The Pencil Moustache

Going clean-shaven seems to be the modern masculine default, in accordance with our contemporary aesthetic, but there are still a fair number of chaps sporting facial hair, often in the form of goatees, soul patches, or even “full-on” beards. What is much less common nowadays than in previous eras is the stand-alone moustache, especially in its thinnest version.

Adding facial hair to a cinematic character is often used to “age” them during the course of a film: this alteration of the visage serves as an indicator of an increase in years, and presumably maturity as well. The addition of a pencil moustache, however, tends rather to evoke a bygone era, whether it be the 17th century, the Victorian period, or the ’20s / ’30s / ’40s.

Here is an array of pencil-‘stached gents, both “vintage” and modern….

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Errol Flynn in The Adventures of Robin Hood

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Errol Flynn in The Sea Hawk

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Richard Todd in (and on the set of) The Sword and the Rose

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Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia 

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 Basil Rathbone in The Mark of Zorro

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 Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind

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Claude Raines in Casablanca

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 Jude Law (as Errol Flynn) in The Aviator

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Vincent Perez in Cyrano de Bergerac

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Johnny Depp in Ed Wood

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Gary Carr in Downton Abbey

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George Clooney in O Brother Where Art Thou

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Cary Elwes in The Princess Bride

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David Thewlis in Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban

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Jean Dujardin in The Artist

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Rupert Friend in The Young Victoria

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2 thoughts on “The Pencil Moustache

  1. The Errol Flynn photos absolutely slay me. Some of these gentlemen look like they were born to wear the pencil mustache (Jean Dujardin OMG!). Cary Elwes not so much. But they are all lovely! Thanks for another gorgeous set of pix.

    • I know! I felt a bit “Flynn-centric” putting him first, but then, his ‘stache is simply the finest! I agree about Jean Dujardin, though – and on top of that, The Artist truly is a brilliant cinematic tribute to the silent film years, pencil moustaches and all.
      So glad you’re enjoying the posts! 🙂

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