Posts tagged ‘fur coat’

2010/09/19

Furs on Television – Deceptions

When TCM gives you lemons, you find an alternate source of lemonade. Thanks to an associate of mine for providing the “raw material” for this one. In my defense, I actually have a copy of Deceptions from years back, when it was a bit of fluffy filler on the Encore network. Cap quality wasn’t quite so good back then. Hey, if it was, I’d be posting all those Dynasty caps I have… A first here, too, as Deceptions is my first TV miniseries induction. Oh yeah… all those Lace caps I have suck too, sorry.

Deceptions – The Miniseries

I’m a little fuzzy on the details for a variety of reasons, and this little trip down 80’s nostalgia lane isn’t exceptionally well known. Hell, it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry. This is a dual twin role, trading places, spring-for-split-screen-maybe-once-or-twice story, where Stephanie Powers does what she did very well in the 80’s, wear large fox furs. Oh, and play twin sisters Sabrina Longworth & Stephanie Roberts, one a boring housewife, the other a jet-setting London dwelling rich girl. They have the amazingly original idea to trade lives, and comedic hi-jinks ensue, like kidnapping at gunpoint.

Deceptions – The Furs

One twin is a rich 80’s girl, what more do I need to say about the contents of her closet? Not much, because we actually see the contents of her closet in one scene. Since lives are traded, it’s really the housewife that’s wearing most of the furs, but let’s just say it’s Stephanie Powers and be done with it.

Staring slow, the ennui of the jet-setting Sabrina (you could guess she was the rich, interesting one, because she had the cooler name) limos to her London mansion in this coat. It’s a black fur at night, which may in fact be a very good fashion choice, but it is pretty much the worst choice if you’re actually filming it. Light falls on it briefly when she goes inside.

The sisters meet up in Venice to celebrate their birthday. Sabrina brings her marquee fur to the party, a full length, white fox trimmed sheared cross fox coat. Now, this coat conflicts me, yes, it’s fox, but the shearing bugs me. On the other hand, the shearing does accentuate the white fox collar and cuffs. Oh, and she’s smoking while wearing it.

The plan is hatched and the sisters separate, “Stephanie” taking up Sabrina’s life, and furs, and heading back to London wearing the full length fox coat.

To revisit the black fur at night issue, as we see in Stephanie’s close up, this coat works much better in the dark. It’s far more visible than Stephanie’s classic 80’s bouffant, and that’s saying a lot.

Returning to the mansion, Stephanie settles in, falling to the bed in her full length fox coat to check out her view in the overhead mirror.

I mentioned the closet earlier. Here it is. I’d almost say it’s disappointing in a way. Only 3 full length 80’s mega furs? They could have done better than that.

Injecting a little more variety to the program, the next fur is this silver fox vest/jacket. It’s a bit more “sporty” that way, but I’ll completely shock you and say I’d have preferred the entire thing be silver fox.

I grant, it’s hard to make fox look sporty, and I’d argue that’s part of the charm.

Next up is probably my favorite from the film. Sadly, it’s not given the lavish attention of the marquee cross fox coat. This huge black fox wrap simply overflows all around Miss Powers.

Most the shots don’t give it the credit it deserves, and things are further complicated by the fact that this is the scene where Stephanie’s relationship with Sabrina’s British boyfriend get’s a little “complicated.” By which I mean, it involves attempted asphyxiation.

In an effort to bring down the mean British guy, Stephanie breaks out the full length cross fox coat again in the lengthy climax of the entire miniseries.

The moral of this story? British guys are mean to attractive American women in large fox coats. For shame… for shame….

Don’t worry, Stephanie’s amazingly well groomed husband shows up to sort of save the day. In fact, the climax of the film has a bit in common with The Mad Miss Manton, as they both involve the principle bad guy getting offed by a plot irrelevant police sniper.

Being a miniseries, there’s a lot of runtime to kill, so the ratio is kind of slim. Still, even 6% nets you like 12 minutes of 80’s fox goodness. Deceptions is pretty much a poster child for 80’s fur fashion, and possibly 80’s fashion in general, I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t paying attention to anything else. While I still ultimately rank the 30’s as the better decade overall, 80’s is a close second, and, without a doubt, the reason this blog exists today.

Fur Runtime: approx 12 minutes
Film Runtime: 185-ish minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 6%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1985 Television Miniseries Deceptions

2010/08/29

Furs on Film – Dance, Girl, Dance

Finally, a full on, legit single film update post. Been a while, TCM, thanks for finally ponying up a good one. This one fits into a few of my favorite categories. Foremost, it’s another entry from 1940 where the costume director didn’t get the memo about that highly unfortunate sea change in fashion. It is also another entry in the “I Love 30’s and 40’s Film Star Lucille Ball” category. Too bad her career fizzled and she never got into television… Finally, yes, there’s a divorce. Though it’s only a subplot in this one.

Dance, Girl, Dance – The Film

A story of rags to burlesque to ballet riches about dancer Judy (Maureen O’Hara) and her friend / rival / friend again Tiger Lily nee Bubbles, played by Miss Ball. Both end up competing for the affections of the same man, rich guy Jimmy, whose soon to be ex- wife we will be seeing shortly. After Judy’s dreams of becoming a ballerina take a detour through Bubbles’ burlesque show as a “stooge”, their relationship strains a bit, leading to fisticuffs and an appearance in night court (not the one with capital letters, John Larroquette, and a pretty decent selection of 80’s foxes in the early seasons). Oh, and Jimmy ends up with Judy, because… it’s a lighthearted comedy from 1940.

Dance, Girl, Dance – The Furs

Bubbles rise from bit chorus girl to Tiger Lilly the burlesque queen is documented with her furs, and fortunately the focus is heavily on the latter end of that dramatic arc. Miss Ball doesn’t support the film alone. As alluded to earlier, Judy’s love interest is rich and divorcing. His ex- wife has a lot of furs to keep her warm. If you’re a fan of the lead, Maureen O’Hara, and hoping she’s in fur, I’ll just disappoint you up front.

Bubble’s may be a poor bit player, but in those days, poor bit players can afford a cruddy red fox stole with bits attached. In terms of costume contributing to the story, this outfit certainly suggests Bubbles hasn’t quite made it yet.

We switch to Jimmy and his pre- divorce wife Elinor, played by Virginia Field, coming home in this full silver fox fur wrap. She’s certainly made excellent use of her husband’s money.

Bubbles attends an audition in this white fox stole, again, with the extra parts attached. Don’t worry, eventually she becomes wealthy enough to afford furs that are actually finished.

There is a good, short close up where it doesn’t matter what leftovers are still hanging onto the stole.

Bubbles eventually makes it, becoming Tiger Lilly, but starting off slow with a fairly conservative set of silver fox cuffs. Sadly for much of this sequence she’s also accessorizing with a small dog as well. It’s here she “propositions” Judy with an offer to perform ballet at the burlesque show.

Judy’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, accepts and performs ballet for the burlesque crowd, to their great dismay. All part of the act, the recently minted Tiger Lilly appears to save the show and put on a little more “suitable” entertainment. She appears thusly:

Hey, I’d cheer for that. Miss Ball performs most of the act wearing this white fox beauty, the show piece of the entire film and a fur that is documented as richly as it deserves to be.

I’ve included a lot of shots from the act in the gallery. It’s a rather entertaining bit where she slides effortlessly between a “society” accent and something a bit more common.

Trying to keep up, Elinor breaks out the big lynx fur collar. Sadly, it’s to serve the divorce papers to Jimmy.

Another well filmed fur, with quite a few close-ups that let us enjoy Virginia Field’s face framed by the high, fluffy lynx.

Tiger Lilly is back, competing collar v collar, with this fox trimmed coat. This collar displays one of the most important aspects of a good collar: beyond shoulder coverage. For the record, the best collars have trouble fitting through doorways.

Another well filmed fur for this film to add to the total.

There are brief wide shots where you can see it’s not just the collar but some trim at the bottom as well. Yes, it seems the cuffs are notably absent, so have to dock some points for that.

Finally, and fittingly, the white fox makes a return engagement as the ladies are hauled into court after a bit of an altercation. We see here that Bubbles seems to have taken the greater amount of punishment.

Some nice shots of the back are included here as well. Obviously the ideal would be to add the last collar to this coat… lengthen it with a four foot train, add some elbow length cuffs, some additional fringe, turn the collar into a hood… Whoops, train of thought kind of ran away there for a moment…

But wait, there’s more! Elinor shows up to the trial sporting a silver fox fur muff. I like the entire outfit here, the pinstripe suit and hat mix well with the muff.

Both together, you say? Sure!

Even better than that last one? Sure!

Wow, this one works on a number of levels. It’s got a great marquee fur supported with a deep selection of additional pieces, all of which are well filmed. The furs that aren’t well filmed, particularly the few early pieces worn by Bubbles, don’t really deserve it anyway. Miss Ball is lovely as ever in this period, still likeable despite playing what amounts to the villainess of the piece. Granted, comparing Bubbles to Judy’s rather pedestrian aspiring ballerina is probably not even fair. Finally at 13% it’s a solid ratio, most of it supported by the best fur in the film.

Fur Runtime: approx 12 minutes
Film Runtime: 90 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 13%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1940 film Dance, Girl Dance.

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.

2010/07/18

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

2010/07/04

Furs on Film – Success at Any Price

Let’s stay in the year 1934, and stick with high handed melodrama, while we’re at it. Success at Any Price illustrates a point that I’d illustrate with Shanghai Express if TCM would just show it again… that even fur I’m not a huge fan of can be put to great use.

Success at Any Price – The Film

So, we have a character that ruthlessly works their up the corporate ladder, ruining lives along the way only to suffer an final comeuppance in the end yet narrowly escape so that a happy ending can be realized. I liked this character more when it was girl played by Barbara Stanwyck in Baby Face. Here’s it’s some guy named Joe played by Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who ends up looking very Clark Gable-y throughout the film. Thankfully for all involved, Douglas isn’t the one wearing the furs this time around; that’s handled by the object of his desire: his boss’s mistress. Whom, I should point out, he eventually marries and then… divorces.

Success at Any Price – The Furs

Genevieve Tobin plays Agnes Carter, the mistress of a rich man and then wife of another rich man, with a wardrobe that reflects both. She wears most of the film’s furs, though there is another that appears in furs not quite worthy of a rich mistress.

Agnes appears early in the film with Raymond Merrit, the “master” in her mistress relationship, played by Frank Morgan, who’s in his smarmy-executive mode for this one.

Here we have Colleen More, the “true love” of the piece, in this small fur collar that you’re probably wondering why I included at all.

Because it briefly appears opposite this, the marquee fur of the film, a coat with an enormous sable fur collar and cuffs.

Though I generally find sable to be in the same rather drab class as mink, a “brown paper bag” fur, so to speak, this is a marvelous use of it.

As alluded to to the opening, it reminds me of Dietrich’s fur trimmed coat from the train sequence in Shanghai Express, right down to the pose she strikes wearing it.

While the cinematography isn’t quite the equal of the pitch perfect frames (very appropriately) lavished on Marlene Dietrich, the sequence frames Genevieve Tobin from the waist up and keeps the large collar well in view much of the time. Sadly they did feel the need to cut to shots of Douglas Fairbanks Jr. throughout.

This is Joe and Agnes’ first meeting, where he falls a bit in lust (why is that, Joe?) and decides to poach her from the boss. The end of the scene shows Agnes lightly brushing the oversized sable collar and suggesting he can’t have her, a beautifully subtle use of the fur’s sensuality.

Joe does get her, and once he’s rich, he keeps Agnes in the furs to which she had become accustomed, including this red fox fur collar / cuff combination.

A wrap or jacket you say? Not really, the arms come off and leave only the collar attached to the dress.

In another callback to the last update, this film features a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” fox too; this silver fox wrap that Agnes wears as she returns home and then immediately removes. Sad, looked to be quite nice.

Agnes makes the final split with Joe in this short haired fur coat that’s not mink and I’m not sure I really care what it is, but obligatory inclusion is obligatory. He fell in love with the sable and divorced this… can’t say I blame him.

Talk about obligatory… Colleen Moore appears at the end in this dreadful fur trimmed coat as she talks Joe down from suicide. Again Joe, I wouldn’ta blamed you…

The sable is the showpiece here, and though not quite up to the standards of Shanghai Express, it is an amazing fur and is well filmed with 3+ minutes of screen time. Goes to show that if you’re going to with something like a sable, go big or go home. The additional red fox is a solid “value add” to the film in both quality and runtime, adding a good 4 minutes to the total, bringing the ratio to a rare 20%. The remainder are what they are, as I sometimes remind myself that some people actually find drab, conservative short haired furs quite fashionable. Hopefully there’s a pill for that someday…

Fur Runtime: approx 15 minutes
Film Runtime: 74 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 20%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1934 film Success at Any Price.

2010/06/13

Furs on Film – Remember

It’s divorce, 1930’s style again. What more do I need to say?

Remember – The Film

Not only is this another in an apparently long line of divorce-themed fur fashion classics from the 1930’s, this one has a bonus of including an amnesia potion as a legitimate, no-fooling part of the plot. It stars the less-than-romantically-named Greer Garson as Linda Bronson, and Robert Taylor as Jeff Holland, who meet, fall in love, wed, and, yes, divorce, in short order. Linda was originally in smit with Jeff’s buddy Sky (Lew Ayers) before Jeff totally violated the wing-man code and scooped her up. Sky’s company happens to have conveniently developed an amnesia drug, and he administers it to both parties in hopes that Linda will fall in love with him again, only it ends up that Jeff and Linda meet, fall in love, and… don’t divorce.

Remember – The Furs

Greer Garson’s Linda is woman from a wealthy family, and her wardrobe shows it. Since no summaries really toss around the “h” word (heiress) I won’t use it, but it seems like she fits the bill.

We start our little love triangle with Linda in this large silver fox muff as she encounters Jeff and Sky together for the first time.

Like the later fur in this film, the muff is provided ample screen time.

Not the largest ever seen, but it’s long, full and is not marred by any obnoxious silver broaches, which spring to mind for a reason.

Hey, what’s Linda holding onto in this screen prior to her scheduled departure on the the newlywed’s honeymoon? Sure hope she actually puts that on…

Sometimes dreams do come true as Miss Garson is neatly folded into this lavish white fox beauty just seconds later.

She and her new husband are set to leave on their honeymoon, but he is called away by his work, thus straining their relationship a bit.

My earlier mention of ugly, over-sized silver broaches wasn’t just a call out to the absolute worst one of all time (which I will always take a moment to complain about). Though slightly less intrusive, the costume designer should have reconsidered marring the fluid white lines of this beautiful coat.

Sadly, of the films furs, this one is given the least amount of screen time, an error of far more significance than the broach.

Later, after all the shenanigans with amnesia potions have set a similar chain of events in motion, Linda spends much of the last part of the film in this lynx jacket, or perhaps stroller length coat would be more accurate.

Not bad, it’s a little thin for my tastes.

Still, at the very end of the film, there’s an enjoyable moment when Greer Garson delivers some news to Jeff about her reproductive status in which she coquettishly plays with collar of the lynx fur while in close up.

Overall a fine effort that is flawed in its choice of which fur to feature. If only the dock sequence had the lynx and the end sequences featured the fox, it would certainly be one for the ages. As it stands, it’s still pretty memorable effort, especially for lynx fans, who will certainly enjoy 4+ minutes they get to watch Greer Grarson wearing it at the end. Of course, another entry on the long, distinguished divorce list, as well. Also one on the shorter list of “single actress in fur” films, where all the furs are worn by the same character.

Fur Runtime: approx 9 minutes
Film Runtime: 82 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%

Here is the full gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1939 film Remember.

2010/05/30

Furs on Film – Break of Hearts

Back to a film that can support an update all by itself. This is another early Katharine Hepburn flick. While I’m not quite so big a fan of young Hepburn as I am of young Crawford, she doesn’t do much of the heavy fur lifting in this flick anyway. To see her in better fur, for a long time, try Morning Glory instead.

Break of Hearts – The Film

It’s been a while, but we final get another film with a divorce theme. Though they never actually go through with that. Break of Hearts is about the whirlwind romance of a brilliant conductor Franz Roberti (played by Charles Boyer) and aspiring songwriter Constance Dane, played by Hepburn. She ends up Constance Dane Roberti, a great character name even without an alliterative twist. They meet, fall in love, and get married in a single afternoon, which always works out well. She learns Franz was a bit of a ladies man, and after a few misunderstandings, decides to leave him. Then the usual ensues… he spirals downward, she takes him back and they all live happily ever after in loving co-dependency.

Break of Hearts – The Furs

As I mentioned, Katharine Hepburn doesn’t wear much fur in this film, but a lot of others do. The life of a “playboy orchestra conductor” is apparently one I should investigate as this film strongly suggests it will bring one in contact with many fur wearing women.

Woman One is played by Inez Courtney, a current main squeeze of Franz before he meets Constance, seen here in a full length fur, which isn’t mink, is brown, and is included merely for the sake of a full inventory.

Like any good workout, you need to stretch first, and before Break of Hearts gives us the good stuff, we also visit Helene Millard, who establishes her gossipy character Sylvia in this mink cape-let.

Finally we arrive at the marquee fur, fittingly in a key sequence in the film. Jean Howard wears this coat/cape made of lush white fox and capped by a beautiful high collar.

Franz is completely innocently taking this old flame out to lunch after he married Constance, which I’m sure seemed like a great idea the time, especially considering what she’s wearing.

Didi and her white fox head off to the powder room before lunch beings.

Where who should she find but gossipy Sylvia in this chinchilla trimmed jacket. Who chats her up about Franz while, off in another corner sits Constance, overhearing everything. Dun-dun-DUN!


If you were thinking, “Hey, it’d be great if that chinchilla and the white fox showed up on screen together,” then give yourself a gold star and enjoy this:

Constance starts reevaluating her relationship as Sylvia and Didi look on in their furs.

Later, Anne Grey shows up in this very large silver fox collared outfit.

The collar has some extra tails hanging off but no mask/feet to mess thing up, very nice indeed. She smokes briefly in this sequence while wearing the fur.

Finally, Miss Hepburn does put in an appearance in fur, with this silver fox trimmed outfit.

While the trim along the bottom is full, it shrinks to nothing where a large collar was completely warranted. The costume designer gets a pass on this thanks to the earlier white fox, though.

That big white fox is the showstopper in the film, and it does have a decent “supporting cast” of other furs, which help it clock in at a good 8 minutes of fur footage. For a 78 minute film that’s not bad. Apparently this wasn’t a real successful film for Katharine Hepburn. I’d attribute that primarily to the decision to keep her out large fox furs for the majority of the film, though I’m sure other film historians may respectfully disagree with me on that one.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 78 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

Push the button for the Fur Fashions of the 1935 film Break of Hearts.

2010/04/25

Furs on Film – Times Square Lady

If you were paying attention to the last update, this one shouldn’t be a surprise. Or maybe it should be, since I actually “found the time” to do it. We return to the warm, thick fox blanket that is the 1930’s with Times Square Lady, a 1935 film staring Virginia Bruce.

Times Square Lady – The Film

Time Square Lady is the story of a Toni Bradley (Virginia Bruce), a 22 year old woman from Iowa, future home of James T. Kirk, who inherits some “business interests” from her father. Turns out very few of them are “on the level” and some of the older interests in said businesses, headed by executor of her father’s estate, Mr. Fielding, want her out. On her side, and eventual love interest, is the manager of her night club, Steve Gordon (Robert Taylor). Will Toni and Steve defeat the gangsters and live happily ever after? Of course they will, this is a film from 1935.

Times Square Lady – The Furs

Lucky for us, Toni wasn’t exactly poor before she took over dad’s businesses. From the moment we meet her to the end of the film, she’s got quite a number of furs in her wardrobe, including one of the finest examples of a silver fox fur muff ever committed to the screen.

The film opens with Mr. Fielding looking for Toni at the station. He tries two different women, both in furs, before he finds her.

Strike two…

Third times’ a charm as Mr. Fielding finds Toni, in the best fur of the bunch, of course, a lush lynx collar.

The film’s costumers must have thought Virginia Bruce looked great in lynx, and I won’t argue with that.

Fortunately, she looks even better in silver fox. Particularly this lovely example of a very large silver fox muff, one of the best I can remember.

This entire sequence is about her meeting the other interests in her father businesses, and it provides a good 3 minutes of footage of the muff and matching silver fox fur collar.

Included are a couple very nice close ups of Virginia Bruce neatly framed with the silver fox collar.

Still, the star of the sequence is the silver fox muff, and it receives all the attention it deserves.

At this point, the remainder of the film is a bit of a downward slope. Still, Virginia appears once again in lynx for a moment, with this trimmed jacket. A fine addition to the wardrobe.

Finally we get to the coat that I’ll grandfather in for the sake of being particularly complete, this full length fur that may be mink and may be a different short-haired fur. I’m open to opinions on it, and will update if there’s compelling evidence it’s not mink.

We get a tiny taste of more fox at the very end, as Toni and Steve are whisked off by steamer to the credits, standing on the deck and waving good-bye with these ladies and their fox collars.

Toni is wearing another fur here, as well, a collar that may also be mink or not, and very much is included for purely academic purposes.

A well stocked film from both the quality and the time perspectives. The oversized silver fox muff is the real highlight. I’m on the fence as to whether it eclipses the white fox muff from Lady of Burlesque. While slightly smaller and lacking tails, it certainly isn’t marred by some annoying giant silver bird broach. Virginia Bruce’s other lynx furs were fine supporting players. The “brown paper bag” furs I could take or leave, of course. The film also has a few “bit” furs, more so than was common even in this era. Clocking in with a good 15% ratio makes Times Square Lady one of the best I’ve reviewed in some time.

Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 68 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 15%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1935 film Times Square Lady.

2010/04/18

Fur on Film – Party Girl

A shortish entry today. If you were disappointed that Cyd Charisse’s character from Silk Stockings never got to wear furs, well, Cyd was a bit more fortunate in other roles. That includes this entry from 1958, Party Girl.

Party Girl – The Film

Party Girl is a late 50’s crime film about a showgirl, Cyd, becoming involved with a mob lawyer played by Robert Taylor after meeting him at a… party! Yes, they subtly worked it into the very title of the film. I don’t really have much else to say about it because that first sentence is pretty much all you need to know. Girl meets boy, boy is mobbed-up lawyer, boy regrets his actions via nagging of girl, mob politely suggests boy not go by threatening to throw acid on girls face, …, everyone lives happily ever after.

Party Girl – The Furs

Cyd plays Vicki Gaye, one of a group of showgirls that is cordially invited to a mob party. Gaye is a successful enough showgirl that she’s got a couple furs in the closet.

She’s not the only one. As the girls arrive, there’s a variety of furs on display.

Sadly the best of them, this fox, isn’t on Cyd’s character.

Vicki wears this silver fox trimmed mink coat. The trim is nice and full, and is generally shot in such a way as to make the remainder of the coat unnoticeable.

At the party she meets Tommy Farrell, mob lawyer extraordinaire, who eventually offers to escort her home, all chivalrous like. On the bad timing front, they arrive to find her roomie has committed suicide, and end up at the police station, where Tommy’s lawyer powers come in handy.

They eventually end up in a tender moment where she falls asleep on his couch and he covers her up with the silver fox trimmed coat.

Later Vicki finds out about his mob lawyer-ness and starts the nagging, confronting him his office in this fox trimmed coat.

After witnessing him in action at at trail where he successfully defends a mob goon, she ratchets up the nagging about his vocation at a bar afterward, fortunately still wearing the coat. Shot in closeup, the fur rather nicely accents Cyd’s face.

The silver fox makes one final appearance later in the film as they visit the bridge where Tommy was partially crippled as a kid. Real mood-setter, I agree.

Party Girl is… the update I posted because I didn’t finish editing the clip of Times Square Lady in time. At best, serviceable. It doesn’t shine in runtime either, really. Still, the close ups of Cyd Charisse in her two fox coats are very agreeable.

Fur Runtime: approx 7 minutes
Film Runtime: 99 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1958 film Party Girl.

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.