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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon

Catherine Deneuve , Nino Castelnuovo , Jacques Demy    DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castelnuovo, Anne Vernon
  • Directors: Jacques Demy
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005XS60BC
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,600 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Geneviève, 17, lives with her widowed mother, who owns an umbrella shop in Cherbourg. She and Guy, a twenty-year-old auto mechanic, are secretly in love and want to marry, but when she reveals this to her mother, her mother objects on the grounds that Geneviève is too young and Guy is not mature or well-established enough, particularly since he has not yet done his required military service. Shortly after this, Guy is drafted to serve in the war in Algeria. Before he leaves, he and Geneviève consummate their love for each other, which results in her becoming pregnant. While Guy is away they drift apart, and Geneviève, strongly encouraged by her mother, accepts a marriage proposal from a well-to-do gem dealer named Roland Cassard, who has fallen in love with her at first sight and has promised to bring up her child as his own.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
(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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138 of 143 people found the following review helpful
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 of the DVD has by far the best image quality, but rather harsh (though correct pitch) sound. The US version ( 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
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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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
This film is one of those rare movies that will stay with you forever. Not only will you find yourself humming the soundtrack to yourself for months afterwards, but the beautiful sets, costumes and casting with never cease to amaze. When I first saw this film it brought me to tears (not just because of the bitter/sweet portrayal of love, but also beacuse of the sheer romance)
Any one who is failed to be moved by the awesome railway scene must be lacking of all emotion.
This is a must see movie if ever there was one. And you want to see it, share it and remeber it forever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ageless 10 Feb 2009
I am now 65 and first saw this in a church hall with other members of friendship league when I was 17 .Shocked when it started and realised they were singing ,But came enthraled and at the end so many of us had a little cough to cover up the choking inside .Lovely film
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a masterpiece 10 Aug 2008
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars PURE ROMANTIC BEAUTY
This film is a masterpiece of music and colour. I saw it many years ago and loved it. Now in glorious Blu Ray I can appreciate the rich colour, particularly in their clothes... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely musical about young love
I love this film. Classic, French musical with a remarkable soundtrack and beautifully simplistic acting. Could watch it over and over again.
Published 26 days ago by Mrs Moon
4.0 out of 5 stars Movie VG - Disc had read problems
The movie played fine, but I had problems with the special features on the second disc - one doco just stopped; the other played ok but then the disc would not go back to the menu,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by 42again
3.0 out of 5 stars A succinct and pithy spoiler
Just re-watched this for the first time since childhood... The most romantic movie ever??? Here's how I call it:

"If it takes FOREVER, I will wait for you... Read more
Published 3 months ago by L. Camuti
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
French Cinema at its best. Dated but with a wonderful story of unrequited love told completely in song.
I think its one of those films you either love or hate. I love it,
Published 3 months ago by Robert K Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars ugh!
I never cease to be amazed at the stuff people find 'mesmerizing', 'beautiful', 'enchanting', 'moving'. Read more
Published 4 months ago by spotty
5.0 out of 5 stars Umbrellas
Classic film - and this version has a whole second CD of two further films - a documentary about the director Demy and a short film with more music by Legrand. Good value.
Published 4 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Joy
I remember seeing this film many years ago and love it, and now it's been transfer to BD which I must say is absolutely beautiful and love it even more. Read more
Published 5 months ago by S.Blewitt
5.0 out of 5 stars An astonishing love story with some of the most arresting scenes in...
An astonishing love story, featuring the young Catherine Deneuve and the haunting music of Michel Legrand, that made movie history
Published 5 months ago by DAVID MACGREGOR
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful film
An old but lovely film, the colours were stunning and the story has stood the test of time. Will be watching it again!
Published 5 months ago by Musiclady
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