Les Demoiselles de Rochefort is beautifully staged, with a great use of space and movement in the Scope frame, but never quite catches fire because its central pairing of real-life sisters Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac just aren't particularly likeable - indeed, they're just about the least likeable characters in the film. The plot is as absurd as the lyrics, the mostly badly-dubbed Gene Kelly veers toward the embarrassing (too much of his sappy romantic ballet mode, too little vitality), there are a couple of awkward lapses from the dancers, and at times it seems to forget exactly what kind of film it wants to be. But despite all those problems Demy's enthusiasm for the already fading music genre ensures that it's a pleasant enough diversion, George Chakiris, Danielle Darrieux, Grover Dale and a cast against type Michel Piccoli are likeable enough to make up for the leads, and you have to give extra marks for any musical that includes a likeable murderer who cuts his victim to pieces. No Umbrellas of Cherbourg, but it passes a couple of hours pleasantly enough.
The BFI's DVD offers a decent 2.35:1 widescreen transfer supervised by Demy's widow Agnes Varda, who also directed the one hour documentary about the film on the disc, but there have been complaints from many aficionados of the film that it doesn't follow the original look of the film closely enough, with the recent French Blu-ray release (helpfully boasting English subtitles) a much more impressive and accurate representation of the original colour scheme.