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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
John Huston only finished the final edit hours before the film's December premiere to qualify it for Academy Award consideration. 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 »
Anyone who does not think that John Huston has a broad range as a film-maker needs to watch this and "The Dead." While he spent much of his career making gritty adventure-dramas like "The Maltese Falcon," "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," and "The Man who Would be King," he also took the time to create well-crafted pieces like "Moulin Rouge."
Jose Ferrer has an astounding, almost unbelievable, performance as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, a painter from late-1800's Paris who was crippled in his childhood by a horse that ran over his legs. He now spends his days in the raunchy restaurant/dance hall populated by artists, dancers, drunks, and vagrants, sketching away at posters and portraits. Ferrer brings out Henri completely, depicting him as a man who tried to run from his problems using his art and his alcohol.
The film itself has a tenancy to be a little too flashy and gaudy at moments, but Huston manages to keep most of it grounded in the dramatics of the characters. Collete Marchand is also very noteworthy for her performance as a prostitute that befriends Henri. Marcel Vertes' production and costume design won well-deserved Oscars.
A genuinely moving film, a work of art in its own right.
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