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Furs on Film – Fools for Scandal (1938)

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A small gem of a box office bomb from that most magic of years, 1938, that features what could have been a bit of a Mad Miss Manton moment but misses the mark a bit. Still, a decent selection of good furs here with the good sense to save the best for last. I hope I'm not overselling this one, like just one of those Fools for Scandal.

Fools for Scandal – The Film

This is the story of movie star Kay Winters (played by movie star Carole Lombard) and Rene (played by some Belgian guy) and how they fall in love despite being privileged rich people pretending to be poor people. Kay's cover is blown early, and Rene follows her around until she hires him as a cook. Love blooms, of course, though Kay has another suitor whom she intends to marry, she and the disguised marquis eventually end up together. That would make her a marchioness, which is pretty much the most uncool sounding of all feminine noble ranks. The Spanish got it right by going with marquesa.

Fools for Scandal – The Furs

While movie star Kay is the main character, she doesn't wear all the fur. Isabel Jeans plays noted gossip and cause for the film's title, Lady Paula Malverton, and provides her share of fur fashions.

We start with Lady Malverton hosting a party in this stole. Down in the corner, there is “Jill” (Marcia Ralston) wearing a wrap that is not well filmed at all. Bit of a disappointment.

Lady Paula and Jill show up later as the action has moved from Paris to London. The fox-trimmed cape on Isabel Jeans gets a nice chunk of screen time, but Jill's long-haired jacket is quickly forgotten.

Black fur at night strikes again. At least the trim on Lady Paula's outfit is easy to see.

An extended sequence features Isabel Jeans' character snooping around Kay's London home while wearing the fox-trimmed cape.

There are a couple of decent close shots while wearing it.

Now we come to the part that, while promising, was ultimately a little disappointing. Here we see Kay relaxing in bed with a mink-trimmed robe, and she is about to have some visitors…

…starting with Lady Malverton in this stole.

She is quickly joined by quite a few other ladies who all happened to be walking their dogs and decided to drop in and gossip.

Lather, rinse, repeat until there's quite the collection of ladies in some variety of fur all lined up at the foot of Kay's silk sheets.

Sadly, the furs here aren't all that spectacular, especially for a year that gave us The Mad Miss Manton. I like the idea, but the costume designer didn't go far enough with it.

This is a full shot of all the girls who crowd into Kay's bedroom. Lots of fox trim and a couple of full coats of “not-fox.” Many even have no furs at all. Simply not acceptable.

Fortunately, the film's narrative sense regarding fur fashion is spot on, providing Carole Lombard in this coat as the climax.

Lombard looks lovely in this thick, shaggy fox coat. It's so shaggy I won't discount the possibility that it's coyote fur.

There's a good two minutes of screen time devoted to this fur, a solid performance. Interestingly, the coat's construction is somewhat odd, as if put together by a few enormous pelts with a big gap between them.

It makes for an odd look from the back, as it appears she's wearing it backward.

From what I found in my meticulous research on this film (read the Wikipedia article, natch), this is not considered Carole Lombard's finest film. It's on the exact opposite end of that spectrum. So bear that in mind if you're planning on watching it without the fast-forward button firmly depressed. I found it disappointing for different reasons, of course. In the end, it did redeem itself with that oversized fluffy fox coat, which is probably worth the price of admission alone.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 80 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

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