One of the Funniest Movies EVER Released - SIX STARS!
Jose R. Perez | Yonkers, NY USA | 08/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"American audiences tend to resist foreign films for some good reasons. Sure, its tough to keep up with subtitles at times, and yes, sometimes the translations are lacking the depth the filmaker intends to convey. But this is a film that can and should be enshrined in the Movie Hall of Fame as one of the funniest, most endearing films ever released. Audiences who are willing to put up with subtitles will quickly find themselves hysterical and at last, on DVD, "La Cage Aux Folles" deserves to find a new audience, a new generation that appreciates broad humor, with a few good lessons thrown in. Americans are familiar with the story, since "La Cage" was turned into a successful Broadway show and then a huge money-making comedy "The Birdcage" featuring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams in the lead roles (not to mention a young Calista Flockhart of "Ally McBeal" fame and Dan Futterman who is brilliant in "Urbania.") But "The Birdcage" as funny as it can be, fades by comparison to the original, with star making performances by Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault as the leading cross dressing couple of the French Riviera. Where "The Birdcage" allows for broad humor that both confronts and appeases the typical homophobic US audience, "La Cage" offers no apologies, and rests on its own merits as a farce without limits. When Tognazzi teaches Serrault how to "walk like John Wayne" you quickly forget the language barrier, and give up on Robin William's own attempts to educate the shrill Lane in the English version. Somehow, the fact that these characters are French adds a dimension of humanity that is lacking in the "Birdcage." Even the setting on the French Riviera (versus the buff and tough South Beach in the American version) adds to the three dimensional aspects of the characters. There is a sleazy-humor at work here that has been toned down tremendously for the American version, and that can only be captured by a cast that is uniformly superb, endearing, and wonderful. Oscar nominated for its leading performer, Tognazzi, as well as its superb direction, THIS is one of the funniset movies ever made in ANY language. If you love Robin WIlliams movies, and enjoy laughing, BUY THIS FILM - you will be more than glad you did, and you'll find yourself literally hitting the pause button in order to GAWFAW your way through it. If there were SIX stars for movies, "La Cage Aux Folles" would warrant six-and-a-half!"
Great movie, Substandard Transfer
David Dennis | San Mateo, CA | 08/13/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Since others have already expounded on the enduring comic nature of the movie itself, I'll restrict my comments to the DVD. I'd give the movie about 4 stars, but the DVD transfer I would award only 2.Why? The film quality is not only substandard, but on occasion the frame jumps, as if somebody had bumped the telecine during the process. Additionally, the audio is VERY poor, not only varying in loudness, but at times the French audio track is not even synchronized with the lip movements on screen.This would be worthy of a re-do by Criterion or other reputable production company...please?"
One of the Most Successful Comedies of All Times
Ben Adam | Washington, DC | 04/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It pays to overcome both aversions to foreign films and homophobic sentiments to enjoy this film, which is now already a classic farce that has already made it into a Broadway play and an Americanized version, "Birdcage," with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. The original, however, stands out as especially spectacular, largely due to the talents of actor Michel Serrault who went on to the sequel, "La Cage Aux Folles 2," to demonstrate his acting abilities to an even greater degree.
The story tells of the owner of a gay nightclub, La Cage Aux Folles, one Renato Baldi (Ugo Tognazzi), whose son Laurent (Rémi Laurent) comes home to inform him he is getting married. Because his father has come to live a very openly gay lifestyle with his partner, Albin (Michel Serrault), a drag queen who performs in his club and who is very openly effeminate in real life as well, Laurent is very concerned that his father make a good impression on his fiancée's conservative family, who happen to be involved in politics and are very concerned about negative publicity. The only problem is that the fiancée, Andrea (Luisa Maneri), has also told a little white lie to her family that her fiancé's father is a cultural attaché. Of course, the lie ultimately breaks down when the families meet. The groom's father invites the mother, Simone (Claire Maurier), to come, but then Albin decides, without informing anyone, to dress up as a woman and pretend to be the mother, and the result is classic farce as anyone could expect. To make matters worse, when the truth is out and the bride's parents want to storm out in anger, they discover that the press are outside waiting; the only way they can leave is by way of the gay club that they so loathe and, even worse, to do it in drag to escape detection. The irony is as perfect as any farce writer could want it; the ultra-conservative father of the bride (Michel Galabru), who has been fuming all day about "the honor of his party," is suddenly forced to dress up like a woman, and when he confronts his conniving chauffeur (Venantino Venantini), who has been accepting bribes to give tips to the press about his employer's whereabouts, he lets him have it full in the face.
This film is one that will give you a laugh for sure. It's worth the price and worth having in your collection."
LA CAGE is...TRES BIEN!
L. Shirley | fountain valley, ca United States | 07/27/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This review refers to "La Cage Aux Folles" DVD/MGM world Films..
If you will be viewing this film for the first time, and have already seen the more recent American version with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane("The Bird Cage"), you will find it very difficult not to compare this one to it. The Bird Cage was a wonderful and lavish production that paid homage to this original French Film, and did it quite well. I also consider that a 5 star film.
The stories although, BC has added some footage and a few more complications to the story, are just about identical. Young Laurent comes home to visit his father.Renato (Ugo Tognazzi)is the [...] owner of flamboyant cabaret, featuring some wonderful acts by drag queens. Laurent informs Dad, that he is getting married. Although very young, Renato is happy for his son. But wait..there's more; his fiancee's parents are ultra-conservative,more then that, her father's political career is based on high morals.Her parents are on the way to meet "the family", and Renato must tone down his apartment, and then there's Albin(Michael Serrault)...Reanto's very feminine lover..what to do with HIM?
The French humor, although a bit more subtle then it's American cousin, is a real laugh fest. Serrault is every bit, the whining, campy, drag-queen, we have come to love as Albert(Nathan Lane in BC). Tognazzi, is wonderful as the father trying to cope with both the moody Albin, the needs of his son, and the in-laws to be.
Director Edouard Molinaro is brilliant in his direction of this farce. I viewed this last night, after not having seen it for many years, and i am still smiling as I write this review. I loved La Cage as much as I did the first time.. If you loved Bird Cage, gives this one a try, it'll charm your socks off!
The DVD is not the most pristine transfer I have seen for a film of this age. Just a little grainy, and maybe the colors could have been brightened up a bit, but there wasn't anything that distracted me from the absolute joy of this film. There are no special features, other then a theatrical trailer.(If you view the trailer, you will see that the film has been restored to some extent). The sound is Dol Dig(mono). It may be viewed in French(original) or English, and has optional subtitles in English, French and Spanish.The film is presented in a letterbox format of 1.66:1, which is listed as the original theatrical release.
If you are a fan of French Films and humor, farces in particular, I highly recommend this film. Just want to check it out, to see the film Bird Cage was based on?...makes a great weekend rental.
more foreign language films recommended:
Three Colors Trilogy (Red / White / Blue) [Import](All-region)(Remastered)
Honey for Oshun (Miel Para Oshun)
Queen Margot (Koroleva Margo)