Posts tagged ‘lynx’

2011/07/31

Furs on TV – Moonlighting Seasons 1 and 2

Posting has been a little thin in these, the dog days of summer. Not that that’s an actual excuse, mind you, just sounds nice. In any case, I think this one may be a little popular. My stats are clear on one thing, readers like color, and readers love the 80’s. Hey I love both too, just a little trickier getting 80’s furs here, at least with televised sources. Which leads me to this, which isn’t from a televised source at all. They didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but I’ll try refining my technique over time.

Moonlighting- The Series

Not to say that Moonlighting wasn’t televised, it certainly was, and I watched it. The story of a down-on-her-luck model/actress (Cybill Shepherd) with only one remaining source of income, a detective agency she didn’t know she had, and the rather free spirited guy (Bruce Willis) who ran the place solo until she showed up. Romantic tension abounded, cases were solved, and some very innovative television appeared from time to time. Then the writers screwed it all up. But that was season 3 and 4, and so my annoyance with the show shouldn’t be much of an issue here.

Moonlighting- The Furs

While the monetary woes of Madeline “Maddie” Hayes drove her to a day job at a detective agency, little about her home, and, most importantly, her wardrobe, suggested she was in any real financial trouble. No, Maddie generally looked the part of a model/actress, and she certainly didn’t have to sell her furs to make ends meet. Oh, what furs they were…

Gunfight at the So-So Corral”

This episode introduces us to the full length amber fox coat that receives quite a bit of screen time in this and another episode. It’s the coat that ends up in the credit sequence for Cybill Shepherd in later seasons.

This episode provides two fairly long sequences for the fox coat, which is, like every fur Maddie wears, a poster child for 80’s mega fox.

There’s a few good close shots of it as well.

Fur Runtime: 3:55

Read the Mind… See the Movie”

Up next is this equally ravishing crystal fox.

Like the previous episode, the coat is given quite the display, clocking in at nearly 3 minutes, with some great wide shots.

And closer shots as Maddie argues with David later. Them, arguing? I’m shocked!

Fur Runtime: 2:41

Next Stop, Murder”

The full length amber fox fur coat is back, and, if you didn’t get enough of it in “Gunfight at the So-So Corral,” then “Next Stop, Murder” will help you out… a lot.

The coat clocks in at about 8 minutes of screen time, almost a fifth of the episode.

She wears it dangling from her shoulders most of that time, as we’re treated to it from most every angle and width of shot.

Multiple close ups provide very nice views of Miss Shepherd’s face framed by the fur.

Fur Runtime: 7:30

Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?”

Season two starts off fairly light, with what may be the crystal fox coat seen in “Read the Mind… See the Movie” in a confined driving shot.

The coat is only seen twice, once when she’s driving, once when she’s a passenger. Not all that great an episode by any stretch of the imagination.

Fur Runtime: 0:40

Knowing Her”

Things don’t pick up, much, as season two rolls on. While Miss Shepherd did most of the fur wearing in the series, it certainly wasn’t exclusive to her. This rather fast shot of a quintessential 80’s prostitute, wearing fox, of course, isn’t very long, but is appreciated for keeping the stereotype alive.

Fur Runtime: 0:18

“The Bride of Tupperman”

Things get back on track with this episode, and a full length lynx fur coat that receives all the attention it deserves.

There’s a few close ups, and the coat is seen from all angles.

Plus, for those who may be interested, she is wearing some gloves with lynx.

This was the second season’s second best fur episode overall.

Fur Runtime: 2:45

“North by North Dipesto”

In keeping with the opening up of mega fox fur coat wearing to those not Cybill Shepherd in season two, there’s reliable Agnes Dipesto’s shot at glamor with this episode.

While Agnes Dipesto (Allyce Beasley) doesn’t quite fill this fur out the way Maddie might, she makes a go of it.

It becomes the focus of a joke as Agnes’ encounters a man who (dashingly) removes it and tosses it over a railing where it lands on a chatting couple.

Fur Runtime: 0:20

“Every Daughter’s Father Is a Virgin”

Season two’s final fur is a good one to go out on. This is a different full length white fox coat, and it is worn a bit more appropriately by Maddie Hayes. It also receives the screen time such a large fox merits, a good 2 minutes.

At no point in any episode has Maddie worn anything but a huge 80’s fox fur, and for that we can certainly appreciate the dedication of the show’s costuming department.

You can tell this a different white fox from “North by North Dipesto” because of the chevron pattern to the pelts in back, which the previous white fox lacked.

Fur Runtime: 2:15

Moonlighting‘s overall episode ratio isn’t quite the impressive stat of a Dynasty or Dallas, but the quality of furs when they appear is exquisite. As I said, Maddie Hayes has only one kind of fur in her closet, and that’s big. There’s little doubt these wonderful fox and lynx coats hailed from the mid-80’s. Later seasons didn’t have quite so much fur, but when they did, they were still uniformly large. That certainly makes Moonlighting a worthy addition to any collection.

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of Moonlighting’s 1st and 2nd Seasons

2011/06/26

Furs on Film – This is the Night

Back this week with an actual update, one I’ve been sitting on for a while now. Another entry from the early 30’s, this one pulls out the big gun right up front, but doesn’t completely fizzle later. It also boasts two prominent female roles where one is not objectionable to look at. That’s a sad rarity for films from this period.

This is the Night – The Film

I’ve read two different summaries of the plot of this film and am still not entirely sure how all the characters fit together. One thing is certain, there’s marriages, both legitimate and sham, and cheating on said marriages. There’s a lady pretending to be an actress playing someone’s fake wife, and a man named Bunny. That later fact does not make reading plot summaries any easier. Because, seriously, there’s only one reason someone with a Y chromosome should legitimately be called Bunny, and it’s generally only a temporary state, and he better be good at it.

The is the Night – The Furs

Okay, so our designed fur-wearers in this complex little relationship comedy may at least be named. They are Thelma Todd as “Claire” and Lily Damita as “Germaine.” Lily is memorable from one of the other 3 films she appeared in during 1932: The Match King. She does not fare as well in this film, though.

As alluded to in the opening, This is the Night hits the ground running with one very short exception. This very quick shot happens just before the arrival of Claire, part of a set of shots that build to her appearance.

Appear, Claire does, stepping from the limo in this marvelous white fox trimmed coat.

The coat’s collar and cuffs are the appropriate size, namely the sort that makes it hard to tell there’s parts that aren’t fur.

In the opener, Thelma Todd’s character suffers the 1932 version of the “wardrobe malfunction,” where she looses her skirt before the crowd that gathered to watch her arrival. The results were a little more demure, as one might expect from the period. She lost a skirt but still had a slip. For those wondering, seeing a ladies slip at that time was rather “scandalous”. What can I say… they didn’t have the Internet then.

Fortunately for us, that means an extended limo ride back home where Claire chats with… Bunny. Yep, the thing on the left, that’s “Bunny.”

The combination of the arrival and the return provide three and a half mintues to enjoy this lovely white fox trimmed coat.

Say what you will about spread of modern 3D films (fine by me), back in 1932, single color sequences were the super high tech gimmick of the day. We do get a brief look at the white fox as more white than super light blue as Claire returns home.

The white fox is the best thing in the film, but not the only thing. Later Thelma Todd appears in more fur trim. This time it appears to be lynx.

The wider shot gives us a better idea of the extent of the trim.

I’m more partial to this close-up, of course.

As you can see, Lily Damita shares some fur in this scene, sadly one that pales in comparison to Themla’s lynx fur trim.

Lily doesn’t fare much better later, as my old nemesis returns: ugly-silver-fox-stole-with-bits-still-attached. It’s the poison pill of 30’s fur fashion.

Finally, near the end, Lily finally gets a nice looking fur, sadly all she does his hold it over her forearm.

As you may hopefully infer, that is a large fox collar, and it’s part of a cape or coat that Lily mostly keeps firmly folded over her arm for the entire scene.

One, admittedly enjoyable, exception is near the end of the scene where she’s hugging it to her body, making for this oddly compelling close-up shot.

Honestly, you can probably give up after the white fox goes away, but the remainder of the film isn’t a complete wasteland. Unlike The Awful Truth, there’s more fur here, and substantial fur in a couple cases. Granted, Irene Dunne’s white fox coat could easily carry the entire film. Themla Todd’s white fox fur trim, though very nice, can’t. I would have liked to have gotten one nice close-up shot of Miss Todd’s face wreathed in white fox, but that’s the one fur the director of photography chose not to display in close up.

Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 80 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 10%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1932 film This is the Night

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

2010/08/29

Furs on Film – Dance, Girl, Dance

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

Dance, Girl, Dance – The Film

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

Dance, Girl, Dance – The Furs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Both together, you say? Sure!

Even better than that last one? Sure!

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

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

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

2010/08/15

Furs on Film – The Thin Man Films

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

The Thin Man – 1934

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the Thin Man – 1936

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Thin Man – 1939

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shadow of the Thin Man – 1941

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

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

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

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

I like this pose, that is all.

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

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

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

The Thin Man Goes Home – 1945

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

Song of the Thin Man – 1947

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

Here it is:

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

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

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

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

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of The Thin Man Films.

2010/06/13

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.

2010/04/25

Furs on Film – Times Square Lady

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

Times Square Lady – The Film

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

Times Square Lady – The Furs

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

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

Strike two…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010/01/03

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