Furs on Film – Break of Hearts (1935)

We’re back with a film that can support an update all by itself. This is another early Katharine Hepburn flick. While I’m not quite so big a fan of young Hepburn as I am of young Crawford, she doesn’t do much of the heavy fur lifting in this flick anyway. To see her in better fur, for a long time, try Morning Glory instead.


Jean Howard in a White Fox Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

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Break of Hearts

Genre: Drama
Format: Full Screen, NTSC, Black & White


Break of Hearts – The Film

It’s been a while, but we finally get another film with a divorce theme. Though they never actually go through with that. Break of Hearts is about the whirlwind romance of a brilliant conductor Franz Roberti (played by Charles Boyer), and aspiring songwriter Constance Dane, played by Hepburn. She ends up Constance Dane Roberti, a great character name even without an alliterative twist. They meet, fall in love, and get married in a single afternoon, which always works out well. She learns Franz was a bit of a ladies’ man, and after a few misunderstandings, decides to leave him. Then the usual ensues… he spirals downward, she takes him back, and they all live happily ever after in loving co-dependency.

Break of Hearts – The Furs

As I mentioned, Katharine Hepburn doesn’t wear much fur in this film, but many others do. The life of a “playboy orchestra conductor” is one I should investigate as this film strongly suggests it will bring one in contact with many fur-wearing women.

Inez Courtney plays “Woman One,” a current main squeeze of Franz before he meets Constance, seen here in full-length fur, which isn’t , is brown, and is included merely for the sake of a complete inventory.

Inez Courtney in a Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

Like any good workout, you need to stretch first, and before Break of Hearts gives us the good stuff, we also visit Helene Millard, who establishes her gossipy character Sylvia in this mink cape-let.

Helene Millard in a Mink Fur Cape - Break of Hearts - 1935

Finally, we arrive at the marquee fur, fittingly in a critical sequence in the film. Jean Howard wears this coat/cape made of lush and capped by a beautiful high collar.

Jean Howard in a White Fox Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

Franz is completely innocently taking this old flame out to lunch after he married Constance, which I’m sure seemed like a great idea at the time, especially considering what she’s wearing.

Jean Howard in a White Fox Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

Didi and her white fox head off to the powder room before lunch.

Jean Howard in a White Fox Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

Where who should she find but gossipy Sylvia in this -trimmed jacket. Sylvia chats her up about Franz while, off in another corner, sits Constance, overhearing everything. Dun-dun-DUN!

Helene Millard in a Chinchilla Fur Trimmed Cape - Break of Hearts - 1935

If you were thinking, “Hey, it’d be great if that chinchilla and the white fox showed up on screen together,” then give yourself a gold star and enjoy this:

Helene Millard in a Chinchilla Fur Trimmed Cape and Jean Howard in a White Fox Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

Constance reevaluates her relationship as Sylvia and Didi look on in their furs.

Helene Millard in a Chinchilla Fur Trimmed Cape and Jean Howard in a White Fox Fur Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

Later, Anne Grey shows up in this large collared outfit.

Anne Grey in a Silver Fox Fur Collar - Break of Hearts - 1935

The collar has some extra tails hanging off but no mask/feet to mess things up; very nice indeed. She smokes briefly in this sequence while wearing the fur.

Anne Grey Smoking in a Silver Fox Fur Collar - Break of Hearts - 1935

Finally, Miss Hepburn does put in an appearance in fur with this silver fox-trimmed outfit.

Katherine Hepburn in a Fox Fur Trimmed Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

While the trim along the bottom is full, it shrinks to nothing where it counts: the collar. Thanks to the earlier white fox, the costume designer gets a pass on this, though.

Katherine Hepburn in a Fox Fur Trimmed Coat - Break of Hearts - 1935

That big white fox is the showstopper in the film, and it does have a decent “supporting cast” of other furs, which helps it clock in at a good 8 minutes of fur footage. That’s not bad for a 78-minute film. This wasn’t a successful film for Katharine Hepburn. I’d attribute that primarily to the decision to keep her out of large fox furs for the majority of the film, though I’m sure other film historians may respectfully disagree with me on that one.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 78 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

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