6 – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – The Guardian’s Top Ten Movie Musicals

Movie Musicals are as popular today as they were back in the twenties when sound was first introduced to cinema.
In December 2013 The Guardian Newspaper published their list of the Top Ten Movie Musicals.
Here is what the Guardian’s critics have to say, what we at Actor Hub think of each choice and some of your thoughts (via Amazon’s reviews).
If you agree or disagree please let us know via Twitter @actorhub.
Read the original article on the Guardian’s website.

#6 The Umbrellas of Cherbourg – Top Ten Film Musicals

What The Guardian Said:

To watch Jacques Demy’s 1964 musical is to gorge on colour. This is a world where a petrol station’s neon lights are as dazzling and poignantly romantic as fireworks, and where turquoise is made to co-exist with orange as though it were the most natural union in the world. Incredibly, the film sounds even more striking than it looks. Catherine Deneuve stars as Geneviève, the dreamer working in her mother’s umbrella shop, whose romance with the mechanic Guy (Nino Castelnuovo) is cut short when he is drafted to fight in the Algerian war (though not too soon for her to fall pregnant by him). When he returns years later, everything has changed: she’s in love with someone else, he’s in love with someone else – but they’re still singing.
The picture is filled wall-to-wall with music, though you’ll hunt long and hard for verse or chorus here: Michel Legrand’s sumptuous score has an abundance of melody, but the “songs” are dialogue set to music, with even the most casual exchange sung rather than spoken. Demy’s writing is as fizzy as his colours: he can’t resist popping lines as such as “I don’t like opera – all that singing gives me a pain” into the mouths of his perpetually warbling cast. Deneuve, meanwhile, has devastating poise and beauty; it requires no imaginative leap to believe that grown men would be moved to burst into song at the sight of her. Ryan Gilbey

What We Think:

Divided into three parts — departure, absence, and return — Jacques Demy’s sublime musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is the story of a love affair haunted by the separation of war. It is one of the most heartbreaking love stories of cinema.
Even though the entire film is sung through it doesn’t feel like a typical musical as there really doesn’t feel like there are any ‘big numbers’ or songs. This ‘sung-through’ style of the film can be a little distracting at times, especially when its the most banal lines being sung from customers and boss at the gas station where Guy works! What it does do however is make it all seem natural, as we don’t have those jarring awkward moments when suddenly everyone bursts into song which you get in a lot of movie musicals.
This film was inspired by the Hollywood musical but revels in the everydayness of love with all of its highs and lows. The movie is a feast of music, song and colour and transforms the ordinary into a spectacle. Hum-drum everyday life becomes a a beautiful fantasy whilst still feeling like it is grounded in the real world.
The final sequence is for me one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking moments in all of cinema and never fails to bring a tear to my eye.
Michael Legran’s score is absolute perfection making this a classic movie musical deserving its place in the top ten. ActorHub
Trivia Fans:
  • In the final scene, Geneviève mentions picking up her daughter from Anjou. Anjou is 4.5 hours drive away from Paris and from Paris to Cherbourg is 3.5 hours in an opposite direction! That makes this “detour” a very long drive!!
  • The black car in the beginning which rolls into the garage where Guy works is actually Roland Cassard’s and it can be seen two more times in the movie.
  • Roland tells Genevieve’s mother he once loved a woman named “Lola.” “Lola” is a Demy film from 1961, in which Marc Michel plays the same character of Roland.
  • A stage musical by Kneehigh Theatre company played in the West End in 2011.

What You Think:

The Top Ten Movie Musicals