Posts tagged ‘fur coat’

2010/03/14

Furs on Film – Mr Dodd Takes the Air

Okay, back on point with this little entry from 1937. Nothing like the late 30’s to deliver that warm comfortable, familiar feeling, kind of like a big full length fox coat… Speaking of which…

Mr. Dodd Takes the Air – The Film

Mr. Dodd Takes the Air is the one of those stories everyone considers rather cliché now, but was slightly less so in 1937. The story of Claude Dodd, who finds fame after being discovered by a mattress mogul (this entry was worth it just to be able to write “mattress mogul”), going from those proverbial rags to subsequent riches. Dodd isn’t just a pretty voice, he’s got a knack for radio repair, and is soon targeted by a classic 30’s gold-digger who, fortunately for us, already has enough money for a closet full of furs.

Mr. Dodd Takes the Air – The Furs

Claude, whose name isn’t among the top 10 baby names of recent decades, meets three ladies in his travels to fame and fortune. Sadly for him, he settles down with the one that doesn’t wear furs.

The blonde is Jessica Stafford, played by Gertrude Michael, who is the previously mentioned gold digger on the prowl for Mr. Dodd’s invention. Obviously she’d been somewhat successful in previous gold-digging, judging by that full length fox.

Jane Wyman plays Mr. Dodd’s would-be girlfriend, Marjorie Day, and the one girl in the film who doesn’t wear fur. If you need to see Jane Wyman in fur, you can check her out in Let’s Do It Again, though, where she wears one of the biggest fox fur stoles of all time.

The “patent” sub-plot only shows up when we need some relationship tension. Dodd’s singing career is helped out by Sonia Moro (Alice Brady), from whom we learn the cliché of “opera diva” hasn’t changed much over time.

The core of the film’s fur fashions is this sequence at a party where Sonia performs in this excellent black fox trimmed bolero jacket. The collar is enormous, and frames her face perfectly as she chews up the scenery.

It would have been ideal were it not only trim, but I admit it’s my favorite kind, where it’s hard to tell there’s parts that aren’t fur. Alice does a song and has a conversation with Claude while wearing the jacket.

In the interest of full disclosure, there’s about five seconds worth of Gertrude Michael in this ermine fur jacket as she leaves the party in a huff.

Fortunately, the gold-digger returns later in something more stylish, this big silver fox cape, as she tries to split up Claude and Marjorie with accusations of… patent fraud!

Brief closeup of Gertrude in the silver fox cape.

The climax of the film finds Dodd up a tree, literally, with Sonia and Majorie racing to get him down and save their relationship. Sonia has a very interesting outfit, which is only fully apparent as she’s racing from the car, making it a little hard to get a really clean still. Her dress has 2 big fox cuffs, and she’s holding a what is, technically, a “fox trimmed” muff.

In the steadier close up shots you can see the two shades of fox mesh, as her big cuffs are squeezed up against the trim on the muff. Almost enough to make you forget about the annoying, pointless strip of sequins in the middle of the muff.

There’s a couple other “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” furs in the film on Sonia and Jessica as they’re arguing after one of Dodd’s shows. Overall a solid 11% on the ratio, due mostly to the rich, dark center of the big black fox trimmed bolero jacket in the middle.

Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 87 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1937 film Mr. Dodd Takes the Air.

2010/01/24

Furs on Film – Baby Face

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

Baby Face – The Film

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

Baby Face – The Furs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010/01/03

Furs on Film – The Mad Miss Manton

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

The Mad Miss Manton – The Film

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

The Mad Miss Manton – The Furs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dora shows up later with another fox collar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For what it’s worth… this guy did it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of The Mad Miss Manton

2009/12/20

Furs on Film – The Annabel Films

At the risk of exposing an opinion that may be slightly outside the “mainstream”… I do not, in fact, love Lucy. I do love Annabel, though, who is played by a twenty-seven year old Lucille Ball during her time as a film star prior to an admittedly pioneering gig on one of television’s most memorable shows. While television Lucy is certainly the most recognizable, Miss Ball made a number of pictures during the 30’s and 40’s… after 1935 she was even credited for her roles. These films reveal Miss Ball to be a stunningly beautiful young woman with a knack for more than just comedy.

Annabel – The Films

Comedy was certainly the center piece of the Annabel films, 2 of the 6 (s… i… x…) films in which Lucille Ball played in 1938. She stars as Annabel Allison, another in a long line of lovely alliterative names common during the period. Annabel is a fading star at Wonder Pictures, and her publicist, Lanny Morgan (Jack Oakie), is doing everything he can to put her back on top, with predictably comedic results. In The Affairs of Annabel, he convinces her to pose as a maid and she ends up in the middle of a kidnapping plot. Annabel Takes a Tour sees our heroine embroiled in a an affair cooked up by her publicist that she believes is real.

Annabel – The Furs

Let’s see, both of these films were from 1938 and featured a Hollywood star, a waning one, but a star nonetheless. That means big fox furs for the lead, and they look amazing on the youthful Miss Ball in both films.

The Affairs of Annabel – 1938

There’s a reason I combined both these films, and that reason is The Affairs of Annabel. There’s only one memorable fur in the film, it occurs at the very end as Annabel and her publicist are ready to “live happily ever after”, to so speak. She’s wearing 2 of those fox stoles I have such a love-hate relationship with.

They make for lovely closeups, though.

This is about 10 seconds before the credits roll, if you’re wondering how long you’ll need to wait to see it.

Annabel Takes a Tour – 1938

In the follow-on about Annabel having an actual “affair”, she wears a much nicer selection of furs. To start we don’t see Annabel in fur, though, we bookend a bit with Frances Mercer in one of the same fox stoles as Annabel wore to close out The Affairs of Annabel.

Now we arrive at the core fur of the film, Annabel’s silver fox trimmed dress and matching silver fox fur muff.

The sequence is early in the film, where meets with her publicist about Frances Mercer’s character’s higher popularity. It’s a long sequence and this outfit is well filmed throughout.

I’ve no doubt mentioned my affinity for big collars in the past, this one certainly qualifies and looks spectacular in all closeups.

One more, another favorite moment at the very end of the sequence as Annabel’s thoughts turn to her rising popularity and her silver fox muff rises to her chin.

Finally, near the end of the film, Annabel arrives in this stroller length lynx coat, another beautiful fur Miss Ball wears well.

Again, there was no shortage of closeups that allow us a moment to drink her in while framed with this thick lynx fur coat.

Were I to complain, it would be about the lack of collar or cuffs, but that complaint would be rather hollow, I admit, this is a beautiful coat.

If your only exposure to Lucille Ball is as a shrill, demanding 50’s housewife, then you’re missing out on a much more beautiful and accessible actress from these early films. She wore furs in quite a few of the films from this period… granted, “this period” being the late 1930’s kind of makes that statement somewhat redundant. These films showcase a vibrant actress with deft comedic skill that wasn’t quite watered down to a single note as it would be later.

The Affairs of Annabel

Fur Runtime: approx 2 minutes
Film Runtime: 68 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 3%

Annabel Takes a Tour

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 67 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 11%

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of The Annabel Films

2009/12/13

Furs On Televsion – Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis

Heading back to more familiar territory, the 1980’s, with one from “the vaults” of older caps. Always nice to be reminded what a truly spectacular decade that was. With any luck the fashion cycle will replay it sooner rather than later. I’m filing this under “television” and not film because it was a TV movie, and that “Furs on Television” category is looking a little anemic.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis – The Film

From 1959 to 1963 there was a sitcom called The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. In so far as it wasn’t something I caught very often on the “nostalgia” networks (I was more a Green Acres man, Lisa Douglas FTW), I’m not very familiar with it. In 1988, before it showed up on Nick-At-Night, someone created a reunion movie. The film’s plot was lifted from a 1956 tragicomedy by Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt, as the IMDb’s film pundits are literally dying to tell you about. The upshot of which is an old girlfriend blows into town to snag Dobie away from his happy home life by bribing the economically down-on-its-luck town.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis – The Furs

That old girlfriend is played by Connie Stevens, and her wardrobe was pure 1980’s rich lady. Yes, Connie, as Thalia Menninger, blows into town on Air Force One with her well stocked closet, and it’s brimming with fox.

In “great entrance” territory, Connie walks off Air Force One wearing a full length lynx coat.

Could be lynx dyed fox, either way, it’s a spectacular, thick ankle length fur.

On to the bribery, which Connie announces while beautifully accessorized in this dyed fox stole and muff. I believe the color has been referred to as “glacier” in other places, which, admittedly, has a bit more panache than “light blue.”

I “confess” to a deep adoration for brightly dyed fox. Though pink is a particular favorite, this one is quite nice indeed. I remain confused by Hollywood’s costume designers unceasing desire to break up such lovely muffs with metal broaches. This one is only slightly less annoying than the one in Lady of Burlesque.

Next up there’s this large red fox, which is another magnificent specimen from the 80’s mega fox line. Not quite as long as her entrance fur, but quite the coat nonetheless.

Connie does the “imperious” look while wearing the fox perfectly.

Massively full pelts on this coat as well as we get a quick glimpse from behind.

To wrap up we see a final red fox, different from the previous one as evidenced by the horizontal pattern of the pelts. This appears to be a very long cape, worn, while riding a horse, by Thalia in one of Dobie’s dream sequences.

Basically, this is just one of the finer examples of why I really liked growing up during the 80’s. Sadly things got a little rough after that. If I had to nitpick, I’m afraid Miss Stevens, while lovely, may have been a little past her prime at this point in her career. I admit it was appropriate casting considering the show’s original air-date, but that would have been a great Morgan Fairchild role. Perhaps most tellingly, it would be a great role for 2009 Morgan Fairchild.

Fur Runtime: approx 5 minutes
Film Runtime: 100 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 5%

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis

2009/12/06

Furs in Film – Why Did I Get Married

Film subjects of this blog have tended towards a few specific time periods. Not my fault fashion doesn’t stand still. That doesn’t mean there aren’t promising signs as we slog through a nearly 20 year drought in fine on-screen fur fashions. We have Tyler Perry to thank for this modest little reminder, which is nicely winter themed as well to go along with holiday season. So enjoy this barely 2 year old entry, it’s probably not going to happen all that often.

Why Did I Get Married – The Film

The film Why Did I Get Married is based on a play of the same name, and is set, fortunately for us all, in a luxury retreat cabin in snowy Colorado. The film is about 4 married couples and the problems they’re currently experiencing. You know what that means… talk of divorce. Yes, something in common with films from the 30’s with fine fur fashions. Granted, this one probably has a bit more nuance to the character relations than a 30’s divorce comedy. Or maybe not, as I’m probably not the person who should be grading “nuance.”

Why Did I Get Married – The Furs

The film is notable for 2 reasons, primarily the fact the furs are there at all, but also because they’re just run of the mill cold weather fashions for the affluent women wearing them. So it’s no big deal that the ladies are adorned in fox, mink, and sable as they go through their marital strife.

To get the ball rolling we have Denise Boutte in this red fox jacket. Won’t do anyone any good to bother comparing 2000’s fox coats with 1930’s fox coats, so I won’t. Pleased to be seeing this “modest” little jacket at all.

Greeting Denise and “friend” are the other wives at the retreat, led by Tasha Smith in the film’s “signature” full length silver fox coat. Sharon Leal appears in a full length mink beside her.

We have the film’s brief shot of both fox coats on screen at once.

Tasha Smith is the only one to really get more than one coat in the film, here appearing in an oddly mismatched combination of furs. The full length mink is fairly conservative compared to the silver fox.

Due to the character she plays, it’s difficult to find a close up of Tasha Smith’s character when she’s not possessed of some disdainful or exasperated look on her face, at least while she’s wearing that lovely silver fox.

The ladies go shopping later in the film, and while it’s apparent it’s not exactly a furrier, there are furs in the racks. Here we see Janet Jackson in the sable wrap she wears along with Sharon Leal in her mink once more.

Janet is still better known for her other career, but she looks very fetching in the sable, accented by a red scarf.

One more with all the furs on screen at once, Tasha and her fox, Janet in the sable, and Sharon in her mink.

The stats for this film fall into what is probably pretty “average” for fur fashions in a lot of films, so it certainly can’t be called a “fur film” for its on-screen ratio. It’s a film from 2007 with a full length silver fox coat in it, so that alone is pretty notable.

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

Fur Fashions of Why Did I Get Married – Full Gallery

2009/11/29

Furs in Film – The Films of The Falcon

I know what you’re thinking… I like the Lone Wolf, but what do you have in an ornithologically themed gentleman detective? Well you are in luck. Today we have the films of a gentleman (and his brother) called The Falcon. The Falcon was created by Michael Arlen in a short story in Town and Country and quickly thrown up on the screen by RKO a year later. Basically, every aspiring writer’s wet dream fulfilled by a studio looking to get into the gentleman detective film franchise business.

The Falcon – The Films

The Falcon first speedily appeared in The Gay Falcon in 1941, played by George Sanders. To quell the hysterical reaction of your collective inner twelve-year-olds, the name originated with the character’s name of Gay Lawrence. Okay, that probably didn’t help. In the original story the character’s name was Gay Falcon, which explained the name. The films fell back on using The Falcon as a nickname. Sanders  played The Falcon in 4 films, then, in The Falcon’s Brother, he passed the role to Tom Conway, who played… The Falcon’s brother, and was, in fact, George Sanders’ real life brother.

The Falcon – The Furs

The entire series was filmed in the early 40’s, but the reliable gentleman detective theme overcame the fashions of the day and provided some very nice furs. Not every Falcon film featured great furs, and no single film really rises to worthiness on its own (a couple almost make it), but taken as a group, they make for a good survey. So here’s a quick look at the fur fashions of the Falcon films.

The Gay Falcon – 1941

The Falcon came out of the gate strong with Wendy Barrie as the Falcon’s fiancée de-jour in this large white fox coat. Accented with a nice veil, the big white fox fur is well photographed for the few minutes it appears.

The Falcon ends up being a bit of a serial fiance, though Wendy would make it back for another film, this particular white fox would not. Not to worry, there’s better white fox ahead.

A Date with the Falcon – 1941

Yes, they made films quickly back then. I’m 90% certain this is Mona Maris in a red fox stole near the beginning of the film.

This sequel wasn’t the best of the bunch for furs, but Miss Maris does look fine in this fox stole.

The Falcon Takes Over – 1942

Probably the best of the bunch for 2 reasons, one, this amazing full length white fox fur coat, and two because Helen Gilbert is doing a great Veronica Lake impression.

Check out the main gallery for more of this lovely specimen. As this image suggests, Miss Gilbert is playing the bad girl. This film is actually the first adaption of Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely.  If you want pretentious amateur film critic analysis of that, read the IMDb comments, not this blog post.

The end of The Falcon Takes Over includes what would become a standard trope of the Falcon films… someone appears to ask the Falcon for help on a new case. In this case it’s a group of showgirls, some of whom are wearing furs. Sadly, the other standard element of this trope is that it actually has nothing to do with the next film.

The Falcon’s Brother – 1942

George Sanders must have realized they weren’t going to have a better fur than the white fox in The Falcon Takes Over, so he wanted to move on. Or maybe there was another reason… In any case, The Falcon’s Brother did not carry the fur fashion momentum of the previous film and gives us only this silver fox stole worn by Amanda Varela.

The Falcon In Danger – 1943

The second best Falcon film for fur fashion, this one features a number of furs, on screen at the same time. First up is the showcase fur, a long silver fox cape worn by Amelita Ward, who is playing The Falcon’s latest main squeeze.

As the mystery unfolds, ladies in fur gather at the airport with The Falcon. Amelita and her silver fox meet up with Elaine Shepard in this full length mink coat.

Finally, by process of elimination of women listed as being in the film on the IMDb, I think this is Jean Brooks in a spotted fur collar, which would not have ordinarily been noteworthy without Miss Ward’s silver fox being in the shot.

The Falcon and the Co-eds – 1943

Another light entry, which gives us, at the very end, this actress in a short haired fur hat and muff.

Which wouldn’t really have made it either if not for being a few seconds away from the Falcon’s latest end-of-film setup as this lovely lady appears in a short fox jacket to ask for The Falcon’s help on another new case before the credits role.

The Falcon in Mexico – 1944

Much like the fur carrying showgirls at the end of The Falcon Takes Over that lady in fox isn’t in the next film, The Falcon Out West, which has only a single rather bland mink to show for it. Thankfully the next sequel has two very full fox jackets, starting with this white fox on The Falcon’s current girlfriend, who’s in this film for about a minute.

The Falcon sends his girlfriend off for the rest of the film then immediately catches this very well dressed burglar (Cecilia Callejo) in the act of breaking into a gallery to steal a painting for which she posed, wearing this large marble blue fox fur jacket.

The Falcon in San Francisco – 1945

We end on neither a high nor low point, as Fay Helm (I think) brings us this very nice silver fox fur coat as she bails the Falcon out of jail.

Fay’s a bad girl, so the silver fox is a good fit, as is her smoking at the restaurant she brings the Falcon to after bailing him out.

For a series of film from the 40’s this is a pretty good showing. Not all of them are really great, and there’s the oddball The Falcon in Hollywood (1944), which by all rights should have been the best of the bunch but was completely dry. Whatever the reason, the wardrobe requirements for the gentleman detective film took a valiant stand against the fashions of the day and we all got something good out of it.

Fur Fashions of the Films of The Falcon – Full Gallery

2009/11/21

Carole Lombard in Fur


Carole Lombard

Originally uploaded by Music2MyEars

Trying out Flickr’s “Blog This” capabilities. This is a very nice shot of Carole Lombard in what is most likely sable.

2009/11/15

Furs In Film – The Lone Wolf Strikes

Since TCM hasn’t run a Thin Man marathon in at least two weeks, we’ll stick with The Lone Wolf.  This Lone Wolf guy knows a lot of women with fine taste in furs, it seems.  This is the first time I’ve reviewed a sequel right after the original.  Now if they’d just made a series of 20 films about Melsa Manton…

The Lone Wolf Strikes – The Film

I digress. The Lone Wolf Strikes is the follow-up to last week’s The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt. If you thought The Lone Wolf and Val Carson lived happily ever after at the end of that film, well, sadly, they did not. Single, and, apparently not grieving the loss of his child either, Mike Lanyard (Warren Williams) is hired to retrieve an expensive pearl necklace. In the process he’s framed for murder and has to use all his Lone Wolfy skills to prove his innocence and bring the guilty to justice, gentleman detective style.

The Lone Wolf Strikes – The Furs

Released in 1940, but costumed like it’s 1939, this film is long on big fox furs. Probably because they were filmed back to back with access to the same wardrobe department, perhaps? Though not quite as packed as the first Warren Williams Lone Wolf outing, this film has two very nice fox coats, and it completely inverts the good girl/bad girl fur rules! Shocking, I know.

Here we have a character by the name of Binnie Weldon, played by the actually alliterarively named Astrid Allwyn. Yes, she’s not Rita Hayworth, but she fills out a full length white fox fur coat nicely.

This is a classic white fox from the period. Huge wide fox pelts create a very full coat. It’s virtually identical to the coat worn by Ida Lupio in the last film… and may well be the same coat.

My only quibble with foxes like this is the lack of any collar and cuffs, but that is a minor quibble indeed, considering the high-wattage of what is the forerunner of every 80’s mega fox coat.

Binnie steals the pearl necklace that will later involve the Lone Wolf by nefariously dating jeweler Philip Jordan (Roy Gordon) in order to do a switch, then turns it over to her boyfriend.

Yes, this white fox is on the bad girl this time. The fur is well documented in the early sequences of the film as we get to see it from all angles.

Phil was planning to give the pearl necklace to his daughter for her wedding, and that brings us to Joan Perry playing Delia Jordan and supplying the “madcap girlfriend” role for this film. For part of the film she’s wearing this fine silver fox bolero jacket.

I like big fox bolero jackets, and this is a nice one. Joan Perry isn’t Ida Lupino just like Binnie Weldon isn’t Rita Hayworth, but Joan looks fine in the fox jacket.

There’s a few nice closeups of Joan framed perfectly by the silver fox jacket.

We even get to see the silver fox jacket from behind as well, so obviously the director of photography was on the ball for this film.

The Lone Wolf eventually recovers the stolen merchandise, but sadly we never get to see either fur in the film with a pearl necklace. Everything from the wattage of the star power to the amount of fur screen-time is slightly toned down in The Lone Wolf Strikes as compared to The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt. Still, a fine outing for furs, and a 10% on-screen fur ratio is still enormous by any standard.

Fur Runtime: approx 7 minutes
Film Runtime: 67 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

Speaking of comparisons… The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt and the The Lone Wolf Strikes were probably filmed very close to one another. They both feature very similar white fox fur coats. So, what do you think… did bad girl Binnie Weldon steal good girl Val Carson’s white fox coat?

Val:

Binnie:

Explore this question and more with the full gallery: The Fur Fashions of the The Lone Wolf Strikes Full Gallery

2009/11/12

User Contribution – Evelyn Ankers in Fox – The Lone Wolf In London

Here’s a pic from the 1947 film The Lone Wolf in London gratefully contributed by The Green Fairy:
[singlepic id=585 w=320 h=240 float=center]

The actress is Evelyn Ankers, and the fur is fox, and the gentleman in the background is giving it a rather stern look. Perhaps he’s wondering how such a nice fox turned up on film in 1947.

Turns out I don’t have The Lone Wolf in London, but I was confusing it with 1940’s The Lone Wolf Strikes, the followup to The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt, which features a very large white fox coat and a silver fox jacket. I do have that one and you may learn all about those furs soon…