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Can-Can (1960) HD online
Language: English
Category: Movie / Comedy / Musical
Original Title: Can-Can
Director: Walter Lang
Writers: Dorothy Kingsley,Charles Lederer
Released: 1960
Budget: $6,000,000
Duration: 2h 11min
Video type: Movie
Montmartre, 1896: the Can-Can, the dance in which the women lift their skirts, is forbidden. Nevertheless Simone has it performed every day in her nightclub. Her employees use their female charms to let the representatives of law enforcement look the other way - and even attend the shows. Then the young ambitious judge Philippe Forrestier decides to bring this to an end. Will Simone manage to twist him round her little finger, too? Her boyfriend Francois certainly doesn't like to watch her trying.
Complete credited cast:
Frank Sinatra Frank Sinatra - François Durnais
Shirley MacLaine Shirley MacLaine - Simone Pistache
Maurice Chevalier Maurice Chevalier - Paul Barriere
Louis Jourdan Louis Jourdan - Philipe Forrestier
Juliet Prowse Juliet Prowse - Claudine
Marcel Dalio Marcel Dalio - Andre - the head waiter
Leon Belasco Leon Belasco - Arturo - orchestra leader
Nestor Paiva Nestor Paiva - Bailiff
John A. Neris John A. Neris - Jacques - the Photographer
Jean Del Val Jean Del Val - Judge Merceaux
Ann Codee Ann Codee - League president

Although it is never explained in the film why the Can-Can was illegal, it is because most of the time the girls who performed the dance did not wear panties.

During filming on 19th September 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev visited the set on Sound Stage 8 with his wife Nina. He reportedly was shocked by the open sexuality on display, condemning the film as pornographic and depraved: "The face of mankind is prettier than its backside... The thing is immoral. We do not want that sort of thing for the Russians."

Gwen Verdon won the 1954 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Featured Actress in a Musical for "Can-Can".

A duet of Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier singing Cole Porter's "I Love Paris" was deleted from the release print, although the song is performed by a chorus at the beginning and end of the film. The Sinatra-Chevalier audio has been presented on Capitol's 1960 movie-soundtrack LP and 1990 CD, plus on an EMI CD import from Britain in 2000, but the film footage has yet to surface. Rendered solo by Mr. Sinatra, recorded in Los Angeles on April 13, 1960, and arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle (who served as the film's music arranger and conductor), a second "I Love Paris" originally was released later that year on a Capitol 45-rpm single. In 1998, the label added the solo "I Love Paris" as a bonus track on Mr. Sinatra's "Come Fly with Me" CD reissue.

During the opening song, François Durnais (Frank Sinatra) says 'You'll never make it' to a very short man with a taller woman. The man, carrying a painting, is a reference to Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. This is one of several glaring examples of Sinatra's blatant refusal to adapt his performance style to suit the film's time period.

Fox offered the property to Marilyn Monroe, but the actress turned it down.

The Broadway production of "Can-Can" opened at the Shubert Theater in New York on May 7, 1953 and ran for 892 performances.

On Broadway, the starring role of La Mome Pistache was played by German chanteuse Lilo, with the supporting role of Claudine portrayed by [link=nm089386. Once the show began performances, it became apparent that Verdon's role was actually the more arresting of the two, which forever skewed the property, to the extent that star Shirley MacLaine - herself a gypsy who had stolen The Pajama Game (1957) (1954) away from its leading lady and landed a Hollywood contract - insisted on collapsing the material of Pistache and Claudine into one role, Simone. This left Juliet Prowse, who portrayed what was left of Claudine, with precious little screen time.

In both the stage and film versions of Can-Can (1960) (1960), the plot's conflict revolves around the relationship between the club proprietor and a judge of the Parisian court. On stage, the two characters resolve in each other's arms. The ending of the film is perplexing in that, once the two characters have reached their compromise, Simone (Shirley MacLaine) randomly pairs off with Francois (Frank Sinatra). This is one of several awkward plot points that scenarist Dorothy Kingsley was unable to smooth over as she attempted to weave Sinatra's character into a plot that did not warrant his presence.

Porter slipped a gay reference into the title song "Can Can" that somehow slipped past the censors in the 50's. "If in Lesbos, a pure Lesbian can, Baby, you can can-can too."

Frank Sinatra's production company was the engine that powered the film, which explains why his character, Francois, which did not exist in the Broadway show, was inserted into the plot. With no pains taken to disguise his American accent, Sinatra is noticeably out of place in 1890s Montmartre, going so far as to ad lib his trademark "ring a ding ding" during the song "C'est Magnifique."

Between the deleted songs from the stage play and three tunes interpolated from other Cole Porter shows, only two ensemble numbers, "Maidens Typical of France" and "Can-Can," are performed in the same context as they had been on Broadway.

Despite its over length, the film virtually omits the show's immortal hit song, "I Love Paris," which is relegated to one brief choral stanza sung under the credits. Critics at the time were quick to note the irony, especially given the fact that Maurice Chevalier, the song's logical interpreter, was in the cast.

Frank Sinatra was at the peak of his power as a Hollywood player during the making of this project, as demonstrated by his casting Rat Pack member Shirley MacLaine as Simone, and his decision to play variations of his own image rather than develop a character (indeed, Sinatra's role did not exist in the stage production). Additionally, Sinatra retrenched his solo number, "It's All Right With Me" from a driving ballad to one of his trademark slow-going saloon songs.

In the Garden of Eden ballet, Eve was portrayed on stage by the character of Claudine. When it was decided that Simone (Shirley MacLaine) would assume the role of Eve on screen, the character of Claudine (Juliet Prowse) was relegated to portraying the snake.

Musical director Nelson Riddle was tasked with creating an authentic musical background for the film, which takes place in 1890s Montmartre. However, the charts Riddle created for his frequent collaborator Frank Sinatra - particularly "C'est Magnifique" and "Let's Do It" - are noticeably more pop-like, and Sinatra renders them much like his studio recordings of the era, minus any attempt to incorporate the film's period or style.

Frank Sinatra's Suffolk Productions was instrumental in hiring Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier for roles in Can-Can (1960) (1960), as the two had been instrumental in creating the Gallic flavor that infused the Oscar-winning Gigi (1958) (1958). Jourdan is happily cast in the central role of the starched judge whose inflexibility fuels the plot, but Chevalier's role - like Sinatra's - was invented purely as a means of justifying his presence in the film and does not function in the plot in any germane way.

Following Silk Stockings (1957) (1957), this was the second consecutive film adaptation of a Cole Porter show to present the title song as an instrumental only, minus the lyrics.

The show's plot is essentially a battle of wills between two characters, one male, one female, who, in the bargain, fall in love. This delicate balance was fatally tipped in the film version by the addition of two male characters - played by Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier - whose superfluous presence distracts from the matter at hand.



Reviews: [25]

  • avatar

    Ydely

    "Can-Can" is a feeble and obvious attempt to match the wit and high professional gloss of "Gigi." The cast even included Maurice Chevalier, still enjoying the quiet pleasures of old age as a tolerant judge named Paul Barriere, and Louis Jourdan, cast here as an upright young judge named Philippe Forrestier… After Judge Forrestier becomes amorously involved with the café owner Simone Pistache (Shirley MacLaine), and legally involved with her shifty lawyer boyfriend (Frank Sinatra), he is no longer the same man…

    "Can-Can" is a musical film that virtually embodies the reasons for the decline of the genre in the sixties… Except for its appropriately gaudy costumes and for the exuberant performance by dancer Juliet Prowse as a cancan girl, the musical is without joy or genuine style under Walter Lang's unfocused direction…

    The Cole Porter score reveals the composer at his most ersatz Parisian… The two of the central roles are grotesquely miscast: Sinatra, who seems to have arrived to Paris by way of New Jersey, creates no discernible or even vaguely likable character in François… MacLaine does well in the musical portions, but her Pistache is simply shrill and unappealing… Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan work hard at injecting some life into the dull proceedings… Chevalier with his trademark shrugged-shoulders, laissez-faire attitude toward life and love, expressed to such songs as "Live and Let Live" and "Just One of Those Things," and Louis Jourdan with the French charm he displayed so prominently in "Gigi."

    For all their efforts, however, Can-Can emerges as a flat soufflé…
  • avatar

    Ghile

    This is another film which was often shown on TV (twice on the local channel alone!) but I hadn’t bothered with until now; it’s recently been released as a 2-Disc Set by Fox but, in view of its middling reputation, opted to acquire the film by itself.

    To begin with, the DVD presentation had its good and bad points: the film was made available in its “Roadshow Version” – running 142 minutes against the “General Release Version” which eliminated 11 minutes of extraneous music (Overture, Intermission, Entr’ Acte and Exit Music); unfortunately, time seems to have taken its toll on the negative as there were several instances of color fluctuation throughout! As can be surmised, I decided to give the film a whirl as part of my ongoing marathon to commemorate the 10th anniversary from the passing of its male lead – Frank Sinatra; curiously enough, given his reputation as one of the foremost American singers, he appeared in few vintage musicals over the years…and it’s certainly a tribute to his acting talent that his non-musical work (often in hard-hitting, even groundbreaking films) has tended to overshadow this more familiar aspect of his personality – at least on the silver screen!

    Anyway, to get back to the film proper: I found it quite engaging and its considerable length not overly taxing – and this, to a large degree, is thanks to the formidable star cast (which, apart from Sinatra, included Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan). The first two had already appeared together – albeit in dramatic roles – in SOME CAME RUNNING (1958), while the others had been wonderfully teamed in the same genre and a similar ambiance in GIGI (1958). Ironically, both these films were helmed by a master stylist – Vincente Minnelli…so, perhaps, Fox should have struck a deal with MGM to acquire his services for CAN-CAN – but, given director Lang’s previous musical success with THE KING AND I (1956), they obviously thought he could do no wrong. The fact is that his handling is sterile and more accommodating to the Widescreen ratio than the necessities of the plot and characters – filming events from a distance and rarely cutting or even moving the camera; this lazy approach (which still landed him a nomination from the Directors' Guild Of America!) is doubly frustrating when viewed on a small screen!!

    Apparently, the production went through a lot of script changes (Sinatra’s role, reportedly, wasn’t even in the stage original to begin with!), songs were dropped and replaced by other Cole Porter standards which don’t really fit in (such as Jourdan’s “You Do Something To Me”); the rest of the soundtrack isn’t particularly outstanding (unlike that of GIGI, for instance) but a number of tunes are cleverly reprised (sometimes with variations and by different characters) during the course of the film. It was nice, too, seeing two world-renowned singers with such different styles as Sinatra and Chevalier come together (and having fun with it); Chevalier and Jourdan’s roles, then, are virtual carbon copies of their GIGI characterizations – but it’s a formula that seems to work (even if it’s not as central to the main plot this time around, Jourdan having been relegated to The Other Man type).

    MacLaine did few musicals as well but her vivaciousness (as a dancer and owner of an establishment which finds itself frequently in trouble with the law over the forbidden “Can-Can” dance, but who manages to charm the stuffy judge at the trial) ensures that her numbers emerge as the show’s highlights: the Apache Dance, the drunken recital of a vulgar song at her engagement party to Jourdan (at the instigation of lawyer Sinatra, who loves her but is unwilling to commit himself) and the “Garden Of Eden” sequence (intended to demonstrate that “Sin wasn’t invented in Montmartre – it was only perfected there”!). Two other important figures (though both severely underwritten) are those played by Juliet Prowse and Frenchman Marcel Dalio as the nervous but devoted manager of the “Bal De Paradis” (the latter was a versatile actor in his native land, but he was stuck with this kind of unrewarding role during his long tenure in Hollywood!); the former appears as a leading dancer at the club and MacLaine’s prospective rival – interestingly, the two actresses’ physiognomies are strikingly similar – for Sinatra’s attentions (a situation which is indirectly played upon during the afore-mentioned “Garden Of Eden” number, apart from which they’re teamed for the climactic Can-Can performance…to the predictable enthusiasm of the formerly disapproving head of a female Legion Of Decency-type group).

    In the end, while this film can’t be considered a classic musical as such, it still seems to me to have been unfairly maligned – as some fantastic talent has been assembled in the service of a charming (albeit unsurprising) narrative to provide colorful (if uninspired) entertainment which the genre was capable of during its studio-system heyday…
  • avatar

    JoJogar

    After his greatest stage success (KISS ME KATE) Cole Porter entered the last decade and a half of his life with a track record of hit and miss musicals. It was not that he lost his abilities to compose great songs. It was that not everything he touched turned to gold.

    The "gold" of this decade was his music for SILK STOCKINGS (his version of NINOTCHKA) and his musical CAN-CAN. His misses included OUT OF THIS WORLD, his attempt at a modern retelling of the Amphitryon myth from Greece. OUT OF THIS WORLD has entered the history of Broadway as a potentially great musical that was too advanced for its period. Apparently much of the musical involved homosexual as well as heterosexual sex (in keeping with ancient Greek culture both forms of love were acceptable). Unfortunately they were not acceptable in 1950 New York City (and one may add in 2008 California and elsewhere). Only one number from OUT OF THIS WORLD survived: FROM THIS MOMENT ON. It got grafted into the film version of KISS ME KATE.

    It is a tradition that none of Porter's scores survived totally intact in Hollywood. Songs were dropped from films or pushed into others. So CAN-CAN has Let's Do It in the film score, although it was not in the musical (it was over thirty years old by that time), and yet I LOVE Paris, Porter's greatest anthem to the foreign city he adored above all others, was dropped from the film. Still there is enough Porter in this film to appreciate his best work. And as was said in another review, Sinatra's singing "But It's All Right With Me" to Juliet Prowse happens to be quite the best moment for old "Blue Eyes" in the film.

    The film tried to capitalize on the success (two years before) of GIGI, by reuniting Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan from that film with Sinatra, and fellow rat-packers Shirley MacLaine and Prowse. Set again in the France of the 1890s, here we are not watching a young girl blossom into womanhood and win the man of her dreams, but we are watching the sleazier theatrical world of the day in the Montmartre District*. For MacLaine runs a dance hall/bar that has the town in a tizzy due to the dancing of the "forbidden" can-can by the dance hall girls. MacLaine's partner is her lawyer (and lover) Sinatra. When a bunch of reformers cause a raid on the dance hall, they just miss arresting Sinatra, MacLaine, and a corrupt (or friendly) jurist played by Chevalier. MacLaine has to appear in court, and the judge there is Jourdan, who is known to be incorruptible. He is, but he falls for MacLaine. It enables Sinatra to beat the legal attack temporarily, but it leaves MacLaine with a lovesick Jourdan to worry about.

    (*GIGI is not the only recent film that has an influence on CAN-CAN. The Montmartre area is where Toulouse - Lautrec and other painters of that period resided. The color of Huston's MOULIN ROUGE (1953) and the background of the cabarets Toulouse - Lautrec went to is evident in the film too. However, there even is a little joke (no pun intended). While singing the opening song "Montmartre", Sinatra is in the street, and passes Toulouse - Lautrec holding one of his canvasses. Toulouse - Lautrec shows it to Sinatra, who looks at it, and says, "It'll never sell!")

    The film follows MacLaine trying to get a commitment from Sinatra that will make their sexual relationship permanent, but he is too independent. So she is slowly finding the interest of Jourdan a kind of refreshing alternative (although she does suspect it just cannot work). Chevalier is pleased to see this troublesomely honest protégé of his somewhat corrupted so that he won't interfere with the business at the dance hall, but he realizes that Jourdan is serious enough to consider marrying MacLaine, and ruining his career. Their duet ("Your Business is Your Business, and My Business is Mine.") is not one of the best recalled Porter tunes, but it is a bouncy enough one, and it certainly illustrates Chevalier's realization that what was previously a useful slip by Jourdan is now totally out of hand.

    The conclusion of the film is set in the dance hall, where the puritan critics are given a demonstration of the sinful dance, and discover it has a charm and excitement they had not expected.

    The dance sequence at the end was the only time that MacLaine (a pretty affective dancer before she became an actress) shared film dance time with Prowse. Juliet Prowse was a mediocre actress at best (see my review of MONA MCCLUSKY, her attempt at a sit com), but she was a first rate dancer, and the production number of her and MacLaine leading the Can-Can is quite memorable. The number is a fine way to end the film, and also for it to enter diplomatic history. As pointed out elsewhere on this thread, Khrustchev was touring Hollywood when they were shooting Can-Can, and watched the dance number being shot. He did condemn the film as proof of the decadence of the west. However, that did not prevent him from having his photo taken with Sinatra and MacLaine. I guess there is decadence and there is decadence.
  • avatar

    ℳy★†ỦrÑ★ Wiℓℒ★₡oℳ€★TøØ

    Another Cole Porter Broadway show makes it Hollywood, but not intact. Can Can retained most of its score, but 20th Century Fox added some other Porter standards like Let's Do It. Just One of Those Things, You Do Something To Me. And of course the book was sanitized by the Hollywood censors.

    Briefly the plot is a girl who's a Can Can dancer played by Shirley MacLaine has to choose between two men of the legal profession. Upright judge, Louis Jourdan and less than scrupulous attorney, Frank Sinatra. Maurice Chevalier is an older judge who knows all of them and presides over the film like an avuncular grandfather.

    The performers all do justice to the Cole Porter score and the best musical moment is Frank Sinatra's singing of It's All Right With Me. He's singing it to Juliet Prowse who was his main squeeze at the time. It's one of Sinatra's best musical moments on film, a perfect mating of singer and song.

    I'm sure glad neither Sinatra or MacLaine attempted any kind of phony French accent. Sinatra tried a Spanish one in The Pride and the Passion and the results were hilarious.

    Shirley MacLaine before she came to Hollywood was in the chorus of Can-Can on Broadway so she was a perfect fit for her part as Simone Pistache the cabaret owner where the illegal Can-Can is performed.

    For reasons I don't understand a duet with Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier singing I Love Paris was cut, though it remained in the original cast album. Blockheads at Fox, what were they thinking?

    It also would have been nice to have some Paris location shooting for this film, it was all done at 20th Century's backlot where Nikita Khruschev paid a historic visit and said this was an example of western immorality and decadence. You couldn't buy that kind of publicity.

    Verdict on this film, well as Old Blue Eyes sang:

    RING-A-DING DING DING, C'est Magnifique.
  • avatar

    Zulkishicage

    Shirley MacLaine is a delight as the owner/operator of an 1895 Paris Night Club. The problem: A new, "disgusting" dance craze called the "Can Can" has swept Paris, and Shirley's night club seems to be the only place that dares to perform it nightly. Money man Frank Sinatra, who also is the on-again-off-again fiancé of the owner, attempts to bribe the authorities to turn a blind eye to what's going on at the club. Law man Louis Jourdan also falls for Shirley, while an ever-wise Maurice Chevallier tries his best to play cupid.

    The musical numbers are wonderful, especially Shirley MacLaine's solo "Come Along With Me", The MacLaine/Sinatra duet "Let's Do It" and the grand finale "Can Can". -- This film cost 6 million dollars to produce, which was a lot in 1960. I'm glad they went through with it, because this is one of my favorite film musicals. They don't come much better than this!
  • avatar

    Oppebro

    Well, Can-Can is not a total loss, but it's not a 10-star gem of a movie either, but - it IS entertaining, but the biggest problem that I see with the film is that everyone looks like they're embarrassed to be in the movie with each other because no one is actually looking at each other when they're saying their lines. Look at the scene where Shirley McClain is making up the story as to how Louis Jourdan was trying to overcome her sexually and the scene goes something like this:

    SHIRLEY: And I fought him and fought him and stuggled, but what could a person do? MAURICE: [embarrassed to say] Uh - submit - of course! SHIRLEY: [slightly glances at thim and them says loudly] SUBMIT?

    The film just kinda lays there and doesn't do anything. Come on - it's not Gigi! It was really a re-uniting of Louie and Maurice because of their hit movie Gigi and that's about where the uniting ends, but there are some highlights to the film. Shirley McClaine's apache dance with the guys while Louis Jourdan looks on is a great number, and the Adam and Eve Ballet is quite good and Shirley's line before the ballet is wonderful when she says something like this: "Be it known that sin may have been invented in the Garden of Eden, but it was perfected in Monemart!"

    It just seems like all they're doing in the film is walking through their dress rehearsal without putting any oomph into the acting, and at the same time the some of the costumes are so tacky that they look like we did as kids when we played dress-up as adults! And, look at the scene before Maurice and Louis sing "Live and Let Live". It looks like it was inserted on purpose so that they could have the opportunity to sing the song, and the scene in which Maurice sings "It Was Just One of Those Things". Even that looks like it was inserted on purpose just to give him a chance to sing a song, but the songs are great even though most of them were never in the original broadway play such as "You Do Something To Me", "Let's Do It", and "It Was Just One of Those Things", "It's Alright With Me" [which is slow and a very boring rendition], and oddly enough "I Love Paris" a duet between Frank Sinatra and Maurice Chevalier was deleted from the movie and only heard in the the original soundtrack album, and the Oveture and beginning Credits of the video, that is if you have the first video version of Can-Can in which you get the Oveture, Intermission Music, and Exit Music with all the musical numbers letter-boxed, and why they deleted "I Love Paris" from the movie is beyond me since it was the hit of the show. Again, Hollywood has been known to do some dumb stuff!

    Juliet Prowse's big number "Maids From France" is quite good, but it's obvious why she's in the scene with Frank Sinatra when he sings "It's Alright With Me" because at that time they were having an affair, and I guess if it was alright with them it should be alright with us, but later he would marry Mia Farrow and since Frank was Italian it was only obvious that his kids would call her "Uh-Mama Mia"!

    Anyway, I sure wish they would re-release the original video version of "Can-Can" or a whole widescreen version on D.V.D.. Other songs from the Broadway Show were deleted from the movie such as "Never Give Anything Away" "Al-e-Vou-Zon" [which is only used in Shirley McClains apache dance as a melody] "There Is No Trick To A Can Can" which is just used as a melody for the Can-Can at the end of the movie, and again even though they deleted a singing version of the hit of the play "I Love Paris", at least they use the melody of it in the Adam and Eve Ballet, but Shirley McClains drunken version of "Come Along With Me" is delightful, and here goes the insanity of Hollywood again, at the end of the film when the Paddy-Wagon is pulling away with Shirley and Frank in it - the chorus is singing the last lines of "I Love Paris"!

    So - why didn't Louis get Shirley in the end? Well, it's obvious that she was in love with Frank Sinatra all the time, but more than that; "Once a Rat Packer; always a Rat Packer"!
  • avatar

    INwhite

    I was all set to dislike "Can-Can" for a variety of reasons (not the least of which is Frank Sinatra cast in a musical set in 1896 France...Frank Sinatra??), but the film is a lot of fun. Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine are in good spirits throughout this pleasing adaptation of the stage-success about a dance-hall proprietress who defends her right to perform the scandalous title-named dance, deemed lascivious in its day. It runs a little too long, and MacLaine is more comfortable in her love scenes with Ol' Blue Eyes than with Louis Jourdan (who doesn't match up well with Shirley at all--he looks puny next to her), but otherwise it's surprisingly enjoyable and Juliet Prowse gives her small part as a dancer a great deal of zest. **1/2 from ****
  • avatar

    Marige

    What does an old musical set in France need? Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan, of course! And since there's also singing and a cute dancer who likes showing off her legs, what else does it need? Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine! Can-Can has Shirley, both French charmers, and Ol' Blue Eyes.

    Set in the 1800s, when the can-can dance was forbidden in France because it was too risqué, Shirley MacLaine decides to buck the system and allows her and her nightclub dancers show off their legs. Lots of dancing from choreographer Hermes Pan, lots of pretty costumes, lots of Cole Porter songs, and a love triangle that will keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time, Can-Can is definitely one to see if you like old musicals. I've seen them all, and while this one doesn't make it to the top shelf in my collection, I'm glad I saw it. Many famous songs come from this movie, including "I Love Paris", "Let's Do It", "Just One of Those Things", and "It's All Right With Me", so if you like any of those, rent it during your next musical-fest weekend.
  • avatar

    Rainbearer

    In 1960, when Can-Can was released, Frank Sinatra was at the top of his game-most powerful performer in Hollywood, #1 box office draw, (with Elizabeth Taylor) at the dawn of his Rat Pack Leadership, and he was making the best and some of the most popular records around. Those were truly Ring-a- Ding days, and Sinatra, as he stated in song, had the world on a string. And it was then that Can-Can came along.

    When you take a huge star, hunt around for some little property that at least loosely fit's his screen persona, put his name up in colored lights, and try to make a lot of money by shouting '' Frankie's in this!!!!'', you have made what is known as a VEHICLE.

    Like there are good and bad authors, insurance salesmen, and hula- hoop instructors, there are both good and bad vehicles. This, I am very happy to say, is NOT a good vehicle. It is a MAGNIFICENT vehicle.

    The reason for it's greatness does not lie in Shirley Maclaine, Louis Jourdan, or even Maurice Chevalier, although they are all quite good and entertaining.

    No. The real magic in Can-Can comes from what Frank Sinatra can do with a Cole Porter song. Even though they stuck him in France in the 1800's, he's still Sinatra, the incomparable ring-a- ding ding cool, the essential charm and star quality, the cocky grin and blue eyes, and, of course, that voice. THE Voice.

    Never would that voice be more perfect than in that scene in Can-Can where he put away that lovable arrogance and gave one of the finest performances of his career with the aching tenderness of '' It's All Right with Me."

    It's no wonder Juliet Prowse, who he sang it to, proved it was certainly all right with her as well. Although that little romance, (like most of Sinatra's) was not long to last, the song's magic will last forever.

    Over-all, if this film did not star Sinatra, it would still be fairly good. Shirley would be as cute and nutty as ever, Louis Jourdan elegant, though not amazing in either the vocal or ''cool'' departments, and Maurice would be Maurice- charming, talented, timeless. Then, of course, there are the Can-Can numbers, fabulous Cole Porter tunes, and an entertaining story.

    WITHOUT Sinatra I would probably rate this about 8 and a half. But with the magic of IL' Blue Eyes making an unforgettable classic out of a pretty good picture, Can-Can get's an easy 10... and then some. Highly recommended.

    P.S- For those of you who believe it's impossible to find a Sinatra fan under the age of forty, I have just turned fourteen, and have loved his music, his movies,etc. for years. That's not surprising when you think about it. Why settle for today's idiotic trash when you can have the best? And that's all I've got to say.
  • avatar

    Virtual

    I enjoyed the music, especially "It's All Right With Me" or "Do It - Let's Fall in Love". I absolutely love this movie and wish amazon.com would sell it again. I know that I would definitely buy it! Worth seeing if you like Shirley MacLaine. Maurice Chevalier was absolutely awesome. I love this movie and you probably will too. Extra comment below but don't read it if you haven't seen it before!!

    SPOILER: Why the heck didn't Louis Jordan get her at the end? Couldn't she see that he truly did love her, and in return you could tell that she did love him, and not the stooge that Sinatra played? Geez. The ending was terrible.
  • avatar

    RED

    Strangely enough, the weakest aspect of this musical is the quality of the songs. Most of them are fairly mediocre, and fail to stay in the memory for long. But otherwise, "Can-Can" is a smashing entertainment. Lavishly produced and gorgeously photographed, this is one expensive movie where the money were spent with care and taste (unlike, for example, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" which, despite its big budget, looked cheap). The story may be a little thin, but it's suspenseful, too: you can never predict with absolute certainty if MacLaine will choose Sinatra (who is wonderful) or Louis Jourdan (who is as sly and charming as he was when he played the villain in "Octopussy"). But above everything else, this movie is a feast for the eyes!
  • avatar

    Virn

    The performers do not sing Cole Porter the way the best of singers can sing Cole Porter. Doris Day in "Lullaby of Broadway" sings "Just one of those things" wearing a tuxedo in a way that outshines Maurice Chevalier. Bob Hope singing "You do something to me" excels in a way that Louis Jordan cannot. Frank Sinatra and Shirley McClain singing "Let's do it" ends up as tepid as it gets as compared to almost anyone else's rendition. That these are all masters of the singer's craft makes for an astounding realization--the knack for singing a Cole Porter song is not for everyone or for every vehicle. One wonders how other singers handle interpretation of these songs in the same play. The movie was disappointing because the performances were disappointing.
  • avatar

    Stan

    **SPOILER** This is a cute story that is well produced and acted. There are some very good numbers worth watching and the treatment of Paris by Americans is always amusing.

    However, the ending is a huge disappointment as it doesn't follow from the characters' evolution through the film; rather it falls back on the idea that Mr. Sinatra had to be the one who got the girl. Perhaps Frank was just tired of filming that day and wanted to wrap it up. In any case, the ending reinforces an idea that even in the 60's was anachronistic (a girl from the slum will only be happy or comfortable with a guy from the slum) and which today is certainly a big obstacle to enjoying the film entirely.
  • avatar

    Eng.Men

    Reading through the reviews for "Can-Can" is a strange experience as they are all over the place. Some loved it and give it glowing reviews and just as many hated it. It's a bit unusual to see such divergent reviews and my assessment of the film is somewhere in the middle--it's not a good nor a bad film--just a second-rate musical that isn't bad as a time-passer.

    When the film begins, most viewers will probably be surprised to see Shirley MacLaine and Frank Sinatra in the leads. This is because the film is set in Paris and they are about as French as gefilte fish! This inappropriate casting is made more obvious since Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier are 3rd and 4th billed! So, automatically, the film loses a point for such poor casting. It's a shame, but Hollywood SHOULD have been more focused on appropriate casting than on getting big-name stars--problems that did NOT plague a much better musical from the same period, "Gigi" (which starred Jourdan and Chevalier among others).

    MacLaine plays Simone--a woman who runs a night club in Montmartre (a district in Paris known for its adult entertainment). Her place has gotten in trouble for having Can-Can dancers*--and police have vowed to arrest her if they put on that wicked dance again. Well, eventually this does occur, although the charges are soon dropped by the prosecutor, Philipe (Jourdan). Why? Because Philipe has fallen in love with her and wants to marry her. This is a VERY weak aspect of the film, as the upper-class Philipe doesn't even know this lady--so why would he be willing to destroy his career for a dance hall girl?! Eventually, Simone agrees to marry Philipe. However, Philipe's friend (Chevalier) and Simone's ex-lover, François (Sinatra) don't want the marriage to occur and so they conspire to break up the couple. They invite the cream of society to an engagement party, get Simone drunk and get her to entertain her guests. Well, although Philipe STILL inexplicably wants to marry her, Simone is determined to end this relationship.

    As for François, his character is...well...annoying. He wants Simone but is very honest in his wicked intentions. He has no desire to marry her but wants her, so he breaks up her marriage. This is pretty sleazy and the song he sings about this is pretty nasty as well. So, because of this, the film's ending REALLY made no sense at all...none.

    In addition to a confusing and occasionally unbelievable plot, the film features a very mixed bag of music. Some is great--such as "It's All Right With Me" and "You Do Something to Me". However, much of the rest of the music is sub-par--particularly the lyrics. It's like they got Cole Porter's second-best not his best for this movie.

    As for the dancing, this was VERY odd. Despite the title of the film, there is almost no Can-Can dancing in the film. However, and this just shows you how out of touch Hollywood could be, there is LOTS of modern dance--the sort of stuff you'd NEVER see in 1898. In particular, the violent dance number involving the knife is pure Hollywood and has no place in the film, though there are several other numbers that just don't belong in the movie.

    Overall, the film is a seriously mixed bag. The plot isn't terrible but it often makes little sense, the songs range from awful to terrific and the dance numbers often aren't appropriate to the film. I think it's a tepid little film that SHOULD have been much better.

    *According to IMDb trivia, the reason the Can-Can was so scandalous was because the dancing girls did NOT wear underwear. Although Wikipedia can occasionally be unreliable, it insists that this is an urban legend and the dancers certainly DID wear underwear.
  • avatar

    Bu

    ... what have they done to your wonderful Broadway show? Answer; about what you'd expect from a Hollywood that had a congenital aversion to transposing Broadway musicals to the screen untampered with so that, for example, a family from Oshkosh, Wisconsin, who went to NY on vacation and saw, for example, The Pajama Game, on Broadway could return home secure in the knowledge that the movie version they saw at their local movie theatre a couple of years later would NOT be the show they saw on Broadway.

    Frank Sinatra appeared in Five movie versions of Broadway musicals during his career and NONE of them was wholly satisfactory, mostly because of meaningless tampering. Higher and Higher, for example, retained only ONE number from the Rodgers and Hart Broadway show and that one, Disgustingly Rich, was a minor number; on the other hand the film did give Sinatra two 'hits' in A Lovely Way To Spend An Evening and I Couldn't Sleep A Wink Last Night. On The Town also jettisoned a sizable portion of the Broadway score, including Lonely Town, and added stuff that was one step above total garbage. Guys and Dolls was by far the most faithful to the Broadway original but even then they jettisoned the 'big' ballad, I've Never Been In Love Before (as well as A Bushel And A Peck) but they DID prevail on the original composer, Frank Loesser, to supply new material (Adelaide, A Woman In Love); Pal Joey suffered a bad case of both jettisoning and interpolating disparate songs by the same writers (Rodgers and Hart) so that Happy Hunting Horn, Do It The Hard Way, In Our Little Den Of Iniquity, What Is A Man, Plant You Now, Dig You Later, all went out the window and were replaced - if that's the word - by There's A Small Hotel, I Didn't Know What Time It Was, My Funny Valentine and The Lady Is A Tramp. Which brings us to Can-Can. Cole Porter went to great pains to replicate the Sound of Parisian Music Hall circa 1890 - a fact I mentioned in my review of the execrable Moulin Rouge, which made absolutely NO concession to its time frame - so it is ironic that Fox elected to discard such Porter gems as Allez-vous en, I Am In Love, Never Give Anything Away, Ev'ry Man Is A Stupid Man, Never, Never Be An Artist, all of which had the FEEL of the period, in favour of You Do Something To Me, Just One Of Those Things, Let's Do It, which are totally out of place in the context of the story and time. They also 'created' a part for Sinatra that didn't exist in the show and he was allowed to PLAY the Sinatra for which he is best known, hip, cool, ring-a-ding ding (at one point Louis Jourdan even SAYS ring-a-ding ding - in 1896, yet - when describing the Sinatra character to Shirley MacLaine). I write as a lifetime admirer of both Sinatra AND Cole Porter so I was doubly disappointed with this travesty. Ironically the BEST Screen musical in which Sinatra ever appeared was High Society, also the work of Cole Porter and DOUBLY ironically it was so successful that it became s Stage musical with - you've guessed it - several EXTRA Porter numbers interpolated. Can-Can had the potential to be an outstanding film musical instead it is little more than mediocre.
  • avatar

    Vut

    While I agree with many of the ambivalent comments from other reviewers,"Can-Can" can only be fully appreciated on the giant Todd-AO screen,along with 6-track stereo. This becomes evident with the thrilling musical direction of Nelson Riddle.Besides the rich,stylish orchestrations,we have the equally stylish,sophisticated music of Cole Porter. The composer is well served with the two French actors.Louis Jourdan,not thought of as a singer,delivers the smoothest rendition of 'You Do Something To Me' I have ever heard. Maurice Chevalier is charming,as always and his 'Just One Of Those Things',along with the attractive presence of Louis Jourdan,provides one of the film's best moments. Now for my reservations.I feel that Frank Sinatra is miscast.He is far too glib and smug and seems to be moving in a different time-zone to most of the other players.Shirley MacLaine is also embarrassing at times;too American and shrill.Having said that,she has some bright moments and her dancing with Juliet Prowse in the final 'Can-Can' number is really exciting(provided it can be viewed on the giant screen). It's just a pity,given the talent involved,that "Can-Can" on film does not seem to totally satisfy very many people.Even so,there is clearly much left to enjoy.
  • avatar

    Syleazahad

    The film would have been more provocative had they shown more scenes regarding this forbidden dance raging in Paris circa 1900.

    The film was certainly not one of Shirley MacLaine's better performances. She does show a simpleness marked in her Oscar nominated performance in "Some Came Running."

    As always, Maurice Chevalier stars in an advisory capacity, as a magistrate, who still likes the swinging life along with attorney Frank Sinatra. Louis Jourdan is wonderful as the stiff magistrate who finds love with MacLaine.

    The film may also have suffered because it may very well have been compared to the Oscar winner-"Gigi."
  • avatar

    TheFresh

    'Can-Can' from personal opinion is one of Cole Porter's best later musicals, and there was so much talent involved in this film. It's just sad that something that should have sparkled like diamonds fell as flat as over-egged soufflé despite some very great things.

    There's more to the problem than it being a butchered treatment of the Broadway hit, including a mangled re-written story with an additional character to cater Frank Sinatra, omitted songs and changes to lyrics. Pretty much all of the problems with 'Can-Can' are to do with how it fared on its own terms, which is while nowhere near one of the duds in musicals it's one of the classics either, if anything a missed opportunity.

    Despite how this all sounds there is a good amount to like about 'Can-Can'. The film is visually stunning, opulently produced and photographed with spectacular gorgeousness. Porter's music and songs, even with how they're treated (most inexplicable being the lyric liberties in the title song, the original ones are brilliant and part of what makes 'Can-Can' one of Porter's better later musicals), are still superb. Especially the very touching "It's All Right With Me", sung (or crooned) beautifully by Sinatra.

    Parts of the script has wit and charm, especially with Maurice Chevalier. Chevalier and Louis Jourdan give the film's two best performances, the former performing with a humorous twinkle and effortless charm and the latter having an urbane likability. Juliet Prowse also proves herself to be a wonderful dancer, and the choreography and musical numbers are really where 'Can-Can' really picks up in the interest value.

    Yet, 'Can-Can', despite the music, Chevalier and Jourdan and the production values, never makes one properly feel like they've been transported to late 19th century Paris. Part of it is to do with the mostly anachronistic and talky script (especially in the courtroom parts that really dragged the film down pace-wise), and a larger part is do with the miscasting of the two leading roles. There is no denying that Sinatra sings beautifully with impeccable phrasing and breath control, but he is too contemporary and completely fails to bring personality, let alone any endearing traits, to a total sleazebag of a character. Shirley MacLaine is also too American, annoyingly shrill and doesn't look like her heart was completely in it.

    As a result of the numerous changes, despite some moments, the story suffers consequently, the material needed more wit, emotion and life than what the film provides. Sluggish pacing in the non-musical moments and a rather too overlong length doesn't help. It's indifferently directed, the "Garden of Eden" sequence despite great dancing and choreography is overblown and goes on for far too long and the ending, with Simone's decision completely ringing false, feels like a cheat.

    On the whole, some definite great things but considering the source material and talent 'Can-Can' should have sparkled so much more. 5/10 Bethany Cox
  • avatar

    Fearlesssinger

    A recent NYC concert version of CAN-CAN (w/ a superb Patti LaPone) revealed a reasonably sturdy book & an underrated late Cole Porter score. Where had it been hiding all these years? Perhaps the vanishing act can be blamed on this inept film version which mangles the plot, throws away two-thirds of the score (even 'I Love Paris' is stiffed) and has all the French flavor of a Burger King croissant. Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier show up to provide Gallic seasoning (Jourdan does his numbers charmingly and has far more rapport with Shirley MacLaine than his victorious rival, Frank Sinatra, while Chevalier's intro to 'Just One of Those Things' is the best thing in the film), but Minnelli's GIGI, Huston's MOULIN ROUGE and Renoir's FRENCH CAN CAN are each in their own way infinitely superior to this malarkey.

    NOTE: It takes a lot of chutzpah to include a DVD-extra tribute to writer Abe Burrows on a pic that utterly trashes his work on the original stage show.
  • avatar

    Taur

    Interminable film version of the hit Broadway musical, Can-Can is as flat as the fake champagne they drink in scene after scene. Even the several Cole Porter standards come off as boring, slow dirges.

    Frank Sinatra walks thru his part of the playboy lawyer who at one points opines "Ring a Ding Ding," in 1896 Paris yet. Shirley MacLaine is shrill and gives a lousy performance. Louis Jourdan (a dead fish as usual) and smug Maurice Chevalier sing a dreadful song, "Your Business is Your Business" TWICE. Juliet Prowse is a so-so dancer and lousy actress.

    So the question is WHY was this a hit on Broadway? The set designs here are terrible and defeat the good costumes. The direction is bad because this should NOT have been allowed to go on for 131 minutes.

    Even the big production number with MacLaine as Eve and Prowse as the serpent is okay at best. MacLaine's outfit was shocking in 1960 but not now. Endless scenes of talking in offices, court rooms, etc. TALK TALK TALK and no humor or wit---just TALK.

    And this is the musical that made Gwen Verdon a star? This ranks as one of the WORST film musicals I've ever seen.
  • avatar

    greed style

    I saw this movie when it was new- I was thirteen- and it embarrassed me then. It embarrasses me now. Sinatra and MacLaine were rather obviously miscast because they were big box office at the time and the assumption was that they could carry anything. Of course, in order to make the sly, intelligently witty and musically sophisticated Cole Porter vehicle appropriate for these limited performers, the show had to be completely denatured and stripped of every modicum of wit and intelligence- as well as all the best Porter songs. MacLaine was a fine dancer, but the non-dance portions of her performance combined strident shrieking and self-conscious cuteness in a particularly strange mix which the audience is supposed to somehow find charming. Sinatra, at the very height (or depth) of his finger-snapping, "Hey, Kooky, crazy, ring-a-ding-ding" phase simply sleepwalks through the non-singing portions of his role. Urk. Jourdan and Chevalier looked embarrassed, too- I hope they made enough money to make up for suffering through this mess.
  • avatar

    Knights from Bernin

    Hit Broadway musical about a Parisian judge falling in love with a brass nightclub owner was converted to a vehicle for then Hollywood heavyweight Frank Sinatra by the addition of a second love interest, the club owner's pal and lawyer. Neither Sinatra nor Shirley MacLaine make any attempt to blend into the period or place (just as well, 2 hours of 'The Chairman' faking a France accent would have been exorable) so all the French flavour comes from Gallic pros Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jorden. The score includes a hodgepodge of Cole Porter songs, some from the musical, some not, and strangely, a duet of Sinatra and Chevalier singing the standard "I Love Paris" was cut out of the release. The dancing is generally good, especially by Juliet Prowse, the 'snake' in the weird 'Garden of Eden' sequence. The final Can-Can number, although a bit chaste for a dance banned by the authorities for its ribaldry, is energetic and impressive although I was somewhat disappointed that it performed to music written for the show rather than to Offenbach's "Infernal Gallop", the music usually associated with the dance. Not a bad Broadway adaptation but not one of the great ones.
  • avatar

    ChallengeMine

    Montmartre, 1896: the Can-Can, the dance in which the women lift their skirts, is forbidden. Nevertheless Simone has it performed every day in her night club. Her employees use their female charm to let the representatives of law enforcement look the other way - or even attend the shows. But then the young ambitious judge Philippe Forrestier decides to bring this to an end.

    Musicals are hit and miss, as are most films. This one is rather successful because it has a great cast, a nice plot (a risqué criminal plot!) and music without an over-reliance on the songs. (May be it is just me, but some musicals get to be too overbearing because of the abundance of music, even when it is good.) Although I do not find it convincing that Sinatra is French, he does a fine job as a devious defense attorney!
  • avatar

    Uickabrod

    With my dad's birthday coming up in a weeks time,I started to search around for a DVD that he would enjoy.Struggleing to locate a suitable title,I suddenly remembered him mentioning a while ago about being very keen in taking a look at the DVD of the musical Can-Can,which led to me heading down to a seedy nightclub,in the hope of seeing the dance performed.

    The plot:

    1896: Montmartre.

    Being the owner of a nightclub where the illegal Can-Can dance is performed, Simone Pistache uses all her charms to make anyone in power overlook the nightclub,with Pistache's close friend (and lawyer) François Durnais cutting deals with anyone who tries to shut the club.Since having recently joined the high-court,judge Paul Barriere has been searching for a method he can use to clean the decay from the streets.Setting his sights on the Can-Can club, Pistache begins to realise that she must hit some super high-kicks,in order to stop Barriere's plans in its tracks.

    View on the film:

    Bringing the stage show to the big screen,director Walter Lang and cinematographer William H. Daniels give the title a stylish water colour appearance,which help to give the striking dance numbers a real fairy tale feel.Allowing the stage origin roots to overlap with the movie,Lang disappointingly never allows the viewer to be placed in the middle of the action,thanks to Lang always keeping the camera at a safe distance,which despite making the dance numbers something which can be fully seen,does lead to the central drama feeling rather stilted.

    Matching Lang's directing,the screenplay by Dorothy Kingsley, Charles Lederer and Abe Burrows fails to warm the relationship between François Durnais (a smooth Frank Sinatra) and Simone Pistache (an excellent Shirley MacLaine) by attempting to show Paul Barriere (a wonderfully stuck-up Maurice Chevalier) gradually warm to the Can-Can,which the writer's are unable to make be a natural transition for the character,thanks to the ' moral guardian' side Barriere being spread on thickly during the first half,which leads to this Can-Can sadly being unable to finish with style.
  • avatar

    Anazan

    Cole Porter had a mixed bag with his last group of Broadway musicals after Ethel Merman moved onto Irving Berlin. Only one of them, "Kiss Me Kate", was a smash hit both critically and financially, and two ("Can- Can" and "Silk Stockings") were fairly successful. Several flops ("Around the World in 80 Days" and the underrated "Out of this World") made Broadway life difficult for the ailing composer. For the movie version of "Can-Can", the basic story remained but much of the score changed with a hot box office cast brought into play the leads.

    The legal system is battling the nightclub area of Monmarte with women's groups protesting against the allegedly dirty dance. But the judges enjoy it just as much as the tourists and locals who go to see the jumps, twists and splits of the sexy chorines lead by Shirley MacLaine. Among the legal eagles involved are "Gigi" co-stars Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan, with MacLaine supported by none other than "Pal Joey", Frank Sinatra, re-teaming them after "Some Came Running". An overlong movie is broken up by a perky musical score, not one of Porter's best on stage, but a few songs stand out as classics.

    The lyrics have been taken out of the title song which MacLaine, Juliet Prowse and the Can-Can girls perform with great exertion. "C'est Magnifique", "I Love Paris" and "Live and Let Live" have all become standards, and of the other lesser known songs, MacLaine's drunken "Come Along With Me" is the most amusing. There's an Adam and Eve ballet, an Apache Dance (of course!) and the wittiness of Porter's lyrics which reflects his "Parisian" era seen earlier on Broadway in shows like "Fifty Million Frenchmen" and "Paris" which claimed some of his more risqué lyrics.

    All in all, there's nothing special about this likable but over-stuffed piece of fluff, but the performers all put their best foot forward (or dancing shoes) and the direction by Walter Lang is swift in spite of the running time. While this may not stand out as a classic among the golden age of movie versions of Broadway musicals, it certainly doesn't rank up there with some of the disasters, either.