Archive for April, 2010

2010/04/25

Furs on Film – Times Square Lady

If you were paying attention to the last update, this one shouldn’t be a surprise. Or maybe it should be, since I actually “found the time” to do it. We return to the warm, thick fox blanket that is the 1930’s with Times Square Lady, a 1935 film staring Virginia Bruce.

Times Square Lady – The Film

Time Square Lady is the story of a Toni Bradley (Virginia Bruce), a 22 year old woman from Iowa, future home of James T. Kirk, who inherits some “business interests” from her father. Turns out very few of them are “on the level” and some of the older interests in said businesses, headed by executor of her father’s estate, Mr. Fielding, want her out. On her side, and eventual love interest, is the manager of her night club, Steve Gordon (Robert Taylor). Will Toni and Steve defeat the gangsters and live happily ever after? Of course they will, this is a film from 1935.

Times Square Lady – The Furs

Lucky for us, Toni wasn’t exactly poor before she took over dad’s businesses. From the moment we meet her to the end of the film, she’s got quite a number of furs in her wardrobe, including one of the finest examples of a silver fox fur muff ever committed to the screen.

The film opens with Mr. Fielding looking for Toni at the station. He tries two different women, both in furs, before he finds her.

Strike two…

Third times’ a charm as Mr. Fielding finds Toni, in the best fur of the bunch, of course, a lush lynx collar.

The film’s costumers must have thought Virginia Bruce looked great in lynx, and I won’t argue with that.

Fortunately, she looks even better in silver fox. Particularly this lovely example of a very large silver fox muff, one of the best I can remember.

This entire sequence is about her meeting the other interests in her father businesses, and it provides a good 3 minutes of footage of the muff and matching silver fox fur collar.

Included are a couple very nice close ups of Virginia Bruce neatly framed with the silver fox collar.

Still, the star of the sequence is the silver fox muff, and it receives all the attention it deserves.

At this point, the remainder of the film is a bit of a downward slope. Still, Virginia appears once again in lynx for a moment, with this trimmed jacket. A fine addition to the wardrobe.

Finally we get to the coat that I’ll grandfather in for the sake of being particularly complete, this full length fur that may be mink and may be a different short-haired fur. I’m open to opinions on it, and will update if there’s compelling evidence it’s not mink.

We get a tiny taste of more fox at the very end, as Toni and Steve are whisked off by steamer to the credits, standing on the deck and waving good-bye with these ladies and their fox collars.

Toni is wearing another fur here, as well, a collar that may also be mink or not, and very much is included for purely academic purposes.

A well stocked film from both the quality and the time perspectives. The oversized silver fox muff is the real highlight. I’m on the fence as to whether it eclipses the white fox muff from Lady of Burlesque. While slightly smaller and lacking tails, it certainly isn’t marred by some annoying giant silver bird broach. Virginia Bruce’s other lynx furs were fine supporting players. The “brown paper bag” furs I could take or leave, of course. The film also has a few “bit” furs, more so than was common even in this era. Clocking in with a good 15% ratio makes Times Square Lady one of the best I’ve reviewed in some time.

Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 68 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 15%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1935 film Times Square Lady.

2010/04/18

Fur on Film – Party Girl

A shortish entry today. If you were disappointed that Cyd Charisse’s character from Silk Stockings never got to wear furs, well, Cyd was a bit more fortunate in other roles. That includes this entry from 1958, Party Girl.

Party Girl – The Film

Party Girl is a late 50’s crime film about a showgirl, Cyd, becoming involved with a mob lawyer played by Robert Taylor after meeting him at a… party! Yes, they subtly worked it into the very title of the film. I don’t really have much else to say about it because that first sentence is pretty much all you need to know. Girl meets boy, boy is mobbed-up lawyer, boy regrets his actions via nagging of girl, mob politely suggests boy not go by threatening to throw acid on girls face, …, everyone lives happily ever after.

Party Girl – The Furs

Cyd plays Vicki Gaye, one of a group of showgirls that is cordially invited to a mob party. Gaye is a successful enough showgirl that she’s got a couple furs in the closet.

She’s not the only one. As the girls arrive, there’s a variety of furs on display.

Sadly the best of them, this fox, isn’t on Cyd’s character.

Vicki wears this silver fox trimmed mink coat. The trim is nice and full, and is generally shot in such a way as to make the remainder of the coat unnoticeable.

At the party she meets Tommy Farrell, mob lawyer extraordinaire, who eventually offers to escort her home, all chivalrous like. On the bad timing front, they arrive to find her roomie has committed suicide, and end up at the police station, where Tommy’s lawyer powers come in handy.

They eventually end up in a tender moment where she falls asleep on his couch and he covers her up with the silver fox trimmed coat.

Later Vicki finds out about his mob lawyer-ness and starts the nagging, confronting him his office in this fox trimmed coat.

After witnessing him in action at at trail where he successfully defends a mob goon, she ratchets up the nagging about his vocation at a bar afterward, fortunately still wearing the coat. Shot in closeup, the fur rather nicely accents Cyd’s face.

The silver fox makes one final appearance later in the film as they visit the bridge where Tommy was partially crippled as a kid. Real mood-setter, I agree.

Party Girl is… the update I posted because I didn’t finish editing the clip of Times Square Lady in time. At best, serviceable. It doesn’t shine in runtime either, really. Still, the close ups of Cyd Charisse in her two fox coats are very agreeable.

Fur Runtime: approx 7 minutes
Film Runtime: 99 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1958 film Party Girl.

2010/04/11

Fur on Film – Darktown Strutters

It’s late at night. The core demo of Turner Classic Movies is long since retired for the evening. This is where strange things happen, as TCM goes all film history buff on you. Sometimes it’s unintentionally amusing old “educational” films, foreign stuff, and sometimes it’s obscure Blaxploitation from the heart of the 1970’s.

Darktown Strutters – The Film

Darktown Strutters is supposedly a screwball comedy in the vein of Blazing Saddles. Apparently people not watching the film on fast forward looking for furs have trouble figuring it out, so I’m really not qualified to comment. The plot is about a female biker gang and their leader, Syreena (Trina Parks) looking for her mother. They end-up thwarting the plans of a thinly disguised Colonel Sanders look-a-like to clone and replace black leaders so they will vote for white people. Moving right along…

Darktown Strutters – The Furs

The biker gang in question is usually fashionably outfitted in a way that would stand out in a procession down Burbon St. in the middle of Mardi Gras. The attitude the film takes towards fashion virtually demands big fox furs.

Here’s fox number one. Syreena in a club wearing a neo-flapper outfit. The most anachronistic aspect is the best part: a huge white fox stole.

She’s here to hire a private eye to look for her mother. That doesn’t go well, but she receives a tip from a lady in the club, whose got a red feather stole on that is grandfathered in because of the white fox in the shot.

Close up of Trina Parks in the white fox fur stole.

The white fox was merely an appetizer to the main course. For reasons I’m not entirely clear on Syreena goes to a place called the “Pot-cicle” to get information from a woman named Lixie. It’s cold in the Pot-cicle, so very very cold.

Syreena’s large gray or cross fox vest coat and stole looks more at home in some caveman spoof film, but that hardly means it can’t be appreciated. It fits like a glove with the films fashion sensibility, and is the best thing here until Lixie emerges from that igloo…

…wearing a thick dyed pink fox parka.

Yes, my favorite fur in my favorite dyed color, this keeps Lixie warm in style, with matching ear muffs no less.

Lixie and Syreena warm their hands by the igloo’s upper exhaust port. Even I’m not sure what I just wrote there… Anyway, the scene would have worthy enough with Syreena’s fox alone, but I was rather floored when Lixie emerged in that pink fox fur parka.

If you have occasion to watch the scene, notice how much trouble Trina Parks has with the stole attached to the vest coat. She throws it back over her shoulder at least three times, each time they cut back to her it’s slipped off, and she has to throw it over again.

Darktown Strutters is certainly one of the more surreal entries I’ve done, owing a bit to its Blaxploitation and (if you hadn’t caught on) weedsploitation roots. While the ratio isn’t huge, I think this one comes down to the (slightly more than) 1 epic fur rule, embodied in the combination of pink fox parka and cave-woman super-fox combo. Really, how can you not consider that combo noteworthy.

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 90 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1975 film Darktown Strutters.

2010/04/04

Joan Bennett in Vogues of 1938, 1937

Joan Bennett in silver fox from the film Vogues of 1938.

Joan Bennett in Vogues of 1938, 1937

Originally uploaded by Silverbluestar

I can’t technically claim I’m not posting a full update because it’s Easter, but just go with it.

This is a fine photo to take a look at this morning, though. Vogues of 1938 is a great film, one of many I’m hoping that TCM will show again so I can get some better caps from it. It has a couple of fur fashion show segments plus a stage act with at least 10 women dressed in robes with huge white fox fur trim.