65 user 27 critic

Moulin Rouge (1952)

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


John Huston


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




Cast overview, first billed only:
José Ferrer ... Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec / Comte Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec
Zsa Zsa Gabor ... Jane Avril
Suzanne Flon ... Myriamme Hayam
Claude Nollier Claude Nollier ... Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec
Katherine Kath Katherine Kath ... Louise Weber aka La Goulue
Muriel Smith ... Aicha / Singing Voice of Jane Avril
Mary Clare ... Madame Loubet
Walter Crisham ... Valentin le Desossé
Harold Kasket Harold Kasket ... Charles Zidler
Georges Lannes ... Sgt. Balthazar Patou
Lee Montague ... Maurice Joyant
Maureen Swanson ... Denise de Frontiac
Tutte Lemkow ... Aicha's Partner
Jill Bennett ... Sarah
Theodore Bikel ... King Milo IV of Serbia


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


Wild, wicked, wonderful Paris...all her loves, ladies and lusty legends! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Artist Marcel Vertès, whose hand is seen making "Lautrec" drawings, paid part of his tuition in art school by forging and selling "Lautrec" drawings. See more »


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


La Goulue: I got fifty francs a night, every night! I fed my cat better than you eat! I was a star! People came from all over France to see me!
Old woman: [laughing] In a sideshow?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: His pallette is caked, his brushes are dry, yet the genius of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is as fresh and alive as the day he laid them down.

Here for a brief moment, they shall be restored to his hands, and he and his beloved city and his time shall live again.

PARIS 1890 See more »


Referenced in What's My Line?: Zsa Zsa Gabor (1953) See more »


It's April Again
(Moulin Rouge)
Music by Georges Auric
French lyrics by Jacques Larue
English lyrics by William Engvick
Performed by Zsa Zsa Gabor
See more »

User Reviews

There's Nothing Else Like It
28 February 2011 | by WuchakkSee all my reviews

A drama/biography/musical from 1952? My wife just wasn't interested. But I insisted that there's no film like the original (i.e. the REAL) "Moulin Rouge." It's a biography of the renown French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec from the 1890s who had very short legs and grew to stand only about 4'11" due to an accident and bone disease. Although he was from an aristocratic family he chose to live alone in Paris to pursue his art career. He would spend time at a local cabaret, Moulin Rouge, where he'd find inspiration for his art, as well as fuel for his increasing alcoholism.

Although Henri (José Ferrer) was brilliant artistically & intellectually, he understandably had a poor self-image due to his dwarfism, which was constantly reinforced by various mean-spirited people. Yet, he discovers love for the first time when he meets a spirited woman bred in the cobblestone jungles of Paris (Colette Marchand). Will this love enhance his life or ultimately poison him? I'll leave that for you to discover.


  • The opening dance hall sequences are highlighted by Katherine Kath (the redhead) and a young Zsa Zsa Gabor.

  • José Ferrer is great as the protagonist with his commanding voice and interesting dialogues. His commentaries on life are brilliant and brutally honest, but also cynical.

  • The viewer REALLY wants to see Henri find true love, happiness and victory, despite his deformity, but his cynicalism and alcoholism sadly enshroud him.

  • The story is both entertaining AND thought-provoking. My wife & I had some good discussions after the film. For instance, real-life people & couples that the story brought to mind, the nature of existence as "unattractive" and unloved, missed opportunities thrown in our laps due to poor self-image and addictions, being a "has-been" and a "continue-to-be", etc.

  • There's another significant female character who shows up in the third act, but I'm not sure of her name (in the movie or real life). In any event, the viewer will notice that she's NOT embarrassed to appear with Henri in public like the pathetic Marie Charlet. This is an important part; take note.

Since the film is a biography it could only end one way, but I won't spoil it for you if you're not familiar with the true story.

The film was shot in Paris and England and runs 2 hours.

FINAL WORD: Make no mistake, "Moulin Rouge" is a masterpiece. There's really nothing else like it. It's the perfect antidote to modern 'blockbuster' drek. Disregard the fact that it was released in 1952, particularly if you have a distaste for old movies, as "Moulin Rouge" is a timeless film both hugely entertaining and thought-provoking, not to mention REAL. After watching my wife expressed how much she liked the film and thanked me because she would have never chosen it on her own.


7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 65 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.





English | French

Release Date:

10 April 1953 (Brazil) See more »

Also Known As:

John Huston's Production Moulin Rouge See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)


Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed