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Furs on Film – The Shadow (1994)

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How many of you remember the “before times?” You know, back before Marvel movies, when superhero movies kinda sucked? We return to this period with The Shadow, a superhero movie that kinda sucked. While the plot, pacing, acting, and overall cinematic quality may be subpar, we are here to honor the costume designer’s 100% faithfulness to the period in which the film is set.

The Shadow – The Film

The movie is about The Shadow, a crime fighter whose origins began in the , where this film is set. (And was likely pretty cheap to acquire the rights to, and whose rogues gallery was firmly rooted in the casual bigotry of the time.) The Shadow is Lamont Cranston, a playboy by day, a crime fighter by night (a premise never again reused in any other media). He has to save Gotham New York from the last descendant of Ghengis Khan and his nuclear bomb.

The Shadow – The Fur

Meet Margo Lane (Penelope Ann Miller), who plays the love interest / damsel-in-distress of the film and does (almost) all the fur-wearing. We open her wardrobe with this fur-trimmed cape.

We are provided with a few nice close-ups during this brief sequence. Like all the furs in the film, this could have stepped off the screen in 1938. It is completely authentic to the period.

Next is the marquee fur, this (probably) blue frost fox wrap worn in a couple of long sequences. The first at this deco club and the club set is the perfect period set design.

The wrap has a nice collar, and we are treated to some lavish close-ups here and in the following sequence.

I mentioned Miss Miller wears “almost” all the furs. The film has some background furs, many of which are visible in this sequence as Margo runs out after Lamont.

Margo finds her father kidnapped from his lab, keeping the fox cape on the entire time.

The antagonist remotely hypnotizes her through a cigarette billboard display. This is after the film made a point of Margo being immune to Lamont’s hypnotic abilities and clearly suggesting the antagonist’s abilities are pretty much the same. 

It’s a superhero movie; no matter when it comes out, the good guy wins, and everyone lives happily ever after. Margo and Lamot share some snuggles just before the credits roll, and Margo wears this fox-trimmed coat. 

It’s not around for long, but closing your film with fox fur should be mandatory if you ask me, but I admit I may have some bias.

Visually, The Shadow is great. It includes great deco set design and, most importantly, furs that look like they would be in any high society flick from the late ‘30s. For an example of someone tossing in an ‘80s fur coat into a ‘30s setting, see City Heat (admittedly, it’s a very nice fur coat). The runtime is a little on the low side, but this firmly lands in the quality-over-quantity file. 

It does trigger my annoyance that many of my readers will voraciously consume this media yet turn their digital noses up at anything from the 1930s when furs like these were so common. 

Find-a-Fur: The Shadow, 1994

(all times are approximate and are affected by the cut of the film)

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