Posts tagged ‘blue fox’

2010/11/14

Joan Bennett – Fox Fur Cape

Joan Bennett

Originally uploaded by EmMe09

From a 1936 publicity photo. Guessing it’s blue fox, which wasn’t all too common at the time, at least as compared to white. Rather partial to both so I’m good either way.

Granted, I’m also partial to hot fuchsia dyed fox, so I probably can’t be trusted in a fashion consulting role.

2010/08/15

Furs on Film – The Thin Man Films

Time to revisit the gentleman detective genre with what is arguably the most iconic of them all: The Thin Man. The adventures of Nick and Nora Charles spanned six films between 1934 and 1947, and as you can imagine, the ones from the 1930’s will be featured a bit more prominently in this update. The story is as old as time itself, one of a wealthy socialite marrying a retired private eye and ending up involved in most of high society’s murder cases over the course of more than a decade.

The Thin Man – 1934

The original film is based on the book by Dashiell Hammett of the same name. There were no more books, all the subsequent film sequels were original stories. It introduces William Powell and Myrna Loy in what would become their most well known of a great many film collaborations. In it, Nick is pulled back into the detective game by an old friend becoming involved in a murder. Technically, the friend in this film is “the thin man,” but audiences assumed it was lanky William Powell and thus it stuck.

Socialite Nora Charles appears first in this short hair collar and cuffs, which would have been amazing had the fur grown a couple inches and turned into fox.

Say, for instance, something dark, plush, and very full, attached to a cape, as we see here worn by Minna Gombell. This is pretty much the best fur in the film. Suffice to say, the series got off to a bit of weak start, especially for 1934.

Nora appears again in a short haired fur, about as brown paper bag as you can possibly get; a mink that would be fashionable at any church service or funeral.

Finally Minna returns in this wrap for what will become traditional-ish, having someone in fur during the big summation/name the perp scene.

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 93 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 6%

After the Thin Man – 1936

Fortunately a couple years later the MGM costume department is on their game. Set in San Francisco, Nick and Nora help out Nora’s family with a missing person case that ends up leading to… MURDER! Nora’s cousin Selma is the prime suspect and Nick has to clear her name. Nora brings along much better furs when she travels, lucky for us, and she’s not the only one.

Leading up to murder is greed, as we see Polly (Penny Singleton) in a lovely set of fox collar and cuffs out for an evening’s blackmail.

The target of said blackmail is slain moments later, and Nora’s cousin Selma (Elissa Landi ) suddenly appears over the body holding a gun and wearing a very nice lynx collared coat, in no way looking the least bit suspicious. In case you hadn’t noticed, the film is set in San Francisco, so it’s foggy. It’s the kind of crack meteorological realism Hollywood is known for.

The lynx train rolls on to even better places, as Nora arrives to the big summation in this lynx trimmed coat. This is how to do a fur collar… from the top all the way down to the bottom.

If anything deserves a second look, it’s Myrna Loy’s face framed by a big lynx fur collar.

Penny attends in this rather distressing looking fox stole, the kind with the extra bits still attached, and even worse for them being on display the entire time she’s on camera.

On the up side, we do get brief glimpses of both furs on screen at one. There is another fur in this sequence, but not only is it a church lady fur, it’s on a church lady, and we don’t talk about them.

Side note that the murderer in the film was Jimmy Stewart, whose appearance here as a homicidal manic ended up coloring his entire career and getting him type cast as a psycho killer all the time (or not…).

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 113 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

Another Thin Man – 1939

Nick and Nora, and now Nicky Jr. (a hell of an accomplishment considering the sleeping arrangements documented in previous films: see I Love Lucy) return to New York and the estate of Colonel Burr MacFay who is receiving threats from local low life Phil Church. Burr ends up dead and Phil’s the prime suspect, but Nick’s a little smarter than that and ends up figuring out who really done it. It’s 1939, so this better be good…

This is pretty good, Virginia Grey wearing a silver fox fur jacket as she plays (spoiler alert) murderess Lois MacKay / Linda Mills.

It’s a decent bad girl fur, but I would have gone straight black fox. Still, it works very nicely with those blindingly bleached blonde locks.

Nora’s fur closet is upgraded yet again, as she and Nick investigate. This fully fringed blue fox cape would only be better if it forwent the formally of having parts that weren’t blue fox.

Now that’s a blue fox collar. This piece is actually quite similar to the white fox version worn by Jean Hagen in last week’s update, Singing in the Rain.

Virginia attends the big summation (she has to, she did it) in this comparatively pedestrian version of the “standard” 30’s silver fox stole, a bit of a let down.

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 103 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 6%

Shadow of the Thin Man – 1941

A day at the races ends up getting Nick and Nora involved in the murder of a potentially shady jockey. The police ask Nick for help, since he was in the general vicinity when it happened. It’s now the 40’s and things are starting to slow down, but this one still packs some good furs in, enough to earn it a tepid “costumed like it’s 1939” tag.

Stella Adler plays Clarie Poter, girlfriend to suspected racketeer Link Stephens, and does a lot of the fur wearing in the film. She stars off with the best thing the film has to offer, this rather full silver fox wrap.

Costumers do love those broaches on fur. Not only do I find it rather unfashionable, it’s generally not recommended you stick pins in furs as it damages the leather. Lord knows I’d never want anything bad to happen to a thick, soft fox fur like that.

Stella dials it back a bit with this silver fox muff. Certainly not the largest on record, but a nice one nonetheless.

I like this pose, that is all.

So we arrive, once again, at the big summation. Nora attends with another example of the standard 30’s silver fox, one I presume she borrowed from Lois MacKay in the previous film, since Lois is now cooling her heels in the woman’s lockup now.

Stella really dials it back for the big summation, attending in what may be the same church lady fur I didn’t burden you with back at the end of After the Thin Man. At least she looks better wearing it.

Fur Runtime: approx 5 minutes
Film Runtime: 97 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 5%

The Thin Man Goes Home – 1945

I mentioned it was the 40’s right? Well, the Thin Man went home in 1945, got involved in a murder plot, and solved it. Along the way, Nora wore another church lady mink for a few minutes around the beginning of the film, but lacking any other marginally redeeming fur fashion, I skipped actually capturing the the film. It was a purely a safety consideration, as I may have dozed off and and fallen out of my chair in the process, inducing grievous bodily harm.

Song of the Thin Man – 1947

The final Thin Man film provides one final fur of note, as Nick and Nora investigate a murder on a gambling ship amidst the ship’s entertainers. Nora does show up in a single mink very reminiscent of the one I skipped in the previous film. It’s very 40’s, suffice to say. It seems someone decided that Nora should get out of the ostentatious fur wearing business, sadly.

Here it is:

Okay, on to the good stuff, this full fox wrap of shade I believe probably has “marble” in the name. Patricia Morison plays Phyllis Talbin, who wears this wrap for a grand total of about 30 seconds on screen, so don’t get attached.

For what it’s worth, there’s a nice close up of Miss Morison in the wrap for about 5 seconds.

Fur Runtime: approx 3 minutes
Film Runtime: 86 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 3%

I have to say, while the Thin Man films are the more iconic of the gentleman detective genre, I think The Falcon and The Lone Wolf both have him beat, fur wise. Still, the entries from the late 30’s are both very nice and nearly rated single film inclusions.

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of The Thin Man Films.

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.

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

2008/10/23

Furs on TV – Another World

“Another” from the “Back Catalog”

Like ships passing in the night, SoapNet’s programming schedule and my best days of capping were not destined to meet up at the appropriate time. Those early days of a schedule permeated with 80’s nighttimes soaps did help hone my skills. Unfortunately they weren’t what they are today.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have a large back catalog from that time that, by virtue of the fact it will probably never be updated, I’ll throw out from time to time. The Paper Dolls gallery was one such example.

Another World – The Show

Between about 2003 and 2007, SoapNet showed Another World. Only somewhat fortunately, they decided to start showing episodes starting from 1987. That provided a decent couple years before the combination of a waning fashion cycle propelled by a changing cultural zeitgeist that would make the 1990’s a barren wasteland of televised fur fashion from which we still have not completely recovered.

Another World ran from 1964 to 1999, I’d have preferred SoapNet pick out something around 1975 to 1990, but I have to accept what I get, and it wasn’t bad, as the caps will prove. Like anything that lasted upwards of 30 years, the details are long and complex, so I’ll skip trying to fill in the plot and get to what we’re here for….

Another World – The Furs

These are in roughly chronological order in the sequence the episodes were shown in. I can’t place a fur to an episode name or number at this point. In the few years they showed Another World, I grabbed good shots from only about 17 episodes, a very tiny fraction compared to shows like Dynasty. Again, the fact that any of these beauties showed up on television so close to the 90’s was blessing enough.

Starting here with the recognizable member of the cast, a very young Anne Heche wearing a perfect example of a “mega fox,” this one crystal flavor. Youthful Miss Heche wears it very well.

Moving to another great white fox stroller on actress Joanna Going. The sleeves of the stroller are exceptionally full here.

80’s hair and 80’s fox on this lady. I think her hair manages to be fuller than the fox fur coat, which is actually quite an accomplishment.

Linda Dano, “Felicia,” wearing a huge power fox, golden isle flavor. If Another World was showing furs like this so late in the game, I certainly wonder what amazing ones I missed through the 80’s.

Wide shot lacks a little detail due to the low data rates I worked with back then, unfortunately, but this one deserves a second look to show the sheer size of the full length fox beauty.

Joanna Going in a shorter haired mink or marten. Though I usually pass on “documenting” the less full furs, the brighter colors of one like this can make it worthy of notice.

Anne returns in another mega fox, this one blue. She looks equally at home in this as the previous crystal fox.

Nice close up of Anne Heche in the blue fox power fur.

Not sure who this blond is, though she is appropriately outfitted in the kind of big fox coat that reminds me why I miss the 80’s.

Carmen Duncan playing Iris in a blush fox trimmed blush mink jacket.

Joanna Going is back for a Christmas episode in this big white fox wrap. Christmas was always a giving time of season back then.

Linda Dano in an interesting and rather tall fur pillbox hat. Should have “accessorized” with a giant white fox coat, but time was growing short for fur at all on Another World at this point.

All wasn’t completely gone, though, as series mainstay Victoria Wyndham appears in yet another full length power fox.

Though not on the show for more than a few years, Joanna Going racked up an impressive score, appearing here in a very full silver fox stroller coat.

And with Miss Wyndham in this set, which is a pretty much where Another World‘s wardrobe department basically gave up against the unrelenting tide of the 90s. Granted, this was a very fine pair to go out on.

In all, this set just keeps my fingers crossed for what will probably be inevitable, some kind of 80s soap nostalgia network. I think SoapNet claimed to be working on something like that. If it ever appeared, it would be a bit of a double edged sword, as it may generate more “work” than I’m prepared for. But that would be one of those “good problems to have.”

If nothing else, this set will win you an argument if your friends says “No way Anne Heche wore enormous fox fur coats!”

Here’s the full gallery, biggest one yet at 40 pics: Another World Fur Gallery.