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HISTORY

The film's title card reads: "Jack Cummings production of Cole Porter's Can-Can ." The film version eliminated seven songs from the stage version and added three Porter songs from earlier Broadway shows, "Let's Do It," "Just One of Those Things" and "You Do Something to Me." According to a 27 Jul 1954 HR news item, both M-G-M and Columbia were bidding on the rights to the play. In Aug 1954, according to a LAT news item, Darryl Zanuck had just purchased the rights, intending to cast Jeanmarie and Gwen Verdon (who appeared as "Claudine" in the Broadway production) in the leads. HR news items yield the following information about the production: In May 1955, Nunnally Johnson was writing a version of the screenplay, but dropped out of the project after Twentieth Century-Fox set back the start of production to 1956. An Apr 1955 DV news item adds that Johnson was to write, produce and direct the film, and that Cary Grant and Jeanmarie were tentatively set to star. Feb and Mar 1956 news items note that Claude Binyon was writing a script and that Henry Ephron was to produce and Dick Powell to direct the film, which was to be shot in Paris.
       In Apr 1956, Henry King was announced to replace Powell as director. By Oct 1958, a DV news item noted that discussions were underway with Vincente Minnelli to direct and Marilyn Monroe to star. Studio publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library add that Martine Carol was being considered for a top role. Jul 1959 ... More Less

The film's title card reads: "Jack Cummings production of Cole Porter's Can-Can ." The film version eliminated seven songs from the stage version and added three Porter songs from earlier Broadway shows, "Let's Do It," "Just One of Those Things" and "You Do Something to Me." According to a 27 Jul 1954 HR news item, both M-G-M and Columbia were bidding on the rights to the play. In Aug 1954, according to a LAT news item, Darryl Zanuck had just purchased the rights, intending to cast Jeanmarie and Gwen Verdon (who appeared as "Claudine" in the Broadway production) in the leads. HR news items yield the following information about the production: In May 1955, Nunnally Johnson was writing a version of the screenplay, but dropped out of the project after Twentieth Century-Fox set back the start of production to 1956. An Apr 1955 DV news item adds that Johnson was to write, produce and direct the film, and that Cary Grant and Jeanmarie were tentatively set to star. Feb and Mar 1956 news items note that Claude Binyon was writing a script and that Henry Ephron was to produce and Dick Powell to direct the film, which was to be shot in Paris.
       In Apr 1956, Henry King was announced to replace Powell as director. By Oct 1958, a DV news item noted that discussions were underway with Vincente Minnelli to direct and Marilyn Monroe to star. Studio publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library add that Martine Carol was being considered for a top role. Jul 1959 HR news items noted that Louis Jourdan initially refused the role of "Philippe," but later consented to play the part after Charles Lederer was hired to polish the script. The exent of Lederer's contribution to the released film has not been determined, however.
       A May 1960 AmCin article noted that the "Garden of Eden" musical number in the film took six weeks to rehearse and five days to shoot because of the complex lighting needed to capture the dancers' movements. As noted in a Sep 1959 HCN article, Nikita Kruschev, the Soviet Premier who was on a trip to the United States, was brought to the film's set to view a special Saturday performance and later described the can-can dance scene as "immoral."
       Although Maurice Chevalier had appeared in several American co-productions from the late 1940s throughout the 1950s, all of those films were shot in Europe. Can-Can was the first film he made in the United States since his 1935 20th Century Pictures release Folies Bergère de Paris (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Although dancer Juliet Prowse made a brief appearance in the 1955 picture Gentlemen Marry Brunettes (see below), Can-Can marked her first major film role. Can-Can was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Music Scoring. According to a Jan 1960 news item, the Carthay Theater in Los Angeles was leased for two years for an exclusive run of Can-Can . The picture was not successful, however, so it played there for only a few weeks. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
May 60
pp. 300-301, 312, 314, 316.
Box Office
14 Mar 1960.
---
Box Office
21 Mar 1960.
---
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1955.
---
Daily Variety
13 Oct 1958.
---
Daily Variety
10 Mar 60
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Mar 1960
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jul 1954.
---
Hollywood Reporter
13 May 55
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Feb 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Mar 56
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Apr 56
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 59
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jul 59
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Aug 59
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 59
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jan 60
p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 60
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
2 Aug 1954.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
19 Mar 60
p. 627.
New York Times
20 Sep 1959.
---
New York Times
25 Sep 1959.
---
New York Times
10 Mar 60
p. 36.
Variety
9 Mar 60
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Styling consultant
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus arr and cond
SOUND
Sd rec supv
DANCE
Dances staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hair styles
PRODUCTION MISC
Titles des
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical comedy Can-Can , words and music by Cole Porter, book by Abe Burrows, produced for the stage by Cy Feuer and Ernest Martin (New York, 7 May 1953).
MUSIC
"Apaches Dance" and "Adam and Eve Ballet," music by Cole Porter.
SONGS
"Montmart," "Maidens Typical of France," "It's All Right with Me," "C'est Magnifique," "I Love Paris," "Come Along with Me," "Live and Let Live," "Let's Do It," "Just One of Those Things" and "You Do Something to Me," words and music by Cole Porter.
COMPOSER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Cole Porter's Can-Can
Release Date:
March 1960
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 9 March 1960
Los Angeles opening: 10 March 1960
Production Date:
early August--late October 1959
Copyright Claimant:
Suffolk-Cummings Productions, Inc. and Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
6 March 1960
Copyright Number:
LP16406
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Todd-AO developed by the American Optical Company and Magna
Duration(in mins):
133-134
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In the Montmarte district of Paris, womanizing attorney François Durnais escorts his old friend, Chief Judge Paul Barriere, to the Bal du Paradis cabaret to see a performance of the can-can. The dance, which has been deemed lewd and lascivious by the court, has been outlawed, and consequently, the police raid the club and, although François and Paul avoid arrest, Simone Pistache, François' sweetheart and the cabaret's proprietor, is hauled before the court to face Paul and his straight-laced young colleague, Judge Philippe Forrestier. Although Paul is eager to dismiss the case, Philippe is intent on prosecuting it, but when the police, who have been bribed by Simone, profess a lack of evidence, Simone is released. That night, Philippe, determined to prove Simone guilty, comes to the club posing as a rich roué. When Simone boasts that she has compiled a list of police bribes, Philippe bets her that she is lying. Just as Simone is about to turn the list over to Philippe, Claudine, one of the dancers, recognizes him as a judge and warns Simone. Philippe then sternly advises Simone to comply with the law, but unable to resist her charms, he passionately embraces her. When Philippe promises never to harm her, Simone takes him at his word and stages a performance of the can-can. Philippe's photographers are waiting in the audience to photograph the event, and as a result, Simone is arrested once again. When François, acting as Simone's attorney, ascertains that Philippe kissed Simone in her bedroom, he threatens to blackmail the judge unless he drops the charges. The threat proves unnecessary, however, when Philippe summons Simone to ... +


In the Montmarte district of Paris, womanizing attorney François Durnais escorts his old friend, Chief Judge Paul Barriere, to the Bal du Paradis cabaret to see a performance of the can-can. The dance, which has been deemed lewd and lascivious by the court, has been outlawed, and consequently, the police raid the club and, although François and Paul avoid arrest, Simone Pistache, François' sweetheart and the cabaret's proprietor, is hauled before the court to face Paul and his straight-laced young colleague, Judge Philippe Forrestier. Although Paul is eager to dismiss the case, Philippe is intent on prosecuting it, but when the police, who have been bribed by Simone, profess a lack of evidence, Simone is released. That night, Philippe, determined to prove Simone guilty, comes to the club posing as a rich roué. When Simone boasts that she has compiled a list of police bribes, Philippe bets her that she is lying. Just as Simone is about to turn the list over to Philippe, Claudine, one of the dancers, recognizes him as a judge and warns Simone. Philippe then sternly advises Simone to comply with the law, but unable to resist her charms, he passionately embraces her. When Philippe promises never to harm her, Simone takes him at his word and stages a performance of the can-can. Philippe's photographers are waiting in the audience to photograph the event, and as a result, Simone is arrested once again. When François, acting as Simone's attorney, ascertains that Philippe kissed Simone in her bedroom, he threatens to blackmail the judge unless he drops the charges. The threat proves unnecessary, however, when Philippe summons Simone to his chambers and, after apologizing for misleading her, drops the complaint. When Simone kisses him in gratitude, Philippe, smitten, invites her to dinner. After she protests that she has a prior engagement, Philippe proclaims his love and proposes to her. Afterward, Simone, stunned, invites François to her boudoir and asks him to marry her. When he refuses, she angrily informs him that she plans to marry Philippe. Certain that marriage to a showgirl would ruin Philippe's career, Paul conspires with François to prevent the union. Paul decides to host an engagement party aboard a luxurious yacht, and invites all of Paris society. Feeling unworthy and out of place, Simone is tricked by François into getting drunk and performing a ribald song that insults the distinguished guests. Humiliated, Simone runs into a cabin and Philippe follows to console her. After he leaves, however, Simone jumps overboard and swims to shore. The next day, Philippe worries about Simone until André, the headwaiter at the cabaret, delivers a letter from her, stating that their marriage would be a mistake. Next, Simone goes to François' office and asks for a loan to stage the Four Arts Ball, insisting that he accept the deed to her club as collateral. Arriving at the ball drunk, Philippe mimics François' flippant manner, thus endearing himself to Simone. When Philippe slams the window that no other man has been able to close, Simone reconsiders his proposal. After informing François that he is now the club's proprietor due to the deed he signed, Simone calls for a performance of the banned can-can, thus precipitating François' arrest. At the trial however, Simone relents and testifies that she has lost the deed, thus assuring François' acquittal. Paul then suggests adjourning court to observe can-can to determine if it is truly lewd, and when the crowd breaks into exuberant applause, the dance is vindiated. Afterward, the police pretend to arrest Simone and throw her into a police wagon with François, who then finally proposes to her. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.