Posts tagged ‘fur collar’

2011/01/23

Furs on Film – The Millionairess

I am a big fan of Sophia Loren, but the trajectory of her international stardom rests firmly in the late 50’s and 60’s. Those were the years fur fashion was merely phoning it in, a dreary wasteland of minks that were better suited to funerals than glamorous ladies on the big screen. Loren compounded this problem by doing a lot period and western genre pieces. History teaches us the only westerns with big fox furs in them starred Mae West. Thankfully, there’s at least one bright spot.

The Millionairess – The Film

The film is about the epicly named Epifania Parerga, a spoiled (not madcap) heiress. Not just any old heiress, the richest one in the world, who is having some dude trouble. Due to one of those plot device wills that seem ever so less common these days, has to marry a guy who can turn a profit in 3 months, a system she readily games. Finding no love that way, she eventually meets and falls in love with humble inner-city doctor named Kabir, played by Peter Sellers, doing Indian instead of French. Naturally humble inner-city doctors rebuff rich heiresses every day, so their love takes another couple acts to fully bloom, but, you know the drill, happy endings all around.

The Millionairess – The Furs

The richest woman in the world can apparently afford to buck the fashion tends of the day, a fortunate development for our viewing pleasure. Epifania wears 4 furs in the film, and 3 of them are actually interesting.

There’s a brief glimpse of fur number one before a full viewing while Epifania visits her psychiatrist after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. A very funny one, of course.

Later we get to see more of this lynx wrap on a windy day at the banks of the Thames. Sadly this, like the third entry, is filmed entirely in fairly wide shots. Still, it hangs around for a while and we get to enjoy Miss Loren adjusting it and her hair constantly in the breeze.

And here’s the rich nougaty center of the film. This is a long sequence where Epifania attempts to win Kabir’s love by showing him the big state-of-the-art clinic she built next door to his crappy one. While doing so, she wears this outfit, trimmed with rich, thick white fox fur.

Since the sequence is so long, they had to make with the closer shots from time to time.

The story even has an x-ray machine gag. It’s a comedy.

There’s a lot of Peter Sellers in these shots, almost makes me wish for the pan-and-scan version. Though then there’d be even more “solo” shots of him, and I’d have to cut more.

Final view, the sequence ends with a good shoot of Miss Loren they quickly mar with an overlay of the next sequence.

Later, Epifania shows up to again declare her intent and outline the terms of that will, the one where Kabir has to turn a profit of 15k on 500 pounds in 3 months. She does so in a lovely chinchilla wrap that, like the lynx wrap at the beginning, is mostly filmed wide.

There’s a very few shifts in camera angles for this one, though they pull in a little closer at one point.

Oh… is that how this works? You give me money? Awesome!

Finally, in something of a nod to the time, the costumer eventually relents and allows her wear this reasonably pedestrian wrap. Looks like ermine, but I wouldn’t rule out a sheared mink. At least it’s white and not brown.

For the time, this is an impressive film. Lynx, fox, and chinchilla, all in a film with the big “C” saying 1960. Even more notable that the most screen time is given to the white fox collar and cuffs and not one of the more (comparatively) conservative options. Sophia Loren is in her prime and looking magnificent, well suited to be framed by big fox furs. Sadly that was quite the rarity throughout her film career. The cinematographer wasn’t really up to the task of documenting just how magnificent she looked, relying far too much on wide shots, never allowing us to linger for very long on this beauty alone and in richly detailed close up.

Fur Runtime: approx 11 minutes
Film Runtime: 90 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 12%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1960 film The Millionairess

2011/01/16

Furs on Film – Shanghai Express

So, everything is back to “normal,” which is to say all the reviews have been updated to replace the example shots and all the galleries have been returned. Wanted to get that out of the way before I went ahead with a new post. I haven’t done this since October, so I should probably start with an easy one without much personal significance so I picked… oh crap.

Shanghai Express – The Film

Yes, after months of my complaining, TCM ponied up with the Shanghai Express. This waste of Internet bandwidth pretty much is here again because they did. The story of the 1932 film is of a whimsical train ride through the Chinese countryside between Beijing and Shanghai. Among the notable passengers are “Shanghai Lily” (Dietrich) and Cpt. Harvey (Clive Brook) in addition to others, including an incognito rebel leader (Warner Oland) who eventually takes over the train to find a valuable hostage. Harvey and Lily are “old friends” whose career paths diverged a bit after they broke up five years ago. Harvey is a successful (and highly-ransomable) military surgeon on his way to perform a procedure on the Governor-General of Shanghai and Lily is a prosti- er “courtesan.”

Shanghai Express – The Furs

Actually mostly this film is about the camera making sweet, sweet love to Marlene Dietrich, as well it should. Actually, if you want to know more about the background to the film, check out this TCM Spotlight blog post on it. Lily’s obviously pretty good at her work, since she can afford a very nice wardrobe, which includes a couple of furs and a couple of “other.”

We’ll start with Lily’s “getting off the train” fur. It is thusly named because it is the fur she invariably takes with her anytime she leaves the train. It is a dark cloth coat with a very full silver fox collar. The sizable feathery hat is a one timer, though.

Chronologically this coat appears briefly first, then the “marquee” fur scene on the train appears, then it returns. I’m going to explore this fully instead of bouncing around. The cinematographer, Lee Garmes, should be congratulated for his work on both.

Some of the “iconic” shots of Dietrich come from this film, including this one, where, though it’s sadly hard to tell, she’s wearing the fox collar.

This is couple seconds later, a shot from the opposite angle where the size of the collar is very visible.

Another favorite of mine is in the film. Anna May Wong is Hui Fei, a friend and fellow courtesan who, as usual, is totally deprived of fur. Here Lily wears her silver fox while she talks Miss Wong’s character down from a rash course of action.

Building suspense… This isn’t fur, I know, and I don’t care, she looks amazing in it.

It appears in yet another iconic shot.

Here we are, the train sequence. On paper if you told me a scene featured a brown sable collar and cuff (singular), I’d probably not be too interested in watching it. Yet I will say this is probably one of the greatest fur fashion scenes of all time.

This is the scene where we learn the history of Lily and Captain Harvey, and where Dietrich’s, I believe the clinical term is “smoldering sexuality,” is not just on display, it’s burning through the screen.

There’s a catalog of closeups throughout, and I added way more than I probably should have to the full gallery.

We learn that Lily tested Harvey all those years ago and it didn’t go well. They start the process of kissing and making up.

All a deft move to borrow his hat and produce what I consider one of the most iconic images of Marlene Dietrich.

One of the important things to note as you’re watching this sequence is that her coat has only one cuff, the right.

The left is bare, yet as the sequence plays out, its hard to notice anything but Dietrich and the fur.

Sadly, all stupendously great things come to an end. Some needs to rediscover this “vertical collar” technology stat!

And that’s it. What would I improve? Well, sure, I could say that the train sequence would have been a little better had Dietrich been wearing Irene Dunne’s coat from The Awful Truth, but that almost seems a bit disingenuous. After all, part of the magic of the sequence is the fact that Dietrich and the cinematographer did so much with what, on paper, wasn’t all that great. The film as whole comes up well, with a solid 14% ratio that doesn’t even include that fancy feather number she wears at the beginning and end of the film.

Fur Runtime: approx 11 minutes
Film Runtime: 80 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 14%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1932 film Shanghai Express

2010/11/07

Joan Crawford in Fur

Joan Crawford, with mighty lashes.

Originally uploaded by carbonated

Another week, another losing battle against all of cable television in providing me something to post.

The poster called out the lashes in this pic. While I agree those are some pretty amazing lashes, going to have to say the collar is why I find this one rather engaging.

Don’t tar the young Miss Crawford with her later roles and appearance. She was a classic beauty throughout the 30’s and early 40’s, and thanks to the 30’s racked up an impressive on-screen wardrobe of lavish fur outfits.

2010/10/31

Garbo's Inspirational Fox Collar

1931’s Inspiration featured Miss Garbo in a coat with a fox collar that was almost worthy of her transcendent beauty. Here’s a couple publicity shots on Flickr with her wearing it:

Greta Garbo

and:

Greta Garbo

I have a couple older shots of it in the Garbo in Furs Gallery that give you a better idea how big it is.

2010/10/17

Louise Brooks – Fox Collar and Cuffs

Louise Brooks

Originally uploaded by shanghai ІiІy

Can’t pass this up, the reasons for which should be fairly obvious if you’ve been paying attention so far. Bonus gloves for those that fancy those.

I’d say a matching fox hat of at least twelve inches in height was in order to provide an appropriate symmetry.

2010/10/10

Furs on Film – Love Is A Headache

And we’re back.

When I find out who the “we” is in this one man operation, I’ll be sure to fire them.

We return with another of the increasingly rare gems that TCM has seen fit to dole out from that most halcyon of fur fashion years, 1938. This is nice film about a Broadway star named Charlie that had the potential to be something of an all time classic, but they botched it in the end, literally.

Love Is A Headache – The Film

Fortunately, “Charlie” is short for Carlotta, last name Lee, a star of the Broadway stage whose latest production did not fare so well. She’s getting blasted by Peter Lawrence, a newspaper columnist who is, of course, secretly in love with her and is only trying to help. Her publicist, Jimmy Slattery, decides a publicity stunt is needed, so he arranges for her to adopt a couple of kids, for which the casting call no doubt used the term “precocious.” While this doesn’t speak highly of New York City’s adoption agencies circa 1938, “Charlie” gets the kids, and winds up liking the heck out of them, while eventually getting married to Peter. You’d think this was written in Hollywood or something.

Love Is A Headache – The Furs

With one notable exception Gladys George, as “Charlie,” does all the fur wearing work in this film. Personally I’d suggest today’s ladies of Broadway could take a lesson or two from her sense of style.

First up is that exception I noted 2 sentences ago. This would be Fay Holden, playing a bit role where she visits Peter Lawrence (Franchot Tone) to get some better press in his column wearing this enormous fox fur collar. Sadly, this is the fur we see the least of in the entire film, but it is well shot for the time it does appear on screen.

Gladys, as “Charlie”, who is referred to as that throughout the film, much to everyone’s dismay- Look, you’re a girl, use a girl name. If you just dress up like girl, have a girl name. I’m looking at you, Jeffree- Ahem, rant over, back to the update. Gladys, who will be Gladys from this point forward, appears first in this silver fox cape.

Pre-adoption, Gladys is wooed by millionaire Reggie O’Dell (Ralph Morgan, who, if he looks familiar, sounds familiar, and has a familiar last name, is because he’s Frank Morgan’s brother, he’s Frank Morgan lite).

Gladys moves fluidly between the silver fox and her next fur, one I thought was just black fox, but later, in different lighting, suggests it’s something else. The top guard hairs of the fur muff that complement the large collar are just visible at the bottom.

Good close up of Gladys in her fur collar.

Here’s where the lights catch the “not-black” parts of the fur collar, also you can see a better view of the muff. It is visible in a few shots, but mostly wide ones when she’s moving around. Those make for bad stills.

Next up, white fox cape, of the sort very common to 1938, though this one is not the full ankle-length version that we’re used to. Still, a fine addition to the film’s wardrobe.

This cape and the next outfit make up the bulk of the film’s fur runtime (again, there’s another notable exception here). A worthy way to spend your fur gazing time.

Next up is the fox trimmed dress, the (best) fur that takes up the longest amount of screen time. You can see the muff/purse accessory in this shot.

As Gladys spends nearly five minutes in this outfit alone, you get a lot of nice shots of it, including closeups like this.

Also nice upper body framed shots like this one. My only quibble… needed a bigger collar, and cuffs…

So that’s the end of the film as I’d prefer to see it. If you’re interested in being picky, there’s another fur in the film, one that Gladys wears for what constitutes much of the last act. Sadly, that fur is a rather distressed looking mink, muskrat, or some equally unappealing drab brown stole with, you guessed, a bunch of little rodent heads hanging off it. Honestly, to this point the film had been destined for greatness, and then to wrap on that fur, it was a serious disappointment. So, my runtime figures don’t include it. If they did, it would be more like 20-25%. If they’d only swapped that ratty piece and the one by Fay Holden in the beginning, this film would easily be a hall of fame contender.

Fur Runtime: approx 12 minutes
Film Runtime: 73 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 16%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1938 film Love Is A Headache.

2010/09/26

Anna May Wong in Fur

Pursuant to a previous comment, I decided I’d actually look for the lovely Miss Wong in fur instead of simply crossing my fingers and hoping something would show up on TCM. That’s not been working out well lately, after all.  So via Flickr, here’s a minor selection of Miss Wong in some decent furs:

Piccadilly (1929)
From the 1929 film Piccadilly.

Anna May Wong
Publicity shot for Piccadilly, better view of the fur.

WONG, Anna May - glamour portrait  c 1933
Best of the bunch, Anny May Wong in white fox fur for a publicity shot.

2010/09/12

Dietrich in Fur – Shanghai Express

Originally uploaded by shanghai ІiІy

Not sure I’ve mentioned this… oh, yes, I have… but I’m a big fan of this scene from Shanghai Express and continue to wait patiently for TCM to show the film, which used to air almost every freaking month, again.

Ironically this publicity shot provides a much clearer view of exactly how much fur “isn’t” there, whereas it’s almost impossible to tell from the way she was shot in the film itself.

Working on an actual update for next week.

2010/09/05

Joan Collins in White Fox – The Man Who Came to Dinner 1972

man who came to dinner 197

Originally uploaded by collinsfan

Celebrating Labor Day in the states like most people, by doing less labor.

While well known in fur fashion for a couple other “minor” things, I went looking for something from Miss Collins’ lesser known works, and ended up here. “Here” is The Man Who Came to Dinner, which, honestly, sounds absolutely freakin’ riveting! It’s based on a play, so it must be an action packed thrill ride.

Not that I’d be doing anything but fast forwarding to where Joan shows up wearing this, anyway.

I’ll give this one 7 out of a yet-to-be-determined number of stars. I think a floor length white fox fur cape is the one missing element here.

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.