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Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  16 November 1950 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,323 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 22 critic

The charismatic swordsman-poet helps another woo the woman he loves in this straightforward version of the play.

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Title: Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Morris Carnovsky ...
Ralph Clanton ...
Lloyd Corrigan ...
Virginia Farmer ...
Edgar Barrier ...
Elena Verdugo ...
Orange Girl
Albert Cavens ...
Arthur Blake ...
...
Percy Helton ...
Virginia Christine ...
Sister Marthe
Gil Warren ...
Doctor
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Storyline

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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | nose | deception | france | pastry chef | See more »

Taglines:

... he was the three musketeers in one, and one lover in a million! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der letzte Musketier  »

Box Office

Budget:

$400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are fewer characters in the film than in the stage version or in other versions. This is not only because the play was cut for the film, but because four separate characters were combined into two. In the film, Cyrano's best friend Le Bret is a combination of Le Bret and Carbon de Castel-Jaloux, the Captain of the Gascony soldiers. And the cook Ragueneau in the film is a combination of himself and the alcoholic poet Ligniere, who, in the play, is the one who is threatened with an attack on him by a hundred men. See more »

Goofs

During the balcony scene, Cyrano's white plume is dark. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Montfleury: 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!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Slipper and the Rose: The Story of Cinderella (1976) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A very good film with one of the greatest performances of the American theatre
1 December 2000 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Jose Ferrer first performed "Cyrano de Bergerac" on Broadway in 1946, where it achieved a very successful run (for a revival). Ferrer was highly acclaimed in the role and won a Tony for his performance. His success in the role enabled him to be the first actor to bring "Cyrano" to the big screen in English. This was in 1950, in a Stanley Kramer-produced film for which Ferrer won the Best Actor Oscar, beating out such actors as James Stewart in "Harvey", William Holden in "Sunset Blvd.", and Spencer Tracy in the original "Father of the Bride".

Until the 1990 Gerard Depardieu Technicolor spectacular in French, Ferrer's version of "Cyrano" was considered the one to see. But now, Depardieu's film has unfairly thrown this 1950 version into neglect. Part of the reason, perhaps, is the budget involved in this film. Cowardly studio executives who were afraid that a film in blank verse would fail at the box office refused to give this film the kind of budget that Laurence Olivier had enjoyed in his 1940's Shakespeare films, or the kind of budget that was used in films like the 1936 M-G-M version of "Romeo and Juliet" and the 1935 "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

And so, this "Cyrano" looks more like a cheap B-movie than a worthy film version of a classic play. There are no huge sets or spectacular camera shots--just the play, performed (with only a couple of added scenes in ordinary prose rather than the English translation's blank verse) on obvious Hollywood sound stages.

But, this film boasts what is certainly one of the greatest performances in the history of film--and especially American film. José Ferrer, an often maligned actor accused of hamminess and overemphasis, gives the performance of his life as Cyrano. His portrayal is in every way the equal of Depardieu's, and as far as I am concerned, even better. Depardieu relies on sincerity and subtle facial expressions. Ferrer also has these, but he has in addition one of the most beautiful, rich voices ever to come out of the theatre,and magnificent enunciation as well. Unlike Depardieu, who speaks the beautiful French verse as rapidly as if he were firing a machine gun (as do the others in the French film), Ferrer allows us to appreciate the rich poetry in Brian Hooker's translation, long considered the greatest verse translation of a play into English. His portrayal is more flamboyant than Depardieu, and he shows a heartbreaking sense of tragedy as he realizes that the beautiful Roxane will probably never be his. The "big moment" in the final scene is shattering in Ferrer's hands.

As for the rest of the cast, this is where the Depardieu and Ferrer versions differ. Depardieu's supporting cast was excellent, but here Mala Powers is disappointingly ordinary and one-note, though beautiful, as Roxane, and William Prince is quite good as Christian, but Ralph Clanton as De Guiche is rather cartoonish, an ordinary hissable villain until the last half-hour or so. The usually reliable Morris Carnovsky, though, is an excellent LeBret. The role of Ligniere, the drunk, has been eliminated,and his lines given to Rageauneau, the pastry cook (competently played by Lloyd Corrigan).

There are a few cuts in this version, as compared to Depardieu's, but Brian Hooker's English translation is given its due prominence. Michael Gordon's direction is excellent, and the duel at the theatre, while not allowed to roam all over the location, as in Depardieu's version, is well done and more faithful in staging to author Edmond Rostand's intentions.

This "Cyrano", however, definitely should not be allowed to fade away in obscurity, relegated to late-night TV, where it is now often mutilated for commercial breaks. It should be restored and brought back to cable to be fully appreciated.


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Jose Ferrier deserved better NecessaryTruths
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