Denis is distracted: he's studying all day for philosophy exams and working all night at the flower market; plus, whenever he closes his eyes, he dreams of a mysterious woman in white. His ... See full summary »
An aging actor, trying to make a comeback on Broadway, is surprised when his estranged daughter shows up. It seems that she is an actress and is also trying to make it on Broadway. He tries... See full summary »
John M. Stahl
My generation knows the 1960 version starring Jean Marais directed by Pierre Gaspard-Huit.That version was closer to Gautier's plot:for instance,it's Vallombreuse who's seriously injured in the final duel ,and it's the duke's father who reveals the secret of Isabelle's birth.But it's minor quibble:Abel Gance's version is extremely superior to Gaspard-Huit's.
Gance warned us "it's "le Capitaine Fracasse" seen through Abel Gance's eyes.Abel Gance ,a director who always was a pioneer .He used models for the film sets and it shows: the old castle and its silhouette recalls a Disney Cartoon.There are elements which have not worn well,but some scenes remain impressive today:
-The Matamore's death -only a grave on the road in the 1960 version- is given a gloomy eerie treatment.
-The duel in the graveyard where Gance uses Alexandrians :he would repeat the process in "Cyrano et d'Artagnan" (1963) ,all the lines of which are in verse;it perfectly segues into the scene on stage where the comedians are playing Corneille's "l'Illusion Comique"
-The final scene which verges on fantasy.
Gaspard-Huit's movie was made "for the family" .Gance displays a much more demanding talent:he insists on the fact that if you were a comedian in those years,you were bound to be damned.When the troupe asks the baron for refuge ,his servant mumbles :"they are just heathens!";when the nobles go a hunting in the woods and meet them ,they say :"they are excommunicated!" .The Matamore will not have a priest to pray over his grave.Even the great Molière (1622-1673) did not have a church funeral.
Abel Gance was the true "researcher" of the French cinema.Godard,you can forget it!
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