Tag Archives: pens in the movies

James Bond Has No Ordinary Mont Blanc

James Bond uses a sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 LeGrand solitaire fountain pen in the classic 1983 film "Octopussy."

James Bond uses a sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 LeGrand solitaire fountain pen in the classic 1983 film “Octopussy.”

Between the ages of 7 and 10, I set out on a quest to watch every James Bond movie made up until that point. Over the course of several summers, I was in a state gadget and spy bliss. I’ve keep up with Agent 007 ever since then. When an opportunity too good to pass up arrived, I was able buy each of the Bond movies in a mega collection on Blu-ray this summer for an insanely cheap price.

Satisfying my inner 10 year old over the summer has been tons of fun. Bond has a history of awesome pens, but the easiest one to identify was a sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 Solitaire in the 1983 classic “Octopussy.”

Roger Moore plays Bond, and it is one of his better Bond films. Not as good as “The Spy Who Loved Me,” it is still better than most of his others. This time a fake Faberge egg leads to a ring of jewel thieves led by a mysterious Maud Adams in the title role. Yet, her backers are really using her as a cover for their own nefarious nuclear attack. Louis Jourdan (of “Gigi” fame) is the evil villain.

Unlike a typical Mont Blanc fountain pen, Q tricks out this one to hold a reserve of highly potent acid that burns through metal.

Unlike a typical Mont Blanc fountain pen, Q tricks out this one to hold a reserve of highly potent acid that burns through metal.

As the infinitely clever Q outfits Bond with his gadgets for the film, he hands him the sterling 146. Unlike a traditional fountain pen, it is loaded with a very potent acid instead of ink. The acid is strong enough to melt steel bars. Yet, it is mild enough not to eat through the plastic (oops, we mean “precious resin”) base of the fountain pen under the sterling silver. This is why Q gets paid the big bucks.

Spoiler alert: The pen comes in handy as Bond uses it to bust out of a prison cell in India.

The pen also holds an amplifier that allows Bond to hear conversations through walls. A very hand device for a super spy.

James Bond's sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 also holds a special amplifier that allows him to better listen to conversations through walls.

James Bond’s sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 also holds a special amplifier that allows him to better listen to conversations through walls.

Mind you, I absolutely love Bond movies. But the big question I always have is simply, once the villain identifies Bond is, in fact, Bond and captures him, as he invariably will, why doesn’t he take all of Bond’s stuff. By now they always know that Bond is a super-star assassin/spy who kills every bad guy he comes into contact with. Why do they always–ALWAYS–fail to take his watch, pens and other possessions. Even the ones who used to be spies themselves always fail to thoroughly search him for every possibly possession.

Anyhow, the one really unique thing about this pen in “Octopussy” is that Mont Blanc fails to brand the pen. Instead of their traditional snow cap star, they put on a sterling topper. Mont Blanc even gets special thanks in the credits. It seems odd they wouldn’t want to take advantage of the Bond sales bump.

We have a sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 LeGrand fountain pen that is very similar to Bond's. Unfortunately, it only holds ink. DO NOT load it with acid!

We have a sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 LeGrand fountain pen that is very similar to Bond’s. Unfortunately, it only holds ink. DO NOT load it with acid!

We are more than happy to take advantage of it. We have one such sterling silver Mont Blanc 146 LeGrand fountain pen on our preowned luxury pens pages. It is in great working order and a helluva bargain compared to a new one.

Simon Pegg’s Fountain Pen Happiness

Pens play a key role in “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” They save the day on more than one occasion.

However, if you haven’t heard of this movie, yet, let me introduce you.

This Visconti Van Gogh has a starring role in "Hector and the Search for Happiness." Simon Pegg is Hector and uses this pen to write in his journal on a flight to Shanghai.

This Visconti Van Gogh has a starring role in “Hector and the Search for Happiness.” Simon Pegg is Hector and uses this pen to write in his journal on a flight to Shanghai.

“Hector and the Search for Happiness” is a warm British comedy that slipped in under my radar in 2014. It is about a middle-aged psychiatrist named Hector (Simon Pegg) who is in a bit of a funk–in spite of having a successful career and a loving girlfriend played by Rosamund Pike. Unsure about what his life really amounts to and what it could have been, Hector boards a plane for visits to China, the Himalayas, Africa and America to ask EVERYBODY what the secret to happiness is.

Overall, it is a touching comedy that is a lot of fun.


We have a colorful Visconti Van Gogh rollerball pen for sale, if you want a pen similar to Hector's.

We have a colorful Visconti Van Gogh rollerball pen for sale, if you want a pen similar to Hector’s.

Pens come into the picture frequently, as Hector fastidiously maintains a journal in which he investigates happiness in its many forms. Of course, he is always losing his pen.

At first, while on a flight to Shanghai, he asks a high-power banker to lend him a pen. The banker views his seatmate as highly annoying and lends him a pen to keep Hector out of his hair.

“Be careful.” the banker cautions, “It’s worth more than your car.”

Only pen geeks like us would identify it as a Visconti Van Gogh. An elegant pen and expensive–but not worth an entire car. More like a one-month payment on a lease for $289 (full retail).

While in Africa, Hector unwittingly befriends a crime boss played by Jean Reno. Hector inadvertently walks off with the crime boss’ gold pen. Yet, it turns out to be a good thing later in the film. (No spoilers here.)

If you get a still of that pen, we’d love to identify it, too!

Keep the pen spotting requests coming. In the meantime, be sure to settle in for this nice, quiet feel-good comedy!

What Pen Does Robert De Niro Use?

I have reached a state of predictability. While out on a date with my girlfriend to see “The Intern,” a pen-and-pencil set flashed across the screen.

Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway bond over Facebook in a scene from "The Intern." De Niro uses Cross Century pens in the film.

Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway bond over Facebook in a scene from “The Intern.” De Niro uses Cross Century pens in the film.

Without missing a beat, she turned to me with a whispered question, “So, what type of pens were those?”

“Cross Centuries, my dear.”

For those who aren’t familiar with it, “The Intern” is a feel-good comedy about a retired executive who takes on a “senior” internship with a hot start-up dot com. Robert De Niro stars as the title character to Anne Hathaway’s fashion retail start-up. Both actors are lots of fun to watch in this tightly written script. The jokes gently run both ways while poking fun at the generations: Baby Boom, X and Y.

Here is an example of the Cross Century ballpoint pen used by Robert De Niro in "The Intern." It has a chrome finish with gold trim.

Here is an example of the Cross Century ballpoint pen used by Robert De Niro in “The Intern.” It has a chrome finish with gold trim.




The Cross Century pen and pencil make their first appearance in the montage of Robert De Niro settling into his new office space with an “old-fashioned” physical clock, attaché case, traditional office supplies and his pen-and-pencil set in a leather case. The Cross instruments were chrome models with gold trim. It is interesting that Mont Blanc didn’t jump on the merchandising bandwagon, but the Cross Century really came into prominence in the 1970s and ’80s–the era from which the film most tries to paint De Niro as a dinosaur.

Yet, the suit-wearing De Niro stands in appealingly sharp contrast to his bearded, unkempt, T-shirt-wearing Gen Y cohorts whose desks are festooned with toys. Cue the standard jokes about Generation Y’s inability to grow up and Baby Boomer’s inability to adapt to technology. Once those are out of the way, the movie really takes heart as both generations learn from each other and help one another navigate life.

It’s a fun movie and definitely a thumbs up.

Esterbrook has those ‘Biloxi Blues’

Here's the movie poster for "Biloxi Blues" starring Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken and a grey pearl Esterbrook LJ.

Here’s the movie poster for “Biloxi Blues” starring Matthew Broderick, Christopher Walken and a grey pearl Esterbrook LJ.

Neil Simon is one of my favorite playwrights, and I wasn’t 3 minutes into the film adaptation of his autobiographical “Biloxi Blues” (1988) when I spotted an Esterbrook LJ in the hands of Matthew Broderick, the star of the film playing Eugene Jerome (a.k.a. Neil Simon) as a young, wise-cracking soldier from New York experiencing bootcamp in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Not quite as funny or famous as Simon’s bigger hits, “The Odd Couple” or “Barefoot in the Park,” “Biloxi Blues” is the quasi sequel to Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” which follows the early adolescence of Eugene.

In both films, Eugene is constantly dreaming of becoming a writer and scribbling down all of his observations in his diary.

“Biloxi Blues” starts on the overcrowded troop train heading south to Mississippi, where Eugene is desperately trying to collect his thoughts while surrounded by young recruits from all over the country with whom he has nothing in common. It is mid-1945, and Eugene and his fellow recruits are training to be part of the invasion of Japan before the nuclear bombs are dropped.

The real star of "Biloxi Blues" is this Esterbrook LJ in the hand of Matthew Broderick as he writes during the opening scenes of the movie.

The real star of “Biloxi Blues” is this Esterbrook LJ in the hand of Matthew Broderick as he writes during the opening scenes of the movie.

The movie is a fun coming-of-age comedy, and Christopher Walken practically steals the whole show as Eugene’s strict authoritarian (and slightly insane) drill sergeant. Toss in a light romance with Penelope Ann Miller, and you’ve got a solid 90-minute movie experience.

Of course, true pen fanatics will see the vintage pen discrepancy immediately. The film takes place in 1945. The Esterbrook J/LJ series didn’t launch until 1948. Don’t let that spoil your fun with the film, and if you want some colorful Esterbrooks of your own to play with, click here to see our rainbow of Esterbrook options.

UPDATE: ‘Out of Africa’ Pen

Several months ago I wrote about the pen used in the Academy Award-winning film “Out of Africa.” A reader had asked what pen it was that Robert Redford’s character had given to Meryl Streep’s character.

I wasn’t sure, and I couldn’t get a good image of the pen to identify it. Well, that was until another great reader named Mark wrote in with a much improved screen shot.

A trusty reader named Mark was able to do a better screen capture of the gold pen in "Out of Africa." Is it a Waterman 52? Can anybody possitively i.d. this pen?

A trusty reader named Mark was able to do a better screen capture of the gold pen in “Out of Africa.” Is it a Waterman 52? Can anybody possitively i.d. this pen?

Both characters in the film are rich, and this would have been a very nice gold or gold-fill pen. It looks to me to be a Waterman 52 with a gold sleeve. However, I’m still not 100% certain. If more knowledgeable pen collectors than I can confirm what it is, please write in to tell us.

Thanks again to Mark and his video editing technology!

‘Out of Africa’ into the Pen Blog

This still from the 1985 movie "Out of Africa" shows Meryl Streep holding a gold pen given to her by a character played by Robert Redford. Is it a Waterman 52? A Wahl?

This still from the 1985 movie “Out of Africa” shows Meryl Streep holding a gold pen given to her by a character played by Robert Redford. Is it a Waterman 52? A Wahl?

Last week we had a request from loyal reader Karen P. to find a picture of the pen used by Meryl Streep in her Oscar-winning movie “Out of Africa.”

Finding a picture of the pen was relatively easy. Identifying the pen is a different story.

For those of you who are not familiar with the film, it is based on the true story with the same title by Danish baroness Karen Blixen, who initially wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen. Autobiographical, it is the saga of Blixen, played by Streep, marrying for convience and title, moving to Danish colonial Kenya, establishing a successful coffee plantation and ultimately having an affair with a big game hunter played by Robert Redford. (As her husband has slept with half of Africa, she’s owed Robert Redford.)

The film was directed by Sydney Pollack and earned 7 Academy Awards including Best Picture. Most remarkable are the sweeping shots of Africa. Few movies will make you want to book a flight to Africa faster.

Anyhow, after their second encounter, Redford’s character gives Streep’s character a beautiful gold or gold-filled fountain pen. It looks like a clipless lever-filler that looks to be about 13 to 15cm when capped. Sadly, there are no close ups on the pen, as Blixen writes in the film. Therefore, I cannot fully I.D. the pen.  It might even be an eyedropper pen, as it is given in 1914, and this movie has paid close attention to the details on vintage everything.

This is the closest vintage pen we currently stock that looks like Streep's pen. It is a lever-filler by Hutcheon.

This is the closest vintage pen we currently stock that looks like Streep’s pen. It is a lever-filler by Hutcheon.

Taking the easy way out, I could recommend that it might be a Waterman or Wahl, as they made plenty of slender gold-fill pens. The closest pen I have for sale is a faux gold Hutcheon lever filler that looks to be from the 1920s.

If anybody has a better idea of what the movie pen is, please write in and help Karen. Thanks.

Welcome to The Pen Market.com’s Blog

Hello, and welcome!

It has been a long time coming, but we are very happy to have our very own blog. It is a space dedicated to pen lovers old and new. In it we hope to entertain our readers and customers with pen history, classic–if not somewhat cheesy–pen ads, repair advice and much more.

One of our upcoming favorite features will be trying to identify the pens of famous people. We will also try to identify the pens you see in the movies!

As for further entertainment, we might even add fun musings, short stories, song parodies or more.

Naturally, we’ll keep you up to date on all of the latest and greatest things happening at ThePenMarket.com, to make sure you don’t miss out on great bargains or rare pens.

Last, but not least, we want to learn about you. Ask us questions. Tell us about you. We love better getting to know our customers, and we want to do all we can to make your shopping and reading experience the best one you have online!

Tell your friends, and come back soon.

Yours,
Nathaniel Cerf
President, Repairman
ThePenMarket.com