Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

by Kyril Bonfiglioli

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Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

Unread postby fireflydances » Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:32 pm

Okay, okay!! I changed the title of the question. Just felt sorry for it languishing on the page. Poor thing!


Johanna and I fled upstairs hand in hand and soon I was standing before the mirror, looking my last on Tiger Clemenceau -- and at Johanna's reflection in the glass as she slithered out of her costly raiment in a way which sent my blood-pressure right up into the paint-cards. Twice I raised the glittering executioner's blade to my upper lip and twice it fell from my nervous fingers. Johanna stole up to me and nibbled lovingly in my ear.

"Infirm of purpose," she murmured. "Give me the scissors."
(pg. 173)

Two questions. First, why the different fate for the hedge-like obstacle? Johanna slathers it to oblivion in the book but it is saved last minute in the movie. Second, what do you think about the movie's choice to let the little guy live?
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Re: Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

Unread postby nebraska » Mon Mar 02, 2015 2:52 pm

It may have lived in the movie ... but not without consequences since Johanna still couldn't stand the thing.

I may be off topic here, but is this part of a larger issue? Who should have the decision about one's choices regarding their personal appearance -- length of hair, to color or not to color, to shave or not to shave? And within a marriage, when should one make those choices to appease the outright demands of a spouse and when should one agree to something to please the spouse out of love? At times Johanna seemed rather mean spirited about Charlie's mustache. If she loved him and he loved the mustache, it seemed like she should have had more respect for that. The tug of war over Charlie's facial hair may tell us as much about their relationship and their character as anything else in the book and movie.

By the way, Mr. nebraska has a mustache and full beard, which I love, and that might influence my feelings about Charlie being forced to shave. :mortdecai2:

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Re: Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:52 pm

Nebraska, I think you bring up a good point.

It could say something about the dynamics between Charlie and Johanna.

Generally speaking, I don't like the idea of a spouse dictating the style and appearance of the other spouse. But I think for some, there can be a disgust factor. That seems to be the case for Johanna. It could also be the style of mustache. The idea of pomade on it turned my stomach.

And I think a spouse has more of a right to complain if the other spouse makes a choice to change after the marriage. Maybe they should have talked about the subject before they got married.

In a real world, I think there could have been more compromise between the two of them. They were both being stubborn, I thought. But it played into the story, making the story more interesting and humorous. It was entertaining.

I know this doesn't answer Firefly's question. I'm not really sure why the movie moustache would have a different ending. Could just be that the screenwriter/director wanted to see a different outcome for the moustache.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Re: Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

Unread postby fireflydances » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:11 pm

I really think the decision to change that part of the ending was deliberate. Shaving that moustache off was basically an uncaring act and it didn't compliment Johanna at all. We know her in the movie and in the book as feisty, but in the book she is a tad more hard-hearted. That final cut is just a bit over the top. I also think leaving the little thing alone fit the general drift of the story which was bringing the couple back together. So much more of a love story in the movie. Two people who genuinely enjoyed and respected each other (even if Charlie was a little wrinkly around the edges.)
"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." Sir Francis Bacon, Of Studies

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Re: Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

Unread postby Theresa » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:01 pm

Could part of the decision to leave the mustache been that the producers and all involved were hoping for a sequel? If there was ever going to be more Mortdecai movies, the mustache would have had to stay.

Boy, I wish there was going to be more Mortdecai movies...I really had a good time watching this one.

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Re: Mortdecai Question #7: Shave It Off Or Let It Flourish

Unread postby Liz » Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:21 pm

Yeah, me too. :-/
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.


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