Archive for July, 2010

2010/07/25

Shirley MacLaine – What A Way To Go

Shirley Maclaine 1963

Originally uploaded by autumnsensation

Another 60’s entry that I forgot about, What a Way to Go!, and one that I haven’t seen recently, otherwise I’d post it. Though I have a really old version of this, I’d prefer to update with a better copy before inducting it here.

If you like the mink, (and at least it’s something other than brown) don’t get too attached, it appears for about 5 seconds total in a fantasy sequence in the film along with some other furs. The entire outfit would have been 5 stars if it were fox instead.

The real star of the film is the full length hot pink dyed fox coat that appears near the end of the movie. A favorite shade of mine. Miss MacLaine also wears a bit more conservative fox hat and trim combo for a nice long scene in the middle of the film.

2010/07/18

Stanwyck In Fur – The Minor Films

A change of pace this week with a long overdue update to the Fur Stars gallery, focusing on the third leg of the 30’s triumvirate of most-famous fur wearers: Barbara Stanwyck. One could easily focus on Dietrich, Garbo, and Stanwyck alone and cover some of the decade’s most fur rich films.

Instead of rehashing the ground covered so far in terms of Stanwyck’s more well known films, I put together a set that focuses on her “minor” roles, at least in terms of how much fur appears in the films in question. Most of these hail from the early 30’s, where Hollywood hadn’t quite reached the pinnacle of extravagance in fur fashion that would lead to films like Stanwyck’s own The Mad Miss Manton, but the seeds were quite clearly on display.

Ladies of Leisure – 1930

We start with one more notable for a co-star’s fur than her own, the 1930 effort Ladies of Leisure, where Barbara stars as Kay Arnold, a “lady of leisure,” who gets mixed up in a romance with an earnest young painter who apparently has issues finding legitimate figure models for his work.

Here Barbara wears a very short hair fur while Marie Prevost’s big white fox trim outshines it entirely.

In fact, we’ll divert from course long enough to present Marie’s white fox trim in full.

Back on point, we find Barbara contemplating her relationship issues in… well, I’m honestly not sure what this is, and it may not even be fur, but here it is, debate amongst yourselves.

Illicit – 1931

A film in which Barbara plays a woman who doesn’t believe in marriage and is “living in sin” with her boyfriend until social pressure forces them to marry. It’s 1931, go with it… Oddly the IMDb’s cover for the film shows Miss Stanwyck wearing a rather nice white fox trimmed cape, but unless I blacked out while watching, she never actually wears it in the film.

The closest we get is another actress in this white fox trimmed ermine cloak, opposite Miss Stanwyck, who again is upstaged by someone-else’s fur.

She does wear better fur in this film, this chinchilla trimmed ermine cape. I say ‘better’ in a very relative sense of course. All chinchilla would have been a far better choice. Fortunately the early 30’s flirtation with ermine didn’t last very long.

Ten Cents A Dance – 1931

Playing yet another woman with some negotiable if not necessarily easy virtue, Barbara Stanwyck stars as Barbara O’Neill, a dance hall girl who romances the rich patrons while really in love with a far more sympathetic character.

If movies can teach young women anything, it’s that you don’t romance the rich without getting some furs out of it, at least if you’re living in the 1930’s. (Disclaimer: May want to adjust those expectations should you not be living in the 1930s.) Here the fur is a black fox trimmed affair, not particularly compelling, but somewhat agreeable.

Night Nurse – 1931

Paying attention? They cranked ’em out fast back then. In our final 1931 entry, Barbara stars as Lora Hart, a… night nurse. It must have been simpler back then, you could just give something the most obvious name possible and go with it. Here Stanwyck is opposite a pre-fame Clark Gable trying to prevent a couple kids from being starved to death.

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fur, and a very old cap, as the quality will suggest. But the private night nurse gig apparently pays well enough for a decent fox collar on her coat.

Forbidden – 1932

Miss Stanwyck plays a slightly more respectable librarian named Lulu here, which would make her “Lulu the Librarian.” Lulu the Librarian falls in love with Bob the District Attorney Who Is Already Married and thus we arrive at the title of the film.

Lulu meets Bob on a cruise to Havana where she’s spent her last dime at galmming up a bit, this includes a very large, full fox collared coat. Lulu’s fashion sense is unquestionable.

Sadly it’s the only fur in the film, but it is lavishly photographed, and we are provided with numerous closeups of Miss Stanwyck’s face framed by the thick white fox fur.

Shopworn – 1932

The second 1932 film, Shopworn, is a completely different film from Forbidden but it seems the wardrobe department didn’t get the memo and simply gave her the same white fox collared coat as she wore in Forbidden.

Not that I mind, it’s a very nice white fox collar, though in this film it’s appearance is rather brief and not well filmed at all.

Ladies They Talk About – 1935

This is one that almost made it to individual induction status. It’s got 2 long sequences with fox furs and one little bit in the middle. In it, Stanwyck is in classic bad girl form as Nan Taylor, who starts off in a gang of bank robbers. She ends up going to prison thanks in part to a Pastor Foster who remembers her from their childhood and is trying to help her. Once she is released, she sets about getting revenge on the Pastor.

Nan robs banks in style, wearing this thick red fox trimmed dress.

Wondering how all that stuff about the studio’s enforcing a “look” on their stars squares with a platinum blonde Barbara Stanwyck in 1935? It’s a wig, that’s how.

Nan exits prison in style as well, already wrapped up in a fox stole.

Nan sets out to even the score with the pastor in this rather pedestrian silver fox stole; one in the style that I’ve always disliked. It’s filmed well enough, though, and we get some wonderful close ups of Stanwyck wearing expressions that would melt glaciers.

This is how you express “I am going to violently murder you” without a single word:

Golden Boy – 1939

Not every late 30’s film was as leaden with epic fox coats as I would like. Here we find Barbara playing Lorna Moon, who is the kind-of-a-hooker with a heart-of-gold to young boxer Joe Bonaparte, played by William Holden in his first major film role.

Boxing films always seem to work in some shot of a woman in furs, not sure why that is, but it happens, a lot. They don’t work in a lot of fur, though, and this is the perfect example, where Lorna ends up in a fox fur collared coat towards the end. At this point she’s discovered her heart-of-gold-ness.

Extra shot, because it’s a nice collar and there are good close ups that make fine use of Barbara’s face framed by it.

Titanic – 1953

There’s a ship, it hits an iceberg, it sinks. Questions?

On-board the ship, embroiled in Family Drama (with a capital ‘F’ and ‘D’), is Barbara Stanwyck. She plays Julia Sturges, a woman at odds with her husband over many things, mainly the course their son will take in life. While this issue will eventually be rendered moot via iceberg, she wears this white fox trimmed coat for quite a bit while arguing about it.

The white fox collar and cuffs are oddly out of place both in the 1950’s and, I’d guess, in 1912 when the event actually happened. Another one of those happy continuity errors that I love.

And the Rest…

Obviously these films do not represent Miss Stanwyck’s finest fur fashions on film. For those check out the individual inductions of the following:

Eventually TCM will show Breakfast for Two again, and that one will receive the attention it so richly deserves.

Full Gallery : Barbara Stanwyck in Fur – The Minor Films

2010/07/11

Isa Miranda in Fur

Isa Miranda

Originally uploaded by EmMe09

Much like the excellent sable in the last update, I rather like this outfit, despite it being somewhat conservative. Yes, a full fur cloak would have been that final touch, but the muff and headpiece, combined with the veil and the rather excellent lighting really combine to nail this one.

This is a publicity shot from a 1939 film named Hotel Imperial, so something else to keep an eye out for.

An Italian actress with a short career in the states, Isa was billed as the “Italian Marlene Dietrich”. Not a bad gig if you can get it. She’s a striking beauty, certainly.

2010/07/04

Furs on Film – Success at Any Price

Let’s stay in the year 1934, and stick with high handed melodrama, while we’re at it. Success at Any Price illustrates a point that I’d illustrate with Shanghai Express if TCM would just show it again… that even fur I’m not a huge fan of can be put to great use.

Success at Any Price – The Film

So, we have a character that ruthlessly works their up the corporate ladder, ruining lives along the way only to suffer an final comeuppance in the end yet narrowly escape so that a happy ending can be realized. I liked this character more when it was girl played by Barbara Stanwyck in Baby Face. Here’s it’s some guy named Joe played by Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who ends up looking very Clark Gable-y throughout the film. Thankfully for all involved, Douglas isn’t the one wearing the furs this time around; that’s handled by the object of his desire: his boss’s mistress. Whom, I should point out, he eventually marries and then… divorces.

Success at Any Price – The Furs

Genevieve Tobin plays Agnes Carter, the mistress of a rich man and then wife of another rich man, with a wardrobe that reflects both. She wears most of the film’s furs, though there is another that appears in furs not quite worthy of a rich mistress.

Agnes appears early in the film with Raymond Merrit, the “master” in her mistress relationship, played by Frank Morgan, who’s in his smarmy-executive mode for this one.

Here we have Colleen More, the “true love” of the piece, in this small fur collar that you’re probably wondering why I included at all.

Because it briefly appears opposite this, the marquee fur of the film, a coat with an enormous sable fur collar and cuffs.

Though I generally find sable to be in the same rather drab class as mink, a “brown paper bag” fur, so to speak, this is a marvelous use of it.

As alluded to to the opening, it reminds me of Dietrich’s fur trimmed coat from the train sequence in Shanghai Express, right down to the pose she strikes wearing it.

While the cinematography isn’t quite the equal of the pitch perfect frames (very appropriately) lavished on Marlene Dietrich, the sequence frames Genevieve Tobin from the waist up and keeps the large collar well in view much of the time. Sadly they did feel the need to cut to shots of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. throughout.

This is Joe and Agnes’ first meeting, where he falls a bit in lust (why is that, Joe?) and decides to poach her from the boss. The end of the scene shows Agnes lightly brushing the oversized sable collar and suggesting he can’t have her, a beautifully subtle use of the fur’s sensuality.

Joe does get her, and once he’s rich, he keeps Agnes in the furs to which she had become accustomed, including this red fox fur collar / cuff combination.

A wrap or jacket you say? Not really, the arms come off and leave only the collar attached to the dress.

In another callback to the last update, this film features a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” fox too; this silver fox wrap that Agnes wears as she returns home and then immediately removes. Sad, looked to be quite nice.

Agnes makes the final split with Joe in this short haired fur coat that’s not mink and I’m not sure I really care what it is, but obligatory inclusion is obligatory. He fell in love with the sable and divorced this… can’t say I blame him.

Talk about obligatory… Colleen Moore appears at the end in this dreadful fur trimmed coat as she talks Joe down from suicide. Again Joe, I wouldn’ta blamed you…

The sable is the showpiece here, and though not quite up to the standards of Shanghai Express, it is an amazing fur and is well filmed with 3+ minutes of screen time. Goes to show that if you’re going to with something like a sable, go big or go home. The additional red fox is a solid “value add” to the film in both quality and runtime, adding a good 4 minutes to the total, bringing the ratio to a rare 20%. The remainder are what they are, as I sometimes remind myself that some people actually find drab, conservative short haired furs quite fashionable. Hopefully there’s a pill for that someday…

Fur Runtime: approx 15 minutes
Film Runtime: 74 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 20%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1934 film Success at Any Price.