Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
50 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
A very good film with one of the greatest performances of the American theatre
critic-21 December 2000
Jose Ferrer first performed "Cyrano de Bergerac" on Broadway in 1946, where it achieved a very successful run (for a revival). Ferrer was highly acclaimed in the role and won a Tony for his performance. His success in the role enabled him to be the first actor to bring "Cyrano" to the big screen in English. This was in 1950, in a Stanley Kramer-produced film for which Ferrer won the Best Actor Oscar, beating out such actors as James Stewart in "Harvey", William Holden in "Sunset Blvd.", and Spencer Tracy in the original "Father of the Bride".

Until the 1990 Gerard Depardieu Technicolor spectacular in French, Ferrer's version of "Cyrano" was considered the one to see. But now, Depardieu's film has unfairly thrown this 1950 version into neglect. Part of the reason, perhaps, is the budget involved in this film. Cowardly studio executives who were afraid that a film in blank verse would fail at the box office refused to give this film the kind of budget that Laurence Olivier had enjoyed in his 1940's Shakespeare films, or the kind of budget that was used in films like the 1936 M-G-M version of "Romeo and Juliet" and the 1935 "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

And so, this "Cyrano" looks more like a cheap B-movie than a worthy film version of a classic play. There are no huge sets or spectacular camera shots--just the play, performed (with only a couple of added scenes in ordinary prose rather than the English translation's blank verse) on obvious Hollywood sound stages.

But, this film boasts what is certainly one of the greatest performances in the history of film--and especially American film. José Ferrer, an often maligned actor accused of hamminess and overemphasis, gives the performance of his life as Cyrano. His portrayal is in every way the equal of Depardieu's, and as far as I am concerned, even better. Depardieu relies on sincerity and subtle facial expressions. Ferrer also has these, but he has in addition one of the most beautiful, rich voices ever to come out of the theatre,and magnificent enunciation as well. Unlike Depardieu, who speaks the beautiful French verse as rapidly as if he were firing a machine gun (as do the others in the French film), Ferrer allows us to appreciate the rich poetry in Brian Hooker's translation, long considered the greatest verse translation of a play into English. His portrayal is more flamboyant than Depardieu, and he shows a heartbreaking sense of tragedy as he realizes that the beautiful Roxane will probably never be his. The "big moment" in the final scene is shattering in Ferrer's hands.

As for the rest of the cast, this is where the Depardieu and Ferrer versions differ. Depardieu's supporting cast was excellent, but here Mala Powers is disappointingly ordinary and one-note, though beautiful, as Roxane, and William Prince is quite good as Christian, but Ralph Clanton as De Guiche is rather cartoonish, an ordinary hissable villain until the last half-hour or so. The usually reliable Morris Carnovsky, though, is an excellent LeBret. The role of Ligniere, the drunk, has been eliminated,and his lines given to Rageauneau, the pastry cook (competently played by Lloyd Corrigan).

There are a few cuts in this version, as compared to Depardieu's, but Brian Hooker's English translation is given its due prominence. Michael Gordon's direction is excellent, and the duel at the theatre, while not allowed to roam all over the location, as in Depardieu's version, is well done and more faithful in staging to author Edmond Rostand's intentions.

This "Cyrano", however, definitely should not be allowed to fade away in obscurity, relegated to late-night TV, where it is now often mutilated for commercial breaks. It should be restored and brought back to cable to be fully appreciated.
40 out of 43 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absolutely brilliant.
historyrepeating18 May 2000
Cyrano has always been one of my favorite stage plays. I always felt I could very much relate to the feelings of being different. When I finally saw the film version, it took my breath away. What a spectacular piece of acting by Jose Ferrer. It was everything that the swashbucklers from the 30s and 40s were supposed to be!

I have always thought, however, in this version, that Cyrano should have ignored that ingrate Roxanne and run off with the Orange Girl (Elena Verdugo). Yowza!
12 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What a sadly neglected actor !
raypaquin21 April 2001
This movie is worth seeing for Jose Ferrer's performance alone. The other actors are just okay. My primary language is French and I have also seen Depardieu's version, which is great. But *nothing* can approach Ferrer's. This film is a must-see for drama-students. Where, Oh where !, has American cinema gone ?
12 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Striking performance from José Ferrer
dkncd1 December 2007
"Cyrano de Bergerac" is based on the play by Edmond Rostand about a swordsman and poet with a long nose who helps another man to win the woman he loves. The film's story is an abridged version of the play based on the famous English translation from Brian Hooker.

José Ferrer is excellent in the title role as Cyrano de Bergerac. He handles all aspects of the character well, from the sharp poetic dialogue to the reluctance in conveying his feelings to Roxane. The rest of the performances were respectable as well, though clearly the title role requires the most acting ability.

This film is criticized for its minimalist sets. Admittedly they never bothered me, but at times the film was excessively dark, especially during the combat scenes toward the end of the film.

The story is abridged, but for me the essential components of the story were there with clever verse of Hooker's translation and the tragedy and humor of Rostand's story. The swordplay scenes are believable, though not exceptional other than for Cyrano's ability to fight and compose poetry simultaneously. "Cyrano de Bergerac" is a solid adaptation of Rostand's play best known for a striking performance from José Ferrer.
15 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
My Personal Favorite
gcwyatt31 October 2000
A remarkable achievement in directing, acting, and writing. Jose Ferrer delivers the performance of a lifetime that strikes deep into the heart. Anyone who has even been mocked, scored, or ridiculed, or simply felt unworthy of the affections of another will sympathize with Cyrano, and Ferrer brings the character to life as no one has ever been able to do, before or since. The movie is exceptionally smart, humorous, and tragic all at the same time. A perfect film.
22 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The greatest movie I have ever seen, bar none.
Straight16 April 1999
I first saw this movie in 1950 when it was first released. I was 15 and knew immediately that this was THE film for me. I saw it three times in 1950, and watch at least twice a year since I bought the video.

Jose Ferrer covers all the possible emotions an actor can in his role. He is comedic, brave, adventurous, romantic, self-sacrificing, elegant, pitiful, nimble-witted, gallant, prideful, humble, he fully recognizes his short-comings, and, most of all, he is true to his code of honor. This is the best job of acting that I have ever witnessed in the thousands of movies I have seen.

I must confess that although I give the supporting cast a B+ , I would have chosen different actors for most of the roles, including Roxanne. However, William Prince as Christian, rates an A-. (Perhaps, at the time, the producers didn't know what a classic they were creating and, therefore, didn't give as much thought to the casting as they might have otherwise.)

It is a shame that Ferrer never again approached the level of excellence he displayed in Cyrano. But this does not detract from the honor I pay this actor who gave a 15 year-old boy an example to follow: a REAL man.

The best scene in the film is when Cyrano is dying in the court-yard at the nunnery, and the best line in the film is when Cyrano challenges Death with his final words which sum up his life, `… and that is, … my … white … plume.'
29 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Classic of Honor; a Great Part and a Great Performance; Inspiring
silverscreen88827 July 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Th original play, a fictionalized biography of Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmund Rostand, from which the film was drawn, is one of the chief ornaments of the nineteenth century's literature. It belongs to the pre-World War One era; its central character, however, appears to me to be a late-nineteenth century mind. He is a fabulous swordsman, the bravest and most intelligent of soldiers, and a man whose very-large nose has destroyed all other aspects of his life. Believing he has been cheated by nature, he takes out his vengeance upon the pretentious; he appoints himself an avenging angel against all forms of fraud. Eventually, this includes the flower of French nobility who dare to insult him. He is in love with his cousin Roxane, the most beautiful woman at the French court; but he consents to write love letters to her for his handsome, courageous but ungifted friend, perhaps to prove to himself that his creative talents might have won the love of the world's fairest ornament, so long as she did not know he were the unattractive source of such beautiful utterance.When the beautiful young man is killed in the wars, during which Cyrano becomes a popular hero, he continues the deception. He brings Roxane in her abbey retreat court news, and comforts her in her widowhood, all the while opposing the tyrannical and overbearing new faction at court. Finally they attack him; managing to keep his appointment with Roxane, against medical advice, although grievously wounded, he makes a slip, She finds out he was the author of the original love letters, and Cyrano dies, delirious, inveighing against his ancient enemies--the sins of the overbearing nobility-totalitarians--and claiming that he had kept his "white plume"--his honor--unstained always, despite all fears and temptations. He dies, a symbol of a lost society and a betrayed Age--and she weeps for him at the end. This estimable film was produced by Stanley Kramer, and directed by Michael Gordon. It presents a good deal of dialogue, but the pace if deliberate, it is also serviceable at almost all points. Carl Foreman wrote the screenplay from Brian Hooker's translation of the play; and it still looks like a play at a few points. But the very-difficult dueling and war sections appeared to me to work very well as cinema. Franz Planer did the unusually dense B/W cinematography; original music was composed by Dimitri Tiomkin. The production was designed by Rudolph Sternad, with set decorations by Edward G. Boyle. Dorothy Jeakins did the lovely gowns for Roxane. In this production, Ferrer is arrogant and frequently superb. He roars, he insinuates, he flashes his intellect as poet the way other men do their rapiers; and with a sword he shows himself to be seemingly beyond equal. His dispatching of an arrogant nobleman who tries to stop him from chasing a bad actor off the stage is the film's showpiece; he finally kills him, but not before delivering his ripostes and thrust in rhyme and offering the fellow a way out. Accepting dainties from a servant girl he takes only a sip of water and half a macaroon--his way of acknowledging the worth of her admiration, and his freedom from weakness. He finally betrays himself at the end to Roxane as the author of her letters by quoting one to her in a light so dim he could not be reading it. Mala Powers is good as Roxane but not great. As her lover, William Prince is very good and properly stiff. The presence of talents such as Lloyd Corrigan, Morris Carnovsky, Edgar Barrier as Cardinal Richelieu, Virginia Christine and other fine actors helps the production's success. This is a difficult part to bring to life; it requires a nasal bite in speech, perfect diction, charisma, a suggestion of depth of soul, high intelligence and even hubris, as well as regard for others. Ferrer did the part about as well as it has ever been done on film; one has only to compare his interpretation to those of others to appreciate the level of his triumph. It is an award-level achievement; and the film, while a bit stagey at several points is also beautiful, memorable and very different in the attainments of its dialogue, its poetry and its ideas.
11 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Classic rendition about the gallant swordsman and poet with an enormous nose
ma-cortes27 March 2019
Classy version of Edmond Rostand's play about romantic as well as grotesque-looking /poet Cyrano Bergerac (José Ferrer who provides his most sensitive and believable acting) who fears to reveal his love to the beautiful Roxanne (Mala Powers) because the feels his huge nose makes him unattractive . Cyrano bears the pain of his devotion Roxanne ; however , attempting to help his lover contender . So , he serves as a surrogate lover by encouraging another man's attention to her . As , he supports the good-looking but tongue-tied Christian (William Prince) to romance her . As Cyrano expresses his own feelings by helping handsome fellow soldier woo Roxanne instead . And , finally , declarating his love to the gorgeous Roxanne . Meanwhile , there is developed a bloody war between the French and Spanish Armies and in which the two lovers take part with tragic consequences . The most fabulous hero of all time, with the most famous nose in history! He fought because of it! .He loved in spite of it! He lived to immortalize it! Fabulous Hero! Famous Nose!The Most Loved of All Love Stories!... he was the three musketeers in one, and one lover in a million!

Ths is the vintage retelling around playwright Edmond Rostand's known story of a giant-nose yet poetic cavalier . Settings are well designed to show the environment and piece period . And language attempting to capture the intricate sense and rhymes of the original dialogue written by Edmond Rostand . This is a multi-awarded movie for its cast , costumes, production design , music and photography . José Ferrer gives an extraordinary acting as the large-nosed Musketeer who finds himself too ugly to be loved . Ferrer brings to exhilarating life Rostand's well-loved play , delivering a portentous acting . Ferrer became successful and really famous for this role , which won him a deseved Academy Award . Being based on Edmond Rostand play and Brian Hooke carried out the adequate translation of the play . It displays an evocative cinematography in black and white by Franz Planer . Although , it is also availble in horrible colorized version . An and atmospheric and appropriate musical score by Dimitri Tiomkin . This Stanley Kramer production released thru United Artists was well made by Michael Gordon . Rating : 7/10 . Better than average . Essential and indispensable watching .

Other adaptations about this famous play are the following ones : Cyrano Bergerac 1925 silent recounting by Augusto Genina with Pierre Magner and Ferrari . Cyrano Bergerac 1950 , a nice recounting well played by Derek Jacobi , Sinead Cusack , this is a Royal Shakespeare Company Production , being translated and adapted by Anthony Burgess . 1987 , titled Roxanne directed by Fred Schepesi , this is a marvellous adaptation for the modern age , a contemporary comic take on Rostand's Cyrano with a romantic triangle between a a big-nosed , small town fire chief , a shy fireman and the lovely astronomer they both love , being performed by Steve Martin, Daryl Hannah and Rick Rossovich . And the best : Cyrano Bergerac 1990 by Jean Paul Rappenau with Gerard Depardieu , Anne Brochet , Jacques Wever ,
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If Only Plastic Surgery Had Been Available.
bkoganbing9 August 2004
Back years ago in high school studying Cyrano de Bergerac, with a textbook having pictures from this film, one of the other students asked simply why didn't he just get a nose job? It got a lot of amusement when the teacher told her that that procedure just wasn't available in Cardinal Richelieu's France.

I'm afraid that that might be the feeling of a lot of readers of the play and viewers of the film. Rostand, who wrote the play in the 19th century about the 17th century might as well have been writing about people on Mars.

If they take that tack then folks will be losing out on appreciating a great play and role essayed by a man who possessed one of the great speaking voices of the century. Jose Ferrer puts everyone else in the cast to shame with his performance of Cyrano.

To be sure Cyrano de Bergerac is a one man play. All the other characters Rostand gave absolutely no depth to. Roxanne is a sweet young girl looking for romance, Christian is a handsome dunce, Comte de Guiche is a Snidely Whiplash villain. But Cyrano, you have to be a real actor to play that one.

Cyrano is a soldier, writer, swordsman even a gourmet of sorts. But that proboscis fills him with doubt when the opposite sex is concerned. He's a tortured soul and Ferrer gives THE interpretation of Cyrano. It will be so a hundred years from now. He's a swashbuckler to be sure, but you certainly couldn't cast any of the normal movie swashbucklers in that part.

I don't know if the MTV generation will feel like my classmate of years ago, but if they turn away from music videos and watch this, they will be treated to a once in a lifetime acting performance.
22 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the greatest movies
Jabberwock4 June 1999
I am a little bit reluctant using such adjectives like "greatest". But when an "oeuvre d'art" deserves it, why not?

In this film all is fine tuned, well gauged, perfectly synchronized.

I shall in particular emphasize the unforgettable José Ferrer's play of Cyrano's fathomless sorrow.

If Hollywood could remember that there was a long time ago, in a far away galaxy, that thing named "The American Cinema"...
12 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fabulous Hero! Famous Nose!
Lady_Targaryen17 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I watched ''Cyrano de Bergerac'' by my father's recommendation and I can say that I loved the story very much!I decided to begin watching the classic Cyrano before watching the one with Gerard Depardieu. I am surprised to know that the actor who played Cyrano in this version, José Ferrer, played Cyrano and many other versions and also that he is George Clooney's uncle! José is great by the way! Very articulated and a very good actor! I liked the character Cyrano very much and If all the plastic surgeries that we have in the present days were available at that time, I am pretty sure he would not suffer so much! (In his case, the plastic was really needed, very different from people from the present days that do without any type of problem) Mala Powers is a very beautiful Roxane and William Prince is not bad asChristian de Neuvillette.
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I never tire of seeing this film
GunRights4US9 August 2003
This film is simply my favorite above all others. And I grant that accolade entirely because of the splendid performance of Jose Ferrer. He outshines all other cast members in what would be a forgettable B movie, were it not for his brilliant portrayal of the long nosed poet and swordsman. I suppose the character of Cyrano appeals to me so because he is a man of substance, not image (unlike so many contemporary heroes).

`True.I carry my adornments only on my soul, decked with deeds instead of ribbons, mantled in my good name and crowned with the white plume of freedom!'

Wow, what a line!

There will never again be another Cyrano, as there will never be another actor capable of playing him so well as Jose Ferrer.
9 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Jose Ferrer
jotix1001 January 2008
Almost never shown these days, "Cyrano de Bergerac", one of the best films of 1950, turned up the other night unexpectedly on a cable channel. It was a pleasure to see it again after so many years since we first saw it. Michael Gordon directed the screen version that became a favorite of people who were delighted to make concessions to a man that was far from being endowed with any physical attributes.

The enjoyment of the picture is due to the amazing tour de force by that wonderful actor, Jose Ferrer, a man whose friendship we cherished because he enriched our life with his honesty, frankness and charisma. Mr. Ferrer's contribution to the stage and screen can be best sampled as we watch him become Cyrano, a man in love with his cousin Roxanne, whose great fear is the possible rejection of the beautiful young woman in favor of the handsome, and younger, Christian.

This beloved theater play by Edmond Rostand had been translated by Brian Hooker, in what became the most familiar way American audiences met the illustrious French author. The screen play by Carl Foreman clarifies the text in ways that the movie going public of that era could relate to this man whose wit and charm outweighed his appearance, which was dominated by a big nose that rendered him an unattractive man. The poetry of the play is preserved even though it is not done in verse like the original manuscript. Dimitri Tiomkin's score lent itself to the action.

Mala Powers was a disappointment though. Yes, she was a beauty, but her Roxanne doesn't quite come across; she is at a disadvantage playing opposite an icon of the theater like Mr. Ferrer, who certainly had more experience. William Prince does a fair job as Christian. Morris Carnovsky, another great stage actor, appears as Le Bret and Ralph Clanton makes his contribution with his take of Guiche.

"Cyrano de Bergerac" is recommended to movie fans of all ages to watch the magnificent Jose Ferrer at his best.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
elegant, uplifting, amazing
the_mad_mckenna18 November 2002
My dad bought this on video when I was a teenager, a good 15 plus years ago. I thought "Cyrano"? that silly guy with a big nose? how corny - why would I want to watch that. Instead I hovered and heard Jose speak and was instantly captivated. One of the posters below stole the line I wanted to use - How Cyrano is a truly "real man" in this film, and I envy the confidence and smoothness of Cyrano amongst men, and his great gift for words for Roxanne.

Magical. It moves me the way "City Lights" does. When so many "romantic movies" are nothing but marketing gloss, this is one that will never be branded a "chick flick" - its just too wonderful.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Cyrano de Bergerac
Coxer9913 May 1999
Exceptional performance from Oscar winner Ferrer says it all in this adaptation of the famous Rostand classic love story. In one of the greatest characters in dramatic literature, Cyrano is the poet with the long nose who writes tender love letters to a beautiful lady for his friend. Cyrano loves the woman too...and the rest is magic.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
My brief review of the film
sol-20 January 2005
José Ferrer received a well-deserved Academy Award for his solid performance as the charismatic leading character in this tale of tragedy and love. The overall film is of high quality too, with a script that is sharp, witty and often quite amusing. The film's atmosphere and setting are both well constructed, giving the film a very real feel for the French life at the time. But the film is nevertheless a tad shallow in some aspects, and it is slightly contrived too, although this subtracts little from the experience overall. The excellent nose makeup is also worth mentioning: highly authentic stuff.
6 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Ferrer is amazing.
broknhartedlosr2 February 2003
Whew. What a classic film. American cinema at it's best. SEE THIS MOVIE! Jose Ferrer is simply brilliant! And though others have complained about it's production values, the new DVD version is a vast improvement from the older VHS copies. Also, I've noted that others have been less than kind to the supporting cast. I honestly don't know what they mean. I found them all, at the very least, good, if not great.

Look, it doesn't matter. SEE THIS! For Ferrer alone, or for an all-time great love story.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Jose Ferrar is brilliant!
lordjim131 December 2002
Jose Ferrar's performance lifts this above the Depardieu version, despite the fact that some of the supporting cast are a bit...plain. The english translation is great, sometimes word-for-word with the French but other times getting the spirit of it just right--as when Christian is making nose jokes at Cyrano. The new version may be more spectacular, but this has a great feel to it, and, as I said, Jose Ferrar is brilliant! His voice is so powerful, and his actions and flourishes just right. The theatre scene is just wonderful, as is the finale. Plus, Gerard Depardieu is too fat! Nobody will ever be a better Cyrano.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Will someone remaster this, please!
notstudyinglaw19 March 2002
This remains one of my all-time favorite movies. Ferrer is simply brilliant. But, as others have rightly pointed out, the production values are poor (to say the least), and the problem is only exacerbated by the poor quality of most video tapes currently available.

But don't be scared, go rent this, the French version, and for fun, Steve Martin's Roxanne, and have a great time with this classic story.

And for even more fun, check out the biography of the real Cyrano. His life was almost as fascinating as the play! Along with being a brilliant thinker, he is often credited as the first science-fiction writer.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
You Can't Say Ferrer Than That
writers_reign4 April 2005
Having posted a comment on the Depardieu version of this some time ago I finally found a (albeit less than technically perfect) DVD in France with French subtitles of the earlier version in which Puerto Rican-born Jose Ferrer tries on the role for size. I haven't read all the other comments posted here but enough to estimate that the majority are in favor, especially where the central performance is concerned. In terms of production values one thinks almost immediately of Orson Welles and both his Othello and Macbeth both made on a shoestring - the same one - for here again are the Poverty Row sets or lack of same, the touching concern for the United Artists electricity bill so that 60 per cent is shot in semi-darkness to mask the lack of a set-dresser. This leaves us with a movie that stands or falls on its central performance and on balance it not only stands but towers; Ferrer was born to play this role and so good is he that one can close one's eyes and bask in that magnificent timbre, as good in its way as that of Richard Burton or Orson Welles. It IS, it has to be said, a one-role play and although both Mala Powers (Roxanne) and William Prince (Christian) went on to enjoy long careers they never appeared in anything half as memorable as this (a similar fate seems, it's still too soon to tell, to have befallen Depardieu's Roxanne, Ann Brochet and Christian, Vincent Perez). The director had something of a checkered career embracing everything from Boston Blackie to Pillow Talk and Carl Foreman, who takes a screenplay credit enjoyed arguably the highest profile of all the behind-the-camera personnel. Ferrer's Best Actor Oscar was well deserved and it's too easy to say that the role is actor-proof, witness the resounding flops on the English stage in the last decade. If, as at least ONE previous poster said, someone would produce a half-decent DVD version or even, dare I say it, a Restored version then it would really be something to see.
9 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A Double-Edged Sword
ccthemovieman-127 September 2007
If you like swordplay and like to hear King James-type Shakespearian verse, you'll like this film. Me, I can pass on both, as they both bore me, if overdone.

The swordplay early on in the film went on, and on and on and the Duracell bunny. It was way too much. I like a good sword fight but when it goes on too long it gets boring. To me, it set the tone for the movie, meaning most exactly that: boring, whether action or just dialog. I'm not saying it wasn't intelligent. It was more intelligent than the remake called "Roxanne," starring Steve Martin. However, at least the latter was more entertaining than this.

In fairness, the language was colorful and fun to hear at times, and Mala Powers ("Roxanne") was nice to look at, but that was about it. Most of this film, particularly in today's world, would put you to sleep.
11 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Best Opening Scenes Ever
arthursranch26 December 2013
How fast can character development be accomplished without stereotypes? See Jose Ferrer in Cyrano de Bergerac, and George C Scott in Patton.

I mostly watch just the long opening scene of Cyrano, which has two sensational pieces. The first is the listing of insults, all done in one cut. Compare this with Steve Martin's listing of insults in ROXANNE that had, as I counted, 37 cuts. How bad was that? Just this one piece set Jose Ferrer as top tier, later proved to me in SHIP OF FOOLS. The camera movement and staging of the "monologue of insults" demonstrates the skill of filmmakers of that era.

The second piece of the opening scene is the fencing. I think it is the best and most exciting fencing scene in all of film. Fencing skills were a big asset to actors as Basil Rathbone's parts attest to. I don't know what actor played Ferrer's fencing opponent in this scene, but he was good at swordplay. Perhaps he was a fencer first and an actor second.

Had Steve Martin been allowed to do a one-cutter, he also would have been sensational. What a good idea ROXANNE was, but what a bad execution!
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A swashbuckling poet helps a friend win the affection of a woman they both love.
styner-211 March 2006
No student of acting who has not studied Ferrer's performance as Cyrano can be considered truly prepared. Okay, that's a bit pedantic, but he really does wring out the last scintilla from his chops in the course of the film, to the degree that his grotesque nasal prosthesis actually begins to appear attractive by reel two.

The reasons he did not become a "bankable" leading man are probably many. Though his face had a brooding sensitivity that many found attractive, his physiognomy was scarcely "classical" in its appeal. On occasion, his voice, particularly under the care of a mediocre sound editor, tended toward the adenoidal in tone. Finally,one suspects that his early appearance in forgettable musicals and program-fillers taught him to be extremely selective in the properties to which he was attached.

As a wise old bit player once remarked, "You can work good or you can work plenty, but you can't do both." (Full disclosure: I made that quote up, but it should have been said if it wasn't).
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An excellent film with Jose Ferrer's finest performance
TheLittleSongbird15 July 2012
Being a big fan of the Gerard Depardieu version, I was all for seeing this film from 1950 with Jose Ferrer. And I found it excellent. I have seen more beautiful-looking films elsewhere, but the film is well shot and the costumes and sets do have a certain charm to them. Dmitri Tiomkin's music score is suitably rousing, the sword play is clever and never clumsy and the script is witty and poetic, while the story never fails to thrill or move me in the way it should do. It is well directed by Michael Gordon also. Of the acting, faring weakest was Mala Powers, she is beautiful but not much is done for me to make her beyond that. William Prince is more than adequate and Ralph Clanton sneers effectively as De Guiche. But the film, same goes with the story itself too, really belongs to Jose Ferrer. As much as I loved his performance in Moulin Rouge, it is in Cyrano De Bergerac where he is at his finest, really resonating with me by how dignified and moving he was. Overall, excellent and worth seeing for especially Ferrer. 9/10 Bethany Cox
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed