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A French lawyer defends his client, a cafe owner forced to bribe the police so her dancers can do the cancan.
How to adapt a Broadway musical for the movies? Well, if you've got Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine signed up, you throw out most of the original and make up something new--which is how Cole Porter's Can-Can came to the screen. It had been a smash on Broadway, and on film Can-Can locked up the #2 box-office spot for 1960 (nestled between Ben-Hur and Psycho). From a modern standpoint, the movie's popularity can be attributed to the stars, the colorful widescreen production, the sexy subject matter, and of course the Porter songs. It can't really be explained any other way, because Can-Can isn't among the most engaging movie musicals; it has the stolid, proscenium-framed look of Fox's 1950s widescreen musicals, and the story is only mildly diverting. The saturated color makes 19th-century Montmarte come to life, and the can-can numbers (and the wonderfully daft Garden of Eden ballet) look appropriately splashy. For a bit of authentic Gallic je ne sais quoi, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan are imported from Gigi, a big hit two years earlier. MacLaine and Sinatra have their cozy chemistry ("Let's Do It" fares especially well with them), and the movie marks the film debut of the dimply dancer Juliet Prowse.
The DVD provides a gorgeous color presentation of the movie. A second disc has some OK featurettes, including a making-of documentary that includes the famous story of Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev's visit to the set of Can-Can, at which he witnessed an ooh-la-la can-can number, after which he denounced the proceedings as an example of Western depravity. --Robert Horton
- Disc 1:
- Widescreen Feature
- Isolated score and FX track
- Disc 2:
- A Leg Up: The Making of Can-Can
- The Classic Cole Porter
- Book By Burrows: The Man Who Wrote Can-Can
- Restoration Comparison
- Theatrical Trailer
- STILL GALLERIES:
- Souvenir Program
- Interactive Press Book
- Inside Can-Can
- Production Art
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The setting is the Montmatre district of Paris, circa 1896. The can-can dance has been ruled as immoral and scandalous by the polite society, but that doesn't stop Simone Pistache (Shirley MacLaine) from performing the routine at her cafe. She is helped by her boyfriend--crooked lawyer Francois Durnais (Frank Sinatra). Simone's happy existence comes crashing down when she's arrested on the orders of the new district judge, Philipe Forrestier (Louis Jourdan).
Francois decides that the best way for Simone to continue her activities is to seduce Philipe. Pretty soon, Simone has well and truly fallen for his charms, but the hilarious love triangle has only just begun!...
This version of Cole Porter's 1953 Broadway musical is a very enjoyable, breezy viewing experience. The costumes from Irene Sharaff are lavish, and the art direction is flawless. MacLaine and Sinatra (continuing the screen partnership they had established with "Some Came Running") have a very fun rapport. Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan switch on their Gallic charm to maximum effect here.
The original Cole Porter tunestack was augmented with "You Do Something to Me", "Let's Fall in Love", and "Just One of Those Things"; whilst several extra character numbers were deleted ("If You Loved Me Truly", "Allez-Vous-En", "Never Give Anything Away"). The score was lushly arranged and conducted by Sinatra's frequent collaborator Nelson Riddle.
Choreography from Hermes Pan is full of colour and excitement. MacLaine (with the help of a life-sized dummy) is thrown and throttled in a precision-drilled "Apache Dance", and leads the troupe in the "Garden of Eden" Ballet. Juliet Prowse, as Claudine, offers a top performance, too.
TRIVIA: During her early Broadway days, Shirley MacLaine briefly considered applying for Gwen Verdon's understudy in "Can-Can".
The brand-new 2-disc DVD from Fox's "Marquee Musicals" series presents a beautifully-restored print, in complete Roadshow length with overture, intermission and exit music sequences. Extra features on the second disc include "A Leg Up: The Making of Can Can" which delves into the history of the Broadway musical (and features some superb rare footage of Gwen Verdon from the original production). "The Classic Cole Porter" offers a brief glimpse into the life of the celebrated composer. "Book by Burrows" is a salute to CAN-CAN's original author Abe Burrows with reminisces from his children.
The "Restoration Comparison" allows to you see the new DVD master with the earlier 1993 video/laserdisc release-print, and it's quite evident that the good people at Fox have gone above and beyond to restore CAN-CAN to it's original brilliance. There are also some still galleries plus the trailer. In addition, Fox has packaged a set of four postcard-sized lobbycards in the DVD case!
The new edition of CAN-CAN is a must for all fans of the classic musicals.
As for me, I remain riveted to the TV screen from the first scene of this classic film to the breathtaking can-can scene at the very end.
I highly recommend this movie!
This is a two disc package and comes with extra's and information about the composer and filming.
Most recent customer reviews
Hot Toasty Rag, June 26, 2017
What does an old musical set in France need? Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan, of course!Read more
HUGE ripe off!