Time to go back to the 1930s, still co-champ of best fur-film-decade with the 1980s. Sadly overlooked by generations who cannot conceive of a time when they couldn’t turn their noses up at black-and-white film because that is all there was. Angel not only is from the 30s but stars one of the top fur wearers of all time, Marlene Dietrich. Again, for those new to this, she was an internationally famous star of stage and screen and not someone who calls herself a “queen” on Instagram.
Format: Anamorphic, NTSC, Subtitled
Angel – The Film
The age-old tale of a bored society housewife who has a fling with a playboy and, because it’s way post-code, ends up with her neglectful husband because it’s way post-code. The film ensures us he’s changed a lot in the last 10 minutes of the movie. Cue jerk-off motion. It’s categorized as a “comedy” everywhere. Still, a helpful IMDb reviewer confirms a few gags from secondary characters, but the film is pretty much heavy drama from the first reel.
Angel – The Furs
We open on a winner: Marlene Dietrich in silver fox fur. She plays Maria, Lady Barker, the wife of an important diplomat. She’s snuck off to Paris to visit an old friend / current purveyor of earthly delights.
Like most of her films, the cinematography wisely provides several excellent closeups of Dietrich. When wearing fur, this decision is a no-brainer. Sadly, this is the shortest appearance of Marlene’s furs in the film.
Lady Barker meets up with her old friend, Grand Duchess Anna Dmitrievna, wearing this sadly pedestrian stole.
The conversation is pretty long, so you are in luck if you like this particular piece.
Zipping to later in the film, we include the obligatory white feather nightwear that was quite the rage in this period. I know it is not fur, but it may pique someone’s interest. I mean… if you squint…
Another supporting piece is this mink, maybe a sable-trimmed dress worn by Lady Barker as she and the hubby catch the ponies at Ascot. At this point, she’s already had her little “anonymous” fling, wherein she’s dubbed the titular “Angel.”
Said fling becomes increasingly less anonymous as she notices the dumbass in question is also there and beats feet.
Fast forward (and you may want to) to the third act, where everyone is all together, and choices must be made. If you’re Marlene Dietrich, you make the big calls wearing fur; in this case, a black fox stole.
This one gets a lot of screen time (4 minutes) and a lot of great shots of Dietrich in various closeups. It is worth mentioning that the black dress has matching black fox trim, but it’s only visible for a few seconds as she is shot from the waist up exclusively.
This is literally the end of the movie, where we’re meant to rejoice that she ends up with her neglectful husband, who, literally, in the script, says he’s changed a lot in the past few minutes. I’m sure that’s gonna work out well for you, Mrs. Barker.
Anyway, I presume I shouldn’t be grading historical media through a modern lens, but it’s fun to point out the bullshit. The IMDb said this was not a banger for Dietrich and her last film at Paramount. It’s a solid film for fur fashion, even if you can’t be blamed for zipping through the melodrama. The silver fox in the opening is my favorite, and the black fox at the end gets all the attention it deserves. Mink fans can enjoy the rest, even if I am not amongst them.
Fur Runtime: approx 12.5 minutes
Film Runtime: 91 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 14%
Find-a-Fur: Angel, 1937
(all times are approximate)
- 01:40 – 03:20 – silver fox trim
- 05:00 – silver fox stole (brief, not Marlene)
- 06:05 – 08:30 – mink stole
- 27:35 – 31:35 – white feather night jacket
- 48:05 – 50:35 – mink trim wrap/dress
- 1:23:20 – 1:30:40 (end) – black fox stole (+ black fox trim, barely visible)