THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (French : LES PARAPLUIES DE CHERBOURG) is
a 1964 French-German romantic musical film directed by
Umbrellas is the middle film in an informal "romantic trilogy" of Demy films that share some of the same actors, characters and overall look; it comes after Lola (1961) and before The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967). The film was very successful in France with a total of 1,275,00- admissions. It was also shown internationally, introducing Deneuve to a larger audience, and was nominated for several Academy Awards, including for Best Foreign Film, Best Song, Best Soundtrack, and Best Original Screenplay. It won three awards at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival , including its top prize, the Palme D\'or .
The film critic Jim Ridley has called
* 1 Plot
* 1.1 Part One: The Departure (November 1957) * 1.2 Part Two: The Absence (January 1958 – April 1958) * 1.3 Part Three: The Return (March 1959 – December 1963)
* 2 Cast * 3 Music * 4 Reception * 5 Awards * 6 Stage adaptation * 7 Restoration * 8 See also * 9 References * 10 External links
PART ONE: THE DEPARTURE (NOVEMBER 1957)
Madame Emery and her beautiful 17-year-old daughter Geneviève
Guy is drafted to serve in the Algerian War . The night before he leaves, he and Geneviève pledge their undying love and have sex, perhaps for the first time.
PART TWO: THE ABSENCE (JANUARY 1958 – APRIL 1958)
Geneviève learns she is pregnant and writes to Guy, but his replies are sporadic. Her mother tells her to give up on Guy – he has forgotten her. Geneviève is courted by Roland Cassard (Marc Michel), a kind, young, and very wealthy Parisian jeweler; he wants to marry her despite her pregnancy. (In one of the connections among Demy's trilogy of films, Roland had previously unsuccessfully wooed the title character in the earlier Lola (1961); now he relates a version of this story to Madame Emery.) Madame Emery urges Geneviève to be sensible and choose a secure future with Roland. Geneviève marries Roland in a great cathedral, but she appears ambivalent about her decision.
PART THREE: THE RETURN (MARCH 1959 – DECEMBER 1963)
Returning injured from the war, Guy learns that Geneviève has married and left Cherbourg. He has difficulty readjusting to civilian life. After an argument with his boss he quits his job, goes drinking in a seedy bar, and spends the night with a prostitute. When he returns to his apartment, Madeleine tells him that his aunt Elise has died.
Guy sees that Madeleine loves him, and he rebuilds his life with her help. Using the inheritance from his aunt he opens a new "American-style" gas station. Madeleine agrees to marry him, though she wonders whether he is merely on the rebound after losing Geneviève.
Four years later, on a snowy Christmas Eve, Guy and Madeleine are in
the office of their gas station with their small son, François.
Madeleine is decorating a Christmas tree; we see this is a loving and
happy family. As Madeleine and François leave to visit
Geneviève gets out and Guy invites her into the warmth of the
station's office. They chat as a boy attends to Geneviève's car. This
is Geneviève's first time in
The car is ready. At the door Geneviève pauses: "Are you well?" Guy says "Yes, I'm fine." Geneviève opens the door and pulls her collar tight against the cold before looking back at Guy one last time. She walks to her car, gets in and drives off. Madeleine returns with François; Guy greets her with a kiss. As the camera pulls back he frolics with his son in the snow, then picks him up and follows Madeleine inside.
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The continuous music score and the brightly coloured photography had much to do with the popularity of this film. Formally the work is operatic, with the plot advanced entirely through dialogue sung with accompanying music. The colour photography is bright and vivid. The whole is united by an orchestral score of simple rhythms and tunes that are integrated with the story covering five years.
The actors' voices were dubbed for the songs in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg:
The film score established composer
Michel Legrand 's reputation in
Hollywood. He later scored other films, winning three
Tony Bennett 's performance of the theme song was added to one
version of the soundtrack CD.
The film was well received by critics. Review aggregation website
Some critics noted that the plot is similar to
A restored digital version of Umbrellas of
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Prix Louis-Delluc , 1963
* Palme d\'Or at the
1964 Cannes Film Festival
* Critics' prize for Best Film, by the French Syndicate of Film
* Nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at
37th Academy Awards in 1965
* Nominated for four more
In 2005 a major revision by Harnick was produced at the Two River Theatre Company in Red Bank, New Jersey . Musical director/conductor Nathan Hurwitz provided new orchestration. The cast included Max von Essen as Guy, Heather Spore as Genevieve, and Maureen Silliman as Madame Emery. Other cast members included Ken Krugman, Patti Perkins, Robyn Payne, Jonathan Kaplan, Steven Stein Grainger, Brett Rigby, and Sara Delaney. Direction was by artistic director Jonathan Fox and choreography was by Ginger Thatcher.
In 2011, the Kneehigh Theatre Company in London presented the
Joanna Riding as Madame Emery, cabaret artist Meow
Meow as the Maîtresse, and Andrew Durand as Guy. The production was
directed by Emma Rice . It was given tryouts at Leicester's Curve
Theatre from 11 to 26 February 2011 and began previews in the West End
The West End cast:
* Joanna Riding as Madame Emery * Andrew Durand as Guy Foucher * Dominic Marsh as Roland Cassard/Aunt Elise * Laura Brydon as Ensemble * Gareth Charlton as Dubourg/Sailor/Animator * Chris Jenkins as Ensemble/Swing * Meow Meow as Maîtresse * Carly Bawden as Geneviève Emery * Cynthia Erivo as Madeleine * Matt Wilman as Sailor/Ensemble * Aki Omoshaybi as Sailor/Animator * Gillian Budd as Ensemble/Swing
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The film version released in 2004 on DVD by
The film was originally shot on Eastman negative stock, which rapidly faded and became almost unusable. The various copies of the film used in the cinema circuit gradually lost their quality. Umbrellas could not be seen with the rich colours which Demy had originally intended.
Knowing that the Eastman stock would fade over time, Demy had made the three main yellow, cyan and magenta color separation masters on black-and-white negative films, which do not fade. These black-and-white prints had greater longevity .
In the 1990s, Demy's wife, film director
Composer Michel Legrand assisted in restoring the original four-track stereo sound masters to digital. He remastered his score to produce a higher-quality version, now available on CD.
A digital version of the film was released on Blu-ray by Ciné Tamaris in 2013, on the 50th anniversary of its original release. This version was restored independently of the 2004 version with colour grading supervised by Demy's son Mathieu Demy .