Cyrano de Begerac is joyous, witty, a poet, a leader and filled with plenty of charisma and bravado in 17th Century France. He has only one flaw: an unusually long nose which makes him ... See full summary »
The only film record ever made of the original star of Rostand's famous play performing a scene from his most famous role. It is accompanied by a sound-on-cylinder recording of Coquelin's voice reciting one of Cyrano's speeches.
A film adaptation of the classic Alexandre Dumas novel. Edmond Dantes is falsely accused by those jealous of his good fortune, and is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in the ... See full summary »
The Royal Shakespeare Company's stage production of the story about the large-nosed swordsman/poet who writes love letters to Roxane, the woman he adores, to court her for the handsome ... See full summary »
Michael A. Simpson
Cyrano de Begerac is joyous, witty, a poet, a leader and filled with plenty of charisma and bravado in 17th Century France. He has only one flaw: an unusually long nose which makes him unattractive to any woman. Thus, he cannot have the woman he loves, his cousin Roxanne. Roxanne loves an officer in his army who gets tongue-tied in front of women. Who will Roxanne love? Will Cyrano ever find love? Or will he find happiness in helping the officer woo Roxanne? This is a story of split personalities, human frailty and unrequited love. Written by
A curio, more notable for its color than its other values
The mere idea of a silent Cyrano is bound to be a compromise. This version propels the main points of the narrative quite well. Of course, the poetry of the spoken word is missing. At only 114 minutes, many scenes are deleted and character development is therefore lost. The original play runs approximately three hours.
Pierre Magnier as Cyrano reminds one facially of a cross between Cyril Ritchard and Lon Chaney. His performance is merely so-so. Both the Roxanne (Linda Moglia) and the Christian (Angelo Ferrari) are quite homely and therefore the edge of beauty vs. soul is quite tarnished.
The hand-applied color is the selling point in this production. At its best resembling one of those hand colored post cards so fashionable from the late 1890s through the 1940s, it is sometimes quite vivid - marvelous splashes of pastels in the costumes and scenery - and at other times, a failure. Many scenes are colored against a blue or red tint wash and this provides an unfortunate compromise, especially when within the same scene we return quickly to a shot set up and find the color palette considerably different from what we saw a few seconds ago. Not the tightest rein was held on color consistency within the same scene.
This is certainly a must-see -for its historical significance in use of color. That it has survived this long and in this shape is amazing.
One is unhappy, though, with the ending. It abruptly ends with one quick shot following Cyrano's last line. We are not permitted to mourn with his survivors or even view a well composed final tableau. We get the Panache line and then the FINIS title card.
Overall, don't look for a great film or even a particularly good film. It's merely competent - the historical value of the color is its only selling point these days.
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