Archive for ‘Fur on Film’

2012/09/02

The Ultimate Fur Film That Never Was – 1938

Greetings, remember me? I’m the guy who found new ways to occupy his time. Since this is the first new post in… well, geeze, I should have waited a month for the 1 year anniversary, but hey, no one ever said I had any sense of timing. Ahem, anyway, lo these 11 months later, I come baring… not much at all. I had some ideas on how to expand the wheelhouse a bit, as both Flickr and TCM were kinda drying up. This sort of post (except this meandering paragraph, of course) was one of them.

Flights of Fancy

This is purely a mental exercise where certain minor inconveniences like “reality” are not taken into consideration. The gloves are off (though usually it’s best they stay on, for the record, opera-length, preferably), anyone is fair game to populate this little imaginary film. The idea is to come up with the best fur movie of the 30’s, with all this site’s favorites tossed into the same film with very flimsy excuses why the costume designer could… indulge.

Obviously the studio system is one of those minor inconveniences, so this would never happen for that reason alone. Rest assured, there are many, many, more reasons…

So, without further ado, and, no doubt, far less explanation than is probably necessary, I present:

The 30’s Ultimate Fur Film : The Battle for House Burlesque

Plot:

Ruby Richmond, the nation’s biggest star, just opened The Arctic Lounge. It quickly becomes the hottest new burlesque club in Chicago. She got the property from a very nervous seller, and she quickly discovers why. The hottest new burlesque club in Chicago happens to be located on the border of two of Chicago’s biggest rival mobs. Ruby has to use all the tricks in the book to keep her new club independent from two very determined mob bosses.

Setting:

The Arctic Lounge is an upscale burlesque club with a chilly theme. As the sign outside warns: “The Temperatures are Low Everywhere But On-Stage!” Patrons are urged to dress accordingly.

Starring:

FurGlamor - Barbara Stanwyck - The Mad Miss Manton - 1938

Barbara Stanwyck as Ruby Richmond. Let’s just say type casting happens for a reason. Ruby worked in burlesque before making in big as Tinsel Town’s hottest new star. She wants to cultivate a high class burlesque with her new establishment. She’s tough-as-nails and doesn’t take kindly to anyone trying to muscle-in on her club. Ruby is a famous fashionista who is rarely seen in anything other than some large fox fur.

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Greta Garbo - Inspiration - 1931

Greta Garbo as Ivana Ivanova, head of the Russian mob vying for control of The Arctic Lounge. Sure, Greta’s really Swedish but she had a lot of practice with a Russian accent thanks to Hollywood, and who am I argue? Every bit the stereotypical product of central casting, Ivana is usually found in modern deco takes of intricate czarina outfits in plush fox fur. Ivana is a ruthless criminal mastermind who carved out an empire in Chicgo in short order, taking most her territory from her hated rival…

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FurGlamor- Marlene Dietrich - Shanghai-Express - 1932

Marlene Dietrich as Karla Kristoph, leader of the German mob into whose territory Ivana is encroaching. The Arctic Lounge becomes the line she draws in the proverbial sand. Old school but cunning, she realizes she may have to adapt the old ways to win. Karla is every bit the Hollywood fashionista, and a particular fan of Ruby and her famous fox wardrobe, which she models herself on. Her love of Ruby’s work may be the key to her success or the Achilles heel of her plan.

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Co-starring:

Joan Crawford as Jenny Johnson, a new dancing hire at The Arctic Lounge. She becomes a pawn in the rival mob’s attempts to gain control…. And does burlesque numbers in big fox outfits.

Hedy Lamarr as Vanessa Van Pelt, seinor dancer who takes Jenny under her wing, but is really a plant for Karla’s gang…. And does burlesque numbers in big fox outfits.

Anna May Wong as Machinegun Mai. Gangsters need gun molls, and Mai is Karla’s top enforcer, and dresses according to her whims.

Carole Lombard as The Blonde. Ivana’s enforcer from the old country, skilled in most forms of violence and intimation, sharing her affinity for the big fox coats of home.

Kay Francis as Police Commissioner Mary Masterson. Caught between allowing the gangs free reign over the city and knowing things will be more peaceful when one side “wins”, the wealthy heiress turned policewoman tries to do what’s best, all while suffering from her recent divorce (need to have a divorce, it’s a rule for a great fur film).

Lucile Ball as Betty Blaze, the Arctic Lounge’s famous burlesque guest star whose kidnapping from the club kicks off the big finale…. And does burlesque numbers in big fox outfits.

Finale:

After numerous failed plots, Karla and Mai kidnaps Betty Blaze while on stage, forcing Ruby and (her biggest fan) Karla to team up and get her back. They succeed, and Karla and Ivana agree to leave The Arctic Lounge as “neutral territory” in their conflict, securing the future of the club.

Conclusion

That’s it, the best fur film of the 30’s that was never made and never could be. Was it comedy? A drama? It’s whatever you thought it was. I think it could take a run at unseating The Mad Miss Manton. If anyone has ideas for improvement, feel free to post them in the comments. I might try to come up with a version for the 80’s, at least, and maybe the 70’s, but there’s a lot of crossover there.

Phew… bought another 11 months…

2011/09/25

Furs on Film – What a Way to Go!

Back this week to fill in a bit more of that rather great-fur anemic decade, the 1960s. The 60’s still have the charm of not being the 90s, at least. This one is able to row against the prevailing fashion tide mostly thanks to the liberal use of fantasy sequence and parody of Hollywood “excess.”

What a Way to Go – The Film

In her current life, Shirley MacLaine stars as Louisa May Foster, a very rich, very unhappy woman who finds herself on a psychiatrist’s couch, retelling the various stories of how she tried to marry for love, not money. In each case, her poor, loveable husband of choice ends up striking it rich, neglecting her, and then dying, leaving her increasingly well off, but still unhappy. The film is an anthology of sorts, with Lousia’s time on the couch the framing device. As surprises no one, the process starts to repeat itself just before the credits roll.

What a Way to Go – The Furs

Shirley wears pretty much all the furs in the film. Part of the charm of the film is the framing sequences at the psychiatrist’s office all feature Miss MacLaine wearing a mink hat. The remainder all occur in the flashbacks to her various relationships, culminating in one of the best uses of dyed fox in film history.

Here’s the mink hat in question. Granted, if you’re not impressed, you’re going to be bored pretty quickly, since she never takes it off the entire time she’s “in therapy.”

Due to the length of time it appears, there are many nice close ups of Miss MacLaine capped by the mink. As should be a surprise to no regular reader, I’m not a mink fan, but I do like the hat. Sure, it should be fox, but, well, split milk and all.

More mink from Husband One’s story. This conservative mink fringe is hooded, at least.

After suffering through Husband Two with nary a fur in sight, things pick up with Husband Three. Already rich, Lousia meets Rod Anderson, equally if not more wealthy, at the airport. She’s wearing a fox hat and this fox fur trimmed coat.

This is a long sequence, as Lousia goes aboard Rod’s private jet and chats all while keeping the furs firmly in place. Sadly unlike many of the furs in the film, this is fairly conservative fox by any standards.

She flips that around in the film’s fantasy sequence, as Louisa imagines life with Rod and their money combined. In the sequence she wears a series of outfits by Edith Head, intentionally “over the top.” The first is more feathery than fur, obviously.

Things pick up a bit when the white mink trimmed outfit with the rather large muff appears.

While again, mink isn’t particularly my favorite, this is certainly of one my favorite minks.

Finally there’s the first of two dyed foxes in the film. Would have picked something other than yellow, myself (like the color of the film’s second dyed fox), but still, not too bad overall.

Each element of the fantasy sequence is fairly brief, so individual elements do not get a lot of mileage, but a whole thing is about a minute and some change.

Finally, Husband Four’s story provides the marquee fur. Lousia meets and marries Pinky Benson, a stage performer who, after they’re married, becomes an overnight Hollywood success. Pinky “embraces” his name, surrounding himself with his namesake color, and that includes Louisa’s wardrobe.

The dyed pink fox fur cape is spectacular. It’s supposed to be, and the dyed hair to match is, well, “the cherry on top” is, yes, very, very cliché, but I’m going there.

Even get a quick bonus of double fox in this part of the scene. That lynx-dyed fox isn’t exactly well shot, though.

Finally one close up of Miss MacLaine in her pink wig and huge pink fox. While the point of this was to lampoon Hollywood excess (and is the only reason it even appeared in a film shot in 1964), I would suggest to any lovely lady they can consider a cape like this for the average trip to the grocery store or cinema. Just think about it, that’s all I’m saying.

The full fur runtime of What a Way to Go! clocks in around 23 minutes. Now, all of that isn’t the large pink fox cape, sadly. Miss MacLaine wears her mink hat through pretty much all of the framing story, and while I don’t want to say that “pads” the runtime a bit, others may not be so kind. The fox hat and trim from the third story consumes the other big chunk. The best parts, her fantasy sequence and the pink fox are about four minutes combined. Still, for the 60’s, this is an amazing little gem.

Fur Runtime: 23 minutes
Film Runtime: 111 minutes
Onscreen Fur Ratio: 21%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1964 film What a Way to Go!

2011/08/14

Furs on Film – Funny Lady

More color. 70’s color! 70’s color about the 20’s and 30’s! The 70’s don’t get enough credit for some nice furs, because, well, it’s hard to see anything in the shadow of the blinding brilliance of the 80’s. Most period pieces are as much a product of the time in which they are produced, so lucky for us there was no problem with big furs in the 70’s.

Funny Lady – The Film

Funny Lady (1975) is a sequel to the film Funny Girl (1968), both biographical of Fanny Brice, an early success in stage, radio, and film. Staring Barbara Streisand, Funny Girl was one of her first big hits. For what it’s worth, there’s s bit of fur in Funny Girl, but it’s from the 60’s about the Teens and 20’s, so it’s yawn-worthy. Funny Lady deals with Brice’s later life in the 30’s (yeah!), and her marriage to showman Billy Rose (James Caan).

Funny Lady – The Furs

As Brice, the subject of this two-hour plus biopic, Streisand does most, but not quite all, the fur wearing. Brice is depicted as the classic Hollywood star from the period, and that includes a lot of fur. One of the reason I’m rather fond of that period, indeed.

The opening scenes are set earlier, in the late 20’s and the costume designer (sadly) went for a bit of realism. Brice wears some dark, short-haired furs, such as this wrap.

Followed by this, another bit of brown fur trimming a fabric top. The horizontal pelt work is mildly interesting. This scene also features Miss Brice smoking in fur, using a short cigarette holder.

Finally, someone remembers they were designing costumes in the 70’s. Here’s a nice white fox stole, with Fanny’s somewhat “signature” cigarette holder. Good shot of the white fox here, very high on the shoulder.

Streisand spends most of this lengthy sequence seated, but there is a short shot of her changing seats where we see more of the white fox stole.

The cinematographer rightly keeps Streisand in frame most of the time, and most of the time she’s smoking with that cigarette holder.

“Most” of the time. Probably one of the few on the planet who’d notice this, I admit, but she “mysteriously” looses the holder at the very end of the scene. Here she is smoking without it right before leaving. This will not go down as one of the great goofs of cinematic history. I’ll tell you the greatest goof: the character Helen Shirley wears two different full length fox coats at the end of Christmas Vacation, one outside, one inside.

On to the marquee fur. One that’s hard to describe, and I like it when that happens. Show’s some creativity on the part of the costume designers. This appears to be a kind of wrap / collar made from fox tails with a more easy-to-describe matching fox muff.

Like the white fox stole, this item also receives the attention it deserves in this long sequence between Streisand and Caan. It includes a few nice closeups.

And we see it from a few angles, always a nice bonus.

It also tickles my preference for colors that don’t occur in nature. This looks like a nice, dark, richly saturated plum dyed fox.

Streisand doesn’t do all the heavy lifting in the film, though if you blink, you’ll miss the other stuff. Well, not quite, but certainly nothing major. This lady in an external shot with the black fox trim probably isn’t even visible if you’re not seeing the film in its original aspect ratio.

Up next is the part of the film that almost becomes “padding.” It’s a black fox stole, though, a perfectly nice one, in fact. Sadly it’s worn in a very “moodily” lit sequence over a black dress (which, fashionably speaking, is a great match). So it’s really hard to see a lot of the time.

Not all the time, of course, and this shot at the mirror where Fanny lights up for another smoke while wearing the stole is quite clear. It moves from this to a full musical number on a dimly lit stage that, again, doesn’t do the stole much justice.

Another non-Streisand fur, a nice one, but a quick one. This blue fox stole needed a better, longer shot.

It also needs to be in a shot that doesn’t remind me that karakul is actually considered a “fur.” I’d say it’s a fur I actually “hate” but I don’t consider it a fur, just some sick joke by someone who wanted to associate one of the ugliest things you can wear with one of the most beautiful.

We do end on a better note, though this one is quite literally a “blink and you’ll miss it” fur. Brice is leaving her radio show, pulling on this really full silver fox stroller coat. It’s around for a couple seconds in a hallway then a couple more in a very wide shot outside the studio.

20 minutes of fur sounds impressive, but the move is over 2 hours long, so the ratio clocks in at 15%. According to the Wikipedia article, they had to cut to get to that length. Hope there weren’t any more great furs that ended up on the cutting room floor. A solid entry, and worthy addition to any library. Fanny’s smoking habit and affection for holders will be polarizing for some, I suppose, but obviously I’m in the ‘pro’ camp on that one. Actually, if I had to nitpick, I’d say the holder was a little too short.

Fur Runtime: approx 20 minutes
Film Runtime: 136 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 15%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1975 film Funny Lady

2011/08/07

Ice Follies of 1938 Poster with Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford Ice star - 1939

Joan Crawford in Painted White Fox Fur

I’ve mentioned Ice Follies of 1939 before, and here’s the poster. Fortunately there’s only a little artistic license, as the outfit in the poster is actually in the film. If anything, the artist may have been a little generous to those white fox cuffs, rendering them a big larger and fuller than the actual on-screen version. I’m certainly not going to complain about that sort of artistic licence. Had I any talent with brush or pen, I might be quite guilty of the same.

2011/06/26

Furs on Film – This is the Night

Back this week with an actual update, one I’ve been sitting on for a while now. Another entry from the early 30’s, this one pulls out the big gun right up front, but doesn’t completely fizzle later. It also boasts two prominent female roles where one is not objectionable to look at. That’s a sad rarity for films from this period.

This is the Night – The Film

I’ve read two different summaries of the plot of this film and am still not entirely sure how all the characters fit together. One thing is certain, there’s marriages, both legitimate and sham, and cheating on said marriages. There’s a lady pretending to be an actress playing someone’s fake wife, and a man named Bunny. That later fact does not make reading plot summaries any easier. Because, seriously, there’s only one reason someone with a Y chromosome should legitimately be called Bunny, and it’s generally only a temporary state, and he better be good at it.

The is the Night – The Furs

Okay, so our designed fur-wearers in this complex little relationship comedy may at least be named. They are Thelma Todd as “Claire” and Lily Damita as “Germaine.” Lily is memorable from one of the other 3 films she appeared in during 1932: The Match King. She does not fare as well in this film, though.

As alluded to in the opening, This is the Night hits the ground running with one very short exception. This very quick shot happens just before the arrival of Claire, part of a set of shots that build to her appearance.

Appear, Claire does, stepping from the limo in this marvelous white fox trimmed coat.

The coat’s collar and cuffs are the appropriate size, namely the sort that makes it hard to tell there’s parts that aren’t fur.

In the opener, Thelma Todd’s character suffers the 1932 version of the “wardrobe malfunction,” where she looses her skirt before the crowd that gathered to watch her arrival. The results were a little more demure, as one might expect from the period. She lost a skirt but still had a slip. For those wondering, seeing a ladies slip at that time was rather “scandalous”. What can I say… they didn’t have the Internet then.

Fortunately for us, that means an extended limo ride back home where Claire chats with… Bunny. Yep, the thing on the left, that’s “Bunny.”

The combination of the arrival and the return provide three and a half mintues to enjoy this lovely white fox trimmed coat.

Say what you will about spread of modern 3D films (fine by me), back in 1932, single color sequences were the super high tech gimmick of the day. We do get a brief look at the white fox as more white than super light blue as Claire returns home.

The white fox is the best thing in the film, but not the only thing. Later Thelma Todd appears in more fur trim. This time it appears to be lynx.

The wider shot gives us a better idea of the extent of the trim.

I’m more partial to this close-up, of course.

As you can see, Lily Damita shares some fur in this scene, sadly one that pales in comparison to Themla’s lynx fur trim.

Lily doesn’t fare much better later, as my old nemesis returns: ugly-silver-fox-stole-with-bits-still-attached. It’s the poison pill of 30’s fur fashion.

Finally, near the end, Lily finally gets a nice looking fur, sadly all she does his hold it over her forearm.

As you may hopefully infer, that is a large fox collar, and it’s part of a cape or coat that Lily mostly keeps firmly folded over her arm for the entire scene.

One, admittedly enjoyable, exception is near the end of the scene where she’s hugging it to her body, making for this oddly compelling close-up shot.

Honestly, you can probably give up after the white fox goes away, but the remainder of the film isn’t a complete wasteland. Unlike The Awful Truth, there’s more fur here, and substantial fur in a couple cases. Granted, Irene Dunne’s white fox coat could easily carry the entire film. Themla Todd’s white fox fur trim, though very nice, can’t. I would have liked to have gotten one nice close-up shot of Miss Todd’s face wreathed in white fox, but that’s the one fur the director of photography chose not to display in close up.

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

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1932 film This is the Night

2011/06/05

Furs on Film – I’ll Take Romance

Hey, I should post one of these “review” things… Admittedly the allure of just tossing out something I find on Flickr each week is pretty strong, but this is what I’m “supposed” to be doing, after all. This entry is from the late 30’s, that most special of times, and this film is another fine example of why.

I’ll Take Romance – The Film

This film is based around the romance of kidnapping. Just one of the many felonies made attractive by Hollywood’s lighthearted romantic comedies over the years. Fonts of juvenile delinquency worse than comic books, they are. Elsa Terry (Grace Moore), budding opera singer, is contracted to do a show in Buenos Aires, but isn’t going thanks to a better offer in Paris. James Guthrie (Melvyn Douglas), responsible for getting her to the Buenos Aires show, meets and ends up romancing her, but she still refuses to go. Elsa enjoys his company and, forewarned, plays along when Guthrie puts her on the “wrong” ship. That’s only the fake kidnapping in the film, there’s more real ones later. Lighthearted-romantic-comedy-immunity applies, though, and everyone lives happily ever after, instead of, you know, in a supermax facility.

I’ll Take Romance – The Furs

More Broadway divas in fur here, as actual-Broadway-turned-Hollywood star Grace Moore does almost all of the fur wearing, and all of it you’d want to see. Grace’s character has an “aunt,” you see, the kind scraped up from the leftovers of Marie Dressler’s fat and wrinkles (Helen Westley), who disgraces a silver fox fur for a mercifully brief few seconds early in the film.

Elsa’s first fur is not only refreshingly unique, but given quite a bit of screen time.

The silver fox fur trim on this dress is thick and heavy, just the way I like it.

One might say the 80’s big shoulder craze had nothing on this.

How you really boost your on-screen fur time? Easy, if you’re a musical, you do a number.

Elsa sings wearing the silver fox, accumulating an impressive seven minutes and some change in the big fur trimmed dress.

This next one is kind of tricky, because, while it suggests that it is pretty impressive, the age old quandary of black fox at night rears its… well, not exactly ugly… mostly just “hard to make out” head.

Most of the time she’s wearing this it’s in the dark backseat of a cab or on the equally dark deck of the ship. However, very briefly, she enters her stateroom and we get a better idea how nice it is.

Sadly this is a very short scene, but it does look rather nice for these few seconds we can actually make it out.

To the marquee fur, a white fox cape, as usual. Also a pretty good example of why white fox should always be your “go-to” choice for evening fur filming. Because… you can see it.

And this one is, like most from this period, rather hard to miss.

Melvyn’s getting himself a handful. Easy there, cowboy.

This is a good sequence, giving up almost 3 minutes of white fox goodness. Sadly, Melvyn’s also in frame the entire time.

The film doesn’t stop there, providing this shorter tidbit on the dock where Grace appears in a coat with a large fur collar.

This is fairly short, and while a very nice collar, it’s not a particular loss that we don’t see it for very long.

To cover absolutely everything, there is another sequence near the end where Grace wears a different fur trimmed dress, but there’s not much fur and it’s very hard to see. Hard to film black fur even in the daytime. Even without this sequence the ratio clocks in at an impressive 16%, so there’s no reason to pad the totals with it. The white fox cape is virtually definitive of the period, and makes the film worth a look all by itself.

Fur Runtime: approx 14 minutes
Film Runtime: 85 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 16%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1937 film I’ll Take Romance

2011/05/01

Furs on Film – Rockabye

Well, I was going to post this last week, but it kind of sucks to roll out of bed and suddenly discover the workflow you’ve used for three years now suddenly fails. Ah, codec drama! I have no idea what screwed it up, and the prospect of figuring it out is daunting, so I did a lazy workaround that involves moving mountains of data on an external hard drive, and… What, you don’t care? Right, right…

Then how ’bout one of the single biggest fox collars committed to the screen?

Rockabye – The Film

This early 30’s Constance Bennett flick, she plays Judy Carroll, a Broadway actress who testifies for her former boyfriend, an embezzler. While I’m not sure about the particular legal statute involved here (probably because they made it up), doing so ends up costing her custody of an orphan she had planed to adopt. She drowns her sorrows with a trip to Europe with, (le sigh) her old, rotund, alcoholic mother, and meets a playwright with an eerily autobiographical play called, wait for it: Rockabye. Judy theoretically falls in love with him and wants to take the play back to Broadway, but, in a twist that may not have been quite so cliché in 1932, ends up with her loving manager instead.

Rockabye – The Furs

As famous Broadway actress Judy Caroll, Constance Bennett does most of the fur wearing, and almost all of the fur wearing you’d particularly want to see. For the sake of accuracy, if not the level of bile in my stomach, I should mention Judy’s mother also wears fur. She’s played Jobyna Howland, a woman every bit as young, thin, and attractive as Marie Dressler. Okay, that’s a little unfair to Jobyna, she’s maybe 2% more attractive.

How do you get your dirty, embezzling, ex-boyfriend acquitted? You go to court and testify in this:

He’d be in the clear if I was on the jury.

Anyone who dated a woman with this kind of fashion sense is a-okay in my book.

Not sure how else to put this, but: I really, really like this collar.

I realize this isn’t exactly the insightful level of commentary you’ve come to expect from me, but, honestly, I’m a little distracted.

Now, the collar is pretty much grade-A, but let’s not forget what’s been in her lap the whole time. As she leaves the stand, she helpfully hefts that big barrel muff so we get good look at it.

The cherry on top of this is that not only is the quality amazing, but it’s not merely a fleeting glance. The courtroom sequence provides over 3 minutes of footage alone.

It’s followed by about 2 more, most with this shot as she’s riding home from the courtroom. Now, if I were to find fault with any of this, it’s that she spends the entire time in the backseat doing absolutely nothing with that cigarette holder in her hand.

She returns home where we meet her soon to be ex-orphan for a little heart-string tugging. This shot illustrates a point I made in an earlier update. The better the collar, the less of the head you can see from the back (or the side, for that matter).

There’s other fur in the film? Oh, right, yes, there is. Not that I think it matters at this point. There’s this probably mink item that I’ll call a wrap since “bib,” while seemingly more accurate, doesn’t sound all that fashionable.

For a film that starts out so spectacularly, it briefly descends into the depths of mediocrity with Constance Bennett in this most basic of full length mink coats. This fur is given all the screen time it deserves, which is: not much at all.

Finally, in what would have been a fur with a pretty decent collar in any other film but just ends up being an afterthought here, we see Virginia Hammond in this silver fox trimmed wrap.

It is a very nice, full-body trim, one that I might ordinarily lavish a bit more attention upon, but, really, you can just scroll up and call it even.

While the full Fur Ratio is 19%, and that’s pretty darn impressive, the only fur that really matters is actually on screen for a total of five and a half minutes. That makes the “Awesome Fur Ratio” about 6%, but that’s still not shabby. That five and a half minutes is filled with closeups that lavish the appropriate amount of attention on Constance and that amazing outfit.

Fur Runtime: approx 14 minutes
Film Runtime: 75 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 19%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1932 film Rockabye

2011/03/20

Furs on Film – Snapshot

How bout that Ozploitation flick? This one is fun for a few reasons (not to actually watch, mind you). It’s one of the first I’ve posted with a unique combination of multiple release titles and a severed pig’s head. TCM showed it as Snapshot, as that was the name it was released under in its country of origin, Australia. It can also be found under the title One More Minute (as in the IMDb), and also as The Day Before Halloween or The Night After Halloween, both a transparent attempt to capitalize on the recent success of Carpenter’s film in the states at the time.

Should note the quality of the caps is a little lower than I’d like. Amazingly, the version TCM showed was a 16:9 ‘zoom’ of a 4:3 pan-and-scan. Basically, you’re looking at the least amount of actual film possible, like seeing a movie through a keyhole.

Snapshot – The Film

Sigrid Thornton stars as Angela, a hairdresser who becomes friends with Madeline, an actress played by Chantal Contouri. Madeline convinces Angela to drop the hairdresser gig and become a model. On a shoot for a cologne ad we get to see both of Angela’s talents (this one is rated R, kids). Angela becomes the next big thing in Australian modeling, but she has some baggage with an ex boyfriend who follows her around in an ice cream truck and may or may not be trying to kill her. The ex isn’t the only suspect, and it wouldn’t be a “thriller” if he was. Madeline ends up liking Angela… a lot, (a lot, a lot), further mixing things up. Apparently there’s a twisty sort of ending, but I can’t be sure since Chantal wasn’t wearing any furs there so I wasn’t paying attention.

Snapshot – The Furs

Chantal Contouri as the actress / model who propels Angela into what passes for for the film’s plot also wears all the fur in the film. Not only that, but at least half time she’s wearing those furs she’s smoking as well.

Madeline and Angela meet at the hairdressers. Madeline enters in this so very 70’s horizontally striped red fox jacket.

Red fox was particularly popular in the 70’s it seems. Not my favorite natural shade (I prefer far more unnatural dyed shades of red), but Madeline has a couple in her fur wardrobe.

At the shoot, just before Angela and her chest meet the celluloid, Madeline gives her a little pep talk, like the concerned, supportive friend she is. This is her other major fur in the film, though again, hard to see thanks to the cut. I do enjoy the fact that she’s basically “popped the collar” here.

Here we are the club, a location with which viewers of the film will become quite familiar. The club scenes are a perfect illustration of why I take the time to edit clips in the first place, as otherwise they’d be unbearable. It’s here we find Madeline in her other red fox coat, in a long sequence that’s interrupted routinely by a horrible cabaret singer.

Smoking in her furs, Madeline watches Angela dancing in the club. The remainder of the sequence may be less-than-favorably be referred to as “filler,” but this is certainly my favorite kind.

After minutes of casual, detached smoking, Madeline intervenes when it appears Angela has met a new male friend, seriously inhibiting the rest of his evening. There may be subtext to this, but it’s totally lost on me.

Leaving the club, we see this is full length red fox coat, unlike the one from earlier in the film.

After more of the things that pass for events in this film happen, we find ourselves back at the club. Madeline finds Angela again, striding through the collected patrons in a long white mink coat with a cigarette holder perched high in her right hand. I like where Madeline is going with her fashion choices.

The cinematographer and the broadcast display issues contrive to make this more difficult than it should be, but we do get half a closeup of Madeline smoking with her cigarette holder in the white mink. This one was all too short.

If you were hoping to get a better view of the ‘pep-talk’ fur from earlier, here it is. This walk and talk gives a good chance to take in the fur, which I’ve studiously avoided naming because I’m not entirely sure what it is. Opinions are welcome.

Brief closeup of Chantal Contouri’s character framed with the large collar.

Back at the club… again, with Madeline smoking in the same fur coat, this time mostly in a background shot.

Finally we see the same fur one last time as Angela visits Madeline on the set, finding her relaxed with her fur and, yes, smoking once more. Seriously, even I have to say you should probably cut back a bit Maddy.

Yet another little obscure fur fashion gem that TCM aired, along the lines of Darktown Stutters. Granted, I doubt they were airing it because of the furs. Great examples of 70’s furs in this, and yes, I admit Madeline’s bad habit is one I enjoy viewing, from a distance, at least. Since there’s still no 70’s or 80’s nostalgia channels yet, can’t pass up the opportunity to post these when I find them. The ratio isn’t particularly great, but the quality definitely makes up for it.

Fur Runtime: approx 9 minutes
Film Runtime: 92 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1979 film Snapshot

2011/03/06

Furs on Film – Lady with a Past

This week we have an entry from 1932 that, considering the ratio it racks up, I’d have preferred it be shot in 1938. That’s a bit of a quibble, as it has some good furs, and the viewer is certainly able to take their time and enjoy them. Besides, it was either this or a 70’s Aussie exploitation film TCM probably showed by accident or something. I’ll get to that one later.

Lady with a Past – The Film

Constance Bennett stars as Venice Muir (a name someone should probably use in a future exploitation film), one of those rare non-madcap heiresses from the 30’s. Venice is not exactly “left at the altar,” but has her elopement to Paris canceled by playboy Donnie Wainwright (David Manners). As, obviously, Donnie is totally not a jerk, she cooks up a plan to follow him to Paris, make him jealous, and get him back. She is aided by Guy (Ben Lyon), an employment challenged individual who becomes her fake gigolo. Since this isn’t a 1980’s romantic comedy, she doesn’t end up with Guy; she gets her man Donnie in the end.

Lady with a Past – The Furs

Constance Bennett does most of the fur wearing in the film, and boy, is there a lot of it. She’s helped out by a couple others, but their contributions are slim compared to hers. In general the fur fashions are quite exemplary of the early 30’s, where designers were still ramping-up to the glorious excesses of the late 30’s.

We start with this red fox stole. I don’t care for the more common silver fox variant, so making a red fox version doesn’t help much. You can also note the very small fox trim on the dress of Lola Goadby (Astrid Allwyn) opposite Venice.

Speaking of which, there’s that exact silver fox stole on Ann (Merna Kennedy). She’s visible in this long sequence for only a few seconds, but those few include this reasonably good shot.

Before Donnie dumps her, Venice arrives to a party in this long, sable trimmed ermine coat. My chief problem with ermine is that it’s not fox.

Cut to Paris, where Venice meets Guy and eventually ends up hiring him. She’s hanging out in a cafe in this fox trimmed outfit.

This is one of the two furs the film allows the viewer to indulge, as the entire sequence provides almost four and half minutes to take it in. It is sprinkled with fine close shots such as this.

To the second fur we’ll be seeing a lot, the linchpin of the entire film, a short jacket with a rather agreeably large collar and cuffs. I’m going to say this is probably a dark sable, though it could be black fox.

The fur is onscreen for about 10 full minutes, and that is amazingly impressive even for this decade.

This illustrates a good rule of thumb when designing fur collars, the less you can see of the back of the wearer’s head, the better.

As it is onscreen so long, we do get a few fine close shots to study it further.

While the dark fur trimmed jacket is the film’s “big” fur, it’s hardly done. As Venice is building her rep as the most desirable woman in Paris, she’s in quite a few more furs. Can’t say this is a favorite, but I’m sure others can appreciate the short mink cape.

Later there’s a poorly filmed, sort look at this fox trimmed coat. Another reason to wish it was 1938, this would probably have been all fox.

Yet more, this blue fox trimmed top that also has some small cuffs that can be seen later.

She meets up with Lola again upon returning to New York. Lola is wearing… a fur coat. Not sure what kind of fur that is, but I can at least be sure it’s fur. Could be some form of rabbit.

Finally, the end of the film gives us this, a long black and white ermine fur coat. This is where she and Donnie finally get together.

Another one for the missed-opportunity pile, the fashioning of the coat is superb, with a high collar and full sleeves, but the use of ermine mitigates that. Even mink would have been a better choice here.

Lady with a Past clocks in at 39% on-screen fur ratio. That is almost four times the rough average of 10% I just sorta made up based on what I recall from all the previous updates. So, for over a third of the film, you’ll be seeing someone wearing a fur. I can, and have, quibbled over the kind of fur in the film, but if you’re a little less picky than me (and I sense many, many are) then this probably goes into the “must have” pile.

Fur Runtime: approx 31 minutes
Film Runtime: 80 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 39%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1932 film Lady with a Past

2011/02/13

Furs on Film – Fools for Scandal

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, decent selection of good furs here with the good sense to save the best for last. Hope I’m not overselling this one…

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 both being privileged rich people pretending to be poor people. Kay’s cover is blown early, and Rene ends up following 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 end up making 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 do all the fur wearing. Isabel Jeans plays noted gossip, and cause for the title of the film, Lady Paula Malverton, and provides her share of fur fashions as well.

In fact, we start off with Lady Malverton hosting a party in this mink stole. Down in the corner there is “Jill” (Marcia Ralston) wearing a silver fox 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 chuck of screen time, but Jill’s really 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.

There’s a long sequence that features Isabel Jeans’ character snooping around Kay’s London home while wearing the fox trimmed cape.

There are a couple 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. She is about to have some visitors…

…starting with Lady Malverton in this red fox 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 a 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 the most complete shot of all the girls who crowd into Kay’s bedroom. Lot’s of fox trim and a couple full coats of “not-fox”. Many even have no furs at all. Simply not acceptable.

Fortunately the films narrative sense as regards fur fashion is spot on, providing Carole Lombard in this coat as the climax.

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

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.

Makes for an odd look from the back, as it appears she’s wearing it backwards.

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, in fact. So bare that in mind if you’re actually planning on watching it without the fast-forward button firmly depressed. I found it disappointing for different reasons, of course. It did redeem itself in the end there with that big 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%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1938 film Fools for Scandal