this film and every boy-meets-girl film has in common is Mike and Julie live happily ever after.

Blond Cheat – The Furs

This film has some great shorter fox in it, trims and wraps. During Mike and Julie’s first date, Joan Fontaine wears one of those common stoles of the period, with head/legs still attached. They have a proper name, though my search through Google turned up mostly vintage eBay listings. I believe I may have mentioned before I have a kind of love/hate relationship with them, as I love them anytime the aforementioned head/legs aren’t visible. Blond Cheat is a bit of a toss-up there, as it has scenes of both. Fortunately, it is, by far, the least notable fur in the film.

This is Julie and Mike’s first “date,” as Mike virtuously safeguards the earrings. Here’s the silver fox , now visible only a blaze of thick fur across her right shoulder, one of the best ways to film this particular piece.

Joan Fontaine in a Silver Fox Fur Stole - Blond Cheat - 1938

In another good shot, you can see Mike hasn’t lost track of those earrings yet. Not to be too nit-picky about the title of the film and Miss Fontaine, who is lovely, but there were a lot of “blonder” actresses who could have done this role.

Joan Fontaine in a Silver Fox Fur Stole - Blond Cheat - 1938

In order to dine and be arrested with Julie the previous evening, Mike blew off a date with his gold-digging fiance, Roberta Trent (Lilian Bond), who appears the next morning hunting him down. She appears in this lovely fox-trimmed dress with a match fox muff.

Lilian Bond Smoking in a Gray Fox Fur Muff and Trim - Blond Cheat - 1938

And proceeds to smoke in an annoyed fashion with Mike as he tries to explain.

Lilian Bond Smoking in a Gray Fox Fur Muff and Trim - Blond Cheat - 1938

A little later, thankfully, Roberta hasn’t taken this outfit off, and we see a nice shot of the fox trim and matching muff as Mike meets with his fiancee’s equally gold-digging parents. You will also notice the extremely long-haired on Roberta’s mother, played by a woman named Cecil. Have to say I never cared for fur like this, as it simply is too long and too much like human hair… which I am a big fan of when it is on top of a lady’s head.

Lilian Bond in a Gray Fox Fur Muff and Trim - Blond Cheat - 1938

As Julie and Roberta continue to spar over Mike in a shorter sequence, Roberta appears in this coat with a full silver fox fur collar.

Lilian Bond in a Silver Fox Fur Collar - Blond Cheat - 1938

Finally, Joan Fontaine appears in this wrap in a dueling dinner date setup. Not the largest ever seen, but a fine one nonetheless.

Joan Fontaine in a White Fox Fur Wrap - Blond Cheat - 1938

Not sure if this is the best fur in the film or Lilian Bond’s muff accessorized fox trim from earlier wins that prize. Sadly, for some of the fox wrap’s on-screen time, it’s shown mostly in the background of a wide shot.

Joan Fontaine in a White Fox Fur Wrap - Blond Cheat - 1938

There is this fine direct shot of the back for a few seconds.

Joan Fontaine in a White Fox Fur Wrap - Blond Cheat - 1938

To close things out, the director of photography makes up the earlier wide shots with the cozy, if “foggy,” carriage ride where we see Joan wrapped up nicely with a white fox.

Joan Fontaine in a White Fox Fur Wrap - Blond Cheat - 1938

This is another good film for fur runtime. Though I didn’t meticulously document each instance of their first encounter, Miss Fontaine remains costumed in her silver fox stole throughout her character’s first meeting with Mike Ashburn. Both the fox-trimmed dress of Lilian Bond and the later white fox wrap on Joan appear in two scenes instead of one. The barely over 60-minute runtime also helps out there.

Fur Runtime: approx 15 minutes
Film Runtime: 62 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 24%

Should note that both Lilian Bond and Joan Fontaine have brief smoking in fur sequences.

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