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Olivia de Havilland,
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Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec frequently visits the Moulin Rouge, where he drinks cognac and draws sketches of the dancers and singers. Though the son of a French count, Henri's legs were badly deformed by a childhood fall, and his personal life is often unhappy as a result. While he is going home one night, a spirited young woman of the streets, Marie, asks him for help. He falls in love with her, and the two become involved in a tumultuous relationship. It becomes increasingly difficult for Toulouse-Lautrec to balance his personal feelings, his artistic abilities, and his family name and position. Written by
Tall actor José Ferrer was transformed into the short artist Toulouse-Lautrec by the use of camera angles, makeup, costume, concealed pits and platforms and short body doubles. Ferrer also used a set of special knee pads of his own design which allowed him to walk on his knees with his lower legs strapped to his upper body. He suffered extreme pain and could only use them for short periods of time. The cane he used in most of his scenes was of absolute necessity. This fact was covered in a LIFE magazine story in 1952. See more »
When Henri Lautrec arrives at the gallery for the showing of his pictures, as he 'walks' in, his shadow on the ground clearly shows Ferrar's legs tucked behind him as he walks, (in on his knees). See more »
The morning wind is cold, but not so cold as the waters of the *Seine*.
You are mistaken, monsieur. I am *not* a candidate for the river.
We are *all* candidates, when driven by the mania of *love*.
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Along with Gauguin, Rodin, Seurat, van Gogh, and several others, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is regarded as a major contributor to the French art movement of the late 19th century, known as post-impressionism. "Moulin Rouge" (1952) is the somewhat romanticized cinematic version of the life of Toulouse-Lautrec. As a biography, the film is "sketchy"; it focuses mostly on the artist late in his life. Though talented as an artist, an accident in his childhood left him with two stunted legs. At maturity, he was 4 1/2 feet tall. The result was a certain amount of social ostracism. Despite being from a family of wealth, he chose a bohemian life as an adult, and he spent much of his time in the seamy areas of Paris, where he would create sketches, drawings, and paintings in the cabarets and brothels.
As Toulouse-Lautrec, Jose Ferrer, together with the film's screenplay, portray a man who was extremely intelligent, lonely, emotionally isolated, and depressed. Much of the film centers on the Moulin Rouge cabaret, where he would make sketches of the patrons and dancers, and drink excessively.
Ferrer gives a highly credible performance. The film has excellent cinematography and production design, and interesting costumes. The overall tone of "Moulin Rouge" is one of sadness and melancholy, in which a talented but lonely artist eschews luxury, to devote his adult life to his passion for art.
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