The 1946 Broadway revival of "Cyrano de Bergerac", starring José Ferrer, opened at the Alvin Theater in New York on October 8, 1946 and ran for 193 performances. Cyrano became Ferrer's most famous role, and the one he most often revived.
Edmond Rostand took much inspiration from Alexandre Dumas père's musketeer novels in writing his play. It takes place during the same historical period, the early 17th century, and involves come of the same characters. Dumas's hero, d'Artagnan, makes a brief appearance in the play, though he is frequently left out of film versions. Cyrano and d'Artagnan appear together in many stories published in the late 19th and early 20th century, and on film in Cyrano et d'Artagnan (1964), in which José Ferrer once again played Cyrano. The main antagonist of The Three Musketeers is Cardinal Richelieu. As portrayed in this film, the historical Comte de Guice, Antoine de Gramont III, was married to Richelieu's niece. His son, Armand de Gramont, succeeded him as Comte de Guiche, and is featured as a character in Dumas's latter Musketeer novels, Twenty Years After and The Viscount of Bragelonne (AKA The Man in the Iron Mask). He is portrayed as the closest friend of Raul, whose father is the Musketeer Athos. In the film The Fifth Musketeer (1979); based on The Viscount of Bragelonne, Athos is played by José Ferrer.
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.
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.
This film was re-released in 1953 to take advantage of the 3-D craze. The Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) was filmed with the Garutso Balanced Lens, which produced a slight three dimensional effect, because it permitted an extreme depth of field without stopping down the lens. Although the 3-D effect is minimal, the re-release was hyped as being filmed in a 3-D process that did not require glasses.
Producer Stanley Kramer was extremely worried about the box-office prospects of this film, complaining that no-one would be able to pronounce either the name of the hero, which gives the film its title, or that of the leading actor. However, it was a modest success, partly due to its low budget and partly to Jose Ferrer's Oscar-winning success in the lead.
Premiered on November 16, 1950. Exactly forty years later, on November 16, 1990, the French language film Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), starring Gérard Depardieu premiered in New York. Depardieu, like José Ferrer, was also nominated for the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance, and actually won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Cesar Award for Best Actor.