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The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg [VHS] [1964] [1996]


Price: £16.95
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Product details

  • Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel, Ellen Farner
  • Directors: Jacques Demy
  • Writers: Jacques Demy
  • Producers: Gilbert de Goldschmidt, Mag Bodard, Pierre Lazareff
  • Format: HiFi Sound, PAL, Subtitled, Colour
  • Language: French
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Tartan
  • VHS Release Date: 1 Oct 1999
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CV4P
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 267,376 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

A story of lost love, with all the dialogue sung rather than spoken. In the French seaside town of Cherbourg, Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve, in her first screen role) discovers that she is pregnant by her boyfriend, Guy (Nino Castelnuovo). When Guy is drafted into the army, Genevieve marries diamond merchant Roland Cassard (Marc Michel), even though she still loves Guy. She is destined for one last encounter with her true love, in a frosty Esso gas station.

From Amazon.co.uk

Jacques Demy's haunting romantic musical is an enchanting, one-of-a-kind musical experience. It's basically a movie operetta, in which the characters sing all the dialogue (or, rather, lyrics--by director Demy) to Michel Legrand's lovely score. The story spans five years (1957-1962) in the life of Geneviéve (the ethereally beautiful Catherine Deneuve in the role that launched her to international stardom), the teenage daughter of a woman who owns a Cherbourg umbrella shop. After Geneviéve's boyfriend Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) is drafted and sent off to Algeria, she discovers she's pregnant and complications ensue. With its dazzling candy-coloured palette, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg looks sweet and dreamy. Restored and re-released in 1995 to rapturous acclaim and the renewed delight of all who got the chance to see it. The video release is taken from the restored version. --Jim Emerson, Amazon.com

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By H. R. Trigg on 6 Feb 2006
Format: DVD
(Read the synopsis of the film above)
Having never seen a Jacque Demy film before, or a French Musical, I had no idea what to expect, and bought this after seeing an interview with Catherine Deneuve on UK TV, where the presenter, Jonathan Ross, gave it glowing reviews. It certainly is a beautiful film, the use of colour is stunning, the direction beautiful, and brilliantly performed by all the actors. As for the music, the film is sung from start to finish, not a single spoken word, and it works well, the actors lip synching perfect. The film is in 3 specific sections; (I don’t want to give too much away) the before, the absence and the return, and what I particularly liked about this film, is that it may be a musical, but it still has a powerful emotional punch, not a light ‘Hollywood’ theme. This isn’t ‘Grease’, this is more ‘Evita’ in that it is a film dealing with serious issues; unwanted pregnancy, parental pressure, death, war and more. The final scene was perfectly realised, and brought a tear to my eye.
The extras: Knowing nothing about Jacque Demy, the 90 documentary on his life and films is fascinating, and an excellent introduction into how he works and his love of film. It was great to see rare footage of Jim Morrison and a pre-fame Harrison Ford pop up, amongst many stars (Catherine Deneuve for starters) lending their thoughts about this great filmmaker. Not only that, it has encouraged me to see more of his films, especially the musical ‘Donkey Skin’ which sounds and looks magical. There is also a beautiful short film (not directed by Demy) with music by Legrand (who did the music for Umbrellas and most of his other musicals) that is an interesting watch.
One of the comments below discusses the quality of this release – it was perfect as far as I could see, excellent sound and picture, however, I haven’t seen the other versions so I can’t comment.
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139 of 145 people found the following review helpful By S. Homolya on 8 Nov 2005
Format: DVD
My earliest memories include listening to a badly recorded audio tape with a few tracks of this movie's soundtrack on it. I listened to that old tape over and over and over...
This movie is a wonderful, very unique and unconventional musical, and in the DVD transfer the sound quality is as important as the quality of the picture.
There are three DVD releases of Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) out at the moment. I have a copy of each. I also have the soundtrack on CD. The French version (from www.amazon.fr) of the DVD has by far the best image quality, but rather harsh (though correct pitch) sound. The US version (amazon.com) has inferior picture but has a more listenable soundtrack.
The brand new UK (Optimum) version that this review is about essentially appears to be a straightforward (crude) PAL conversion of the US NTSC release. There is no discernable difference in picture quality between the two releases, and the sound of the UK version is simply sped up, so the pitch is a semitone too high. The pitch shift is very obvious, especially if one is familiar with the original soundtrack. This is inexcusable, when it is so easy to achieve the PAL speedup (using rather basic sound processing software) without shifting pitch.
The higher pitch of this release takes away the sweetness of the female voice and the warmth of the male vocals. I would advise against purchasing this release of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.
I would recommend getting either the US release which has the best sound of all three, or the French release, which has the best picture (and, despite being PAL, correct pitch sound).
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Sphen Dido on 17 Oct 2005
Format: DVD
This is cinema as it was meant to be - pure escapism. From the first notes of young innocent love to the final tragic encounter between a man and a woman destined for each other, "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" is uplifting, sweet, sad, beautiful and devastating. If you can watch without in turn smiling and crying, you're missing out. The fact that every word is sung in French, to an absolutely enchanting film score, turns a sumptuous story into a work of art. Visually, the colours of the sets are a delight on the eye. And Catherine Deneuve is possibly the most exquisitely beautiful woman to have graced the cinema screen. This is one of the three films you'd take with you when you move to Mars.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andres C. Salama on 10 Aug 2008
Format: DVD
Attention: in this review I will reveal spoilers.

A wonderful musical film from Jacques Demy. Set in a fantasy Cherbourg (a French seaside town famous for its rainy weather) during the late 50s and going on for several years, it consists in three acts. First act: Genevieve (a very young Catherine Deneuve) is a teenager living with her mother, with whom she works in a shop that sells umbrellas. She fells in love with Guy (a car mechanic, played by Nino Castelnuovo), who is only a little older than she is. Her mother opposes the romance, as she sees Genevieve as too young and Guy as too poor. Guy is drafted to the Algerian war for two years, but not before leaving Genevieve pregnant. Act two: Genevieve's mother not only has now an unwed pregnant daughter, but the financial situation of her shop is dire. Fortunately for her, a diamond dealer in love with Genevieve agrees to pay her debts. He wants to marry Genevieve (despite being pregnant with other man), and eventually Genevieve will agree. Third Act: Guy returns from the war with a limp in one of his legs. He goes to Genevieve's shop, but sees that mother and daughter have gone. He becomes bitter, is soon fired from his job. His beloved aunt dies, and after that, he marries her caretaker, Madeleine. With his aunt's legacy, he is able to buy a gas station. He and Madeleine have a boy. Final Scene: Christmas Eve. Genevieve, now married and with a daughter, arrives with her car to Guy's gas station. Surprised to see each other, they decide to go inside the station to talk, but they both soon realize that their relationship belongs to the past. She goes away, and soon Madeleine and their boy arrive, and they celebrate Christmas by throwing each other snow balls. End of movie. All this is done through sung lines (rather than songs proper).
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