Close shaves on the big screen

3 minutes



Movies are absolutely rife with symbolism, and certain items hold a weighty meaning, such as the razor, which can be suggestive of anything from passion to despair. As such, shaving scenes have been employed in many a movie as a way to convey emotions and developing feelings between characters. While some are deeply emotional, others use such scenes purely for comedic effect. We take a look at some of the most memorable movie moments involving shaving scenes.

Crocodile Dundee
Used to the wilder side of life, shaving in the Australian Outback is no big deal for Mick Dundee. While he can easily wrestle with crocodiles, ward off kangaroo hunters and snap a snake with his bare hands, women are another matter entirely. His old faithful disposable razor is quickly disposed of in favour of a massive great hunting knife to freshen up his jawline, just as love-interest Sue Charlton takes a stroll past. Perhaps not quite the subtlest of moves.

While Mr. Bond has certainly been seen to shave on screen before, like with the tracking device-filled Gillette razor in Goldfinger, in the more recent 007 offerings Bond has chosen a more old-school method of keeping his face clean, opting to use a straight cut razor. Daniel Craig is seen with a shaving cream bowl, brush and a DOVO Solingen razor when Moneypenny unexpectedly pays a visit. She takes over the classic shave, helping James to get the smoothest of finishes while noting that ‘sometimes the old ways are the best’. The scene had such an impact that following the movie, retailers reported that the sales of cut-throat straight razors had risen by over 405 percent. Unfortunately, there must be a disclaimer that such razors don’t arrive with a beautiful woman to shave your face for you.

North By Northwest
What better way to disguise yourself from those you are on the run from than by plastering shaving cream over half of your face. In this classic Hitchcock scene, we see Cary Grant’s character Roger Thornhill using an extremely miniature travel razor and brush in an attempt to shave, while a man using a straight razor looks on, bemused. With an unspoken ‘mine is bigger than yours’ joke out of the way, Thornhill returns to the awaiting Eve Kendall who asks what took him so long. His response: “Big face, small razor”.

The Royal Tenenbaums
A chilling scene comes in the form of this grooming montage set before Luke Wilson’s Richie Tenenbaum attempts to end it all. Removing his sweatbands and glasses, Richie trims his hair and beard meticulously before lathering up, preparing to remove all the fuzz from his face. This act of full-smoothness never quite happens, after a series of traumatic images of events, set to the haunting tune of Needle In The Hay, leads him to turn the razor on himself in a near-fatal self-infliction. Thankfully, he lives to shave another day.

The Great Dictator
As one of Chaplin’s most iconic, and controversial, performances, this film sees the silent movie comic starring as a Jewish barber during a conflict similar to the Second World War. This one-shot scene is truly spectacular, with a superbly choreographed shave to the accompanying tune of Brahms Hungarian Dance No. 5. Chaplin moves with incredible fluidity and rhythm as he coolly and comically provides a very close shave for his customer.

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