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Sidney J. Furie
1896, Montmartre: the Can-Can, the dance in which the women lift their skirts, is forbidden. Nevertheless Simone has it performed every day in her night club. Her employees use their female charm to let the representatives of law enforcement look the other way - or even attend the shows. But then the young ambitious judge Philippe Forrestier decides to bring this to an end. Will Simone manage to twist him round her little finger, too? Her boyfriend Francois certainly doesn't like to watch her trying. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
During filming on 19th September 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visited the set on Sound Stage 8 with his wife Nina. He reportedly was shocked by the open sexuality on display, condemning the film as pornographic and depraved: "The face of mankind is prettier than its backside... The thing is immoral. We do not want that sort of thing for the Russians." See more »
Well, Can-Can is not a total loss, but it's not a 10-star gem of a movie either, but - it IS entertaining, but the biggest problem that I see with the film is that everyone looks like they're embarrassed to be in the movie with each other because no one is actually looking at each other when they're saying their lines. Look at the scene where Shirley McClain is making up the story as to how Louis Jourdan was trying to overcome her sexually and the scene goes something like this:
SHIRLEY: And I fought him and fought him and stuggled, but what could a person do? MAURICE: [embarrassed to say] Uh - submit - of course! SHIRLEY: [slightly glances at thim and them says loudly] SUBMIT?
The film just kinda lays there and doesn't do anything. Come on - it's not Gigi! It was really a re-uniting of Louie and Maurice because of their hit movie Gigi and that's about where the uniting ends, but there are some highlights to the film. Shirley McClaine's apache dance with the guys while Louis Jourdan looks on is a great number, and the Adam and Eve Ballet is quite good and Shirley's line before the ballet is wonderful when she says something like this: "Be it known that sin may have been invented in the Garden of Eden, but it was perfected in Monemart!"
It just seems like all they're doing in the film is walking through their dress rehearsal without putting any oomph into the acting, and at the same time the some of the costumes are so tacky that they look like we did as kids when we played dress-up as adults! And, look at the scene before Maurice and Louis sing "Live and Let Live". It looks like it was inserted on purpose so that they could have the opportunity to sing the song, and the scene in which Maurice sings "It Was Just One of Those Things". Even that looks like it was inserted on purpose just to give him a chance to sing a song, but the songs are great even though most of them were never in the original broadway play such as "You Do Something To Me", "Let's Do It", and "It Was Just One of Those Things", "It's Alright With Me" [which is slow and a very boring rendition], and oddly enough "I Love Paris" a duet between Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier was deleted from the movie and only heard in the the original soundtrack album, and the Oveture and beginning Credits of the video, that is if you have the first video version of Can-Can in which you get the Oveture, Intermission Music, and Exit Music with all the musical numbers letter-boxed, and why they deleted "I Love Paris" from the movie is beyond me since it was the hit of the show. Again, Hollywood has been known to do some dumb stuff!
Juliet Prowse's big number "Maids From France" is quite good, but it's obvious why she's in the scene with Frank Sinatra when he sings "It's Alright With Me" because at that time they were having an affair, and I guess if it was alright with them it should be alright with us, but later he would marry Mia Farrow and since Frank was Italian it was only obvious that his kids would call her "Uh-Mama Mia"!
Anyway, I sure wish they would re-release the original video version of "Can-Can" or a whole widescreen version on D.V.D.. Other songs from the Broadway Show were deleted from the movie such as "Never Give Anything Away" "Al-e-Vou-Zon" [which is only used in Shirley McClains apache dance as a melody] "There Is No Trick To A Can Can" which is just used as a melody for the Can-Can at the end of the movie, and again even though they deleted a singing version of the hit of the play "I Love Paris", at least they use the melody of it in the Adam and Eve Ballet, but Shirley McClains drunken version of "Come Along With Me" is delightful, and here goes the insanity of Hollywood again, at the end of the film when the Paddy-Wagon is pulling away with Shirley and Frank in it - the chorus is singing the last lines of "I Love Paris"!
So - why didn't Louis get Shirley in the end? Well, it's obvious that she was in love with Frank Sinatra all the time, but more than that; "Once a Rat Packer; always a Rat Packer"!
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