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Moulin Rouge (1952)

Not Rated | | Biography, Drama, Music | 10 April 1953 (Brazil)
Fictional account of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

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Writers:

(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 4 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec / Comte Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec
... Jane Avril
... Myriamme Hayam
Claude Nollier ... Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec
Katherine Kath ... Louise Weber aka La Goulue
... Aicha / Singing Voice of Jane Avril
... Madame Loubet
... Valentin le Desossé
Harold Kasket ... Charles Zidler
... Sgt. Balthazar Patou
Lee Montague ... Maurice Joyant
... Denise de Frontiac
... Aicha's Partner
Jill Bennett ... Sarah
... King Milo IV of Serbia
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Storyline

A fictionalized account of the latter part of the life of French artist Henri de Toulouse Lautrec (1864-1901) is presented, he who is arguably most renowned professionally for immortalizing the characters of the Paris can-can dance hall, the Moulin Rouge, on canvas. This phase of his story begins in 1890. Born into aristocracy, Toulouse-Lautrec moves to Paris to pursue his art as he hangs out at the Moulin Rouge where he feels like he fits in being a misfit among other misfits. His misfit status is due to his diminutive physical stature, his legs which were broken and stopped growing following a childhood fall down some stairs. Because of the way he looks, he believes he is never destined to experience the true love of a woman. That lack of love in his life may change as he meets two women. The first is prostitute Marie Charlet, who he saves from imprisonment in a white knight act. Their relationship ends up being a turbulent one, the downs where each feels the need to hurt the other ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The most startling and daring love story ever told! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

10 April 1953 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

John Huston's Production Moulin Rouge  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,810,000, 31 December 1953
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When John Huston appeared on the BBC's "Desert Island Discs" program in 1973, host Roy Plomley told him that this movie was a personal favorite of his. Huston replied "I don't think it's one of my best films", adding that 1950s censorship constraints had made it impossible to tell the story of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec's life honestly. See more »

Goofs

When Henri falls down the stairs toward the end of the film, his legs suddenly appear regular sized. See more »

Quotes

Jane Avril: Tomorrow, I'll think of a very good answer, but in the meantime, I prefer to change the subject.
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Crazy Credits

Eliot Elisofon is credited as "special color consultant". See more »

Connections

Referenced in What's My Line?: Episode dated 29 March 1953 (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

Chevalier de la Table Rouge
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Lambert Williamson
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User Reviews

The Anti-Luhrmann
2 July 2002 | by See all my reviews

I've always had a great affection for this film, although I realized long ago that it has its problems. Most casual viewers and amateur reviewers apparently like it, but it seems to rub some people decidedly the wrong way for various reasons.

Old-fashioned it certainly is, especially when compared to Baz Luhrmann's frenetic rock video-style musical. Though Luhrmann's film is in no way a remake of Houston's, you could legitimately compare the depictions of a night at the Moulin Rouge that occur early in both films. Luhrmann's objective seems to be completely different from Houston's. As flashy and exciting as his images are, the hyper-fast editing and use of pop music from the mid to late 20th century demonstrate absolutely no interest in evoking a sense of the time and place. What I like about Houston's depiction of the Moulin Rouge is the sense of atmosphere, the way a smoky haze can be seen hanging in the air, and the dances seem to more-or-less belong to the era. Interesting, too, is the way images from Toulouse-Lautrec's work are incorporated into this extended scene as he might have originally observed them. Those familiar with his paintings can recognize Moulin Rouge dancers like the tall, bizarre-looking Vincent DeSossier and "La Goulue," looking just as they do in the famous poster, and the sprightly black dancer "Chocolat." Patrons like the two women waltzing together serenely, and a pair of rather reserved Englishmen sitting at a table, are also familiar from the paintings.

I've always found Georges Auric's musical score rather effective. One of "Les Six," the group of avant-garde French composers who pushed the envelope of musical style in the early 20th century, he was a seasoned and sophisticated film composer who worked with Cocteau. Maybe the producers of "Moulin Rouge" thought an authentic French composer suitable for the project, and his score is sec (dry), not the least bit melodramatic, and lyrical in a way that seems to me distinctly French. This musical score may contribute to the reserved, stately, or detached quality that some reviewers see in the film.

For me that sec musical score seems appropriate to Jose Ferrer's portrayal of Toulouse-Lautrec. A pathetic figure, he does not beg us for pity, nor does the film itself turn maudlin or try to manipulate us to tears, which makes the final scene all the more moving. Some of the trick shots showing Ferrer kneeling with shoes stuck to his knees are a bit unfortunate. Too bad they couldn't come up with a better effect for this illusion. As for Zsa-Zsa… Well, nothing's perfect, I guess, but I don't think a touch of kitsch kills this film. Made in the early 1950s, it's not surprising that "Moulin Rouge" avoids the raunchier aspects of turn-of-the-century bohemian life, but I still think it evokes the era admirably. A classic? I don't know, but definitely a classy film that has its staunch admirers, including me.


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