Posts tagged ‘black fox’

2009/10/25

Furs in Film – The Hotel New Hampshire

Were I possessed of any sense of timing, this would have been a great week to post the Dr. Phibes update. Halloween, etc… Lacking any suitable alternatives from the horror genre (again, not a lot of furs there, and “SyFy” doesn’t show Dracula’s Daughter anymore); I’ll go with young Jodie Foster in fox fur stoles. Never a bad fall back position. The film in question is The Hotel New Hampshire. It’s notable to me because I’ve capped it multiple times, and I still have no clue what’s happening in this movie no matter how many times I fast forward through it.

The Hotel New Hampshire – The Film

Off to Wikipedia, where I learn the film is based on a book of the same name by John Irving. Then I read the plot summary of the film on Wikipedia and quickly realize why I’ve never really been able to put everything together since it seems there’s enough material in there for eight different films. There’s at least 2 different Hotels New Hampshire, a plot to blow up the Vienna State Opera, and very “non-traditional” family interaction. This isn’t the first R-rated film I’ve profiled, but it’s the first one that suggests I actually point that out.

The Hotel New Hampshire – The Furs

With the massive amount of “stuff” that happens, it’s fortunate the costumers were well aware that it was 1984 and, accordingly, provided a fine selection of nice, thick fox furs, and one coyote. The latter is featured most prominently in a few scenes, whereas Jodie Foster’s fox stoles are not quite as lovingly documented.

On the one hand, attempting to set up the backstory of each sequence with this film is tricky due to sheer mass of said backstory, so for this one, let’s go with… nice looking blush fox collar:

In the second Hotel New Hampshire, in Austria, John Berry (Rob Lowe) encounters one of the ladies of easy virtue that lodges there. Again, it’s 1984 and we follow the “all hookers wear fox” rule.

John Berry, amongst the myriad other plot threads for his character, is in love with his sister, Franny (Jodie Foster), so he resists the temptation, something the hooker doesn’t particularly appreciate.

After the whole terrorist plot to blow up something in Vienna part of the film ends, the family returns to the states, with “Susie the Bear” in tow. Susie is played by Nastassja Kinski, who did this film right after the remake of Unfaithfully Yours, another film that I should put up here someday.


Susie spent a lot of time in a bear costume, thus the “the Bear” part of her name, so the fact that she wears this coyote fur coat a lot is probably “significant.” I agree, because it’s Natassja Kinski in a big coyote fur coat, and that is significant. It would only be more significant if it were fox.


We now get to what the intro paragraph teased, Jodie Foster in a black fox fur stole. In the film, Franny Berry writes a book and becomes famous. Then she writes another one and becomes less-famous. This is the press conference where the latter fact is driven home.


Jodie storms off, her stole complimenting the primary red suit jacket nicely. A combination of a fox dyed that color and the stole would have worked better, I think.


Later, as more massive amounts of plot have happened, Susie and John get together for another chat, giving us another opportunity to see Natassja in fur.


Franny eventually marries a guy from high-school that, eons ago in this film, helped break up a little a non-consensual sex act. White fox as a bridal fashion accessory just isn’t as common as it should be, even back then.


This is John hugging Franny, which is awkward for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which are those shorts.


Eons later in the film, Franny has committed suicide and the surviving members of the family mourn, including Susie, who shows up one last time in her big coyote fur coat.


Suffice to say, there’s stuff in The Hotel New Hampshire that could make viewers of a more delicate constitution a bit uncomfortable. So, fairly warned be thee, says I. Still, it’s a good flick for the number of furs, and especially for 80’s sex symbol Natassja Kinski in the big coyote stroller. I would have put Kinski in a fox instead of a coyote, but if you really need to see her in a full length fox for a long time, that’s what the 1984 version of Unfaithfully Yours is for.

The Furs of The Hotel New Hampshire – Full Gallery

2009/10/18

Furs in Film – The Dolly Sisters

Films show up here for 2 reasons, what I’ve come to call “1 Epic Fur” or “Fur Overload.” 1 Epic Fur is pretty obvious, that’s the The Great Bank Hoax from last week, or the poster child of the entire “genre” The Awful Truth. Fur Overload is the Roberta‘s of film, a bunch of good stuff all in one place. Sometimes there are crossovers, such as The Dolly Sisters, which is loaded with beautiful furs, and anchored by something that would make it noteworthy if there weren’t a single other fur in the entire film.

The Dolly Sisters – The Film

The film The Dolly Sisters is a biopic of the real Dolly Sisters, who were identical twins famous for working in early film and on Broadway in the early 19th Century. Though the original sisters were identical twins (and brunettes), there wasn’t a spare Betty Grable laying around so in the film, the sisters aren’t quite so identical. June Haver fills in as the other sister, and she looks quite a bit like Betty, though no one is going to confuse the two. The film traces their rise from Hungarian emigrants to stardom, though the ending is a bit happier than it was in reality, especially for Jenny Dolly.

The Dolly Sisters – The Furs

This film is full of great fur fashion, though one particular piece does stand out above all the rest. Since it’s better to save it up for the end, so to speak, I’m going to run through the furs outside of the film’s chronological order. I’m also going to shamelessly add something that I know isn’t really fur, but looks pretty good nonetheless. The Dolly Sisters is well stocked all around, in terms of both the stars and supporting characters in lovey foxes and another furs.

We do open somewhat chronologically with the Sisters Dolly, Betty Grable and June Haver, doing a little command performance set up by Uncle Latsie (S.Z. Sakall playing the “S.Z. Sakall role”). Yes, those are feathers, not fur, but ultimately they’re meant to be evocative of fur, and they’re nice and big, and pastel, so I’m including them.

This film is interesting in that Betty Grable doesn’t show up in gray fox, something her costume designers saw fit to wrap her in many times over her film career (Moon over Miami, Down Argentine Way, etc.). Gray fox does make an appearance in this reasonably short sequence.

As the Dolly sisters grow in prominence, they do some shows in Paris. These ladies appear as part of the opening to one of their stage performances. Not sure why they decided to divorce the cigarette holder from the white fox stole.

The sisters, successful, return home in these heavily mink trimmed coats. When the “trim” is the entire sleeve, that’s trim I can love. The big shawl collars are a perfect match.

This is Jenny Dolly’s love interest Harry Fox (John Payne), and her romantic rival in the story, Lenora Baldwin (Trudy Marshall), tastefully outfitted in a fox stole the likes of which probably wasn’t all that common for the time period, but these are the kind of anachronisms I enjoy the most.

We’re going to skip to the happy ending of the film for a moment, where many Jenny and Harry reunite at the big show. Here’s the show’s MC, who’s got an excellent white fox collar going on there.

Lenora holds onto Harry, oblivious that she’s about to lose this little romantic entanglement. It’s hard to tell here, but she’s wearing a black fox stole over her arm.

Better close up of the MC’s fox collar. No, can’t remember who this is, but she wears “giant white fox collar” well.

Close up of Trudy Marshall as Lenora, with the black fox stole on her shoulder this time.

Here’s the best shot of the stole and the collar together. The black fox stole has a full three tiers, very nice and full, and makes for a nice juxtaposition to the big white fox collar.

And here we are, the reason The Dolly Sisters would be on this site if there weren’t a single other fur in the film. This coat is technically only “trim” but this is my favorite kind… the kind where is damn hard to tell it’s only trim.

Fortunately the director of photography was obviously no dummy, and set up this shot just to show off this beauty in its entirety. As you can see, it is in fact an enormous set of white fox cuffs and huge fox collar, backed up by the trim along the sweep of the coat.

Closer now, the ¾ shot gives us the perfect view of the best part of this coat, the collar and cuffs in all their silky white glory.

This part of the film chronicles a real incident in Jenny Dolly’s life, a car accident in 1933. Perhaps the date explains the giant white fox coat.

In the movie Jenny loses control of the car and she, and this amazing white fox coat, careens over a cliff. In the movie she awakens later with a band-aid on her face.

In the film, Jenny Dolly recovers fully and reunites with her man at the show with the MC and her white fox collar shown earlier above. The Dolly Sisters is a musical from 1945, so happy endings were pretty much mandatory. The reality was that after the wreck and the subsequent set of surgeries (not just a band-aid), the real Jenny Dolly hung herself in her hotel room in 1941. Yeah, that would have been a bit of a downer ending for a big budget musical, so they played around a little with the facts. Historical inaccuracies aside, the film provides a great showcase for fur fashion, and the massive white fox trimmed coat from Jenny’s accident is one of the best you’ll find anywhere.

Full Gallery – Fur Fashions of The Dolly Sisters

2009/09/27

Furs in Film – The Dr. Phibes Films

City Heat is a movie from 80’s about 30’s, two great fur fashion decades that film great together. What about movies from the 70’s about 20’s? The films in questions would be a couple low-budget camp horror films featuring Vincent Price as a guy who really holds a grudge well.

Dr. Phibes – The Films

1971’s The Abominable Dr. Phibes and 1972’s sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again are rather similar films. Price plays the titular doctor, who in the first film enacts some very complex revenge on the doctors and nurse whom he blames for his wife’s failed care after a car accident 4 years previously. In the sequel he does the same thing against the people who stole his scrolls’o’resurrection and burned his house down. In both cases his ultimate goal is the return of his well-preserved dead wife, and in both cases he is assisted in his multifarious murder plots by the voiceless Vulnavia.

Dr. Phibes – The Furs

It is Vulnavia and her signature outfit that provides the lions share of the furs in the films. This outfit is a lovely black cape, blouse, boots, gloves, and a very full black fox hat. A version of this costume is seen in both the first film and the sequel. It’s not the only fur, though. Vulnavia appears once in The Abominable Dr. Phibes in the negative of her usual outfit, a white mink jacket and fur hat. Dr. Phibes Rises Again features more than just Vulnavia in furs. Fiona Lewis plays the love interest of one of the Dr’s foes and she appears in a couple of full foxes.

In The Abominable Dr. Phibes Vulnavia is played by Virginia North in what was her final film role. Miss North appeared in another film notable for fur, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The first appearance of Vulnavia in her signature hat is as chauffeur to Phibes.


Vulnavia’s other white fur outfit appears later, as she calmly assists the good Doctor in another homicide.


Virginia North had experience as a model, which served her well for this role, since she had no lines, and retained the appearance of cool detachment throughout.


Chauffeur, murder accomplice, dog walker… Vulnavia does it all, and looks great doing it. Here she wears a black cape to complement the fox hat.


The nature of the character is never explained, and theories include her being a clockwork android. One that does pause for a smoke break…


…and look directly at the camera from time to time.


Both the Doctor and Vulnavia appear to have died by the end of The Abominable Dr. Phibes, but, hey, it’s a horror movie and the antagonist always comes back for the sequel. 1972’s equally campy low-budget affair features more than just Vulnavia in fur. Here we have Fiona Lewis, as the main squeeze of the Doctor’s foe in Dr. Phibes Rises Again. Miss Lewis not only has a full fox wrap, but accents with a bit of a short cigarette holder.


While they chat, Vulnavia has returned and is up to her usual, calm, cool, and collected homicidal tricks. Her black fox hat and matching black cape/boot/glove ensemble are sadly not seen so much in the sequel.

The silver fox and black fox sequences are inter-cut allowing us to admire both at once.


Though the stylish fox hat returned, the head supporting it did not. If you’re comparing closeups and thinking, “hey, wait just one gosh-darned second here!”, you’re right, that’s not Virginia North, that’s Valli Kemp. Miss North could not don the black fox hat once more as she was supposedly pregnant by the time the sequel began rolling.


Valli Kemp had even fewer credits to her name, though her ability to stand and look very beautiful catapulted her to being Miss Australia of 1970, and subsequent runner up for Miss World of the same year. Here she and Miss Lewis pass on the deck of an ocean liner bound for Egypt, with Miss Kemp sadly not as warm.


I would nitpick about it still being the 20’s and this pretty full white fox jacket was, perhaps, a tad anachronistic, but I don’t really care. I’d nitpick more it was worn by Fiona Lewis and not Valli Kemp, who would have done it more justice.


The horror genre doesn’t generally serve up a lot of furs, so this was a nice exception to the rule. Though I grant Vulnavia’s signature outfit is a little light on fur. Still, the fox hat is great, and in combination with rest of the outfit, it is an excellent look for the character of a calm, detached-yet-stylish assassin. Yes, ideally the cape would have been black fox as well, that would have nailed it perfectly.

One gallery for both films: The Furs of Doctor Phibes

2009/01/22

Furs on TV – Knots Landing

Soap.net abandoned me a while back. I knew I was in trouble the minute I saw commercials for 90210 appearing. As I knew it would, the network’s line-up was slowly overtaken by 90’s soaps. With the exception of 60 minutes in the wee hours of the morning for Ryan’s Hope (more on that later), the network is devoid of any worthwhile programming.

Knots Landing – The Show

I was at the time coming off taping Dallas after having done Dynasty. All the while Knots Landing ran concurrently. I knew it was a long lasting show, and that my odds of it being replayed from the beginning were low, but I kept my focus on the big 2. So what I have of Knots runs from about season 3 until… well, until the 90’s happened and ruined fur on television. So there may be a few choice moments I missed, but this gallery represents most of the “decent” furs ever seen on the show.

Knots Landing was adapted as a Dallas spin-off, about a cul-de-sac in the LA burbs of the same name. Climate wise, it was no Denver, and wardrobe wise it wasn’t either. Still, as an 80’s nighttime soap, the humble residents of this particular suburban cul-de-sac did wrap up very glamorously from time to time, lead mostly by Donna Mills who arrived in season 2 to pump up the fur count much like Joan Collins in Dynasty.

Knots Landing – The Furs

Fitting that Donna starts us off then, in a coat with a full lynx collar and cuffs. Abby Ewing’s “signature” heavy eye makeup is on display here and everywhere (or it wouldn’t have been much of a signature). I never watched Knots as a kid, so it wasn’t exactly her fault I find it exceptionally “enticing.” I now understand most females find it exceptionally “slutty.”

Fur stoles. Perhaps the costumers were trying to work with the climate and still fit fur in, thus there were quite a few fox fur stoles on display in Knots Landing. Here Donna in blue fox…

…and Constance McCashin in crystal fox.

Joan Van Ark’s character was central to the show, and since she wasn’t meant to be a member of the gliteratti, she rarely ended up in fur. This hurt Knots’ overall fur quotient. Where as Dynasty’s female cast seemed to compete to wear the most, outside of Abby, the pickings on Knots were slim. Here’s Val in a rare red fox coat.

To say Donna’s character Abby got the best furs is a bit unfair, since she got the most, but Constance McCashin’s Laura Sumner did have some memorable ones, especially this large lynx fur coat.

Val’s “other” notable fur was another stole, this one in white fox.

Michele Lee’s character Karen was in the same boat as Val, a regular ole housewife who wasn’t supposed to look glamorous. Thus she rarely got any fur. This black fox stole was one of her only notable appearances on the show wearing fur.

Back to the really good stuff, with Abby wearing a big full length blue fox coat while engaging in what is no doubt completely innocent chit-chat with a shirtless male. It does appear he’s happy to see her like that, though.

Getting later into the show the furs became very few and far between. Fortunately when they did appear, they were worth it. Here’s Donna Mills in lovely full length lynx fur coat.

Paper Dolls didn’t work out, so Nicollette Sheridan found more long term work here on Knots Landing. Sadly she didn’t show up until 86, and she only got one decent fur, but boy, was it decent…

Here’s a perfect illustration of why I generally don’t bother capture mink images in any form. This is Michelle Phillips in a full length black mink playing Nicollette’s character’s mother, with daughter Paige in the background. To me, there’s no contest. Nicollete’s huge, thick, full length beauty screams youth and passion, fire and energy with more than a hit of sensuality. Michelle might as well be going to church.

Of the big 80’s nighttime soaps, Knots was certainly the poor cousin to Dallas and Dynasty in the fur department. The core problem was the setting and characters, most of whom weren’t ever meant to be quite as “flashy.” They were housewives living on a suburban cul-de-sac. Probably should be happy the overall 80’s aesthetic blended as much fur into the show as it did. Comparatively, they’ve certainly run a higher fur-per-episode count than similarly themed Desperate Housewives. Oh, what a difference a couple decades make.

Full Gallery: Furs on Television – Knots Landing

2008/12/12

Furs in Film – Tin Pan Alley

The actual Tin Pan Alley is on its way to becoming some hi-rise. The alley’s history as a source of popular music from the late 19th and early 20th century meant it eventually figured into the new-born film business. The one in the 30’s and 40’s, not the current one. Maybe if was the center of a modern blockbuster, it wouldn’t be at the mercy of very real blockbusters. Granted, the time that a musical could be a blockbuster is pretty much past.

Tin Pan Alley – The Film

Tin Pan Alley, the 1940 film version, follows star Katie Blane, played by Alice Faye, and her sister Lucy (then up and coming Betty Grable) as they find fame and fortune with Tin Pan Alley songwriters Harry Calhoun and Skeets Harrigan. With the Blane sisters singing their songs, everyone is rocketed to fame and fortune. Until slightly more famous, and well dressed, Nora Bayes asks to sing one of Calhoun and Harrigan’s songs, one promised to the Blanes. The Blanes skip town leaving Harry and Skeets on the rocks as their fame fades and the end up joining the Army. Which is what most down-on-their-luck songwriters did back then. Happy reunions occur in France and, despite 3 or 4 years of hellish trench warfare summed up in about thirty second of stock footage no one manages to die in World War I.

Tin Pan Alley- The Furs

Another film from the “40’s” with great fur. This one is probably cheating, though. Maybe it hit theaters in January of 1940. Maybe it was the fact that the film is set in the mid to late 1910’s. The foxes are a bit too large to really work for that period. Not that I’m complaining. This is one case where a little Hollywood costume excess works in our favor.

Things only really get rolling after Harry and Skeets are on top of the world with the help of the Blane sisters and the “other woman” shows up to poach their latest songwriting masterpiece. That would be the famous Nora Bayes, played by Esther Ralston.

Nora shows up in a fox trimmed cape with a large, matching barrel muff with tails. Not quite the same as Barbara Stanwyck’s from Lady of Burlesque, but the combination is very nice indeed.

Nora gets her song, despite polite protests from one half of the songwriting team.

She calls back shortly, wearing this white fox trimmed dress. The trim forms a bit a circle around her arms. Certainly one of the more interesting uses of fox trim.

Apparently Betty Grable was written into the film as the younger sister at the last minute thanks to her success in Down Argentine Way, where she also wore some nice fur. Here she waits for sister Katie to return home in a large red fox trimmed coat.

Alice Faye wears a coat with black fox trim as she gets the bad news about Nora and the song.

Katie comforts Alice after getting the bad news. One supposes the heat in the lavish upscale apartment is on the fritz. Again, not that I’m complaining.

The years pass and the Blane sisters have found their own success in London. They learn Harry and Skeets have joined up with the Army and are in London before shipping out to France. They decide to see them and patch things up. Alice chooses a very nice fence-mending fur with this jacket with a huge white fox collar and cuffs.

They meet up at the docks. Miss Faye looks beautiful framed in this thick white fox fur.

The entire docks sequence is, per Hollywood cliche, drenched in fog. Muddies up the view of the fur from time to time, but Alice manages to shine through quite a bit.

Tin Pan Alley is actually one of the first films I ever tried doing caps on years and year ago. I remember struggling with the last sequence, as the combination of sweeping shots in the fog soaked docks made it a rather annoying one to cut one’s teeth on. Alice’s jacket would have been even more appealing if it were all white fox, but the size of the collar and cuffs made it almost indistinguishable from a full fur jacket in many shots.

The full Tin Pan Alley Fur Gallery.

2008/09/26

Furs in Film – Roberta

This series of posts will focus on a single film, one in which fur fashion is notably well represented. This set is based on a recent update of one of the first galleries.  I’m leaving both galleries up, just to see how much better I am at this than I used to be.

First in the series is the 1935 film Roberta. Roberta is based on a 1933 Broadway musical of the same name, which, in turn, was based on a novel by Alice Duer Miller named Gowns by Roberta. Unlike today, when novels go straight to film, there was a more common interlude on Broadway.

The Film

Roberta the film is basically the story of a football player John Kent inheriting a noted Paris fashion house after his aunt Roberta passes away. This kind of thing happens all the time, of course. The football player happens to fall in love with the chief designer, played by Irene Dunne. The plot takes the usual boy-meet-girl, boy-loses-girl, boy-and-girl-reunited twists. The important part is this particular Paris fashion house of 1935 shows some great furs.

The Furs

Ginger Rogers, playing Lizzie Gatz playing Countess Scharwenka, opens the show with a nice silver fox trimmed outfit.

Countess Scharwenka is soon the victim of the kind of statistical improbability that can occur only on film, in that old beau Huck Haines from Indiana is tagging behind his football playing pal with his band. She ups the glamor quotient with a lovely cigarette holder when confronted by Huck about her “exotic origins.”

The first fashion interlude features some decent stuff. This long, multi-tailed silver fox stole is one.

This is a beauty with huge collars and cuffs, possibly coyote or more likely blush fox, but lacking color its difficult to tell.

The Countess and Huck watch this show from the sidelines, with the Countess still draped in some fur of her own.

Later, in the “boy-experiences-conflicting-emotions-about-the-arrival-of-an-old-girlfriend” phase of the love story, Sophie, John Kent’s old girlfriend, shows up. She’s a rich snob, so fortunately for us, that means a very full lynx collar on her coat. It receives all the attention it deserves as she plays the entire scene in it.

This phase of the romance doesn’t last long, but long enough for John to dump Sophie in her “bad outfit”. Personally, I find quite a bit to like in the big black fox trim on this gown.

The “big show” at the end starts with quite a few beauties. This is a an extremely youthful Lucile Ball, yes the I Love Lucy one, in a big feathery coat whose origins I can’t even guess on. Before she got a bit older, and a lot more annoying, Miss Ball was an amazing beauty during her film run in the 30’s.

A few more, including this long sliver fox cape that is, unfortunately, completely removed in order to show off the far less interesting gown underneath.

Finally the “climax” of the film and the film’s furs, this custom gown with one of the largest white fox wrap/collars in recorded history. My jaw dropped on seeing this for the first time. I’d argue this is one of the top 10 film furs of all time.

If it had been shown only briefly, perhaps the legend wouldn’t be quite so sweet, but this is a musical, and this is a musical number. This mammoth white fox gets the screen time it deserves, from close up to this perfect framing shot that provides the best vantage to drool over this beauty.

Gratuitous bonus shot, because if any fur deserves it, this one does.

Ending here would have been fine for all concerned, but what makes Roberta the film worthy this recognition is that it’s not quite over yet. Ginger arrives stage left in another sliver fox cape, this one with a wonderfully high collar and heavy, thick cuffs. Though it’s removed with a sad amount of haste, it’s still a lovely addition.

Finally, Irene Dunne appears in this rather modest outfit at the very end, as our two lovers work out their misunderstanding and proceed to live happily every after. Perhaps an example of “one fur too many”, as it’s not exactly the one I’d have chosen to close the film on.

This long list isn’t exhaustive of all the big furs seen in this film.  There’s a few extra gems in the full Roberta Gallery.  This is the new gallery, the old Roberta Gallery is from a while back and gives me a sense of how much I’ve improved at this.