31 user 34 critic

French Cancan (1955)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Musical | 16 April 1956 (USA)
This comedy drama from Jean Renoir chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge.



(adaptation), (idea)

On Disc

at Amazon


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In Peru in the eighteenth century. Camilla, the star of a theater company, hesitates between three men. The Viceroy gives her his magnificent golden coach. A young Spanish officer suggests ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Anna Magnani, Odoardo Spadaro, Nada Fiorelli
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Polish countess Elena falls in love to a Frensh radical party's candidate, a general, in pre world war I Paris, but another officer pines for her.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Jean Marais, Mel Ferrer
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An upper-class corporal from Paris is captured by the Germans when they invade France in 1940. Assisted and accompanied by characters as diverse as a morose dairy farmer, a waiter, a myopic... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Brasseur, O.E. Hasse
Toni (1935)
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In the 1920s, the Provence is a magnet for immigrants seeking work in the quarries or in agriculture. Many mingle with locals and settle down permanently - like Toni, an Italian who has ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Charles Blavette, Celia Montalván, Jenny Hélia
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Etienne Alexis, a candidate for president of the new Europe, is a scientist promoting artificial insemination for social betterment and therapy to eliminate passion. His wealthy household (... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Paul Meurisse, Charles Blavette, André Brunot
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In this classic adaptation of Emile Zola's novel, a tortured train engineer falls in love with a troubled married woman who has helped her husband commit a murder.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Julien Carette, Simone Simon
The River (1951)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Three adolescent girls growing up in Bengal, India, learn their lessons in life after falling for an older American soldier.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Patricia Walters, Nora Swinburne, Esmond Knight
Drama | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A news-reel like movie about early part of the French Revolution, shown from the eyes of individual people, citizens of Marseille, counts in German exile and, of course the king Louis XVI, ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Pierre Renoir, Lise Delamare, Louis Jouvet
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A charismatic thief makes friends with a bankrupt baron who comes to live in the thief's slum. Meanwhile the thief seeks the love of a young woman, who is held emotionally captive by her slumlord family.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim, Louis Jouvet
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A bookseller saves a tramp from drowning and shelters him, but the tramp's odd behavior starts to wear everyone down.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Marcelle Hainia, Sévérine Lerczinska
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A man and a woman arrive in a cafe-hotel near the Belgian frontier. The customers recognize the man from the police description. His name is Amedee Lange, and he murdered Batala in Paris. ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: René Lefèvre, Florelle, Jules Berry
La Chienne (1931)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman and her pimp exploit a painter for money.

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Janie Marèse, Georges Flamant


Cast overview, first billed only:
... Henri Danglard
... Nini
... Lola de Castro de la Fuente de Extremadura 'La Belle Abbesse'
Anna Amendola ... Esther Georges
... Baron Walter
... La Génisse
... Prince Alexandre
Gaston Gabaroche ... Oscar, le pianiste
Jacques Jouanneau ... Bidon
Jean Parédès ... Coudrier
Franco Pastorino ... Paulo, le boulanger
Michèle Philippe ... Eleonore
... Le Capitaine Valorgueil
... Barjolin
France Roche ... Beatrix


Henri Danglard, proprietor of the fashionable (but bankrupt) cafe 'Le Paravent Chinois' featuring his mistress, belly dancer Lola, goes slumming in Montmarte (circa 1890) where the then-old-fashioned cancan is still danced. There, he conceives the idea of reviving the cancan as the feature of a new, more popular establishment...and meets Nini, a laundress and natural dancer, whom he hopes to star in his new show. But a tangled maze of jealousies intervenes... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Eclair Lab digital restoration 2010


Not Rated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

16 April 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

French Cancan  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (1956)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The on-screen singer of "La complainte de la Butte" is not Cora Vaucaire (credited in the titles) as she was deemed not good-looking enough to appear on film, so Italian actress Anna Amendola was put in front of the camera and mimed to the song... See more »


Henri Danglard: Do I look like Prince Charming? Only one thing matters to me - what I create.
See more »


Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.35 (1961) See more »


La Complainte de la Butte
Music by Georges Van Parys
Lyrics by Jean Renoir
Performed by Cora Vaucaire and Jean Gabin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"We must be mad to pay to see Nini's thighs"
15 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

I haven't yet been completely blown away by a Jean Renoir film. The closest candidate so far was the wonderful 'A Day in the Country (1936),' which unfortunately suffered the handicap of being unfinished. Even so, I find the director's films to be extraordinarily pleasant viewing, and I'd much sooner sit down for a Renoir than I would for, say, a Godard or Fellini film. 'French Cancan (1954)' is a completely pleasant, and entirely unpretentious, musical comedy that goes by so breezily that you're apt to forget that you're watching the work of France's most respected filmmaker. Less concerned with cultural satire than 'The Rules of the Game (1939),' the film is instead similar in tone to 'Elena and Her Men (1956),' a completely inconsequential piece of cinema that is nonetheless a lot of fun to watch. Both of these films were shot in exquisite Technicolor, of which Renoir takes full advantage, filling the frame with glorious costumes, colours and people.

Henri Danglard (Jean Gabin) is a respected theatre producer who lives the high life, despite relying upon financial backers to sustain his extravagant lifestyle. A charming chap, and convincingly debonair given his age, Danglard shares the company of the beautiful but temperamental Lola de Castro (María Félix), into whose bed many have attempted to climb (and probably with little resistance). When Danglard woos a pretty young laundry-worker, Nini (Françoise Arnoul), into dancing the cancan for him, Lola is overrun with jealousy, and all sorts of anarchy takes place amidst this romantic rivalry. Meanwhile, a handsome European prince (Giani Esposito) offers Nini his hand in marriage, but she's not willing to make such a dishonest commitment, more inclined to stay with Danglard, who inevitably plots to discard her as soon as his next promising starlet comes along. Jean Gabin, who had previously worked with Renoir in the 1930s, is terrific in the main role, overcoming his mature age to succeed as a potential lover.

It's interesting to compare Hollywood films of the 1950s with their European counterparts. Thanks to the Production Code, most American romantic comedies kept the romance almost entirely platonic, whereas here Renoir's characters speak of sex and adultery as though it is a perfectly acceptable practice. Even the adorable Françoise Arnoul, who occasionally reminded me of Shirley MacLaine, is treated as an openly sexual women, and not just because her character specialises in a dance designed purely to display as much leg as possible. Like many of Renoir's films, the characters themselves aren't clearly defined, and so it's difficult to form an emotional attachment. Indeed, only in the final act does Danglard come clean with the extent to which he romantically exploits his dance recruits, though even this moment is overshadowed by the premiere show of the Moulin Rouge. Perhaps it is through his caricatures that Renoir is making a quip about bourgeois French society – that they're all hiding behind fallacious identities and intentions. Or am I looking too far into this quaint musical comedy?

6 of 8 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 31 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed