Archive for December, 2009

2009/12/27

Mini-Update – Over The Moon

Taking a little break this weekend, but thanks to The Green Fairy, I have some shots from a film I will certainly be on the look-out for in the future, Over The Moon.  From 1939, a very good year, it seems to be a winner:
[singlepic id=701 w=320 h=240 float=center]

And…
[singlepic id=702 w=320 h=240 float=center]

Haven’t seen this on TCM, but it is in their movie database, so maybe I’ll catch it someday. I even signed up on TCM’s website and suggested they show it.  I wonder how that’s going to work out.

Since I have next week off, I will be able to devote some time to next week’s update.  I’m sure most are familiar with the film I’ll be profiling, as it is pretty much the gold standard of 30’s films, if not of all time.

2009/12/20

Furs on Film – The Annabel Films

At the risk of exposing an opinion that may be slightly outside the “mainstream”… I do not, in fact, love Lucy. I do love Annabel, though, who is played by a twenty-seven year old Lucille Ball during her time as a film star prior to an admittedly pioneering gig on one of television’s most memorable shows. While television Lucy is certainly the most recognizable, Miss Ball made a number of pictures during the 30’s and 40’s… after 1935 she was even credited for her roles. These films reveal Miss Ball to be a stunningly beautiful young woman with a knack for more than just comedy.

Annabel – The Films

Comedy was certainly the center piece of the Annabel films, 2 of the 6 (s… i… x…) films in which Lucille Ball played in 1938. She stars as Annabel Allison, another in a long line of lovely alliterative names common during the period. Annabel is a fading star at Wonder Pictures, and her publicist, Lanny Morgan (Jack Oakie), is doing everything he can to put her back on top, with predictably comedic results. In The Affairs of Annabel, he convinces her to pose as a maid and she ends up in the middle of a kidnapping plot. Annabel Takes a Tour sees our heroine embroiled in a an affair cooked up by her publicist that she believes is real.

Annabel – The Furs

Let’s see, both of these films were from 1938 and featured a Hollywood star, a waning one, but a star nonetheless. That means big fox furs for the lead, and they look amazing on the youthful Miss Ball in both films.

The Affairs of Annabel – 1938

There’s a reason I combined both these films, and that reason is The Affairs of Annabel. There’s only one memorable fur in the film, it occurs at the very end as Annabel and her publicist are ready to “live happily ever after”, to so speak. She’s wearing 2 of those fox stoles I have such a love-hate relationship with.

They make for lovely closeups, though.

This is about 10 seconds before the credits roll, if you’re wondering how long you’ll need to wait to see it.

Annabel Takes a Tour – 1938

In the follow-on about Annabel having an actual “affair”, she wears a much nicer selection of furs. To start we don’t see Annabel in fur, though, we bookend a bit with Frances Mercer in one of the same fox stoles as Annabel wore to close out The Affairs of Annabel.

Now we arrive at the core fur of the film, Annabel’s silver fox trimmed dress and matching silver fox fur muff.

The sequence is early in the film, where meets with her publicist about Frances Mercer’s character’s higher popularity. It’s a long sequence and this outfit is well filmed throughout.

I’ve no doubt mentioned my affinity for big collars in the past, this one certainly qualifies and looks spectacular in all closeups.

One more, another favorite moment at the very end of the sequence as Annabel’s thoughts turn to her rising popularity and her silver fox muff rises to her chin.

Finally, near the end of the film, Annabel arrives in this stroller length lynx coat, another beautiful fur Miss Ball wears well.

Again, there was no shortage of closeups that allow us a moment to drink her in while framed with this thick lynx fur coat.

Were I to complain, it would be about the lack of collar or cuffs, but that complaint would be rather hollow, I admit, this is a beautiful coat.

If your only exposure to Lucille Ball is as a shrill, demanding 50’s housewife, then you’re missing out on a much more beautiful and accessible actress from these early films. She wore furs in quite a few of the films from this period… granted, “this period” being the late 1930’s kind of makes that statement somewhat redundant. These films showcase a vibrant actress with deft comedic skill that wasn’t quite watered down to a single note as it would be later.

The Affairs of Annabel

Fur Runtime: approx 2 minutes
Film Runtime: 68 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 3%

Annabel Takes a Tour

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 67 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of The Annabel Films

2009/12/13

Furs On Televsion – Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis

Heading back to more familiar territory, the 1980’s, with one from “the vaults” of older caps. Always nice to be reminded what a truly spectacular decade that was. With any luck the fashion cycle will replay it sooner rather than later. I’m filing this under “television” and not film because it was a TV movie, and that “Furs on Television” category is looking a little anemic.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis – The Film

From 1959 to 1963 there was a sitcom called The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. In so far as it wasn’t something I caught very often on the “nostalgia” networks (I was more a Green Acres man, Lisa Douglas FTW), I’m not very familiar with it. In 1988, before it showed up on Nick-At-Night, someone created a reunion movie. The film’s plot was lifted from a 1956 tragicomedy by Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt, as the IMDb’s film pundits are literally dying to tell you about. The upshot of which is an old girlfriend blows into town to snag Dobie away from his happy home life by bribing the economically down-on-its-luck town.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis – The Furs

That old girlfriend is played by Connie Stevens, and her wardrobe was pure 1980’s rich lady. Yes, Connie, as Thalia Menninger, blows into town on Air Force One with her well stocked closet, and it’s brimming with fox.

In “great entrance” territory, Connie walks off Air Force One wearing a full length lynx coat.

Could be lynx dyed fox, either way, it’s a spectacular, thick ankle length fur.

On to the bribery, which Connie announces while beautifully accessorized in this dyed fox stole and muff. I believe the color has been referred to as “glacier” in other places, which, admittedly, has a bit more panache than “light blue.”

I “confess” to a deep adoration for brightly dyed fox. Though pink is a particular favorite, this one is quite nice indeed. I remain confused by Hollywood’s costume designers unceasing desire to break up such lovely muffs with metal broaches. This one is only slightly less annoying than the one in Lady of Burlesque.

Next up there’s this large red fox, which is another magnificent specimen from the 80’s mega fox line. Not quite as long as her entrance fur, but quite the coat nonetheless.

Connie does the “imperious” look while wearing the fox perfectly.

Massively full pelts on this coat as well as we get a quick glimpse from behind.

To wrap up we see a final red fox, different from the previous one as evidenced by the horizontal pattern of the pelts. This appears to be a very long cape, worn, while riding a horse, by Thalia in one of Dobie’s dream sequences.

Basically, this is just one of the finer examples of why I really liked growing up during the 80’s. Sadly things got a little rough after that. If I had to nitpick, I’m afraid Miss Stevens, while lovely, may have been a little past her prime at this point in her career. I admit it was appropriate casting considering the show’s original air-date, but that would have been a great Morgan Fairchild role. Perhaps most tellingly, it would be a great role for 2009 Morgan Fairchild.

Fur Runtime: approx 5 minutes
Film Runtime: 100 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 5%

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis

2009/12/06

Furs in Film – Why Did I Get Married

Film subjects of this blog have tended towards a few specific time periods. Not my fault fashion doesn’t stand still. That doesn’t mean there aren’t promising signs as we slog through a nearly 20 year drought in fine on-screen fur fashions. We have Tyler Perry to thank for this modest little reminder, which is nicely winter themed as well to go along with holiday season. So enjoy this barely 2 year old entry, it’s probably not going to happen all that often.

Why Did I Get Married – The Film

The film Why Did I Get Married is based on a play of the same name, and is set, fortunately for us all, in a luxury retreat cabin in snowy Colorado. The film is about 4 married couples and the problems they’re currently experiencing. You know what that means… talk of divorce. Yes, something in common with films from the 30’s with fine fur fashions. Granted, this one probably has a bit more nuance to the character relations than a 30’s divorce comedy. Or maybe not, as I’m probably not the person who should be grading “nuance.”

Why Did I Get Married – The Furs

The film is notable for 2 reasons, primarily the fact the furs are there at all, but also because they’re just run of the mill cold weather fashions for the affluent women wearing them. So it’s no big deal that the ladies are adorned in fox, mink, and sable as they go through their marital strife.

To get the ball rolling we have Denise Boutte in this red fox jacket. Won’t do anyone any good to bother comparing 2000’s fox coats with 1930’s fox coats, so I won’t. Pleased to be seeing this “modest” little jacket at all.

Greeting Denise and “friend” are the other wives at the retreat, led by Tasha Smith in the film’s “signature” full length silver fox coat. Sharon Leal appears in a full length mink beside her.

We have the film’s brief shot of both fox coats on screen at once.

Tasha Smith is the only one to really get more than one coat in the film, here appearing in an oddly mismatched combination of furs. The full length mink is fairly conservative compared to the silver fox.

Due to the character she plays, it’s difficult to find a close up of Tasha Smith’s character when she’s not possessed of some disdainful or exasperated look on her face, at least while she’s wearing that lovely silver fox.

The ladies go shopping later in the film, and while it’s apparent it’s not exactly a furrier, there are furs in the racks. Here we see Janet Jackson in the sable wrap she wears along with Sharon Leal in her mink once more.

Janet is still better known for her other career, but she looks very fetching in the sable, accented by a red scarf.

One more with all the furs on screen at once, Tasha and her fox, Janet in the sable, and Sharon in her mink.

The stats for this film fall into what is probably pretty “average” for fur fashions in a lot of films, so it certainly can’t be called a “fur film” for its on-screen ratio. It’s a film from 2007 with a full length silver fox coat in it, so that alone is pretty notable.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 113 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

Fur Fashions of Why Did I Get Married – Full Gallery

2009/12/02

IMDb Fur Coat Movie List

http://www.imdb.com/keyword/fur-coat/

Noticed this list while doing research for posts.  Surprised me to find it, actually, and more surprised to find it reasonably well stocked.  The primary thing to note is the “rating” is not of the quality of furs in the film, but the overall IMDb rating.  Took a moment to dawn on me, but the fact that The Mad Miss Manton wasn’t at the top was a big clue.

Miss Manton is on the list, though, as are other good choices, like Forever Lulu and Blond Cheat. It appears the rationale behind applying the tag isn’t necessarily confined to furs being a plot point in the film, a la Forever Lulu and Butterfield 8.  Otherwise Miss Manton and others wouldn’t be on the list.

Definitely a few I haven’t seen on that list.  Take care in using it, though, as I checked out RocknRolla on its recommendation was quite disappointed in the results.