A wonderfully entertaining musical fantasy, THE YOUNG GIRLS OF ROCHEFORT features big-screen legend Gene Kelly (THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT) and international star Catherine Deneuve (BELLE DE JOUR) in a delightfully lighthearted ... more »story about two charming sisters waiting for their perfect love to arrive! In the picturesque seaside village of Rochefort, Delphine (Deneuve) teaches dance while her twin Solange (Francoise Dorleac) composes and gives piano lessons. As the girls dream of success and romance in the far-off big city, they don't realize that true love may be just around the corner! An exuberant musical treat that earned rave reviews from critics everywhere, this beloved classic has been beautifully restored to its original magnificence!« less
"Imagine a Monty Python version of "Bye Bye Birdie", set in France and featuring twin anorexic Ann Margrets; and you will have a good idea of the "look" of "The Young Girls of Rochefort". Then throw in the Hullabaloo dancers with even the males in go-go boots and be prepared to laugh. Which is appropriate because on one level Jacques Demy is gleefully and affectionately satirizing the movie musical tradition. What you are not prepared for is how, after about 40 minutes, you realize that you really like this thing.
It is fast paced, extremely original, and very pretty; ultimately its innate charm just wins you over. At the end you are shocked to find that this silly satire stands alone atop all of Demy's other films. His legacy of optimism, beauty, and unashamed sweetness.
Catherine Deneuve who is usually the 180 degree antithisis of "perky" has to play a lively and fairly out-there young woman. It must have been quite a struggle for Demy to get this much animation from her but her unnatural performance adds to the already surreal feel of this film. I might have cut the scene where she puts something in the oven as it reminds you of that rabbit in "Repulsion".
What is interesting is that early in the story Demy has let you know how his characters will be paired off by the end, then he uses a "ships passing in the night" device to build suspense as the viewer waits for the inevitable that never quite seems to happen. Ultimately everything falls into place and there is a charming resolution.
My only complaint is that I thought Deneuve and Jacques Perrin's "Maxence" should have connected one scene earlier, in the café when he came back to get his sea-bag. This would have made a better montage when cutting between the Dorleac-Kelly and Legrand-Darrieux connections.
The best scene is a great musical montage at the midway point of the film, as the three waiting-to-be-connected story lines are reflected by cuts between three different songs occurring simultaneous in different parts of the town; with the tempo increasing with each cut.
Fairytale set in reality
Merilahti Kristiina | Finland | 11/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Firstly: this isn't a musical like 'Cherbourg'. It has only a few themes, each belonging to certain people - and you can quickly find out, that people who belong together sing the same tune, only with different words. Which is a charming idea and won me over. And it isn't the kind of fairytale that many Demy's films are. The people move about in a realistic place, doing things that at least remind things that happen in reality, but wearing things that make them and the dancers - who walk by casually and start and stop dancing absent-mindedly - stand out of others. There are very few big dancing scenes here. Even though Gene Kelly is in the cast.The cast is great: Danielle Darrieux, Francoise Dorleac, Catherine Deneuve, George Charikis, Michel Piccoli, Gene Kelly and Jacques Perrin - with his hair blonde, wearing a sailor costume that looks like the ones little boys wear. They all seem to fit in this story that has nothing to do with real life, just happens in real surroundings. The pastel coloured clothes, the way people move without finding each other, unexpected, haphazard dancers on the streets... Apparently Demy had fun lending musical-like features while still trying to do something else. Deneuve, Dorleac and Darrieux are lovely, of course, the men are all handsome and charming (Charikis should be sold in bottles!) and the music is lovely. This time Legrand made recognizable songs, each belonging to certain people. The plot? There isn't much to tell about. Two lovely girls, musically talented, are looking for love and a better future, their mother keeps a cafe and remembers the love of her life she rejected because the man had a silly name. The fare brings new people to Rochefort and the girls get a chance to leave, maybe to Paris. But men keep crossing their path...Oh yes, I love this film. Even though I don't care for musicals that much. Or pure romantic soap. There is something disarming in this one, though it's useless to find great big truths of life or magnificent singers. Perhaps that's what is so charming: these people can hold a tune and dance a bit, but they aren't so good you couldn't do the same thing yourself - if you had the balls to take a few steps or to sing a nice tune as you walk down the street and feel like it.I suppose I finally fell for this film in the end, when one of the main characters is leaving alone, then gets up on a truck and the theme grows stronger and bigger than ever. The lovers meet, though it isn't shown. And by the way: in my mind it's one of the best themes Legrand ever composed. Enjoy!"
THE GREATEST MOVIE MUSICAL EVER MADE
Farrell Mc Nulty | Chicago, Illinois | 11/24/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Young Girls of Rochefort is the greatest movie musical ever made. That it was French, and that it was made in 1967 were the two reasons I wanted to see it when I first heard of it in 1998. The second the film began I knew this was going to be huge. The colors enthusiastically splashed about the screen as was the music. This was a film which everyone involved enjoyed making and it comes across brilliantly. Demy loved bright colors and loud, brassy music. Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac loved each other as did their characters. George Chakiris was just as great in a light romantic lead as he was in the most intense scences in West Side Story. Gene Kelly seemed right at home in his role. At any age, at any time in any film, he could sweep the ladies off their feet better than anyone on either side of the Atlantic. This is a film which had been in my thoughts almost non-stop for the past three years and this is a film I will watch over and over again - and so will you. Get this today, or as fast as your friendly neighborhood overnight courier can ship."
Don't Miss This
Gabriel Oak | Middletown, CT USA | 07/15/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD returns The Young Girls of Rochefort to its widescreen format, and for anyone who cares about musicals, this is a must-see. The music score is one of Michel Legrand's best, and the movie pays homage to An American in Paris and other musicals with the presence of Gene Kelly. Here's a film that also uses color creatively. The cast is wonderful--Catherine Deneuve, Francoise Dorleac, Danielle Darrieux, George Chakiris, Grover Dale, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin, and of course, Kelly. The script gets somewhat silly--but there's so much to enjoy. Maybe Donkey Skin will get restored next--another Demy-Legrand gem starring Deneuve and Perrin."
One of the best musicals ever made
Anders Thuresson | Stockholm,Sweden | 03/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Young Girls Of Rochefort was made against all odds. It is a musical, and musicals were all wrong back in 66' Musicals is a very american moviegenre, but this one is french. All dialogue is in french, so that could make anyone feel uneasy at first.However all that is no problem in this film. Most musicals are romantic, and since french is a very romantic language, this movie gets even more romantic. Even the clothes on the actors has a romantic touch (they very terribly out of date when the movie was made)The songs are written by Michel Legrand, and they are very catchy and joyful. This sure is a important movie in Michel Legrands long career. The colors are brilliant, everything has a soft touch.Gene Kelly has only a small part in this movie, but he makes it bigger. His dancing skills are as good as ever.The major characters (Deneuve,Dorleac,Chakiris,Dale) does a good job. Deneuve and Dorleac were sisters in real life, you cant see it, but you might "feel" it. None of them do their own singing,they are all dubbed.All together, a nice little movie that gave me a lot of fun. An extra plus for the music."