Okay, back on point with this entry from 1937. There’s nothing like the late ’30s to deliver that warm, comfortable, familiar feeling, like an oversized full-length fox coat. Bundle up for Mr. Dodd Takes the Air.
Mr. Dodd Takes the Air – The Film
Mr. Dodd Takes the Air is one of those stories everyone considers somewhat cliché now but was slightly less so in 1937. The story of Claude Dodd, who finds fame after being discovered by a mattress mogul (this entry was worth it to be able to write “mattress mogul”), going from those proverbial rags to subsequent riches. Dodd isn’t just a pretty voice; he’s got a knack for radio repair and is soon targeted by a classic 30s gold-digger who, fortunately for us, already has enough money for a closet full of furs.
Mr. Dodd Takes the Air – The Furs
Claude, whose name isn’t among the top 10 baby names of recent decades, meets three ladies in his travels to fame and fortune. Sadly for him, he settles down with the one that doesn’t wear furs.
The blonde is Jessica Stafford, played by Gertrude Michael, the previously mentioned gold digger on the prowl for Mr. Dodd’s invention. Clearly, she’d been somewhat successful in previous gold-digging efforts, judging by that full-length fox.
Jane Wyman plays Mr. Dodd’s would-be girlfriend, Marjorie Day, and the one girl in the film who doesn’t wear fur. If you need to see Jane Wyman in fur, you can check her out in Let’s Do It Again, though, where she wears one of the biggest fox fur stoles of all time.
The “patent” sub-plot only shows up when we need some relationship tension. Dodd’s singing career is aided by Sonia Moro (Alice Brady), from whom we learn the cliché of “opera diva” hasn’t changed much over time.
The core of the film’s fur fashions is this sequence at a party where Sonia performs in this excellent black fox-trimmed bolero jacket. The collar is enormous and frames her face perfectly as she chews up the scenery.
It would have been ideal were it not only trim, but I admit it’s my favorite kind, where it’s hard to tell some parts aren’t fur. Alice does a song and converses with Claude while wearing the jacket.
In the interest of full disclosure, there’s about five seconds worth of Gertrude Michael in this ermine fur jacket as she leaves the party in a huff.
Fortunately, the gold-digger returns later in something more stylish, this big silver fox cape, as she tries to split up Claude and Marjorie with accusations of patent fraud!
Here is a brief close-up of Gertrude in the silver fox cape.
The film’s climax finds Dodd up a tree, literally, with Sonia and Majorie racing to get him down and save their relationship. Sonia has an exciting outfit, which is only fully apparent as she’s running from the car, making it a little hard to get a clean still. Her dress has two oversized fox cuffs, and she’s holding what is, technically, a “fox trimmed” muff.
In the steadier close-up shots, you can see the two shades of fox mesh as her big cuffs press against the trim on the muff. Almost enough to make you forget about the annoying, pointless strip of sequins in the middle of the muff.
There are a couple of other “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” furs in the film on Sonia and Jessica as they’re arguing after one of Dodd’s shows. Overall a solid 11% on the ratio, primarily due to the rich, dark center of the big black fox-trimmed bolero jacket in the middle.
Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 87 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%