Cyrano de Bergerac (1951)

112-113 mins | Romance | 20 July 1951

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HISTORY

[ Although Cyrano de Bergerac opened in New York and Los Angeles in Nov 1950, it was not released nationally until 20 Jul 1951. This entry has been reprinted from AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 .] Edmond Rostand's play was inspired by the French author Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinen (1619-1655), who was known for his satirical writings, swordsmanship and prominent nose. HR news items report that both Evelyn Keyes and Arlene Dahl were originally sought for the role of "Roxane." Mala Powers, who was given the role when Keyes and Dahl's conditions could not be met, was borrowed for the production from RKO.
       According to information contained in the production files on the film in the AMPAS Library, Stanley Kramer obtained the rights to Brian Hooker's translation of the play from British producer Sir Alexander Korda, who had planned to make a film version of Cyrano de Bergerac with Orson Welles. Kramer's $40,000 purchase price included a screenplay that Korda had previously commissioned from Ben Hecht, but Kramer and his associate producer, George Glass, opted to have Carl Foreman write a new screenplay. According to HR news items, prior to Kramer's involvement, Universal-International announced plans to acquire the rights from Korda in order to produce a film version starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Breen Office requested that dialogue invoking the name of God as an exclamation, including the French expression "mon dieu," be changed in over ten places. In a 7 Jun 1950 letter to Kramer, Joseph I. Breen expressed ... More Less

[ Although Cyrano de Bergerac opened in New York and Los Angeles in Nov 1950, it was not released nationally until 20 Jul 1951. This entry has been reprinted from AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50 .] Edmond Rostand's play was inspired by the French author Cyrano de Bergerac, Savinen (1619-1655), who was known for his satirical writings, swordsmanship and prominent nose. HR news items report that both Evelyn Keyes and Arlene Dahl were originally sought for the role of "Roxane." Mala Powers, who was given the role when Keyes and Dahl's conditions could not be met, was borrowed for the production from RKO.
       According to information contained in the production files on the film in the AMPAS Library, Stanley Kramer obtained the rights to Brian Hooker's translation of the play from British producer Sir Alexander Korda, who had planned to make a film version of Cyrano de Bergerac with Orson Welles. Kramer's $40,000 purchase price included a screenplay that Korda had previously commissioned from Ben Hecht, but Kramer and his associate producer, George Glass, opted to have Carl Foreman write a new screenplay. According to HR news items, prior to Kramer's involvement, Universal-International announced plans to acquire the rights from Korda in order to produce a film version starring Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.
       According to information in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Breen Office requested that dialogue invoking the name of God as an exclamation, including the French expression "mon dieu," be changed in over ten places. In a 7 Jun 1950 letter to Kramer, Joseph I. Breen expressed concern that in some of the sword-fighting scenes, most notably the duel with "Valvert" at the theater, "Cyrano comes dangerously close to being little less than a murderer." Breen's letter went on to say that he had discussed the matter with Glass, who assured him that the problem could be handled by making it clear that Valvert was only wounded. In the final film, however, Cyrano kills Valvert. Cyrano de Bergerac was actor Ralph Clanton's first American film. José Ferrer won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as "Cyrano."
       Kramer's production marked the first time that Rostand's play was adapted for the American screen, although France and Italy had already produced several film versions. In Jan 1949, NBC's Philco Television Playhouse aired a sixty-minute version of Cyrano de Bergerac , featuring Claire Bloom, Christopher Plummer and Ferrer, who made his television debut in the title role. On 17 Oct 1955, these actors repeated their roles on NBC's Producers' Showcase . Subsequent television versions include a 1962 Hallmark Hall of Fame production with Christopher Plummer as Cyrano, and the American Conservatory Theater's stage production, which was broadcast on PBS in 1973. Plummer also starred in a musical theater adaptation, Cyrano , which opened on Broadway on 13 May 1973. Other films based on or inspired by Rostand's play include the 1990 French film Cyrano de Bergerac , starring Gérard Depardieu; the 1987 Steve Martin contemporary romance Roxanne ; and Abel Gance's 1963 film Cyrano de Bergerac and D'Artagnan , which departed from Rostand's plot but starred Ferrer as Cyrano. In 1969, Kramer announced plans to remake his film as a musical for Columbia, possibly with an entirely African-American cast, but that project was never realized. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
18 Nov 1950.
---
Daily Variety
14 Nov 50
p. 3.
Daily Variety
20 Nov 1967.
---
Daily Variety
15 Jan 1969.
---
Daily Variety
1 May 1969.
---
Daily Variety
21 Jul 1969.
---
Film Daily
14 Nov 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Citizen-News
11 May 1950.
---
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 46
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Oct 46
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jan 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Apr 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
9 May 50
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 50
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
24 May 50
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 50
p. 9.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jul 50
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 50
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Mar 1969.
---
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 1969.
---
Los Angeles Times
16 Jul 1950.
---
Los Angeles Times
21 Nov 1950.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
18 Nov 50
p. 569.
New York Times
11 Jun 1950.
---
New York Times
17 Nov 50
p. 31.
New York Times
19 Nov 1950.
---
Newsweek
27 Nov 1950.
---
Variety
2 Mar 1950.
---
Variety
15 Nov 50
p. 6.
Variety
9 Nov 1955.
---
Variety
5 Dec 1956.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCERS
Assoc prod
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of cine
Cam op
Gaffer
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Asst prod des
Asst prod des
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
Draftsman
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Cost supv
Miss Powers' cost
Ladies' ward
MUSIC
Mus comp and dir
SOUND
Sd eng
MAKEUP
Makeup created by
Makeup created by
Hairstylist
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Fencing master
Tech adv
Head grip
Scr clerk
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (Paris, 1897), as translated by Brian Hooker (1923).
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 July 1951
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 16 November 1950
Los Angeles opening: 20 November 1950
San Francisco opening: 18 January 1951
Production Date:
late June--late July 1950 at Motion Picture Center
Copyright Claimant:
Stanley Kramer Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
16 November 1950
Copyright Number:
LP521
Duration(in mins):
112-113
Length(in feet):
10,164
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
14726
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

In seventeenth century Paris, Cyrano de Bergerac, a gentleman who is equally accomplished with the pen and the sword, interrupts the performance at the Hôtel de Bourgogne Theatre and, appalled by the star's bad acting, refunds the audience's money himself. A nobleman, Valvert, provokes a duel by commenting on Cyrano's enormous nose, and Cyrano improvises a poem as they fight, delivering the fatal thrust during the final refrain. This display delights the assembled crowd, which includes Cyrano's beautiful cousin Roxane, but Cyrano's friend Le Bret warns that his brash behavior will make him dangerous enemies. Cyrano admits to Le Bret that he is in love with Roxane but will not tell her, sure that his big nose renders him undesirable to women. A servant then appears with a request that Cyrano call on Roxane in the morning, and Cyrano is exultant. When he and Le Bret leave the theater, they are approached by the pastry chef Ragueneau, who tells them that a nobleman about whom he wrote comic verses has hired one hundred men to ambush him on the way home. Cyrano insists on doing battle with the ruffians and defeats them all. The next morning, Cyrano meets with Roxane at Ragueneau's pastry shop, and she tells him she is in love with a handsome guardsman named Christian, to whom she has never spoken. She asks Cyrano to befriend Christian, and although he is crushed by Roxane's news, he agrees. Later, at the guardhouse, Cyrano tells Christian that Roxane loves him and wishes to receive a letter. Christian confesses he is not a good writer, and when Cyrano offers to ... +


In seventeenth century Paris, Cyrano de Bergerac, a gentleman who is equally accomplished with the pen and the sword, interrupts the performance at the Hôtel de Bourgogne Theatre and, appalled by the star's bad acting, refunds the audience's money himself. A nobleman, Valvert, provokes a duel by commenting on Cyrano's enormous nose, and Cyrano improvises a poem as they fight, delivering the fatal thrust during the final refrain. This display delights the assembled crowd, which includes Cyrano's beautiful cousin Roxane, but Cyrano's friend Le Bret warns that his brash behavior will make him dangerous enemies. Cyrano admits to Le Bret that he is in love with Roxane but will not tell her, sure that his big nose renders him undesirable to women. A servant then appears with a request that Cyrano call on Roxane in the morning, and Cyrano is exultant. When he and Le Bret leave the theater, they are approached by the pastry chef Ragueneau, who tells them that a nobleman about whom he wrote comic verses has hired one hundred men to ambush him on the way home. Cyrano insists on doing battle with the ruffians and defeats them all. The next morning, Cyrano meets with Roxane at Ragueneau's pastry shop, and she tells him she is in love with a handsome guardsman named Christian, to whom she has never spoken. She asks Cyrano to befriend Christian, and although he is crushed by Roxane's news, he agrees. Later, at the guardhouse, Cyrano tells Christian that Roxane loves him and wishes to receive a letter. Christian confesses he is not a good writer, and when Cyrano offers to aid Christian in his suit by supplying the words with which to woo Roxane, the young man happily accepts. Several weeks later, Roxane tells Cyrano that Christian is brilliant, and as she ecstatically quotes from "Christian's" letters and speeches, Cyrano basks in the indirect praise. That night, Christian tells Cyrano he no longer needs his help, and Cyrano hides behind a bush and listens as Roxane asks Christian to rhapsodize on the theme of love. Christian's attempts to improvise fail miserably, and Roxane indignantly goes inside. Christian appeals to Cyrano, who stands in the shadows beneath Roxane's balcony and prompts Christian, then steps in and takes his place, speaking his own passionate feelings under cover of darkness. At the end of Cyrano's speech, Christian joins Roxane on the balcony and they kiss. A monk then comes by with a letter from Antoine De Guiche, the Cardinal's nephew, saying that his regiment has been ordered to the front to fight the Spanish and insisting that Roxane marry him at once. Roxane tells the monk that he has been instructed to marry her to Christian, and when De Guiche arrives, Cyrano detains him until the wedding is over. Furious at the deception, De Guiche orders Christian to leave for the front at once. One night, Roxane visits the camp and tells Christian that although she once loved him merely for being handsome, the many love letters she has received have made her fall in love with his soul. Christian realizes that Cyrano is in love with Roxane, and tells him that he must tell her the truth so that she can choose between them. Before Cyrano can reveal his love to Roxane, however, Christian volunteers for a dangerous mission and is mortally wounded, and Cyrano tells the dying Christian that Roxane chose him. Fourteen years pass, during which Cyrano visits Roxane each week at the convent where she has lived since Christian's death. His satirical essays continue to make him powerful enemies, and one night, he is ambushed and run down by a carriage. Despite his grave injuries, Cyrano visits Roxane the next afternoon and asks to read her last letter from Christian. He recites aloud with great feeling, and Roxane suddenly recognizes the voice she heard from her balcony long ago. Cyrano dies, and Roxane mourns the one true love she has lost twice. +

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

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