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Saturday, August 6, 2011

338. French Cancan


    How could I possibly cheer myself up after my footy team, riven by crisis, lost the first game of the season to our super-rich local rivals?
    Easy... have a peek at lots and lots of French knickers.
    And fortunately, those wearing the frilly pants were rather lithe and attractive young ladies. Well, at least they were in 1954.
    Francoise Arnoul, the splendidly supple star of this classic movie, turned 80 in June. I think seeing her in her bloomers now might be even more off-putting than the football.
    Anyway, I'm now humming the cancan tune with a smile on my face thanks to catching up with the BFI restored version of Jean Renoir's film which is at cinemas now.
    It centres of the the flamboyant life of theatre producer Henri Danglard who lives by  the "next year will all be millionaires'' motto.
    In other words ,he has big plans and comes across a girl, in the shape of Ms Arnoul, who he think will bring them to fruition.
    The result is The Moulin Rouge.
    I must admit I was shocked by the shenanigans in The French Cancan, considering the age of the movie.
    The leading characters leap into bed with each other every five minutes and I'm sure I saw a young lass topless in one scene. I should be thankful there were no tongues in the snogging scenes.
    Jean Gabin plays the old rogue Danglard, bedding the pretty girls before making stars of them. He has the screen in the palm of his hand, like Chevalier but a lot naughtier.
    Meanwhile, his latest new thing Nini (Arnoul) falls for him, causing grief for her fiance and, literally, a charming prince who are both head over heels.
    Renoir's movie was doubtlessly most exciting in its day. Now, it's little more than a breathless bit of fun.
    But sometimes the plot is less important than the atmosphere a film creates.
    Today, I needed a bit of light entertainment and this bit of frippery ticked the box.
    Thus, I'm going to give it 6.5/10. It gets the extra half mark for getting me out of the doldrums.


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338. French Cancan


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