Posts tagged ‘1960s’

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!

2011/07/17

Jane Russell in White Fox

jane Russell 1964  (June 21, 1921 – February 28, 2011).

We return with another hot geo-political topic: should Panama be the 51st state? Morton Kondracke, your thoughts?

Oh, wait, the cover, riiiight! Sorry, majored in government in college, and philosophy, too. Très useful, kids. That would be non-blonde bombshell Jane Russell, still looking the part 1964, draped in a thick white fox fringed wrap. Not only that, happily married after 21 years. Um, don’t ask about year 25…

Bonus points for anyone who gets the Morton Kondracke joke.

2011/05/22

Anita Ekberg – Fox Fur Hat

Anita Ekberg in Fur

Anita Ekberg in Fur

Large fox hats are difficult to find, so surprising this one reports in from 1968. It sits rather perfectly upon the head of Swedish actress Anita Ekberg. The Flickr description says it’s from a postcard, though the postcard could be from a film. Feel free to weigh in via the comments if that’s the case. The pose seems rather “theatrical,” so to speak.

2011/01/23

Furs on Film – The Millionairess

I am a big fan of Sophia Loren, but the trajectory of her international stardom rests firmly in the late 50’s and 60’s. Those were the years fur fashion was merely phoning it in, a dreary wasteland of minks that were better suited to funerals than glamorous ladies on the big screen. Loren compounded this problem by doing a lot period and western genre pieces. History teaches us the only westerns with big fox furs in them starred Mae West. Thankfully, there’s at least one bright spot.

The Millionairess – The Film

The film is about the epicly named Epifania Parerga, a spoiled (not madcap) heiress. Not just any old heiress, the richest one in the world, who is having some dude trouble. Due to one of those plot device wills that seem ever so less common these days, has to marry a guy who can turn a profit in 3 months, a system she readily games. Finding no love that way, she eventually meets and falls in love with humble inner-city doctor named Kabir, played by Peter Sellers, doing Indian instead of French. Naturally humble inner-city doctors rebuff rich heiresses every day, so their love takes another couple acts to fully bloom, but, you know the drill, happy endings all around.

The Millionairess – The Furs

The richest woman in the world can apparently afford to buck the fashion tends of the day, a fortunate development for our viewing pleasure. Epifania wears 4 furs in the film, and 3 of them are actually interesting.

There’s a brief glimpse of fur number one before a full viewing while Epifania visits her psychiatrist after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. A very funny one, of course.

Later we get to see more of this lynx wrap on a windy day at the banks of the Thames. Sadly this, like the third entry, is filmed entirely in fairly wide shots. Still, it hangs around for a while and we get to enjoy Miss Loren adjusting it and her hair constantly in the breeze.

And here’s the rich nougaty center of the film. This is a long sequence where Epifania attempts to win Kabir’s love by showing him the big state-of-the-art clinic she built next door to his crappy one. While doing so, she wears this outfit, trimmed with rich, thick white fox fur.

Since the sequence is so long, they had to make with the closer shots from time to time.

The story even has an x-ray machine gag. It’s a comedy.

There’s a lot of Peter Sellers in these shots, almost makes me wish for the pan-and-scan version. Though then there’d be even more “solo” shots of him, and I’d have to cut more.

Final view, the sequence ends with a good shoot of Miss Loren they quickly mar with an overlay of the next sequence.

Later, Epifania shows up to again declare her intent and outline the terms of that will, the one where Kabir has to turn a profit of 15k on 500 pounds in 3 months. She does so in a lovely chinchilla wrap that, like the lynx wrap at the beginning, is mostly filmed wide.

There’s a very few shifts in camera angles for this one, though they pull in a little closer at one point.

Oh… is that how this works? You give me money? Awesome!

Finally, in something of a nod to the time, the costumer eventually relents and allows her wear this reasonably pedestrian wrap. Looks like ermine, but I wouldn’t rule out a sheared mink. At least it’s white and not brown.

For the time, this is an impressive film. Lynx, fox, and chinchilla, all in a film with the big “C” saying 1960. Even more notable that the most screen time is given to the white fox collar and cuffs and not one of the more (comparatively) conservative options. Sophia Loren is in her prime and looking magnificent, well suited to be framed by big fox furs. Sadly that was quite the rarity throughout her film career. The cinematographer wasn’t really up to the task of documenting just how magnificent she looked, relying far too much on wide shots, never allowing us to linger for very long on this beauty alone and in richly detailed close up.

Fur Runtime: approx 11 minutes
Film Runtime: 90 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 12%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1960 film The Millionairess

2010/07/25

Shirley MacLaine – What A Way To Go

Shirley Maclaine 1963

Originally uploaded by autumnsensation

Another 60’s entry that I forgot about, What a Way to Go!, and one that I haven’t seen recently, otherwise I’d post it. Though I have a really old version of this, I’d prefer to update with a better copy before inducting it here.

If you like the mink, (and at least it’s something other than brown) don’t get too attached, it appears for about 5 seconds total in a fantasy sequence in the film along with some other furs. The entire outfit would have been 5 stars if it were fox instead.

The real star of the film is the full length hot pink dyed fox coat that appears near the end of the movie. A favorite shade of mine. Miss MacLaine also wears a bit more conservative fox hat and trim combo for a nice long scene in the middle of the film.

2010/05/09

Furs on Film – The Great Race

I’m posting a film from 1965… about events in 1908. This will join previous time shifting entries like City Heat and the Dr. Phibes films. Still, it’s a film from 1965, and it will neatly fill the gap the in the decade list. Besides, The Great Race has Natalie Wood in 3 different fox furs in the space of about 10 minutes. That’s notable enough for me.

The Great Race – The Film

The Great Race is a broad, slapstick comedy from Blake Edwards based on the 1908 New York to Paris auto race. Tony Curits and Jack Lemmon star as rival daredevils, Curtis playing “The Great Leslie”, and Lemmon as “Professor Fate.” Along for the ride is Natalie Wood as Maggie DuBois, as a young photojournalist who starts in her own car but ends up hitching a ride with both Leslie and Fate at different points in the race. The last act of the film detours through The Prisoner of Zenda for no apparent reason, and even though critics hated it, it was one of the top films of 1965. Yep, they had that in the 60’s, too.

The Great Race – The Furs

I generally avoid early century period pieces because they’ve got a lot in common with the decade from which this film originates, at least in terms of their lack of interesting fur fashion. So my hunch is that the film’s costume designers took some liberties with the historical accuracy of the outfits that Maggie DuBois wears as the race passes through Alaska on their way to Russia. These are my favorite kind of liberties.

At this point in the race Maggie is in The Great Leslie’s car. They’ve entered Alaska, and being a slapstick comedy from the 60’s, Alaska is a barren, arctic wasteland. (You may feel free to insert your own joke about modern Alaska here.) Maggie is, suffice to say… well prepared:

This is outfit #1, a red fox trimmed parka and matching red fox trimmed gloves.

Moments later, we bounce from one end of the primary color spectrum to another, with equally enjoyable results. Outfit #2 is trimmed with silver fox, including what is either a large collar or a stole wrapped around her shoulders.

A later wide shot demonstrates it is probably large collar, as the hood and the collar wreath every part of Natalie Wood above her chest in silver fox fur.

Having floated across presumably the Bering Strait to Russia, Maggie appears in outfit #3, this one trimmed in blue fox. It’s like a trip across the fox rainbow with the best tour guide ever.

One of the few good close ups of Natalie Wood in this entire section of the film. While I’m a fan of letterbox presentation for viewing films in general, having seen this particular one in pan-and-scan long ago, I remember it did have the bonus of providing “close ups” of her more often. On the other hand… it also, unforgivably, cut to close-ups of Tony Curtis, too.

A final wide shot that allows the best view of the blue fox hat/collar/muff combo that is outfit #3.

She will soon be driven off by Professor Fate and show up in one final fur, a dark fur in a short night sequence that is sadly not well shot (for the fur, at least). Natalia Zacharenko did get to practice her Russian however briefly in that scene.

This one isn’t for anyone looking for staying power. The film itself is over a deuce-and-a-half, and this is one small part of it. Still, I really like Natalie Wood and I really like fox fur, so what’s not love about stuffing her into 3+ different fox furs over the course of a single sequence. Beyond the fur content, The Great Race is good comedy, too, one of the few films I’ve reviewed that I’ve actually “seen”, which is to say, not fast forwarded through only looking for furs.

Fur Runtime: approx 4 minutes
Film Runtime: 160 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 2%

Push the button for the Fur Fashions of the 1965 film The Great Race.