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French Cancan [DVD + Blu-ray]

4.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • French Cancan [DVD + Blu-ray]
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  • Moulin Rouge [DVD] [1952]
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Total price: £28.48
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Product details

  • Actors: Jean Gabin, Edith Piaf
  • Directors: Jean Renoir
  • Format: Dolby, Colour, PAL
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: BFI Video
  • DVD Release Date: 7 Nov. 2011
  • Run Time: 104 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005HPQ7IW
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,009 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

French Cancan
A film by Jean Renoir

The legendary Jean Gabin plays Danglard, mentor to, and lover of, the stage stars of 1890s Paris. When he discovers a naïve young laundress (Francoise Arnoul) dancing in a nightclub he is inspired by her talent to revive the forgotten cancan in a show that the whole of Paris, rich and poor, will never forget.

Based on the true story of Moulin Rouge founder Charles Zidler, Jean Renoir's exuberant tale of an impresario s commitment to his art is a masterpiece of Technicolor brilliance, which features luminaries of the 1950s Parisian café-concert scene, Edith Piaf and Patachou, as period artistes.

Special features:

  • Brand new restoration presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition
  • The show must go on! The joys of life by Jean Renoir (2010, 57 mins): documentary on the making of French Cancan
  • French Cancan restored (2010, 5 mins): a look at the technical work which went into the restoraton
  • Fully illustrated booklet with essay, biography and review

France, Italy | 1954 | colour | French language with optional English subtitles | 104 mins | Original aspect ratio 1.33:1

Disc 1: BD50| 1080p | 24fps | PCM mono audio (48k/24-bit)
Disc 2: DVD9 | PAL | Dolby Digital mono audio (320kbps)

Region 2 PAL DVD
Region B Blu-ray

Review

A vibrant cascade of color, energy and sheer elegance --Variety

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 Nov. 2011
Format: DVD
Simply a delight! But I guess you may want me to elaborate a little on that? This is a superb restoration that brings out the vibrant colours of Jean Renoir's 1955 vision of the Moulin Rouge. These are the sort of colours that his famous artist father Auguste Renoir would have identified with in his own glorious work. I loved John Huston's wonderful film "Moulin Rouge" about the life of the artist Toulouse Lautrec which also used colour to such powerful effect. I despised Baz Luhrman's ludicrous recent film of the same name, with an insipid Nicole Kidman and a ridiculous Ewan McGregor, who both looked like they had been on something any self respecting hippy would avoid. This film is definitely up there with Huston's film.

The movie was restored in France from film held by the BFI. The original French theatrical release was 20 minutes longer than the American version, who sanitised much for their home consumption. For instance a scene where a prostitute is ushered out of a bar by the owner is now reinstated. The film now, and quite rightly has a more daring Gallic flavour. Theatre impresario Jean Gabin is an unashamed philanderer with an eye for the younger woman. He is usually verging on bankruptcy and is on first name terms with the bailiffs. But he still has style, and a vision, which is lots of pretty girls dancing the cancan in the yet to be built Moulin Rouge. This fictional account is very lighthearted with lots of back stage shennanigans. Gabin turns washerwoman Francois Arnoul into a star attraction, and also aquires her as his mistress, thus infuriating old flame Lola 'La Belle Abbesse' played by a scene stealing Maria Felix. We head to one of films great dance routines in the newly opened Moulin Rouge. The main event being of course the cancan.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Apparently just a divertissment, is a sparkling homage to an old disappeared world, with vibrant colors (the Blu ray transfer is amazing) and a fantastic directing quality,that of staging scenes that are apparently just simple long and wide shot but include so many things going on at the same time within the frame, like paintings to explore and with curiosity to spot all the characters and details they are made of, just to see the "human comedy" taking place. Renoir is maybe the best at doing it, only equalled by Altman in such a complexity of mis-en-scene.
And this increases the sense of an old world coming back to life for a moment, like living tableaux.
Irony, desenchantement, a deep look at social and human dynamics, drama and musical, make this film a sort of lighthearted comedy that looks almost an american classic, although it is totally and joyfully french.
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Jean Renoir’s 1954 homage to Parisian music hall and his own Montmartre upbringing – the film is based on the life-story of the founder of the Moulin Rouge, Charles Zidler – French Cancan is a spectacular musical comedy, shot through with the artistic influence of French Impressionism (including that of the director’s father, Pierre-Auguste), laced with the film-maker’s eye for intriguing character detail and conveying an inescapable feeling of great affection for the subject matter. The film marked the return of Renoir to France and its exuberant mood is a (perhaps surprising) post-war reflection and celebration of a key (artistically formative) period in both the life of the country and of the film-maker himself.

Superficially, French Cancan, with its relatively conventional 'rags-to-riches’, romantic central premise, can be likened the great Hollywood musicals of the same period (Vincente Minnelli, Stanley Donen, etc), but Renoir’s trademark (essentially French risqué-satirical) stamp is unmistakeable, adding other dimensions to the film. So, as Françoise Arnoul’s laundress with a talent for dance, Nini, is torn between a trio of 'amants’, Franco Pastorino’s jealous baker, Paulo, Jean Gabin’s veteran, washed-up theatre impresario and mentor (an autobiographical reference to Renoir himself?), Henri Danglard, and Giani Esposito’s wealthy Prince Alexandre, Renoir tempers the romance with (admittedly, for him, fairly mild) satire – poking fun at the aristocracy and capitalism (as Danglard succumbs to the will of his creditors) – and liberal sexual content that would have certainly attracted the red pen of the Hays Code (indeed, the US version of the film had 20 minutes cut!).
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By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 18 Nov. 2012
Format: DVD
Jean Renoir's first film in France since La Regle du Jeu had been met with almost unanimous hostility by critics and public alike 16 years earlier, French Cancan was a very deliberate attempt to reconnect with a French audience with a populist subject matter. As added security he cast Jean Gabin in the lead, though the results fall a long way short of their previous pre-war collaborations. Based loosely on the creation of the Moulin Rouge nightclub in Paris, offering `the illusion of the high life for modest purses,' and the romantic entanglements of financially insecure and terminally unfaithful impresario Jean Gabin and his latest discovery Francois Arnaul, who is pursued by a prince and a baker's boy but really wants Gabin, it's the sort of soufflé that should be a lot of fun. That it never really fulfils that promise isn't for want of trying: Renoir recreates la Belle Epoque with the kind of colours his father would have used and fills the supporting cast with colourful characters from all stratas of French society (a very young Michel Piccoli among them), and even casts veteran performers who graced the real Moulin Rouge like Edith Piaf, Patachou, Andre Claveau and Jean Raymond in cameos, but the script doesn't really do much with the material or the characters.

At times it's hard to escape the feeling that Renoir wasn't really the right director for the film - while not exactly heavy-handed, doesn't seem to have the lightness of touch this sort of thing needs.
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