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 »
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
About as close to perfection as you'll find in a silent film
I love silent films, yet am shocked that I hadn't heard about this film long before--since it is one of the very best silent films ever made. While the story of Cyrano itself didn't excite me all that much (having seen a few versions already), I am very glad that I took the trouble to see this wonderful film.
Why is it so wonderful? Well, first, it's so beautiful. It's the only truly full-length film I have ever seen that was hand-colored from start to finish. This means that assembly lines of people actually went to the trouble of hand painting each individual cell to give the film the appearance of a color film. Now in the silent era they did make a few 2 color-Technicolor films, but they really didn't have the same vivid look as this film--with "colors" really just being variations on red and green. They also made quite a few hand-colored shorts in the early part of the 20th century--but most of these were only about five minutes long--here we have a film that is almost two hours of surprisingly high quality painted images. That and the almost pristine print made for a truly luminous film--one that cannot be matched in the era. Secondly, the musical score accompanying this DVD release is one of the best I have heard--it's far better than the average score--with full orchestra and a score that fits the film.
As for the plot, it's about what you'd expect from a very good version of Cyrano and stacks up nicely compared to the Gérard Depardieu and José Ferrer versions. Interestingly, the lead in the 1925 version looks an awful lot like Ferrer.
The production is also quite grand--with expensive sets, large battle scenes and lots of wonderful period costumes. This was obviously a labor of love and actually took three years to bring to the screen (mostly due to the hand-coloring but also due to the terrific production values). See this film and see just how good a great silent can stack up against any film--including the excellent sound versions.
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