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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real " Moulin Rouge", 11 Feb 2009
By 
Dato K. S. Lai "HT Fiend" (Malaysia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952) (DVD)
For those younger viewers who have not seen this movie,believe me,this is the definitive version of Tolouse Laterec's sad life . The dramatisation and musical interludes are superlative and the technicolour is still stunning despite its age.The movie gives you the true atmosphere and "smell" of what the Moulin Rouge would have been like in the period depicted.The DVD transfer is very good.Do not miss it !
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great spectacle, and quite a bit more, 29 July 2009
By 
Humpty Dumpty (Wall St, Upton Snodsbury) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952) (DVD)
This costume drama features a serviceable screenplay from John Huston that tries hard to inject some life into the notoriously dead hand of biopic drama, and Huston as director elicits a thoughtful and unsentimental performance from Jose Ferrer as Henri Toulouse de Lautrec, the aristocratic recorder of Parisian low life. Not only does he look the part, not far off a ringer for the man from his photographs, but he captures his melancholia and alcoholism, as well as the essential though often concealed sympathy that he possessed for the social condition of his subjects.
Ferrer is well served by the actresses playing his various women friends with the inevitable exception of Zsa Zsa Gabor's mangling of the part of the cabaret artiste Jane Avril. This preposterous woman (Gabor, not Avril) does her best with her wooden movement and harsh tones (a sort of cross between Esther Rantzen and Judy in a Punch-and-Judy seaside show) to bring the movie to a grinding halt; an eminent reviewer tells us that Huston tended to favour interesting characters over great actors, adding that "Gabor is perfect for the part: she doesn't need to act, just be herself" which just goes to show that even Homer nods occasionally.

But the outstanding feature of the picture is its visualisation of 1890s Paris, with sets, art direction, lighting, costumes and shimmering Technicolor combining to splendid effect. The first 15 mins are given over to the Moulin Rouge's can-can dancers (which means that dramatic thrust loses out at the outset to spectacle, and biopics generally cannot afford such a loss), and the eye is entranced by subsequent re-creations of some of Lautrec's poster art and pastel paintings, as well as of Manet's Bar at the Folies Bergere, one of the world's greatest paintings. You can see it in London at the Courtauld Institute, along with several paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, in its small but very choice collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No Absinthe of Malice?, 25 Sep 2005
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Moulin Rouge [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Question: Why is the DVD version not available in the UK?

Many of those who have seen the film directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Nicole Kidman (2001) may not know about this film which appeared about 50 years earlier. Based on Pierre LaMure's biographical novel and directed by John Huston, this Moulin Rouge focuses entirely on the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Two years previously, Jose Ferrer received an Academy Award for leading actor in Cyrano de Bergerac. He was nominated again in 1952 for his portrayal of Toulouse Lautrec (he also plays the painter's father, Comte Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec, a small but significant role in this film), losing to Gary Cooper (High Noon).

How interesting that each of Ferrer's two greatest performances on-screen is of a French aristocrat with a significant physical deformity who encounters only failure and despair in his love life. In any event, Ferrer is brilliant in a cast of consistently high quality. As chanteuse Jane Avril, Zsa Zsa Gabor essentially plays herself: beautiful, vain, melodramatic, self-absorbed, good-hearted, and charming. Also noteworthy are Colette Marshand (as Marie Charlet), Suzanne Flon (Myrianne Haven), Katherine Kath (La Goulue), and Christopher Lee (Georges Seurat). Although nominated for several Academy Awards, this film received only two (for Color Art Direction and Color Costume Design), both richly deserved. Huston skillfully directs an excellent cast while blending seamlessly Oswald Morris' cinematography with George Auric's musical score.

Born in 1864, Toulouse-Lautrec spent his childhood years on family estates near Albi, with Paris becoming his home in 1872. The victim of a genetic bone condition that made him vulnerable to fractures, he walked with a cane by age thirteen and grew to be only four feet eleven inches tall. One example of Huston's genius is the fact that much of the film is shot from Toulouse-Lautrec's perspective. That is, we see the aristocrat-artist's world almost literally through his eyes as he sits and sketches in the music hall, then drags himself to his stunted feet and slowly, painfully resumes his late-night debauchery.

In frail health throughout his adult years, Toulouse-Lautrec exacerbated his situation with alcoholism which no doubt hastened his death in 1901. Lying in bed and near death, he learns from his astonished father that his paintings will be on exhibition at the Louvre. ("The Louvre, Henri, the Louvre! I did not know, Henri, I did not understand....") This final scene reminds me of the final scene in Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), starring Robert Donat. Both Toulouse-Lautrec and Charles Chipping are near death, barely conscious. Both imagine being visited by those they once knew, bidding them a fond farewell. For Toulouse-Lautrec, the performers from the Moulin Rouge; for Chipping, many of the boys he taught over a period of several decades at Brookfield School.

This film is a feast for the eyes. At least for about two hours, it enables us to return to Paris near the end of the 19th century, to a world which remains vivid in the great art of Seaurat, Renoir, Degas, Monet, Manet, Bonnard....and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars John Huston's Greatest!, 10 Sep 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Moulin Rouge [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This most beautiful and moving of films still haunts me seeing it again after several years. Jose Ferrers' finest performance (on screen anyway) and brilliant use of colour from a true artist Cinematographer, Oswald Morris, who was robbed at the Academy Awards in 1952 by not winning! A truly great film in every respect and although a fictional account of the dwarfish artist Toulouse Lautrec, which biopic isn't? In my view this is John Hustons' most underrated work and should stand alongside The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre and The African Queen as his greatest. Heaven knows what Buz Luhmann is going to churn out with his planned remake!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very passionate story beautifully told., 28 April 2014
By 
Mr. Edward P. Campbell (Brighton, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952) (DVD)
An insigtht into the tormented life of Henri Toulouse Lautrec, magnificently acted by Jose Ferrer. An Oscar winning performance, along with the self-worshipping ZsaZsa Gabor..

It shows his early tragic accident with his legs. His move from aristocratic surroundings to a garret in Paris, and how he was exploited by a ruthless prostitute. Despite many setbacks, like a true aristocrat, he maintains his direction and his dignity.

Towards the end the film depicts his resounding success in promoting the Moulin Rouge through his iconic posters.

A masterful work by a superb director.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Moulin Rouge, 16 Feb 2013
By 
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This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952) (DVD)
Old film, but far away superior to the replacement that was made. A real treat to see it again now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Moulin Rouge (old version), 10 Mar 2011
By 
Trevor Silkstone (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952) (DVD)
This is such a wonderful film with ZsaZsa Gabor and Josi Ferrer.
It is pure Magic to watch.
They certainly do not make films like this anymore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 23 Nov 2014
By 
Mr. R. D. R. Scott (Hexham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952) (DVD)
Brilliant bit of nostalgia - bought for granddaughter's first visit to Paris - loved it
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It should have been an Oscar winner, 13 Jan 2002
This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (DVD)
Moulin Rouge

John Huston, one of the all-time great movie producers, has made a remarkable film of the life of Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, arguably the most exciting painter of the Belle Epoque and a member of one of the foremost aristocratic families at the time, in France. Huston managed in this film to come as close as possible to showing us what really made the artist tick. As a young boy Lautrec fell from a flight of stairs and broke both his legs. They never mended properly or grew again and the accident left him cippled for life. In spite of this, he left the save surroundings of his home and went to Paris to become a painter, where, in the eyes of his family, he lived a scandalous life. Particularly his father, the Count of Toulouse, never understood his son. Only shorly before his early death, When Henri became the first living painter ever, whose paintings were accepted by the Louvre, did he realize what a genius his son had been. Huston made this life story into a very moving film, with an excellent cast. José Ferrer played the hero, which was physically a nearly impossible achievement, showing us the insight of a tortured soul. Colette Marchand created the character of Marie, a low-life prostitute, who was possibly the only woman, Lautrec ever loved. Zaza Gabor is Jane Avril, the only ray of light in this sad story. In this film Huston made, for the first time in movie history, use of color, as a dramatic instrument. It was no longer "decoration", but a valuable means to give every scene its full and very special impact. In my view, the film should have been the 1952 Oscar winner, but instead, the title went to "The greatest show on Earth".
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7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nostalgic trip to a Paris gone-by.., 8 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Moulin Rouge [DVD] (DVD)
This film can bring an enchanting feeling of nostalghia for some persons. Certainly not to the French. Moulin Rouge, the real place was always for tourists at least since the sixties. This is, in my opinion, a british vision of a certain idea of Paris, in the Edwardian times.
It speaks British English even if Zsa Zsa Gabor speaks "hungarian american". The wry humour is not gallic at all.
Even if the American critics enthuse about John Huston's "capturing the flavor of Montmartre" he does not. His french screenplayer tries, the british technicians help.
But this is more a producer/cinematographer's movie than a director's and they are both British: Jack Clayton and Oswald Morris.
The DVD is not state of the art and could not be, given the fact that it was made by a small company, probably without access to the master negatives. But older Technicolor movies transfer better to DVD than not so old Eastmancolor, and visually this is quite very good, even if a bit soft.
The sound is Dolby 2 channel and the original mono is well respected in the musical numbers.
Now, that a new "Moulin Rouge" is being released worldwide perhaps is better to go for the closest approach to the original....
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Moulin Rouge [DVD] (1952)
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