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Showing 1-10 of 128 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 246 reviews
on January 1, 2014
This 1964 opera movie (all dialogue sung to music by Michel Legrand) was Catherine Deneuve's first big one, although her first film part was in 1957. She was 20 years old, playing a sixteen-year-old. The acting was very good, the cinematography was good, and the movie is thoroughly enjoyable.
Unfortunately, this Korean-made DVD is only so-so. It is wide-screen as promised, but it skips in 20 or 30 places during the 90 minutes of play time. This seemed to be the only DVD version available, so I kept it. Technically it's definitely a shoddy piece of work. The sound is okay, barring the skips, and it's one of my favorite foreign films.
By the way, two or three of the tunes from this opera became popular songs in the USA during the mid-to-late Sixties.
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on January 30, 2016
The word "Masterpiece" is thrown about often in the worlds of film and music but in this case this is the real thing. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of those rare instances where everything came together in a film in a serendipitous way that would never be duplicated. Not only that, but made by two up and coming young men who had only done two films before with a cast of mostly unknowns. Then, to top it all off, it would not just be a musical, but a film sung completely through like opera, something completely unique and untried. Try selling a concept like that to one of today's studios. Fortunately the early sixties was a much looser time with many movie studios and open minds willing to try new things.

The director was Jacques Demy, whose first film, Lola (1961) included music but was shot in the more usual black and white. His co-creator was Michel Legrand, already known as a jazz pianist who had had hit albums and even toured America. The music would be light,, but not operetta; it would be updated to include strong influences of chanson, pop and jazz with a little Baroque counterpoint thrown in (Legrand had been classically trained). This time the film would be shot in super-saturated color with sets painted vibrant, almost expressionist colors. And it all would center around a young and virtually unknown Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo as Genevieve and Guy, the very personification of young love in a rainy Spring.

The resulting film is completely transporting. The story is very old, the treatment very new and the end result is something to be experienced. The singing somehow seems completely natural, more natural in a way, than films with spoken dialogue that break into songs from time to time. Here in a world of continuous music, love has turned everything into a dizzily colored poem that peaks when Guy is to be sent away to fight in the war in Algeria. Fate takes a big hand in the consequences creating unforseen results. The supporting cast are as good as the principals, with Anne Vernon (Madame Emery) the veteran of many films and Marc Michel (Roland Cassard) coming in having played the same character in Lola, a signature quirk of the director. The music produced two early sixties hits, I Will Wait For You and Watch What Happens. Mr. Legrand's familiarity with the worlds of pop and jazz kept everything fresh-sounding and up to date. You also note subtle touches like the opening jazzy music set in 1957 is very brassy and big band sounding while in the 1963 final scene it's the cool jazz of that time. The colors are so captivatingly brilliant that when establishing shots of the actual Cherbourg are shown it seems like another world.

If you like romances, this is one of the classics. If you are open to musicals you will have no trouble with the fact that the entire film is sung. This is a most memorable and worthy film.
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on January 9, 2017
I discovered the soundtrack from inheriting an old vinyl. After listening to it countless times, I had to find the movie. It was kind of hard to find and wasn't sure if I would get a US compatible DVD, so I'm glad Amazon had it digitally. It's helped me while I learn French because it's all in song and everything is pronounced so clearly. It has English subtitles which is really helpful. Though I'm 50 years or so too late, it's one of my new favorite movies!
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on September 23, 2016
This is a truly beautiful movie; however, the Korean import version's restoration is at best mediocre. I'd rented the Criterion version from Netflix, and that was superb. But since I couldn't find that version for sale, I opted for the Korean import. The sound track is fine, but there are spots and other defects in the picture. Still, it's one of my favorite French movies and well worth watching.
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on October 5, 2002
I saw this back in the 60's. It captivated me by it's unusual concept, which, led me toward a love of musical drama and opera. I was in high school. I immediately bought the soundtrack LP album. Hearing it is wonderful, but this new DVD version is spectacular! Knowing more of French now (though not that much) I recognize that the subtitles are more correct now than when originally released (I bought the badly faded VHS version a while back). Previous reviewers have covered most everything and I'll try not to repeat. One thing that bears repeating is that Catherie Daneuve was the most beautiful woman in the world, then as now. (Subjective, but few will disagree). A fan of musical films, I'm amazed at how the voices seem to seamlessly flow out of the mouths of the actors, since it was dubbed by real singers. The acting remained intact, without the efforts of the vocal ability involved. This restoration pretty much retrieves the original intention of production designer, Bernard Evein. The colors are so grotesquely vivid as to compliment the idea of the sung dialogue. It is indeed a modern fairy tale...young love ain't always what it seems. Jacques Demy took a chance, and gave us a unique film experience of classic proportions. Nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the '64 Oscars, it was then nominated in '65 for 4 more after it's American general release (Song "I Will Wait for You"...a standard now...as well as screenplay, original Score and Adapted Musical Score.) I watched an hour of this film before I realized the subtitles weren't on. I was still riveted after all these years. When I first saw this, I was getting over my first pangs of lost love. I can't think of another film that will bring you to those same bitter-sweet moments of your past. So beautifully presented, so naturally acted; you soon forget that they're singing all the time (great voices, too). Ellen Farner, as Madeleine, gives the best performance (she looks a lot like Katharine Ross), her every nuance is heartfelt. This film is so perfectly set-up by Demy, that you can't help be taken away. Have tissues handy.
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on January 23, 2017
A thoroughly enjoyable, creative, colorful, musical film. The actors do a great job of inviting the viewer into this tale of young people learning the difference between saying, "Je t'aime," I love you and doing it. I had never seen or heard of this film, but was instantly taken back to my childhood by the melodic theme that runs throughout Michel Legrand's score. It became the hit, I Will Wait For You, that was all over the radio, back in the day.
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on January 24, 2017
This movie remains a classic and brings back so many childhood memories of watching a huge billboard with Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo. What a beautiful couple!
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on January 13, 2017
A lovely and love-lorn tale, love and love lost. The lead song "If it takes forever, I will wait for you", is so sad because she didn't wait after all, and has to make do with a stale marriage. I love the fact that all the dialog is sung, in French. I waited for this movie for many years and was delighted when it finally was released on DVD. It also enjoyed a retouched revival at a theater in Santa Monica.
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on September 26, 2016
One of my all time favorites. The soundtrack is so great that I can turn this on and do stuff all day around the house and just listen to the music without paying attention to the movie...but don't get me wrong, like I said, one of the best musicals/operas that I'VE ever seen. I just bought a huge movie poster to put over my fireplace; THAT'S how much I love this movie. Brilliant color. Catherine Deneuve <3
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on March 3, 2017
La La Land (which was just o.k. for me) was compared to this movie I had seen long ago and always remembered as a great love story and film. I watched it at one sitting and loved it all over again. A very young Catherine DeNeuve stars. Real life issues abound in this classic subtitled musical.
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