Cyrano De Bergerac – tape 1356

OK, here’s something you probably never expected. Channel 4 presenting a season of films starring Gerard Depardieu, introduced by Antoine de Caunes.

Yes, Antoine de Caunes off of Rapido and Eurotrash. I bet you didn’t know he was a secret aficionado of French New Wave cinema.

The film itself is well worth watching, if you like subtitled films. The English subtitles were written by Anthony Burgess, and Cyrano’s dialogue is written in rhyme, so they’re a lot of fun.

The music, occasionally, sounds like an outrageous rip-off of Danny Elfman’s Batman March. It’s a bit shameless. And it seems I’m not the first person to notice. (To be fair to myself, I remember noticing when I saw the film in the cinema. Yes, I have, occasionally, watched French films in the cinema.)

Full marks to Tropicana for doing a French advert in the ad break.

Tropicana

Cyrano de Bergerac is a great swordsman, as well as a poet, who has an enormous nose, which means he’s forever fighting people about it. The opening scene involves him disrupting a theatrical production, then fighting with a man who insulted him, all the while reeling off better nose-based insults.

This movie looks like it must have been expensive, as this first scene, which lasts for almost half an hour, takes place in a packed theatre with hundreds of extras in every shot.

Cyrano has long been in love with his beautiful cousin, Roxane, but can’t tell her because he’s so ugly. So when she tells him she’s fallen in love with one of the cadets in his care, he’s rather upset, but obviously can’t ignore her plea to protect him.

So when the young Christian turns up for his first day, and ignores all his comrades’ advice not to mention Cyrano’s nose, Cyrano has to curb his legendary temper. He tells Christian that Roxane is, indeed, in love with her, and that she wants him to send her a letter. But this is a problem for Christian, as he’s not a writer. So Cyrano offers to write the letter for him.

There’s some choice film damage on this print. When’s the last time you saw film damage on a movie? This would have been a film only recently in cinemas, and yet the print used for TV broadcast has stuff like this on it. Different times.

Film Damage

Tropicana aren’t the only ones doing special adverts – here’s one by Piat d’Or

Roxane has a third suitor, a superior officer in charge of assignments, and when he’s beaten to marriage by Christian, with Cyrano’s help, he assigns them both to battle.

As the battle drags on, Cyrano keeps sending letters to Roxane on Christian’s behalf, until she suddenly arrives among the men, which might have been a problem, given the men were close to starving. But the resourceful Roxane has brought a coach full of food for them. She’d make a better general than the man in charge.

Christian is mortally wounded in battle, but before he can tell Roxane the truth about who wrote the letters, and therefore who she really loves, he dies.

A long time later, Roxane is still in mourning, and Cyrano is writing pamphlets, making enemies. His other love rival comes to warn Roxane that someone might try to kill him. Which they do by dropping a log on him.

But he’s a hardy soul, and he keeps his date with Roxane, and spends about fifteen minutes weaving his last words, as at last Roxane realises it was he who wrote the letters. It must hold some record for the longest death scene ever.

After the film, the recording stops.

Adverts:

  • Ferrero Rocher
  • Scottish Amicable
  • babycham
  • Plenitude
  • trail: The Golden Years (note: Not the Stephen King series)
  • trail: Resurrected
  • Tropicana
  • Weetabox Oat and Wheat Bran
  • Nationwide
  • Peter’s Friends in cinemas
  • Capital Gold
  • United Airlines
  • Tropicana
  • Mail on Sunday
  • Lloyd’s Bank – Paul Eddington, Jan Francis
  • Microsoft
  • Peter’s Friends in cinemas
  • Mary Black – The Collection
  • Nissan
  • Piat d’Or
  • The Economist
  • Campbell’s Mushroom & Peppers Soup
  • Pinesse
  • BUPA
  • Petits Filous
  • Andersen Consulting
  • Malaysia Airlines
  • Intercity
  • Rabbit Phones
  • Ever Ready
  • Playtex
  • Sainsbury’s – even they are getting into the Bergerac theme
  • Sainsbury's Bergerac
  • Kronenbourg 1664
  • Nintendo – Street Fighter II
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3 comments

  1. Jean-Claude Petit has said it was an intentional nod to Elfman, as he was a big fan. See also Alexandre Deplat with “Papillon” come “Girl With The Pearl Earring.”

  2. Heck, Antoine de Caunes has appeared in French cinema, he’s an actor too. So has his daughter. Would love to see any more of these intros if you have them, always thought he was highly witty and amusing, even when Eurotrash was going down the dumper.

    I also saw Cyrano in the cinema and loved it, I suppose it’s the Gallic equivalent of heritage films over here, but it was a lot more vital than our versions.

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