France, 1640: Cyrano, the charismatic swordsman-poet with the absurd nose, hopelessly loves the beauteous Roxane; she, in turn, confesses to Cyrano her love for the handsome but tongue-tied Christian. The chivalrous Cyrano sets up with Christian an innocent deception, with tragic results. Much cut from the play, but dialogue not rewritten. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The false nose that José Ferrer wore as Cyrano was reported to have cost United Artists $1,500. See more »
During the balcony scene, Cyrano's white plume is dark. See more »
Thrice happy he who hides from pomp and power/ In sylvan shade or or solitary bower/ Where balmy zephyrs fan his burning cheeks...
Cyrano de Bergerac:
Clown! King of Clowns! Leave the stage at once!
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Almost never shown these days, "Cyrano de Bergerac", one of the best films of 1950, turned up the other night unexpectedly on a cable channel. It was a pleasure to see it again after so many years since we first saw it. Michael Gordon directed the screen version that became a favorite of people who were delighted to make concessions to a man that was far from being endowed with any physical attributes.
The enjoyment of the picture is due to the amazing tour de force by that wonderful actor, Jose Ferrer, a man whose friendship we cherished because he enriched our life with his honesty, frankness and charisma. Mr. Ferrer's contribution to the stage and screen can be best sampled as we watch him become Cyrano, a man in love with his cousin Roxanne, whose great fear is the possible rejection of the beautiful young woman in favor of the handsome, and younger, Christian.
This beloved theater play by Edmond Rostand had been translated by Brian Hooker, in what became the most familiar way American audiences met the illustrious French author. The screen play by Carl Foreman clarifies the text in ways that the movie going public of that era could relate to this man whose wit and charm outweighed his appearance, which was dominated by a big nose that rendered him an unattractive man. The poetry of the play is preserved even though it is not done in verse like the original manuscript. Dimitri Tiomkin's score lent itself to the action.
Mala Powers was a disappointment though. Yes, she was a beauty, but her Roxanne doesn't quite come across; she is at a disadvantage playing opposite an icon of the theater like Mr. Ferrer, who certainly had more experience. William Prince does a fair job as Christian. Morris Carnovsky, another great stage actor, appears as Le Bret and Ralph Clanton makes his contribution with his take of Guiche.
"Cyrano de Bergerac" is recommended to movie fans of all ages to watch the magnificent Jose Ferrer at his best.
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