Posts tagged ‘fur jacket’

2011/08/14

Furs on Film – Funny Lady

More color. 70’s color! 70’s color about the 20’s and 30’s! The 70’s don’t get enough credit for some nice furs, because, well, it’s hard to see anything in the shadow of the blinding brilliance of the 80’s. Most period pieces are as much a product of the time in which they are produced, so lucky for us there was no problem with big furs in the 70’s.

Funny Lady – The Film

Funny Lady (1975) is a sequel to the film Funny Girl (1968), both biographical of Fanny Brice, an early success in stage, radio, and film. Staring Barbara Streisand, Funny Girl was one of her first big hits. For what it’s worth, there’s s bit of fur in Funny Girl, but it’s from the 60’s about the Teens and 20’s, so it’s yawn-worthy. Funny Lady deals with Brice’s later life in the 30’s (yeah!), and her marriage to showman Billy Rose (James Caan).

Funny Lady – The Furs

As Brice, the subject of this two-hour plus biopic, Streisand does most, but not quite all, the fur wearing. Brice is depicted as the classic Hollywood star from the period, and that includes a lot of fur. One of the reason I’m rather fond of that period, indeed.

The opening scenes are set earlier, in the late 20’s and the costume designer (sadly) went for a bit of realism. Brice wears some dark, short-haired furs, such as this wrap.

Followed by this, another bit of brown fur trimming a fabric top. The horizontal pelt work is mildly interesting. This scene also features Miss Brice smoking in fur, using a short cigarette holder.

Finally, someone remembers they were designing costumes in the 70’s. Here’s a nice white fox stole, with Fanny’s somewhat “signature” cigarette holder. Good shot of the white fox here, very high on the shoulder.

Streisand spends most of this lengthy sequence seated, but there is a short shot of her changing seats where we see more of the white fox stole.

The cinematographer rightly keeps Streisand in frame most of the time, and most of the time she’s smoking with that cigarette holder.

“Most” of the time. Probably one of the few on the planet who’d notice this, I admit, but she “mysteriously” looses the holder at the very end of the scene. Here she is smoking without it right before leaving. This will not go down as one of the great goofs of cinematic history. I’ll tell you the greatest goof: the character Helen Shirley wears two different full length fox coats at the end of Christmas Vacation, one outside, one inside.

On to the marquee fur. One that’s hard to describe, and I like it when that happens. Show’s some creativity on the part of the costume designers. This appears to be a kind of wrap / collar made from fox tails with a more easy-to-describe matching fox muff.

Like the white fox stole, this item also receives the attention it deserves in this long sequence between Streisand and Caan. It includes a few nice closeups.

And we see it from a few angles, always a nice bonus.

It also tickles my preference for colors that don’t occur in nature. This looks like a nice, dark, richly saturated plum dyed fox.

Streisand doesn’t do all the heavy lifting in the film, though if you blink, you’ll miss the other stuff. Well, not quite, but certainly nothing major. This lady in an external shot with the black fox trim probably isn’t even visible if you’re not seeing the film in its original aspect ratio.

Up next is the part of the film that almost becomes “padding.” It’s a black fox stole, though, a perfectly nice one, in fact. Sadly it’s worn in a very “moodily” lit sequence over a black dress (which, fashionably speaking, is a great match). So it’s really hard to see a lot of the time.

Not all the time, of course, and this shot at the mirror where Fanny lights up for another smoke while wearing the stole is quite clear. It moves from this to a full musical number on a dimly lit stage that, again, doesn’t do the stole much justice.

Another non-Streisand fur, a nice one, but a quick one. This blue fox stole needed a better, longer shot.

It also needs to be in a shot that doesn’t remind me that karakul is actually considered a “fur.” I’d say it’s a fur I actually “hate” but I don’t consider it a fur, just some sick joke by someone who wanted to associate one of the ugliest things you can wear with one of the most beautiful.

We do end on a better note, though this one is quite literally a “blink and you’ll miss it” fur. Brice is leaving her radio show, pulling on this really full silver fox stroller coat. It’s around for a couple seconds in a hallway then a couple more in a very wide shot outside the studio.

20 minutes of fur sounds impressive, but the move is over 2 hours long, so the ratio clocks in at 15%. According to the Wikipedia article, they had to cut to get to that length. Hope there weren’t any more great furs that ended up on the cutting room floor. A solid entry, and worthy addition to any library. Fanny’s smoking habit and affection for holders will be polarizing for some, I suppose, but obviously I’m in the ‘pro’ camp on that one. Actually, if I had to nitpick, I’d say the holder was a little too short.

Fur Runtime: approx 20 minutes
Film Runtime: 136 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 15%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1975 film Funny Lady

2011/03/20

Furs on Film – Snapshot

How bout that Ozploitation flick? This one is fun for a few reasons (not to actually watch, mind you). It’s one of the first I’ve posted with a unique combination of multiple release titles and a severed pig’s head. TCM showed it as Snapshot, as that was the name it was released under in its country of origin, Australia. It can also be found under the title One More Minute (as in the IMDb), and also as The Day Before Halloween or The Night After Halloween, both a transparent attempt to capitalize on the recent success of Carpenter’s film in the states at the time.

Should note the quality of the caps is a little lower than I’d like. Amazingly, the version TCM showed was a 16:9 ‘zoom’ of a 4:3 pan-and-scan. Basically, you’re looking at the least amount of actual film possible, like seeing a movie through a keyhole.

Snapshot – The Film

Sigrid Thornton stars as Angela, a hairdresser who becomes friends with Madeline, an actress played by Chantal Contouri. Madeline convinces Angela to drop the hairdresser gig and become a model. On a shoot for a cologne ad we get to see both of Angela’s talents (this one is rated R, kids). Angela becomes the next big thing in Australian modeling, but she has some baggage with an ex boyfriend who follows her around in an ice cream truck and may or may not be trying to kill her. The ex isn’t the only suspect, and it wouldn’t be a “thriller” if he was. Madeline ends up liking Angela… a lot, (a lot, a lot), further mixing things up. Apparently there’s a twisty sort of ending, but I can’t be sure since Chantal wasn’t wearing any furs there so I wasn’t paying attention.

Snapshot – The Furs

Chantal Contouri as the actress / model who propels Angela into what passes for for the film’s plot also wears all the fur in the film. Not only that, but at least half time she’s wearing those furs she’s smoking as well.

Madeline and Angela meet at the hairdressers. Madeline enters in this so very 70’s horizontally striped red fox jacket.

Red fox was particularly popular in the 70’s it seems. Not my favorite natural shade (I prefer far more unnatural dyed shades of red), but Madeline has a couple in her fur wardrobe.

At the shoot, just before Angela and her chest meet the celluloid, Madeline gives her a little pep talk, like the concerned, supportive friend she is. This is her other major fur in the film, though again, hard to see thanks to the cut. I do enjoy the fact that she’s basically “popped the collar” here.

Here we are the club, a location with which viewers of the film will become quite familiar. The club scenes are a perfect illustration of why I take the time to edit clips in the first place, as otherwise they’d be unbearable. It’s here we find Madeline in her other red fox coat, in a long sequence that’s interrupted routinely by a horrible cabaret singer.

Smoking in her furs, Madeline watches Angela dancing in the club. The remainder of the sequence may be less-than-favorably be referred to as “filler,” but this is certainly my favorite kind.

After minutes of casual, detached smoking, Madeline intervenes when it appears Angela has met a new male friend, seriously inhibiting the rest of his evening. There may be subtext to this, but it’s totally lost on me.

Leaving the club, we see this is full length red fox coat, unlike the one from earlier in the film.

After more of the things that pass for events in this film happen, we find ourselves back at the club. Madeline finds Angela again, striding through the collected patrons in a long white mink coat with a cigarette holder perched high in her right hand. I like where Madeline is going with her fashion choices.

The cinematographer and the broadcast display issues contrive to make this more difficult than it should be, but we do get half a closeup of Madeline smoking with her cigarette holder in the white mink. This one was all too short.

If you were hoping to get a better view of the ‘pep-talk’ fur from earlier, here it is. This walk and talk gives a good chance to take in the fur, which I’ve studiously avoided naming because I’m not entirely sure what it is. Opinions are welcome.

Brief closeup of Chantal Contouri’s character framed with the large collar.

Back at the club… again, with Madeline smoking in the same fur coat, this time mostly in a background shot.

Finally we see the same fur one last time as Angela visits Madeline on the set, finding her relaxed with her fur and, yes, smoking once more. Seriously, even I have to say you should probably cut back a bit Maddy.

Yet another little obscure fur fashion gem that TCM aired, along the lines of Darktown Stutters. Granted, I doubt they were airing it because of the furs. Great examples of 70’s furs in this, and yes, I admit Madeline’s bad habit is one I enjoy viewing, from a distance, at least. Since there’s still no 70’s or 80’s nostalgia channels yet, can’t pass up the opportunity to post these when I find them. The ratio isn’t particularly great, but the quality definitely makes up for it.

Fur Runtime: approx 9 minutes
Film Runtime: 92 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1979 film Snapshot

2011/01/30

Furs on Film – Father Takes a Wife

Back to my favorite part of the 1940’s, the bit where costume designers didn’t get the memo about how “fur is boring this decade.” Father Takes a Wife is from 1941, and falls into that period quite nicely. This was Gloria Swanson’s last film before a nine year hiatus that would eventually lead to her “comeback” role in Sunset Blvd. This was Swanson at 42, and while not quite the young hottie from her silent film days, she still cuts an impressive figure.

Father Takes a Wife – The Film

While I can’t really call this a divorce film, the plot veers close to it. Fred “Senior” Osborne (Adolphe Menjou), a shipping magnate, decides abruptly to get married to actress Leslie Collier (Swanson) and turn the company over his son, Junior. Don’t really get a lot of films about shipping magnates these days. The marriage is a little rocky as Senior turns out to be the jealous sort, and things don’t get easier when he invites a stowaway Latin singer they met on their honeymoon home with them. Hey, that’s what anyone would have done…

Father Takes a Wife – The Furs

As a successful actress and soon to be trophy wife, Leslie has quite the wardrobe. Swanson’s Wikipedia entry suggests her early history in silent film was as the first “clothes horse,” a tradition this film attempts to continue.

In a shot as brief as the fur deserves, Leslie heads off to her farewell performance in this 40’s mink. Thankfully it’s around for only about 5 seconds.

That farewell performance is apparently set in a cold place, as her stage outfit includes… this. Now, I don’t know what ‘this’ is, but I do know I like ‘this’.

Gloria Swanson putting on a muff that matches the coat and hat. That is all.

What’s odd about this fur is that I can’t recall seeing anything like it anywhere else. It’s like a mutant fox with extremely long black guard hairs.

We see it on stage in a very brief, very wide shot before she takes it off, leaving only the hat.

Which gets a close up, again, not really suggesting what kind of fur it is. I’m sure someone knows and may help us all out in the comments section. Or everyone will just skip reading all this noise and go right to the gallery page, which my analytics suggests is, in fact, the case.

Intercut with the final performance we see in the audience Leslie’s new family on her husband’s side, including Junior’s wife, Enid (Florence Rice), wearing a white fox fur wrap that is given the attention it deserves after the show.

Enid and Leslie smile at one another. The mystery fur is in the background.

This sequence could be a little longer, but the shots of the white fox are well done.

Returning from the honeymoon cruise, stowaway in tow, Leslie has a large dark fur coat.

This one is also a little quick, and not as well shot as should have been.

There’s a decent but quick full view as they all return home. The coloring in the sleeve suggests it may be fox, but can’t be 100% sure.

After the aforementioned stowaway gets kicked out of the aforementioned home, he shacks up with Junior and wife Enid. Enid takes him in wearing this very full fox jacket.

Not a common length for the time, but well done, and well shot.

If the stowaway is looking vaguely familiar, that’s because it’s Ricky Ricardo, er… Desi Arnaz in an early film role.

This one is a little short in the runtime department, but has a very nice variety of furs. Definitely could have used some rewrites to keep them in frame a little longer, but considering it was 1941, getting this many was amazing enough. There’s a couple more foxes on the character of “Aunt Julie” played by Helen Broderick, who wasn’t quite up to making the cut in the “looking at for any extended period of time” department. Still, they wouldn’t have done much to pad the runtime, and one of them was that standard 30’s silver fox stole I already dislike. I suppose pairing the two makes sense now.

Fur Runtime: approx 6 minutes
Film Runtime: 79 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 8%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1941 film Father Takes a Wife

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

2010/08/15

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.

2010/06/27

Furs on Film – Manhattan Melodrama

Words evolve, and to a certain extent the term “melodrama” no longer carries with it a particularly positive connotation. Certainly when used in the sentence “don’t be so melodramatic” or in connection with any original movie from Lifetime. It probably wasn’t so big a deal back in 1934 when it was slapped on a low budget crime film that ended up being one of Clark Gable’s stepping stones to super-stardom. Oh, and it was the last flick John Dillinger ever caught.

Manhattan Melodrama – The Film

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. Two childhood friends grow up on opposite sides of the law and end up competing for the same girl. You probably should have stopped me by now. I suppose this was slightly less of a cliché in 1934, though I’m not even sure about that. Jim Wade and Blackie Gallagher are the childhood friends, and thanks to an extremely subtle naming technique, you’ve pretty much figured out that “Blackie” is the bad one. Jim’s the DA going after Blackie, and Blackie’s girlfriend Eleanor is the girl in the middle. As with all these films the moral of the story is that you’ll be electrocuted by the state if you grow up on the wrong side of the law from your childhood friend.

Manhattan Melodrama – The Furs

Eleanor is played by Myrna Loy, who is certainly no stranger to large swaths of fox fur in the 1930’s. In the rather standard role as gangster girlfriend, she adds three more to her career highlight reel.

We start out with the film’s anchor, this full silver fox fur collar that remains on Eleanor as she spends the evening with Jim (William Powell) and then Blackie (Clark Gable).

Since the majority of the time Myrna Loy is shot from the waist and usually the chest up, the big collar fills the screen.

And time you will have, as this series of sequences fills out a good 8 minutes of celluloid glory, and that’s minus the bits where they cut away to Powell and Gable.

So you get a full set of views, including this very nicely famed shot just as she departs Blackie’s pad, taking the fur with her.

Later we see one of the two other fox furs in which Myrna Loy appears, all opposite William Powell. Those kids have chemistry, they should probably star in a long running series of gentlemen detective films together…

I’m going out a limb and calling this red fox, though obviously the color can be left to the imagination. The cuffs seems to particularly suggest it. Also notable, though not particularly visible in the stills is that Myrna Loy is holding a lit cigarette for this brief meeting.

Here is the “blink and you’ll miss it” fur of the film. This white fox jacket (I think) appears for about five seconds in a sequence where Blakie is “helping” Jim’s gubernatorial aspirations by committing murder. Disappointing as it appears to be a rather nice white fox fur.

Due to some eventual fallout from that murder thing, Jim’s term as governor is a tad short, as he resigns after winning. Eleanor is there to provide moral support as he departs. She wearing a big blue fox fur collar and shot in a lovely closeup.

The size is even more apparent at this angle, where you can see how tall it is, a beautiful fur that’s simply demands closeups.

Manhattan Melodrama is a nice showcase of 1930’s fox fur collars, covering silver, red, and ending on the best… blue. The runtime stacks up at an average 10%, which is about where most of these films end up. Much of it contained in the early sequence with the silver fox collar, so don’t expect quite so much of the other two, nor, of course, that white fox jacket.

Fur Runtime: approx 9 minutes
Film Runtime: 93 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

Here is the full gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1934 film Manhattan Melodrama.

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.

2010/04/18

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.

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

2009/11/15

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