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USA 1950
Directed by
Michael Gordon
93 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Cyrano De Bergerac (1950)

José Ferrer took home the Best Actor Oscar for his swaggering performance as the titular hero of Edmond Rostand's1897 classic French play, ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ a society wit and brave soldier who falls for a beautiful young woman but is certain that because of his huge proboscis she will not return his affections.

Carl Foreman’s screenplay follows closely the English 1923 translation of the play by Brian Hooker which was used for the highly acclaimed 1946 Broadway version in which Ferrer played Cyrano (for which he also won a Tony). Although keeping to a theatrical format, producer Stanley Kramer who would become better known for social issue films such as Judgement at Nuremburg (1961) and director Michael Gordon shoot the film in black-and-white and with a “swashbuckling” style which makes it look like it was made in the 1930s, something which actually works in its favour given the “anteek” subject matter.

Ferrer plays his role with panache (apparently the first time the word saw the light of day was in this play) but also pathos and the Oscar was well-deserved. Less effective is Mala Powers' Roxane, an actress who mainly worked in television both before and after this film and having no apparent qualities that would inflame Cyrano’s selfless devotion. William Prince as Christian, the tongue-tied stud muffin that Cyrano beards for, is no more exciting, indeed seems much better suited to the wan Roxane.




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