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Henri Danglard, proprietor of the fashionable (but bankrupt) cafe 'Le Paravent Chinois' featuring his mistress, belly dancer Lola, goes slumming in Montmarte (circa 1890) where the then-old-fashioned cancan is still danced. There, he conceives the idea of reviving the cancan as the feature of a new, more popular establishment...and meets Nini, a laundress and natural dancer, whom he hopes to star in his new show. But a tangled maze of jealousies intervenes... Written by
Rod Crawford <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The on-screen singer of "La complainte de la Butte" is not Cora Vaucaire (credited in the titles) as she was deemed not good-looking enough to appear on film, so Italian actress Anna Amendola was put in front of the camera and mimed to the song... See more »
You know why it breaks my heart to see you go? They can smash the place to pieces for all I care! But the profession's losing a good trouper. I thought you were one of us. If not, get out! Line up for the quadrille, girls.
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This is my favorite Renoir from the Fifties. It's the story of how Henri Danglard built and launched the Moulin Rouge nightclub; we see the workmen blasting at the site to get construction underway, and the training of the dancers. Finally, the giddiness of opening night and the long sequence of cancan dancing. Financial problems and the ego displays of the performers are described.
Gabin is in great form as the easy-going Danglard--see him deal humorously with Nini's violent boyfriend. Gianni Esposito is moving as the wistful Prince who is courting Nini. Maria Felix, with that amazon's body, is imposing as the egotistical Lola, Danglard's first lover. Finally Françoise Arnoul as Nini the washing girl who ends up dancing for Danglard, and becoming his girl, is just stunning; her loveliness and pert charm will win you over.
A bonus: we get Edith Piaf, Patachou, André Claveau and other stars in cameos playing the stars of a century ago who ruled over the Moulin rouge.
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