Friday, May 15, 2015

Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)

A first-rate adaptation of the Edmond Rostand play, about a romantic poet-soldier whose exceptional bravery and wit mask a deep insecurity toward women because of his unusually large nose. Unable to express his love for his beautiful cousin, Roxane, Cyrano is instead forced to speak through the handsome young soldier whom she loves, providing him with impossibly eloquent romantic sentiments with which to woo her.

The pitch-perfect balance of humor and tragedy is beautifully achieved by Carl Foreman's script, Michael Gordon's understated but effective direction, and Jose Ferrer's truly magnificent performance in the title role, ably supported by Mala Powers, William Prince, Ralph Clanton, Morris Carnovsky and Lloyd Corrigan. Produced independently by Stanley Kramer, the superb qualities of the writing and Ferrer's performance overcome the limitations imposed by the obviously low budget.

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