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Furs on Film – Penelope (1966)

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I have unintentionally been flipping back and forth between drama and comedy for the past few updates, so let’s keep that ball rolling. It’s swinging ‘60s time again, a decade that is not the best for my preferred type of fur fashion but is not without its charms. Charm #1 is Natalie Wood, who returns from The Great Race around the world with a bit of compulsive kleptomania as Penelope.

Penelope – The Film

This is a strange one, and it is yet another in our ever-lengthening list of box office disappointments. Feel free to make your own lengthening joke. The titular Penelope (Natalie Wood) is a woman with a bit of a problem; she likes to steal things. She starts the film by robbing her husband’s bank, then swings by her psychiatrist to discuss. While working through her issues, she’s pursued by Lt. Columbo Horatio Bixbee (Peter Falk).

Penelope – The Furs

Penelope’s opening heist involves some disguises and costume changes, the final of which places her in a dark brown, presumably mahogany . She immediately returns to the crime scene to join other ‘60s fur-clad onlookers.

We get a lot of flashbacks thanks to Penelope’s visit to her shrink, one of which is her wedding day. She wears this lighter, perhaps pearl mink coat while tossing the bouquet and putting some pepper on it.

The mahogany mink returns paired with a blonde wig as Penelope pawns off the suit she wore in the heist. I’m sure some of my readers will appreciate the handwear as well.

We get a couple of lengthy scenes involving Penelope wearing this spotted jacket. These aren’t interesting to me, but again, I suspect some readers would politely disagree, so I now include them.

Returning to the pawn shop later, we finally get to, in my opinion, the marquee fur. This -trimmed jacket receives a lovely stretch of screen time.

Penelope does the ‘60s equivalent of a walk-and-talk in the lynx as Bixbee questions her about the robberies. This provides us the opportunity to see the lynx featured from a variety of angles.

Sadly, all lynx must pass, and we return to the psychiatrist’s office, where more flashbacks play out. Her husband neglects her, which is illustrated in a brief scene where she returns as the 1st place winner at a dog show wearing this lamb coat and hat. The gag is she looks like the dog, yes.

After another long, spotted interlude, the pearl mink returns for its close-up. Penelope attempts to confess when she realizes an innocent woman is taking the wrap for her crimes, but no one believes her.

Natalie is not the only fur wearer in the film. A subplot involves a couple of con artists trying to extort Penelope. They are very successful con artists, as Sabada (Lila Kedrova) already has a fur-trimmed wrap. Is it a fox? Is it sable? You can decide, dear reader.

Norma Crane plays one of the rich people Penelope also robbed. She wears a jacket to the party Penelope throws to confess.

Penelope was not a box office smash and led to a bit of a Hollywood time-out for Natalie, who did not return to the screen until 1969’s Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. But we’re not here for box office receipts, just fur fashion. You get twenty minutes of furs on that front, and that’s not too shabby. In fact, this places Penelope in the rare 20% club. 

Fur Runtime: approx 20.5 minutes

Film Runtime: 98 minutes

On-Screen Fur Ratio: 20.8%

Find-a-Fur: Penelope, 1966

(all times are approximate)

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