Before talkies

Last night a very generous friend invited me to an extra special sneak-a-peek preview of ‘The Artist’, a new film that pays homage to the silent era movies of the twenties. OOOh I loved it!

Jean Dujardin, plays the lead –  a fictional Hollywood star named George Valentin. Dujardin has the most incredible pazazz, style and old-school, Hollywood glamour. He oozes the charm and charisma of the stars of yesteryear so much so that you’d be forgiven for thinking he’d been plucked straight from the twenties.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I think Dujardin is an extremely fine actor (see gushing praise above), however, as we all know in this fickle thing called show-biz, it’s the LOOK that’s the thing. And boy, does Dujardin get it right.

For starters, he’s a MAN. Unlike the hoards of smooth cheeked, plump lipped pretty boys who are flung all over the big screen nowadays, Dujardin has a maturity to his look which echoes perfectly the trend for casting a a mature male lead in early films. He has a very classic face – a strong nose, a slightly cleft shin and a broad, slim mouth. He also has the most amazingly dynamic eyebrows which sit above beautifully expressive eyes (aided by just a dash of Charlie Chaplin eyeliner) and which raise quizzically and pucker charmingly in a way that would make any girl, 1920s flapper or modern day floozy, fall at his feet.

Another natural feature of Dujardin’s which sits so well in a movie set in the 1920s is his smile. Again, super charming, wide and generous but weirdly it’s its slight imperfections that make it so bang on period. To illustrate my point, have a flip through the latest red carpet photos from the Oscars. Once you adjust your vision to the blinding whiteness of the stars’ teeth, you’ll soon start to notice that they’ve all got the SAME TEETH. Yep, standard Hollywood veneers – unisex, one size fits all, it seems. If you can differentiate those of  Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta Jones and Joan Collins in a line up, I’d be dead impressed. Dujardin’s teeth are wonderful in that they are the real teeth of someone simply blessed with a good set. No visible tampering and, one could even go so far as to say, a little over-crowded. He has an authenticity about him (extending beyond the teeth, I might add) that is somewhat lacking in the actors of today.

So, what else apart from being a naturally dashing sort of chap, helped Dujardin get ‘the look’ of George Valentin? The hair-styling was pretty sharp, it has to be said. He had consistently well oiled hair with an impeccable side part but I would say that it was his clean, neat, pencil of a moustache which deserves the most praise. So dense yet so well clipped. So fine yet so strong. In fact, the tash almost stole the show. If I was a man, I’d get growing.

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