Posts tagged ‘1970s’

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

2011/03/20

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

2010/04/11

Fur on Film – Darktown Strutters

It’s late at night. The core demo of Turner Classic Movies is long since retired for the evening. This is where strange things happen, as TCM goes all film history buff on you. Sometimes it’s unintentionally amusing old “educational” films, foreign stuff, and sometimes it’s obscure Blaxploitation from the heart of the 1970’s.

Darktown Strutters – The Film

Darktown Strutters is supposedly a screwball comedy in the vein of Blazing Saddles. Apparently people not watching the film on fast forward looking for furs have trouble figuring it out, so I’m really not qualified to comment. The plot is about a female biker gang and their leader, Syreena (Trina Parks) looking for her mother. They end-up thwarting the plans of a thinly disguised Colonel Sanders look-a-like to clone and replace black leaders so they will vote for white people. Moving right along…

Darktown Strutters – The Furs

The biker gang in question is usually fashionably outfitted in a way that would stand out in a procession down Burbon St. in the middle of Mardi Gras. The attitude the film takes towards fashion virtually demands big fox furs.

Here’s fox number one. Syreena in a club wearing a neo-flapper outfit. The most anachronistic aspect is the best part: a huge white fox stole.

She’s here to hire a private eye to look for her mother. That doesn’t go well, but she receives a tip from a lady in the club, whose got a red feather stole on that is grandfathered in because of the white fox in the shot.

Close up of Trina Parks in the white fox fur stole.

The white fox was merely an appetizer to the main course. For reasons I’m not entirely clear on Syreena goes to a place called the “Pot-cicle” to get information from a woman named Lixie. It’s cold in the Pot-cicle, so very very cold.

Syreena’s large gray or cross fox vest coat and stole looks more at home in some caveman spoof film, but that hardly means it can’t be appreciated. It fits like a glove with the films fashion sensibility, and is the best thing here until Lixie emerges from that igloo…

…wearing a thick dyed pink fox parka.

Yes, my favorite fur in my favorite dyed color, this keeps Lixie warm in style, with matching ear muffs no less.

Lixie and Syreena warm their hands by the igloo’s upper exhaust port. Even I’m not sure what I just wrote there… Anyway, the scene would have worthy enough with Syreena’s fox alone, but I was rather floored when Lixie emerged in that pink fox fur parka.

If you have occasion to watch the scene, notice how much trouble Trina Parks has with the stole attached to the vest coat. She throws it back over her shoulder at least three times, each time they cut back to her it’s slipped off, and she has to throw it over again.

Darktown Strutters is certainly one of the more surreal entries I’ve done, owing a bit to its Blaxploitation and (if you hadn’t caught on) weedsploitation roots. While the ratio isn’t huge, I think this one comes down to the (slightly more than) 1 epic fur rule, embodied in the combination of pink fox parka and cave-woman super-fox combo. Really, how can you not consider that combo noteworthy.

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 90 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1975 film Darktown Strutters.

2009/10/11

Furs in Film – The Great Bank Hoax

As mentioned in the last film update, films from the 30’s with an heiress are “must-record”. Films about small towns are… fur fashion kryptonite, so to speak, even if they’re also from the 70’s. Sometimes wild, random hunches pay off, as they did in the case of The Great Bank Hoax. Maybe it was the 1978 glowing in the program guide that suggested that, yes, there was promise here. Expecting five minutes lost to a pointless fast-forward, what I found was a most pleasant surprise.

The Great Bank Hoax – The Film

The plot of the The Great Bank Hoax is virtually immaterial to why it ended up on this site. It’s about 2 officers at a small town bank, Burgess Meredith and Richard Basehart (miss ya, Gypsy), who concoct a scheme to defraud their own bank by way of a teller’s “test” embezzlement. The teller, Richard Smedley (Paul Sand), had done it to prove it could be done and give the money back, but his bosses realize there’s even more money to be made if the embezzlement appears to be quite real. This has nothing to do with the minor sub-plot at the beginning of the film with a lady named Patricia and her desperate need for a loan…

The Great Bank Hoax – The Fur

Patricia is played by Constance Forslund, whose filmography is dotted with a lot of TV guest roles between the odd film. She was on 2 different episodes of CHiPs! Patricia meets up with the 70’s small town bank teller equivalent of a a white knight hacker, Richard, after a game of bingo and takes him back to her place, where…

Where she puts on her full length silver fox fur coat and attempts to seduce him into giving her a loan. Yes, this is an example of the “seduction in fur” cinematic cliché. Granted, I’m not sure how much of a cliché it is, after all, I’d think it would have to happen a lot more often to reach that status. I’d love it if happened a lot more. Patricia’s lovely, large, silver fox is the only fur in the film, but it gets its cinematic due and is used oh so effectively.

Patricia shows off her coat to Richard. This was 1978, and I was 3, and full length silver fox coats were something to be shown off, admired, and used as tool of seduction. Sadly, many of those facts have changed today.

Richard, being that good, honest guy he is, takes a few minutes to catch on.

Though, at a certain point, even he catches the clue train. Right about the time Patricia and her big silver fox fur coat are on top of him, then underneath him, and in generally very close proximity.

As we enjoy a close up of a rejected Constance Forslund laying on the floor in her fur, now would probably be an appropriate time to point out the movie is a family friendly PG comedy. So, get your dirty minds out of the gutter, nothing actually happens.

Not the least of which is because Richard can’t give Patricia the loan she wants, so he feels it would be wrong to take advantage. Patricia shows up at the bank the next day, searching for someone who can give her a loan. She ends up with Jack Stutz (Burgess Meredith).

Patricia arrives working not only the big full length silver fox coat, but a cigarette holder as well.

Sadly, the director of photography for second sequence kind of let everyone down. Outside of a wonderful intro shot as she enters the bank and the camera pans up from her heels over the fur, to her face, the rest of the sequence doesn’t showcase the fur or the holder very well.

Yes, I can find something to complain out in a movie where a blonde vamps it up in a full length sliver fox fur and a cigarette holder. I suppose had been editing the film, the director would have called me in and asked why they never saw Burgess Meredith once in the entire sequence, and lingered on b-roll of Constance smoking with the holder.

Patricia and her attempts to seduce her way to bank loan liquidity are confined to the top of the film, and once she’s gone, there’s no more fur. Still, any film that indulges the fur seduction mystique then tosses in a cigarette holder for good measure is worth some time. Goes to show that sometimes good furs will show up in most unlikely of places.

Full Gallery – The Great Bank Hoax