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Recreating his stage role, Jose Ferrer stars as Edmond Rostand's Cyrano, a 17th-century French cavalier, poet and swordsman whose prominent proboscis is the subject of many a duel. Cyrano is madly in love with the beautiful Roxanne (Mala Powers), but assumes that she'd never love him back due to his cathedral of a nose. Roxanne is also loved by the handsome Christian (William Prince), who unfortunately can't put two consecutive words together when it comes to pitching woo. Cyrano agrees to help Christian win Roxanne by feeding him the right words for his midnight courtships and love letters; in this way, Cyrano can vicariously express his own ardor for the fair lady. Years later, Cyrano's deception is revealed, and he dies happily in the arms of his beloved Roxanne, who realizes that she has really loved Cyrano all along--by way of Christian. Cyrano de Bergerac wasn't seen by many paying moviegoers upon its original showing, but its relative box-office failure resulted in an early release to television, where it has remained a perennial attraction for the past forty years. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
A poetic aristocrat with a large nose helps a pretty boy dolt win the heart of the woman they both love. The Rostand play of the same name is one of my favorites, and the conundrum of putting one's personal feelings aside for the good of others is a theme that resonates with me. While Jose Ferrer exquisitely captures Cyrano's eloquence and defensive arrogance, the deep-seated pain caused by the story's plot and his own insecurities are almost inscrutable and unexplored by the film. Overall, the source material is so good that it's almost impossible to screw this story up, but I think a more emotionally grounded performance that eclipses Cyrano's performative qualities would've made for a stronger interpretation.
If I remember correctly, the first time I saw this movie it was a colorized version on VHS. I have now seen it in its original black and white. The colorization was not terrible, but not ideal either and it is really the performances and the classic story that holds your interest in either version. It is a high romance with touches of comedy. When I started my Oscar winning film list from the beginning (1927, the final year that silents ruled), I was sure I would be bored by those supposedly ancient films. The first years of talkies were in reality more problematic. This period movie and others from the 1950's, I imagined would be another rough patch in movie history. Jose Ferrer had a commanding grasp of the character of Cyrano from portraying it on stage and deserved the Oscar he won, however. The English translation of the dialog, the composition of the shots, the sword play and Ferrer's performance especially give this movie an unexpected energy, vitality and panache.
July 19, 2013
Jose Ferrer's version of Cyrano misses the mark. A fact that becomes all the more obvious when you compare it to the Depardieu version of the 80s. Cyrano is arrogance with no heart.
I saw the original version before I saw the bastardized Steve Martin remake and let me tell you, I liked this one better. Jose Ferrer was one of the greatest actors who ever walked the Earth so seeing him in his prime is worth a viewing in its own right. Good makeup work for 1950. But of course it was black and white so it was much easier to pull off De Bergerac's nose than it would've been if it were in color. A classic film and an even better play if you can find someplace that still plays it.
i loved this movie. jose ferrer really played the part well. the only thing is that roxane is a total bitch. its the best version ive ever seen-the ending made me cry and when i cry during a movie, that means i like it :)
An incredible adaptation of the play onto the big screen made ten times greater because of Jose Ferrer?s fiery performance, a performance which also won him the Academy Award that very year. It is full of energy and wit. A fun film and one with a Shakespearian touch. Still though I love this film for the fiery main character captured brilliantly by Ferrer as a fast thinking poet with a scathing tongue.
Jose Ferrar is simply brilliant as Cyrano, and completely carries the film through its occasional stiffness. More exciting, funny, and moving than almost anything else out there - although the 1990 remake is even better.