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Fanfan La Tulipe
Fanfan La Tulipe
Actors: Gérard Philipe, Gina Lollobrigida
Director: Christian-Jacque
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Military & War
UR     2008     1hr 39min

Legendary French star Gerard Philipe swashbuckled his way into film history as the peasant soldier Fanfan in Christian-Jaque's devil-may-care romantic action-comedy. In eighteenth-century France, Fanfan joins King Louis XV...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Gérard Philipe, Gina Lollobrigida
Director: Christian-Jacque
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Comedy, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Classics, Indie & Art House, Romantic Comedies, Military & War
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Black and White - Dubbed,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 11/18/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/1952
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1952
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 39min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: French, English
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

A marvellous romp
R. de Aquino | Brazil | 10/26/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Indeed, a welcome release. This 1951 French comedy by Christian-Jaque has been treasured by generations of moviegoers, and with good reason. It is a perfectly realized swashbuckler filled with fine humor and Gallic dalliance, and interpreted by a wonderful cast headed by the greatest French actor of his generation, Gerard Philipe. Shot on the Riviera in locations that do evoke 18th-century France, FANFAN LA TULIPE is a film to be savoured on a minute-to-minute basis, since its delightful attractions never seem to end.

Particular mention must be made to the fact that Gina Lollobrigida had the first great opportunity of her career in this film. It amazes one to think that this exquisite actress had already been featured in 17 films since 1946, and practically had to leave Italy in order to become a star. This, notwithstanding the obvious potential she had shown in PAGLIACCI (1948), in which she is a a knockout as Leoncavallo's heroine, Nedda.

All in all, a film to be enjoyed many times, and for many reasons."
Fanfan wins Adeline and beats his enemies...including Jean-L
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 12/18/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

""Once upon a time there was a charming land called France.... People lived happily then. The women were easy and the men indulged in their favorite pastime: war, the only recreation of kings which the people could enjoy." The war in question was the Seven Year's War, and when it was noticed that there were more corpses of soldiers than soldiers, recruiters were sent out to replenish the ranks.

And so it was that Fanfan (Gerard Philipe), caught tumbling a farmer's daughter in a pile of hay, escapes marriage by enlisting in the Regiment d'Aquitane...but only by first believing his future as foretold by a gypsy, that he will win fame and fortune in His Majesty's uniform and will marry the King's daughter. Alas, Adeline (Gina Lollobrigida) is not a gypsy but the daughter of the regiment's recruiting sergeant.

When Fanfan charges away from the recruits, saber in hand to rescue a carriage under attack, who should be inside but the Marquise du Pompadour and...the King's daughter. He now is convinced he will marry high, despite the extremely low-cut blouses Adeline wears. She, in turn, will soon discover her own love for Fanfan. We're in the middle of an irreverent movie of Fanfan's destiny, the ribald adventures of a sword-fighting scamp and rogue. There are escapes from hangings, swordfights on tile roofs, blundering battles, romantic escapes and more joyous derring do than you can imagine. What Fanfan lacks in polish he makes up for in irreverence and enthusiasm. He's a quick stepping swordsman and a fast-talking lover, but with such naïve belief in his destiny and such an optimistic nature, how can we not like him?

Gerard Philipe was an iconic stage and screen actor (who Francois Truffaut disparaged constantly in the pages of Cahiers du Cinema). He did most of his own stunts. He was handsome, athletic, graceful and charismatic. Men admired him and women dreamed about him. He was dead at 36, seven years after Fanfan, of liver cancer. All of France mourned. Gina Lollobrigida as Adeline holds her own. It's not those low-cut blouses that do her acting. She's sharp, passionate, not quite innocent and no one's fool.

Fanfan la Tulipe just sings along with endless satiric action, pointed situations and good nature. Not to mention amusing, acerbic dialogue. After Adeline has taken steps to save Fanfan from hanging, she meets the king in his private quarters. "Give me your pretty little hand," he says. "But my heart belongs to Fanfan," says Adeline. "Who asks for your heart?" says the king, "All I ask for is a little pleasure." "I'm a proper girl," says Adeline. Says the king, "You owe my esteem to your merits. You love Fanfan? Then thank me. My whims enable you to show the greatest proof of your love, by betraying for his sake the loyalty you have sworn him." Now this is clever, funny stuff.

Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut and the rest of the New Wave gang tended to detest popular movies as mere entertainment (and they personalized their attacks). Fanfan la Tulipe and its director, Christian-Jacque, were among their prime targets. They probably missed the point of Fanfan, which is a very funny satire on the pointlessness of armies and war. How much better it must have seemed to make movies of angst which only fellow cineastes could appreciate. Thank goodness some of them, Truffaut and Chabrol, for example, outgrew this childish condescension and came to recognize that a good movie is a good movie, whether the masses like it or just the cognoscenti. A smart person who enjoys movies can appreciate any, if the movies are well made. Those who condescend to a movie based on its degree of popularity are as self-demeaning as those who brag they've never read Harry Potter.

Jean-Luc Godard, eat your heart out. Viva Fanfan!

This Criterion edition looks good. It has a short video feature on the life of Gerard Philipe. For those who love a good French comic-adventure swashbuckler, you might also enjoy Revenge of the Musketeers (Daughter of d'Artagnan) with Sophie Marceau and Philippe Noiret and On Guard (Le Bossu) with Daniel Auteuil."
Criterion Collection - Indispensable Authority on Film
Leif Sheppard | United States | 12/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a prime example of the influence Criterion asserts on film fans. Until three weeks ago I had never heard of "Fanfan la Tulipe" nor it's primary stars. I read the brief blurb at the Criterion site before nearly impulsively purchasing the dvd. Not surprisingly, I wasn't disappointed with either the dvd presentation or the quality of the film itself.

As I've come to expect from Criterion - the film print looks fantastic and the essay booklet is interesting and informative. The Criterion essays are always important because they not only provide a bit of background information behind the film, but also point out the lasting influence the work acheived. For instance, this essay includes an amusing quote from critic Georges Sadoul as well as a few ideas on why this film isn't as well known today despite its popularity upon release.

There are numerious distillations of the hilariously clever plot of this film, so I won't go into that. Suffice it to say that if you're a fan of period films, particularly Tyrone Power or Errol Flynn swashbucklers, you're going to have a great time with this one.

This is one Criterion film in which there simply isn't much bonus material. The brief program about lead actor Gerard Philipe is the only one of note here. The colorized clip isn't worth much, but I'm always happy for anything extra on a dvd.

Side notes: Film snobs may whine that "popcorn" releases such as this aren't worthy of the iconic Criterion logo, but its just this sort of celluloid elitism that Criterion is trying to dispel. No longer will the casual film buff search the world over and pay too much for a copy of films like "Before the Rain" or "Mon Oncle Antoine".

The influence, quality, and importance of a film is really all quite subjective anyway. I count "This Sporting Life" among the greatest character studies ever made, while you may find it a boring two hour exercise in watching a dumb brute driving the widow he lives with insane."
A fun romp full of action and adventure!
Cubist | United States | 12/05/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Adapted from a beloved French story dating back to an 1819 song, Fanfan la Tulipe is a French swashbuckling bodice-ripper, an action-adventure film as if written by Oscar Wilde - in other words, all kinds of amusing double entrendes and bawdy language.

Fanfan la Tulipe is a fun, action-packed tale with plenty of exciting duels, beautiful women, daring escapes and rescues, and pompous bad guys - everything you'd come to expect from a rip-roaring adventure the likes of which they just don't make anymore. Largely unknown in North America, this snazzy DVD edition from the folks at the Criterion Collection will hopefully introduce this charming, irrepressible film to a brand new audience.

"Gerard Philipe: Star, Idol, Legend" takes a look at the actor's career with new interviews from Philipe's daughter Anne-Marie and his biographer, Gerard Bonal. Philipe made Fanfan la Tulipe at the height of his career. Along with vintage family photographs, Anne-Marie and Bonal document the man's early life and how he got into acting. This is an excellent look at the actor.

"Clip from Colorized Fanfan la Tulipe" features an excerpt from the 1997 colorized version of the film which gives it a vibrant look but still doesn't surpass the black and white original.

Finally, there is a trailer."