Jean Gabin

I don’t think anyone has ever done ‘casual’ like Jean Gabin.

Like many of the best actors, he’s not good looking. Robert Mitchum, Lee Marvin, Burt Lancaster, Warren Oates. It looks like he’s lived in his face, slept in it, abused it, had a few fat lips and black eyes. He’s not a metrosexual and he’s never used moisturiser.

It’s hard to carry off ‘casual’ when you look like this. You invariably look better in expensive, tailored clothes. Cary Grant is always going to look good dressed in a polo shirt and slacks.

But Gabin had a hard exterior that hid softness and a sentimental side, that makes a flannel shirt, a woollen overcoat or a denim workshirt, look noble. The almost accidental and certainly impulsive use of the knotted cotton handkerchief around the neck is a grand finishing touch.

Gabin would roll up his sleeves and most likely do the same with his trouser cuffs if he had to. He only looked in a mirror to shave (and that only when necessary).

Gabin was about a moral dependency, even in films where he played villains (such as 1939’s Jour se Leve). He was someone you could rely on, who’d share their last cigarette on the way to the guillotine.

(Thanks to Mr E Crook of Canberra ACT for the suggestion).

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~ by Lord Leigh Park on April 25, 2011.

6 Responses to “Jean Gabin”

  1. An excellent choice

  2. Stylish blog. Where did you find that shoe?!
    Belt and Braces

  3. They look familiar. http://beltandbraces.blogspot.com/2010/07/brogues.html#comments

    • Oh buggeration, I must have stolen it from you. It was in a file of photos I’ve been collecting before starting the blog (many found on google, others taken by my wife). I have those shoes, though I admit I don’t have those trousers.

  4. You are welcome to use my shoes, I was rather flattered that you stole the photo!

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