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The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

4.5 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews


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Editorial Reviews

UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG, THE

Special Features

  • Digitally remastered
  • Excerpt from Agnes Varda's The World of Jacques Demy

Product Details

  • Actors: Catherine Deneuve, Nino Castennuovo, Anne Vernon, Marc Michel, Ellen Farner
  • Directors: Jacques Demy
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Original recording remastered, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: KOCH LORBER FILMS
  • DVD Release Date: April 6, 2004
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (216 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001BMLUA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,407 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 20, 1998
Format: VHS Tape
This could be the most beautiful, unique, romantic movie ever made. Every bit of dialogue is sung (but there are no "musical" numbers), and it's filmed in VIVID pastels, beautifully restored in this print (the film was originally released in 1964, and was the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize winner). In French, with English subtitles, Letterbox (1.66:1, so it looks fine even on a small TV). Young girl (Catherine Deneuve, radiant in her first film) who works for her mother in an umbrella shop, "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg" - hence the title - and young garage mechanic (Nino Castelnuovo) swear their undying love for one another, he goes off to war, she finds herself pregnant, and she must make some decisions which will forever affect the lives of at least four people. Underneath its beautiful and lighthearted look and feel is a very serious and moving story. The entire word-for-word/song-for-song soundtrack/dialogue is also available on 2 audio CDs - Les Parapluies de Cherbourg - Sony ISBN 7464626782. Directed by Jacques Demy, music by Michel Legrand. Several of the musical themes have entered into the cultural consciousness, and if you've never seen this movie before, when you watch it you may experience a pleasant sense of recognition, i.e., "So that's where that song came from!" You'll love it! END
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
There really isn't another film quite like THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG. For instance, every line of dialogue in the movie is sung, yet apart from the heartbreakingly beautiful "I Will Wait for You," there are no songs. So, is it a musical? In form it seems more like an operetta. Musically, the dialogue is loosely organized, though certain musical themes are repeated often, and it lightly sung, none of the performers coming across as highly trained professional singers. Overall, the music, despite the presence of only one song, is entrancing.
As fine as the music is, I actually found the film to be more riveting on a purely visual level. For instance, inn scene after scene, I found myself focusing on the art design rather than the music. Demy frames most of his shots against backgrounds of more or less solid and striking colors--green walls, blue-stripped wallpaper, unusually painted building. Demy also employs a host of subtle camera angles and techniques. The film is unquestionably as much for the eyes as for the ears.
Most members of the cast were unknown to me, except, of course, for the surreally beautiful Catherine Deneuve, who was nineteen during most of the production of the film. She exudes star quality throughout. But none of the performers fails at all in their roles, though none of the others was the budding star that she was. One thing that struck me about all of the characters was that while the tale told is essentially a tragic one--or at least a bittersweet one--there are really no bad guys. Marc Michel, for instance, who plays Deneuve's wealthy suitor Roland Cassard, is a thoroughly likable person, even admirable. She clearly doesn't love him, but in no conceivable sense is he a bad person.
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Format: DVD
Up until 6 months ago, I had never heard of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg." My mom used to hum a couple of tunes from this French musical, but I never made the connection. However, I came across the DVD of this classic musical a bit back while searching for a present for my mother, and I quickly fell in love with this musical. It is different from most musicals, as it is (1) French, and (2) sung the whole way through. All the "dialogue" is sung in the recitative manner of opera music and lead so naturally into the actual songs that you really can't tell the difference. The story itself concerns the bittersweet love between the young daughter (Catherine Deneuve) of a shopkeeper and a young man who learns shortly that he has been drafted to join the French army.
It is a beautiful story told simply and effectively by one of the French New Wave directors, Jacques Demy. As I understand it, he made a few more musicals starring Catherine Deneuve (The Young Girls of Rochefort, Donkeyskin), but this film was his most popular musical. For a long time, this film was considered "lost" due to deterioration of the film stock, its vivid colors reduced to pale shadows of its original glorious hues. However, thanks to recovery of an alternate negative that retained the original colors, the film was abled to be restored to its former brilliance. This restored version of the film is what is available currently on DVD.
Truthfully, it looks quite fantastic. The colors are briliant enough to rival the Hollywood Technicolor process, and the sound is clean. I am glad I bought this DVD, and it has quickly become one of my favorite musicals.
I only have a few problems with the DVD itself. First, subtitles are only in English.
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Format: DVD
I will not bother to outline why everyone with the remotest interest in the art of cinema should see this film. You can see the movie's imdb.com page for that.

What I will comment on is the quality of the DVD transfer:

- Sound is not great, but it is much better than the supposedly superior French release

- Image quality is significantly worse than the French release

There is no satisfactory DVD version of this movie at present, but this one (Koch) is probably the best one around.
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