Posts tagged ‘Barbara Stanwyck in fur’

2011/09/04

The Manton Crystal Fox

Barbara Stanwyck - The Mad Miss Manton, 1938

Barbara Stanwyck - The Mad Miss Manton, 1938

Sure, you’ve seen it before, but it’s a really nice shot of one of the most “famous” furs in silver screen history. This is the fur with top billing in a film with a very crowded marquee, perfectly deployed upon the shoulders of the lovely Miss Stanwyck.

I found this in a (very well named) set from Flickr, collected by a fetching lady with very fine taste in furs: Hollywood Fur Glamor

2011/05/29

Barbara Stanwyck In Lady of Burlesque

Barbara Stanwyck - Lady of Burlesque 1942

Barbara Stanwyck - Lady of Burlesque 1942

There was a shorter, more obvious title for this, but I went the more verbose version to spare everyone the indignity. This is a beautiful publicity shot from 1942’s Lady of Burlesque, featuring that most lovely and rather appropriately sized white fox muff. And the bird… that… bird. I can verify that Photoshop CS5’s content aware fill and patch tools do make short work of it, at least.

2011/05/15

FurGlamor’s Top 12 Actresses

Comments on the last post got me to thinking a little harder about my favorites, so I decided to try and get them down, all official-like. So here is my entirely subjective personal opinion on the top 12 fur wearing actresses of the last 80 or so years (mostly minus the last 20 since they… sucked). If you’re thinking I started with 10 then remembered some more, then you’re absolutely correct. After I post this, I’ll probably remember a lot more.

Greta Garbo

This list technically covers fur wearers only, but Garbo is also on top of my all time most-attractive list, with or without fur. It’s the face, really. That face is the greatest ever, and for once I’m not alone in having that opinion. Actually, all of these women share that quality, the face is what I first “fall” for, Garbo just does it best.

Greta Garbo - Inspiration - 1931

Greta Garbo - Inspiration - 1931

Notable Fur Films: Inspiration

Marlene Dietrich

I really went controversial with the top 2, picking two of the most highly regarded women in the world. Dietrich has the face and the furs to frame it with, and certainly a sultry voice to back up the entire package.

FurGlamor- Marlene Dietrich - Shanghai-Express - 1932

Marlene Dietrich - Shanghai-Express - 1932

Notable Fur Films: Shanghai Express, Pittsburgh, The Scarlet Empress (lots of fur, but way too “period” for my tastes.)

Barbara Stanwyck

Her films from the 30’s are the source of some of the best furs filmed, and she certainly backed them up with beautiful features and masterful performances. If there’s going to be a “tough broad” in the picture, than Barbara is the one for the job.

FurGlamor - Barbara Stanwyck - The Mad Miss Manton - 1938

Barbara Stanwyck - The Mad Miss Manton - 1938

Notable Fur Films: Breakfast for Two, Baby Face, Lady of Burlesque, The Mad Miss Manton

Joan Crawford

As usual, the sad, wish-it-weren’t-needed, caveat of “early” Joan. Her youth and beauty in the 30’s and early 40’s was exquisite. We can just conveniently overlook what happened later.

FurGalmor - Joan Crawford - The Bride Wore Red - 1937

Joan Crawford - The Bride Wore Red - 1937

Notable Fur Films: Mannequin (1937), The Bride Wore Red, They All Kissed the Bride, Ice Follies of 1939

Ann-Margret

That face and that wonderful red hair, a beautiful combination. Red is my favorite hair color, and I generally like it like I like my fox fur coats: lacking any shred of subtly. Ann’s fame put her in some of the “lean” years of fur fashion, but she managed to find her way into some stunning fox coats from time to time, like this one in Once A Thief, a film I’ve not yet seen.

Ann-Margret - Once A Thief - 1965

Ann-Margret - Once A Thief - 1965

Notable Fur Films: The Swinger, Once A Thief (maybe)

Natalie Wood

Broken record at this point, but I said what I liked at the top and Natalie Wood is, in fact, another pretty face. I could even imply something stereotypical like: Miss Zakharenko’s Russian heritage makes her natural in fur. Much like Ann, she experienced super stardom in the 50’s and 60’s, which makes it more difficult to find her in great furs.

FurGlamor - Natalie Wood - The Great Race - 1965

Natalie Wood - The Great Race - 1965

Notable Fur Films: The Great Race

Sophia Loren

I don’t think Italian heritage can make for any dumb statements about how well you wear fur, but it certainly didn’t hurt Miss Loren’s lovely features. Her most productive years were similar to Natalie’s and Ann’s, so finding Sophia in exceptional furs is a little tricky, but there are a few gems.

FurGlamor - Sophia Loren - The Millionairess - 1960

Sophia Loren - The Millionairess - 1960

Notable Fur Films: The Millionairess

Morgan Fairchild

Ah, the 1980’s report in at last. Miss Fairchild embodied the 80’s blonde in big furs, and she did so with the utmost glamor and class. If there was an 80’s mega fox coat in the picture, she probably wearing it. After saying that, here’s a shot of her in lynx.

FurGlamor - Morgan Fairchild - Paper Dolls - 1984

Morgan Fairchild - Paper Dolls - 1984

Notable Fur Films and TV: Paper Dolls, Any other 80’s soap she was ever on, most likely

Anna May Wong

Absolutely gorgeous in fur, though sadly not afforded nearly as many opportunities to wear it as her contemporaries. If I had a time machine, I’d go back and fix that. If nothing else, that suggests I have really bad priorities.

Anna May Wong - Piccadilly - 1929

Anna May Wong - Piccadilly - 1929

Notable Fur Films: Piccadilly

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy’s lovely features are framed by my second favorite hair color: black. Not dark brown, or really dark brown, or even so-dark-brown-it’s-almost black; no: black. This kind of black is a gleaming obsidian set off so nicely by a thick, white fox. There’s some good films with Hedy in fur, but they’re harder to find for some reason.

Hedy Lamarr in White Fox Fur. 1938

Hedy Lamarr in White Fox Fur. 1938

Notable Fur Films: I Take this Woman

Joan Collins

This may be a controversial choice only because she’s so low on the list. If it makes any ardent Joan fans feel any better, this is like the top 10 of all actresses ever, so, percentile wise, this is still huge. Joan is actually here more for the 70’s than the 80’s, since Morgan covers that. She pretty much nails it in The Bitch. I know, date-wise that’s almost a technicality, but it’s still the 70’s.

Joan Collins - The Man Who Came to Dinner - 1972

Joan Collins - The Man Who Came to Dinner - 1972

Notable Fur Films and TV: The Bitch, Dynasty

Lucille Ball

The downside is strong, but much like ignoring what happened later with Miss Crawford, assuming Miss Ball’s career ended in the mid 40’s means she’s one of the fur wearing greats in film. Back when she was young and doing films, she was quite the classic beauty, and commonly draped in beautiful furs.

FurGlamor - Lucille Ball - Dance Girl Dance - 1940

Lucille Ball - Dance Girl Dance - 1940

Notable Fur Films: Annabel films, Dance, Girl, Dance, Easy to Wed

That wraps up my current top 12, at least until I remember more. Feel free to try and help me out in the comments. Or suggest that I’m wrong, and also a doo-doo head; you can do that too.

Bonus points for throwing out names of any actress from the last 20 years. I should point out you’ll need to do better than one or two furs, and, if you’ve been reading for any amount of time, you should know I’m not going to look kindly on any suggestion that includes mink. There are a number of modern actresses I’d like to put on the list, but they can’t make the grade fur-wise.

2010/07/18

Stanwyck In Fur – The Minor Films

A change of pace this week with a long overdue update to the Fur Stars gallery, focusing on the third leg of the 30’s triumvirate of most-famous fur wearers: Barbara Stanwyck. One could easily focus on Dietrich, Garbo, and Stanwyck alone and cover some of the decade’s most fur rich films.

Instead of rehashing the ground covered so far in terms of Stanwyck’s more well known films, I put together a set that focuses on her “minor” roles, at least in terms of how much fur appears in the films in question. Most of these hail from the early 30’s, where Hollywood hadn’t quite reached the pinnacle of extravagance in fur fashion that would lead to films like Stanwyck’s own The Mad Miss Manton, but the seeds were quite clearly on display.

Ladies of Leisure – 1930

We start with one more notable for a co-star’s fur than her own, the 1930 effort Ladies of Leisure, where Barbara stars as Kay Arnold, a “lady of leisure,” who gets mixed up in a romance with an earnest young painter who apparently has issues finding legitimate figure models for his work.

Here Barbara wears a very short hair fur while Marie Prevost’s big white fox trim outshines it entirely.

In fact, we’ll divert from course long enough to present Marie’s white fox trim in full.

Back on point, we find Barbara contemplating her relationship issues in… well, I’m honestly not sure what this is, and it may not even be fur, but here it is, debate amongst yourselves.

Illicit – 1931

A film in which Barbara plays a woman who doesn’t believe in marriage and is “living in sin” with her boyfriend until social pressure forces them to marry. It’s 1931, go with it… Oddly the IMDb’s cover for the film shows Miss Stanwyck wearing a rather nice white fox trimmed cape, but unless I blacked out while watching, she never actually wears it in the film.

The closest we get is another actress in this white fox trimmed ermine cloak, opposite Miss Stanwyck, who again is upstaged by someone-else’s fur.

She does wear better fur in this film, this chinchilla trimmed ermine cape. I say ‘better’ in a very relative sense of course. All chinchilla would have been a far better choice. Fortunately the early 30’s flirtation with ermine didn’t last very long.

Ten Cents A Dance – 1931

Playing yet another woman with some negotiable if not necessarily easy virtue, Barbara Stanwyck stars as Barbara O’Neill, a dance hall girl who romances the rich patrons while really in love with a far more sympathetic character.

If movies can teach young women anything, it’s that you don’t romance the rich without getting some furs out of it, at least if you’re living in the 1930’s. (Disclaimer: May want to adjust those expectations should you not be living in the 1930s.) Here the fur is a black fox trimmed affair, not particularly compelling, but somewhat agreeable.

Night Nurse – 1931

Paying attention? They cranked ’em out fast back then. In our final 1931 entry, Barbara stars as Lora Hart, a… night nurse. It must have been simpler back then, you could just give something the most obvious name possible and go with it. Here Stanwyck is opposite a pre-fame Clark Gable trying to prevent a couple kids from being starved to death.

This is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fur, and a very old cap, as the quality will suggest. But the private night nurse gig apparently pays well enough for a decent fox collar on her coat.

Forbidden – 1932

Miss Stanwyck plays a slightly more respectable librarian named Lulu here, which would make her “Lulu the Librarian.” Lulu the Librarian falls in love with Bob the District Attorney Who Is Already Married and thus we arrive at the title of the film.

Lulu meets Bob on a cruise to Havana where she’s spent her last dime at galmming up a bit, this includes a very large, full fox collared coat. Lulu’s fashion sense is unquestionable.

Sadly it’s the only fur in the film, but it is lavishly photographed, and we are provided with numerous closeups of Miss Stanwyck’s face framed by the thick white fox fur.

Shopworn – 1932

The second 1932 film, Shopworn, is a completely different film from Forbidden but it seems the wardrobe department didn’t get the memo and simply gave her the same white fox collared coat as she wore in Forbidden.

Not that I mind, it’s a very nice white fox collar, though in this film it’s appearance is rather brief and not well filmed at all.

Ladies They Talk About – 1935

This is one that almost made it to individual induction status. It’s got 2 long sequences with fox furs and one little bit in the middle. In it, Stanwyck is in classic bad girl form as Nan Taylor, who starts off in a gang of bank robbers. She ends up going to prison thanks in part to a Pastor Foster who remembers her from their childhood and is trying to help her. Once she is released, she sets about getting revenge on the Pastor.

Nan robs banks in style, wearing this thick red fox trimmed dress.

Wondering how all that stuff about the studio’s enforcing a “look” on their stars squares with a platinum blonde Barbara Stanwyck in 1935? It’s a wig, that’s how.

Nan exits prison in style as well, already wrapped up in a fox stole.

Nan sets out to even the score with the pastor in this rather pedestrian silver fox stole; one in the style that I’ve always disliked. It’s filmed well enough, though, and we get some wonderful close ups of Stanwyck wearing expressions that would melt glaciers.

This is how you express “I am going to violently murder you” without a single word:

Golden Boy – 1939

Not every late 30’s film was as leaden with epic fox coats as I would like. Here we find Barbara playing Lorna Moon, who is the kind-of-a-hooker with a heart-of-gold to young boxer Joe Bonaparte, played by William Holden in his first major film role.

Boxing films always seem to work in some shot of a woman in furs, not sure why that is, but it happens, a lot. They don’t work in a lot of fur, though, and this is the perfect example, where Lorna ends up in a fox fur collared coat towards the end. At this point she’s discovered her heart-of-gold-ness.

Extra shot, because it’s a nice collar and there are good close ups that make fine use of Barbara’s face framed by it.

Titanic – 1953

There’s a ship, it hits an iceberg, it sinks. Questions?

On-board the ship, embroiled in Family Drama (with a capital ‘F’ and ‘D’), is Barbara Stanwyck. She plays Julia Sturges, a woman at odds with her husband over many things, mainly the course their son will take in life. While this issue will eventually be rendered moot via iceberg, she wears this white fox trimmed coat for quite a bit while arguing about it.

The white fox collar and cuffs are oddly out of place both in the 1950’s and, I’d guess, in 1912 when the event actually happened. Another one of those happy continuity errors that I love.

And the Rest…

Obviously these films do not represent Miss Stanwyck’s finest fur fashions on film. For those check out the individual inductions of the following:

Eventually TCM will show Breakfast for Two again, and that one will receive the attention it so richly deserves.

Full Gallery : Barbara Stanwyck in Fur – The Minor Films

2010/01/24

Furs on Film – Baby Face

Today we look at one of the more famous films I’ve profiled, while mostly ignoring everything that made it famous. We’re going to look at (the furs in) the 1933 film Baby Face, staring Barbara Stanwyck. Yes, Miss Stanwyck’s career highlight may not be until 1938, but she was no slouch in the fur wearing department in the years leading up to it. The film itself is notable as one of the more “infamous” “pre Code” films, and one of the reasons said Code exists.

Baby Face – The Film

Why did said Code exist? Because people couldn’t handle a chick sleeping her way to the top, that’s why. Yes, in this film Barbara Stanwyck stars as Lily Powers, a woman who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. And get it, she does, always off screen and totally implied. This is still 1933, when the mere idea of a female sexual predator was enough to give fine, upstanding people tha vapors! Lily climbs the corporate ladder, leaving behind broken boyfriends in a heap along the way, until she reaches the president of Gotham Trust and thinks her life of luxury is assured. Things actually do work out in the end, but only because the New York State Censorship Board (at least they were really up front with the name) strongly implied the film would never see the light of day if she didn’t.

Baby Face – The Furs

Unlike the scorecard required to keep track of The Mad Miss Manton, this film is almost all Stanwyck all the time. Lily doesn’t sleep her way to the top to dress like a hobo, after all. She’s stuffing the closet with furs, and presumably other expensive clothes and jewelery which I care much less about. Really, shiny rocks? What’s up with that?

Obviously Lily has made it a few floors out of the basement of Gotham Trust by the time she walks on screen in this thickly trimmed cape and muff combo.

Along the way she’s taken her friend, Chico (yes, I said Chico), played by Theresa Harris, and kept her on as a rather well paid maid, as you can tell from the white fox muff and stole.

This is a fairly long sequence leading to a meeting with one her mid-range boyfriends. We get to enjoy the cape from all angles.

This is the boyfriend du jour, things don’t work out well for him. Granted, this can be said of pretty much all of them.

Later, and further up the food chain, Lily is in Paris and hooks up with the new bank president. She had now mounted the top rung of the corporate ladder… so to speak. Here Barbara Stanwyck lounges, face wreathed by silver fox, a object of raw cinematic desire.

We see a bit more of it before this shorter sequence ends, revealing the collar to be even larger than previously seen.

As you may imagine, things aren’t quite wine and roses from that point on, and the bank president has some problems of his own, some of which have to do with the fact that his new girlfriend is kinda a tramp. In a lengthy sequence at the end of the film, Lily wears this full length chinchilla the entire time.

Barbara Stanwyck has a brief smoking shot while wearing the big fur coat.

This is a hefty chinchilla, judging by the size of the collar, which wraps around the back, almost as if it were an unused hood.

Sadly, Lily’s main squeeze bank president meets an untimely end, and the results of all her dirty machinations crash down around her.

But wait! There’s more! He really doesn’t die and it turns out Lily renounces her man hating ways and decides to settle down and live happily ever after with him!

On the one hand, the tacked-on ending designed to get past the New York State Censorship Board is pretty much a substantial betrayal of everything the film was to that point. On the other hand… there’s like another full minute of Barbara Stanwyck in a full length chinchilla coat… So, I’m calling it even.

Baby Face joins a strong second tier of Stanwyck films with great furs. While not everything she did is worthy of inclusion on its own, this one and a few others are, such as Breakfast for Two and Lady of Burlesque. The ratio is fairly solid, a good 8 minutes of fur in a film that ran a little long for the time and was from the early 30’s as well. The film was Warner Bros. response to the film Red Headed Woman, staring Jean Harlow and also notable for the fur fashions within.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 71 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1933 film Baby Face

2010/01/10

Mini Update – Barbara Stanwyck in Baby Face

Barbara Stanwyck

Originally uploaded by Gary Cooper 79

Taking a little break after the Manton post and the fact that TCM has been rather dry of late. Here’s a shot of Miss Stanwyck from another good fur movie of her’s: Baby Face.

2010/01/03

Furs on Film – The Mad Miss Manton

Time to kick off the New Year with something I’ll not be able to out-do: the best fur fashion film of all time: The Mad Miss Manton. I was wavering on that opinion because I hadn’t really seen it in a while, but now that I’ve dug through most every frame with a glistening guard hair in it, I feel I can safely end all doubt. It’s all here, quality, variety, and length. If there’s something better than this, well… I desperately want to see it.

The Mad Miss Manton – The Film

The Mad Miss Manton is somewhat a mix of genres, and perhaps that’s part of the magic that made it what is was. It’s one-half madcap heiress, one-half gentle(wo)man detective, multiplied by 1938, to the seventh power. Starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck (I have the book) as one of Hollywood’s few alliterative miss-fires, Melsa Manton, and her flock of seven fashionable friends in a murder mystery. Mesla finds a dead body in house for sale, reports it to the police, but she and her friends’ reputation as pranksters leads the police to do nothing when they arrived to find the body missing. The ladies decide to solve the case to clear their good names, which are being splashed on the editorial page of the paper by Peter Ames (Henry Fonda).

The Mad Miss Manton – The Furs

Where to begin…? Melsa and her friends swim through an ocean of furs in the film, most all of them fox in some form or another. Mink, lynx, and even ermine are ably represented as well. The fur garments come in all forms, from full length coats, to jackets, wraps, and muffs as well. It’s a virtual catalog of glorious deco fur fashions from the late 30’s.

Enter Melsa Manton. At this point Miss Manton has found the body, been blown off by the police, and suffered a scathing editorial in the paper about her “prank” written by her opposite in this scene, Peter Ames. She arrives in the film’s first fur, a dress with silver fox cuffs, a rather conservative start.

Melsa’s girlfriends don’t all appear in furs at once. We start off with… okay, here’s the deal. Melsa has seven members of her little “posse”, and, I checked, 2 of them are never called by name. This is one of them, process of elimination indicates this is either “Lee” or “Jane.” Judging by what I could find on the net, I’m calling this Ann Evers as Lee, who starts the fox train rolling with a big black fox jacket.

She throws a white fox wrap atop Myra (Linda Perry).

This leads shortly to the girls having donned their first set of sleuthing furs. This is, left to right, Kit in a white fox jacket, Helen in a silver fox wrap, Mesla in her signature crystal fox coat, Lee in the black fox stroller, and Myra holding her white fox wrap. Five large fox coats on screen at once. I can stop here, right?

Miss Stanwyck’s crystal fox coat is notable not only because it’s the largest fox in the film and lovingly documented, but from a fashion perspective, the coat is very similar to many white fox coats of the day that I’ve documented in previous updates. The broad shoulders and lack of a collar are instantly familiar. If it where white it would be a few pelts short of Irene Dunne’s famous coat from The Awful Truth.

Less visible in the previous group shot was Dora (Catherine O’Quinn) wearing an ermine jacket. There’s actually another ermine jacket in this shot as well but Helen and Lee’s fox furs are covering up Pat’s jacket.

There’s Pat (Whitney Borune) and her ermine fur jacket as the ladies investigate the abandoned house where Melsa found the body. Pat has a bit of an eating disorder that’s handled with the utmost respect and dignity by the film… or not.

This part of the film is a bit noir-ish, with the ladies moving in darkness, catching conveniently located shafts of light as they poke around the house in their large fur coats and experience a scare or two.

Later the girls continue sleuthing to their prime suspect’s house, allowing for yet another group shot.

Mesla find’s a photo of the deceased wife there, who is also wearing fur, a silver fox collared coat that she is apparently rather fond of, as we’ll learn later. Even the still photos have fur in this movie.

They find the body of their prime suspect in the apartment, but efforts to report it to the police are in vain, since the police already don’t believe them, so they drop the body off at the newspaper, which eventually leads to their “arrest”. The ladies have changed out of their sleuthing furs in to their much more conservative “being arrested” furs.

Mesla and Helen both have full length minks, while Dora does put some effort into it with a large fox collar.

Though I’m not quite as big a fan of it as her fox, here’s a nicely framed shot of Barbara Stanwyck in mink which I’m sure will be appreciated.

Later, Melsa and Helen (Frances Mercer) engage in a little solo adventure away from the rest of the posse. Sadly Melsa’s fox is MIA, but Helen keeps things interesting with her white fox wrap.

The girls reunite further along in the film with yet another selection of furs, principally notable is Myra’s fox collar and large matching fox muff.

Dora shows up later with another fox collar.

As does Mr. Ames, who is about to subdued and restrained by Melsa and her girls, one of many times that happens in this film.

Later on the street the girls are out sleuthing again in this set, with Melsa have added a short fox jacket to her wardrobe, and Pat’s silver fox stole more visible.

Again a little later and we have… another set of furs. Here Kit lays atop a lynx jacket and Helen a large silver fox muff. Everybody keeping up? There will be a quiz later…

Pat gets a bit of a solo scene on the phone with Melsa, wearing a what I’ll assume is a black fox coat accessorized nicely with the veiled hat.

Eventually we arrive at the showcase sequence for Barbara Stanwyck and her large crystal fox fur coat, where Mr. Ames pretends to be not long for this world in an effort to get Melsa to confess an important piece of evidence.

Miss Stanwyck and the fox coat are showcased perfectly here. Melsa eventually becomes wise to ruse, eliciting an expression that does not bode well for Peter Ames…

…as she liberally applies a fork to Mr. Ames buttocks. Say what you will about the film’s place in cinema history, but it is likely the only time Henry Fonda is stabbed in the butt with a fork.

That crucial piece of evidence was the location of the original deceased’s wife, Shelia Lane (Leona Maricle), who you’ll remember from the photo earlier… especially since she seems to be wearing the same silver fox collar.

As Melsa has been causing trouble for the killer and already survived attempts on her life, a plan is hatched to draw the killer out, while this plan is hatched, Melsa brings along a large black fox muff, which, sadly, is one of the furs that is not well filmed. The black fox goes great with the outfit, but not with late 30’s camera technology.

After dinner with Ames, Melsa takes this silver fox wrap on the 30’s equivalent of a dungeon crawl, heading down into the subway as she puts some of the pieces together and looks for more evidence. This is a long sequence, and she wears the silver fox almost non-stop until the end of the film.

For what it’s worth… this guy did it:

The girls show up one last time, in yet another set of furs. Myra has a silver fox collar, Dora, an ermine muff, Helen an ermine jacket and yet more as well.

The film ends with a bit of a deus ex machina, with the killer taken out in the lobby by a police sniper and no direct intervention from Melsa, Ames or any other major character. Seems someone wrote themselves into a corner. Yeah, like I care… No one is going to remember The Mad Miss Manton as a high point in filmmaking. The film is a stunning collection of fur fashions played out en masse. Whereas most of the films from this period I profile have only one fur on screen at once, this one gives us for or five at once.

Oddly, my biggest beef with the film isn’t anything to do with the furs, it’s with Miss Manton herself, who was a bit of a victim of what seemed to be “alliteration at any cost”… Melsa? What a horrible name… Apologies to anyone named Melsa… you have my sympathies. Mary… Madeline… Meghan… Michelle… so many better options. Oh, and there were no fur hats… could have used some hats.

The onscreen ratio is nothing to sneeze at.  In fact it’s in the neighborhood of the other heavyweight champion, Forever Lulu.

Fur Runtime: approx 33 minutes
Film Runtime: 80 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 41%

In honor of the occasion… this gallery is much larger than usual… about 76 total, so enjoy:

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of The Mad Miss Manton

2008/11/27

Furs in Film – Lady of Burlesque

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

As a follow on to a decade of awesome fur fashion, the 1940’s stunk nearly as much as the 90’s. Their only redeeming grace, the fact fur didn’t simply vanish, it simply became far more conservative. Mink ruled the day, in coats and jackets. Elegant and… boring. I refer to it as “church fur”. The one’s the old ladies could be found in on freezing Sunday mornings. Fortunately there’s a few beacons of power fur to be found.

Lady of Burlesque – The Film

Perhaps Barbara Stanwyck’s aura of power fox held over from the 30’s just long enough to influence the costumers on Lady of Burlesque. Perhaps it was the more “bawdy” burlesque setting. Either way, 1943’s Lady of Burlesque featured a few notable foxes shining in a sea of otherwise dour mink to be found in the neighboring theaters.

Based on the novel The G-String Murders by notable burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee, Lady of Burlesque stars Stanwyck as Dixie Daisy. Dixie stands in for Lee, who starred in her own novel, solving the g-string strangulations of a couple of strippers in a converted opera house, aided by her would-be comedian boyfriend.

Lady of Burlesque – The Furs

Dixie is pestered by Biff Brannigan (Michael O’Shea) before her opening number, which will prominently feature this huge white fox fur muff with long tails.

Dixie opens the show with “Take it off the A string, Play it on the G String”. Hampered by censors, the suggestive nature of the song isn’t quite lived up to in the dance, but Dixie accentuates her movements with the huge fox muff nicely

The movement of the tails during the dance is a nice touch, though the giant silver bird covering up the body of the muff is an annoying distraction. Why hide such a great piece of fox?

Later Dixie and Biff meet for drinks at the bar. Dixie wears a large cape or jacket that looks to be a very plush fox, though may be coyote. Color can be useful from time to time.

This scene is an example of a good director of photography. During the entire sequence Barbara Stanwyck and her fox fur are almost never out of frame.

Their conversation at the bar switches between 2 angles, but never letting Barbara leave frame. This technique should be mandatory for any shot with a beautiful lady in a beautiful fur talking chatting with some idiot male.

You know that lovely stereotype of the haughty Russian vamp in fur with a long cigarette holder? Here’s Stephanie Bachelor as “Princess Nirvena.”

The Princess, much like Ginger Rogers’ Countess Scharwenka isn’t quite the old world royalty she claims to be, but that doesn’t stop Stephanie from tearing up the scenery with her accent, fur stole, and cigarette holder.

Close up of the Princess. Miss Bachelor’s look here is prefect, though it could certainly use even more fur.

Princess Nirvena and Dixie meet briefly before Dixie goes on stage. The Princess Nirvena in her dark fox stole and Dixie in a white fox stole, perhaps a less than subtle play on their characters’ inner natures.

Dixie and company do a comedy bit which segues into a dance number during some backstage commotion. The white fox stole is gamely flung about much like the fox muff in the opening number. Though I’m not really a fan of the “mask” and “paws” style that was common for stoles back then.

Lady of Burlesque is definitely a novelty for the use of large fox furs in the 40’s. That alone is worth notice. Stephanie Bachelor’s pitch perfect smoking, fur-clad faux Russian vamp could have used a much bigger fox for her outfit, but that is a small nitpick. Though Barbara gets the better furs overall, Stephanie steals this one.

Fur Film Gallery – Lady of Burlesque