Furs on Film – Sharky’s Machine (1981)

It's time to take another trip down the hazy memory roads of GenX. While that includes me, I was just six then, so my access to R-rated movies was slightly diminished. The good news is that you're not wrong, but your nostalgia filter is turned up a little high. Sharky's Machine has a good , but it is not around for long.

Sharky's Machine – The Film

The film's titular Machine is just a group of vice cops led by Detective Sharky who are investigating a high-level prostitution ring. (I assumed it was a car for many years.) Anyone who grew up watching media around this time will be like, “Oh, that guy, and that guy, and yeah, that guy,” as to the supporting cast. We don't care about any of them here, only Rachel Ward.

Sharky's Machine – The Furs

Okay, not only Rachel Ward. A couple of other furs are in the film before the of interest. The first couple of coats appear in a long shot of an elevator worn by those we presume to be ladies of the night. Thus we find another example of “80s hookers wear fur.”

Next is Mable (Carol Locatell), who is clearly not a successful 80s hooker because she only wears a jacket.

Finally, we reach Dominoe (Rachel Ward), the “Machine's” surveillance subject. While this is not her first appearance, she runs into Sharky in the hall of her building while they're installing surveillance equipment. She wears a feathered blue fox stroller coat, which is clearly employed to enhance her desirability. 

Here's the entire scene that so many remember so fondly. It is ten seconds long because I removed the reaction shots. 

That's it; that's what nostalgia filters have blown slightly out of proportion. True, it is excellent, and I would include it in a sizzle reel of “movies where fur is presented as sexy,” but alone, it is just really short.

The coat doesn't entirely disappear, but you don't see much more. It turns up again in a scene where Dominoe is in a car with Sharky, obscured behind rain on the windshield. I suspect this was an attempt at an “artistic” shot. When they arrive, you quickly get to see her take it off.

The coat appears again as she appears in quick cuts at a political rally to spook the candidate who ordered her killed. These shots are rapid in a choppy series of cuts.

While I'm on board with any blue fox fur coat cinematic experience, I am bound by my duty to assess the overall quality, and I will say you can pass on Sharky's Machine. Download the GIF up there, and you'll get all you need. The whole thing, blue fox fur coat and the rest, only add up to just over 2 minutes, and you don't even crack a 2% ratio.

  • Fur Runtime: 2:16 minutes
  • Film Runtime: 122 minutes
  • On-Screen Ratio: 1.84%

Find-a-Fur: Sharky's Machine, 1981

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

  • 17:05 – 2x coats, brief
  • 21:10 – 23:00 – rabbit
  • 31:35 – blue fox
  • 1:15:30 – 1:17:20 – ” 
  • 1:20:25 – ” crowd reaction shots

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