Sunday, December 19, 2010

Acting Dandies

Maurice Chevalier
Charles Boyer

Acting Dandies

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by Sasha Soren
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Dapper French actors whose onscreen and offscreen personas were essentially those of 20th century dandies.

Neither is strictly a dandy, because one of the pleasures of dandyism is eternal bachelorhood, and both men were married -- Chevalier twice. For that matter, though, so was Oscar Wilde.

Wilde had children, as well, a fact that horrified and appalled late 21st century dandy, artist and cranky provocateur Sebastian Horsley.

He dismissed Wilde as being unworthy of the name of dandy because, in his opinion, ‘The only place a dandy would push a pram is into the Thames.’

But back to Boyer and Chevalier. Even given that they’d both married, they were both also worldly, elegant and stylish. Boyer was particularly well-read and spoke several languages; French, English, Italian, German, and Spanish.

The qualifications of style, elegance, charm, refinement, sartorial sleekness, grace and other refinements are all there. They are dandies. At the least, they are honorary dandies. Not only did they both fluently speak French -- they were French.

Chevalier is perhaps best known to English-speaking audiences as the genial and aging dandy still sparkling with joie de vivre, in the big screen adaptation of the 1944 Colette novella, Gigi.


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by Sasha Soren
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