The necessary ones? Ronald Colman, Clark Gable, William Powell, Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx. Sure, Ronald Colman still looked remarkably debonair sans 'stache in A Tale of Two Cities, but when you picture these men you picture them with their trademark facial hair. The two go hand in hand. The look really suited them.And then there are the unnecessary ones.Oh, boy.Sure, sometimes it's a period picture and that was the fashion of the time. Maybe the producer thought that the actor needed a little machismo to add some age to a boyish face. Maybe it was just a really bad costume decision. But for some reason, these men ended up on screen with mustaches and the results are not pretty.
James Cagney sported this little mustache in Torrid Zone and Ceiling Zero. Torrid Zone was on TCM last night and the fact that his facial hair was distracting me from paying attention to the actual plot was the spark for this post.
Gary Cooper displayed a kind of messy looking mustache in Peter Ibbetson --granted, a period piece-- but really, I've seen many movies that take place in this time period in which the lead actor is not forced to look like this. Goodness he was so handsome without it. Why, Gary? Whyyyy????????
Heavens to Betsy, I think this is the worst. Robert Montgomery had one of the most beautiful faces, gorgeous and delicate. Who on earth decided that this was a good look? No seriously, who was it? If they are still alive I am writing to them to complain. (From Trouble for Two)
This image showed up when I typed in "Gary Cooper mustache" in a google search-- no clue what movie it is from but I kind of wish I did because I think I'd avoid that movie now.
Oh, Montgomery Clift. You looked so handsome for 90% of The Heiress. This is another example of the "years have passed, so to show a progression in age we will simply add a mustache to his face" syndrome.
My beloved Dirk. What have you done to your face?
Another example of the syndrome that befell Monty.
(From Esther Waters.)
I think this is actually the easiest to swallow. His face hasn't actually been ruined by the addition of facial hair, it sort of fits. And it doesn't look smarmy like a lot of the others do. But still, Henry Fonda's face looks so much better without it. (From Fort Apache)
Dick Powell.... I take back what I said about good old Bob Montgomery. I'm afraid you are the worst offender. If ever a face did not need a mustache, this one is it. Boyish, cute face + mustache = disaster! (From It Happened Tomorrow)
Did you even know this was Franchot Tone? I know, he doesn't even look like himself!
Poor James Stewart. Another victim of the passage-of-time syndrome. Couldn't a little grey around the temples have done the trick? A little salt and pepper in the hair? Wrinkles? False teeth? Anything?? (From The Last Gangster)
Thanks to Mercurie for reminding me about Gene Kelly's awful mustache in The Three Musketeers (And The Pirate) -- this definitely belongs on the list!
Thanks to Mythical Monkey for posting a link in my comments to Humphrey Bogart's facial hair disaster in Virginia City! This one is pretty bad!
Gregory Peck in The Gunfighter, thanks to Mantooth's suggestion in the comments -- if ever a face didn't need hairy ornamentation it was his.
Ye Gads!!! What have they done to Dana Andrews?!
If you haven't been able to tell by my captions, this was a totally satirical post. Please don't take it seriously, and please keep this in mind if you leave any comments. I did not mean to offend anyone, and I am, in fact, a big fan of all of the men in this post (I mean, come on- I included Dirk Bogarde!)