IMDb > French Cancan (1954)
French Cancan
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French Cancan (1954) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jean Renoir (adaptation)
André-Paul Antoine (idea)
View company contact information for French Cancan on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 April 1956 (USA) See more »
Eclair Lab digital restoration 2010
This comedy drama from Jean Renoir chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Marvelous! See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jean Gabin ... Henri Danglard

Françoise Arnoul ... Nini
María Félix ... Lola de Castro de la Fuente de Espramadura 'La Belle Abbesse'
Anna Amendola ... Esther Georges
Jean-Roger Caussimon ... Baron Walter
Dora Doll ... La Génisse
Giani Esposito ... Prince Alexandre
Gaston Gabaroche ... Oscar, le pianiste
Jacques Jouanneau ... Bidon
Jean Parédès ... Coudrier
Franco Pastorino ... Paulo, le boulanger
Michèle Philippe ... Eleonore

Michel Piccoli ... Le Capitaine Valorgueil
Albert Rémy ... Barjolin
France Roche ... Beatrix
Jean-Marc Tennberg ... Savate
Valentine Tessier ... Mme Olympe, mère de Nini
Philippe Clay ... Casimir le Serpentin

Édith Piaf ... Eugénie Buffet
Patachou ... Yvette Guilbert
Cora Vaucaire ... Esther Georges (singing voice)
André Claveau ... Paul Delmet
Mario Juillard ... Bruno Balpe (voice)
Jean Raymond ... Paulus
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lia Amanda

Geneviève Bujold ... (unconfirmed)
Martine Alexis ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Claude Arnay ... Deuxième gommeux (uncredited)
Robert Auboyneau ... Le liftier (uncredited)
Bruno Balp ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Maurice Barnay ... Extra (uncredited)
Laurence Bataille ... La Pygmée (uncredited)
Claude Berri ... Un jeune homme à l'inauguration (uncredited)
Dorothée Blanck ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Léo Campion ... Le commandant (uncredited)

Jaque Catelain ... Le ministre (uncredited)
René-Jean Chauffard ... L'inspecteur de police (uncredited)
Jacques Ciron ... Premier gommeux (uncredited)
Max Dalban ... Patron de 'La Reine Blanche' (uncredited)
Sylvine Delannoy ... Titine (uncredited)
Hubert Deschamps ... Isidore, le garçon de café (uncredited)

Valentino Garavani ... Extra (uncredited)
Henri-Roland Hercé ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Jacques Hilling ... Le chirurgien (uncredited)
Corinne Jansen ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Jedlinska ... La Gigolette (uncredited)
Lydia Johnson ... Mme. Guibolle (uncredited)
François Joux ... Le secrétaire (uncredited)
Maïa Jusanova ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Ursula Kubler ... Une danseuse de 'La Reine Blanche' (uncredited)
Palmyre Levasseur ... Une blanchisseuse (uncredited)
Jacques Marin ... Un spectateur (uncredited)
Paul Mercey ... Un homme à l'inauguration (uncredited)
Anne-Marie Mersen ... Paquita (uncredited)
Gaston Modot ... Le valet de Danglard (uncredited)
Pierre Moncorbier ... L'huissier (uncredited)
Annik Morice ... Thérèse, blanchisseuse (uncredited)
Jean Mortier ... Le gérant de l'hôtel (uncredited)
Michèle Nadal ... Bigoudi (uncredited)
André Numès Fils ... Le voisin (uncredited)
Pierre Olaf ... Roberto, pierrot siffleur (uncredited)
René Pascal ... Bit Part (uncredited)
André Philip ... Bit Part (uncredited)
Pâquerette ... Mimi Prunelle (uncredited)
Jean Sylvère ... Le groom (uncredited)
Rosy Varte ... Habituée du café (uncredited)

Directed by
Jean Renoir 
Writing credits
Jean Renoir (adaptation & dialogue)

André-Paul Antoine (idea)

Produced by
Louis Wipf .... producer
Original Music by
Georges Van Parys 
Cinematography by
Michel Kelber 
Film Editing by
Borys Lewin 
Production Design by
Max Douy 
Set Decoration by
Jean André 
Jacques Douy 
Costume Design by
Rosine Delamare 
Makeup Department
Yvonne Fortuna .... makeup artist
Huguette LaLaurette .... hair stylist
Production Management
Lucien Lippens .... unit manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Pierre Kast .... assistant director
Serge Vallin .... assistant director
Art Department
Clément Hurel .... poster artist (uncredited)
Sound Department
Antoine Petitjean .... sound
Music Department
Georges Van Parys .... composer: songs "Catherine la Russie", "Complainte de la butte", "L'argent" and "Petits souris"
Other crew
Ginette Doynel .... script girl
Claude Grandjean .... choreographer
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Only the French Can" - USA (cut version)
See more »
102 min | USA:93 min (1956 version) | West Germany:87 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Did You Know?

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 »
Henri Danglard:In the end, you think it matters what you and I want? All that counts is what they want. We're at the service of the public.See more »
Petits SourisSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
18 out of 19 people found the following review useful.
Marvelous!, 5 August 2004
Author: Terrell-4 from San Antonio, Texas

The story is simple but the execution is marvelous. A Belle Epoque impresario, down on his financial luck, is going to open a new club, the Moulin Rouge, with a new dance, the French cancan. He encounters a working girl and makes her a dancer. She'll become a star. There are several crises to overcome before that happens.

The movie is Jean Renoir's tribute to show business, and he puts it on the screen with color, verve, humor, and humanity. There are wonderful performances by all the actors. The leads are Jean Gabin as Henri Danglard, the impresario; Francoise Arnoul as Nini, the girl who'll become a star; and Maria Felix as Lola de Castro, an overwhelmingly tempestuous beauty and Danglard's lover at the start. Gabin exudes confidence, worldly humor and dedication to show business. He even dances a bit. Arnoul is first rate, too. It looks like she was doing her own dances, and as an actress think of a young Leslie Caron with brains and charm.

The climax of the movie is the opening of the club, with Felix's star dance, comic songs, a whistler, a Danglar-discovered singer, all moving toward the introduction of the French cancan. The crises happen and are resolved. Then the cancan explodes. Dancing girls come bursting out from the stage, the front of the theater, through posters, down ropes from the balcony. The house swirls with the black tie and tails of the swells and the garish colors of the dancers' gowns. The cancan number lasts probably ten or fifteen minutes or so, all music and gaiety, all high kicks and splits. It's amazing when row after row of the dancers, moving toward the camera through the audience, leap up, legs extended straight forward and backward, backs arched, then land on the dance floor in full splits. I didn't know whether to shout or wince.

The last scene of the movie is outside the club, shot from the cobblestone street looking at the entrance. It's a medium shot and from the side street a happy, inebriated fellow in black tie and top hat staggers across, pauses to tip his hat at the camera, then staggers off. A completely charming ending.

This really is a marvelous movie.

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