This one is kind of “famous,” in so far as I recall seeing it quite a bit. For good reason, a classic photo of a classic star in a classic fur. Mae West had a knack for wearing the big furs, the kind that perfectly fit a lady accustomed to being the center of attention. I’ve got one of her films posted, the aptly titled I’m No Angel. There some choice furs in a few others, though sometimes all too briefly.
I’m partial to Veronica Lake, but she’s yet another example of someone whose most notable years on film occurred in an era where fur fashion simply wasn’t all that great. That makes it hard to find anything worth posting a full update. It seems she was not without the opportunity to wrap herself in some fox, though, as we can plainly see here. That is a really, really long boa, too. I suppose they could be cheating and there’s two of them, but what’s the fun in thinking that way?
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
I’ve mentioned Ice Follies of 1939 before, and here’s the poster. Fortunately there’s only a little artistic license, as the outfit in the poster is actually in the film. If anything, the artist may have been a little generous to those white fox cuffs, rendering them a big larger and fuller than the actual on-screen version. I’m certainly not going to complain about that sort of artistic licence. Had I any talent with brush or pen, I might be quite guilty of the same.
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
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
We return with another hot geo-political topic: should Panama be the 51st state? Morton Kondracke, your thoughts?
Oh, wait, the cover, riiiight! Sorry, majored in government in college, and philosophy, too. Très useful, kids. That would be non-blonde bombshell Jane Russell, still looking the part 1964, draped in a thick white fox fringed wrap. Not only that, happily married after 21 years. Um, don’t ask about year 25…
Bonus points for anyone who gets the Morton Kondracke joke.
Getting more search traffic to this blog with terms related to Marlene Dietrich… Wonder why? Oh, right, the wonderful ease it is to find her draped in the largest, most beautiful furs. While I do strive for a little variety, of course, I admit I have trouble passing those images up when I see a “new” one, especially when it’s embed-able. Big fur hat tip to Shanghai Lily, of course.
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
It’s clever title week! Sometimes relevancy has to take one for the team.
That being said, this is quite the nice still shot of that most “well known” of furs from 1937’s The Awful Truth. Displays excellent highlights on Miss Dunne’s face and the fur.
Hey, I should post one of these “review” things… Admittedly the allure of just tossing out something I find on Flickr each week is pretty strong, but this is what I’m “supposed” to be doing, after all. This entry is from the late 30’s, that most special of times, and this film is another fine example of why.
I’ll Take Romance – The Film
This film is based around the romance of kidnapping. Just one of the many felonies made attractive by Hollywood’s lighthearted romantic comedies over the years. Fonts of juvenile delinquency worse than comic books, they are. Elsa Terry (Grace Moore), budding opera singer, is contracted to do a show in Buenos Aires, but isn’t going thanks to a better offer in Paris. James Guthrie (Melvyn Douglas), responsible for getting her to the Buenos Aires show, meets and ends up romancing her, but she still refuses to go. Elsa enjoys his company and, forewarned, plays along when Guthrie puts her on the “wrong” ship. That’s only the fake kidnapping in the film, there’s more real ones later. Lighthearted-romantic-comedy-immunity applies, though, and everyone lives happily ever after, instead of, you know, in a supermax facility.
I’ll Take Romance – The Furs
More Broadway divas in fur here, as actual-Broadway-turned-Hollywood star Grace Moore does almost all of the fur wearing, and all of it you’d want to see. Grace’s character has an “aunt,” you see, the kind scraped up from the leftovers of Marie Dressler’s fat and wrinkles (Helen Westley), who disgraces a silver fox fur for a mercifully brief few seconds early in the film.
Elsa’s first fur is not only refreshingly unique, but given quite a bit of screen time.
The silver fox fur trim on this dress is thick and heavy, just the way I like it.
One might say the 80’s big shoulder craze had nothing on this.
How you really boost your on-screen fur time? Easy, if you’re a musical, you do a number.
Elsa sings wearing the silver fox, accumulating an impressive seven minutes and some change in the big fur trimmed dress.
This next one is kind of tricky, because, while it suggests that it is pretty impressive, the age old quandary of black fox at night rears its… well, not exactly ugly… mostly just “hard to make out” head.
Most of the time she’s wearing this it’s in the dark backseat of a cab or on the equally dark deck of the ship. However, very briefly, she enters her stateroom and we get a better idea how nice it is.
Sadly this is a very short scene, but it does look rather nice for these few seconds we can actually make it out.
To the marquee fur, a white fox cape, as usual. Also a pretty good example of why white fox should always be your “go-to” choice for evening fur filming. Because… you can see it.
And this one is, like most from this period, rather hard to miss.
Melvyn’s getting himself a handful. Easy there, cowboy.
This is a good sequence, giving up almost 3 minutes of white fox goodness. Sadly, Melvyn’s also in frame the entire time.
The film doesn’t stop there, providing this shorter tidbit on the dock where Grace appears in a coat with a large fur collar.
This is fairly short, and while a very nice collar, it’s not a particular loss that we don’t see it for very long.
To cover absolutely everything, there is another sequence near the end where Grace wears a different fur trimmed dress, but there’s not much fur and it’s very hard to see. Hard to film black fur even in the daytime. Even without this sequence the ratio clocks in at an impressive 16%, so there’s no reason to pad the totals with it. The white fox cape is virtually definitive of the period, and makes the film worth a look all by itself.
Fur Runtime: approx 14 minutes
Film Runtime: 85 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 16%
Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1937 film I’ll Take Romance