Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

Starring: José Ferrer, Mala Powers and William Prince
Fabulous Films/Fremantle Home Entertainment
RRP: 14.99

FHED 1816
Certificate: U
Available 20 September 2004

France, 1640: Cyrano, a charismatic swordsman-poet with an absurdly large nose, is hopelessly in love with his beautiful cousin, Roxane. Unfortunately, for Cyrano, she has fallen for the handsome but tongue-tied Christian, who loves her too but is too bashful to begin his courtship. Cyrano helps Christian to woo Roxane, an innocent deception, with tragic results...

Cyrano de Bergarac was originally released in 1950 and is an adaptation of the 19th Century play written by Edmond Rostand and based on the 17th Century character Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac. José Ferrer won an Oscar for his portrayal of the legendary swordsman-poet and it's was an award well deserved.

The irony of this tale is that while Cyrano is bold and courageous - fighting many men at the drop of a hat - he also has a gentle heart and is too shy to confront Roxane about his feelings for her. And, when he learn that Christian is the object of her desires, he realises that she will never love him and so sets about turning Christian into a poet - writing his letters to Roxane and teaching him how to sound like he has the heart of a self-styled philosopher.

This movie has aged gracefully, although the print used here could have done with a quick clean before being transferred to DVD. Not only that, but someone should have checked this movie more carefully as there is a six second pause where one film reel ends and the next begins - and it's not because the DVD changes layers at that point.

I loved the very final shot - Cyrano had crucified himself throughout his tortured life and the final shot shows a subliminal cross.

There are no real extras on this release, just a selection of biographies for the main cast and crew members, but then this movie is worth parting with your cash even without extras. It's just a shame that more care wasn't taken with the transfer.

Ray Thompson

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