It's late at night, and Turner Classic Movies' core demo has 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 1970s. Yes, I'm exploiting Darktown Strutters for web content.
Darktown Strutters (The Film Detective Restored Version)
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 is in a club wearing a neo-flapper outfit. The most anachronistic aspect is the best part: a giant white fox stole.
She's here to hire a private eye to look for her mother.
Here's a close-up of Trina Parks in the white fox fur stole.
The white fox was merely an appetizer to the main course. 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 fur stole appear more at home in some caveman spoof film, but that hardly means they can't be appreciated. They fit like a glove with the film's fashion sensibility and are 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 earmuffs 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 been worthy enough with Syreena's fox alone, but I was somewhat floored when Lixie emerged in that pink fox fur parka.
If you're watching 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 undoubtedly 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%