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 ...
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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
A man whose wife has died remarries, and his new wife has a daughter of her own from a previous marriage. The man's young son, however, who loved his mother deeply and misses her terribly, ... 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
Here's a museum piece of the silent screen, not at all hard to watch!
Although I am a dedicated watcher of old movies, including silents, I must confess some are more of a trial than a pleasure. But that is certainly not the case with this 1925 Italian produced silent film of Rostand's famous play. Sure, doing a silent version of a very talky play like CYRANO DE BERGERAC presents considerable problems for the director. Here, they are partly solved by very frequent, some might think incessant, title cards, presented simultaneously in Spanish and English. The bilingual presentation suggests that the single surviving copy which provided this restoration was probably an export print.
For the silent era, the acting here is rather restrained, suggesting that maybe the cast were stage trained people. Since I presume almost everyone knows the "Cyrano" story, I'll skip over any synopsis attempt, and comment upon what for me was the most intriguing aspect of the film. I refer to the colour process used. It was called the "Pathe Stencil Process", and I confess to an imperfect understanding of exactly how it was worked. It appears that individual frames were projected on ground glass slides, hand coloured by artists, and these plates then used to produce the individual "colour" frames in the final print. This was a painfully slow process. Witness that the film was started in 1922, and release prints were not available until 1925.
If you find the editing choppy at times, probably the blame lies on how exhibitors handled the single surviving print when it was in general release. In those days, it was not uncommon for an exhibitor to edit out portions of a film which he did not like, or perhaps to simply shorten the film. See, the shorter the film, the more audiences you could run by it. Anyway, this old film is worth a look. The hand colouring is used mostly on the costumes, sometimes on faces and backgrounds. The idea, perhaps, was to recreate the feeling of old paintings, not real life colour. Note that in the period 1922 to 1925, the 2-strip Technicolor process was under development, and might have been available to the producers for testing or use. In any case, they didn't use it, and we have something unique as a result.
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