Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gérard Philipe, Gina Lollobrigida, Marcel Herrand, Olivier Hussenot, Henri Rollan, Nerio Bernardi, Jean-Marc Tennberg, Geneviève Page
Written by: René Fallet, Christian-Jaque, Henri Jeanson, René Wheeler, Henri Jeanson
Directed by: Christian-Jaque
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 102
Date: 03/19/2013

Fanfan la Tulipe (1952)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Last Prance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The wonderful folks at Rialto Pictures have given us sparkling new prints of classic films by many of the world's masters, including Renoir (Grand Illusion), Bunuel (The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie), Godard (Band of Outsiders), Fellini (Nights of Cabiria), Bresson (Au hazard Balthazar), Melville (Bob le Flambeur) and others. Now they bring us Fanfan la Tulipe, and my only guess is that maybe somebody lost a bet. This brisk but dippy swashbuckling comedy stars Gérard Philipe as the hero of the title, a dandy trying to avoid marrying a pretty farm girl. A gypsy -- actually the general's daughter (played by international sex symbol Gina Lollobrigida) in disguise -- foresees that he will marry the princess if he joins the army, and so he kills two birds with one stone and signs up. Only the dimmest audience member will not see that this couple will wind up together, but even though the film moves at a snappy pace, its story still doesn't move fast enough. It's a puff pastry, satisfying but weightless. Director Christian-Jaque never made anything else of note, and yet somehow won the Best Director award at that year's Cannes Film Festival.

DVD Details: The Criterion Collection released the DVD in 2008, and it's a pretty basic package. There's a short documentary on Gérard Philipe, liner notes by critic Kenneth Turan, a trailer and a clip from the "colorized" version.{subid}&url=hitlist.asp?searchfield=marvel
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