Saturday, January 27, 2018
Jose Ferrer as Cyrano De Bergerac
For Christmas, I splurged a few dollars and purchased the epic movie of Cyrano, as performed by the great Jose Ferrer. Mr. Ferrer is one of those overlooked titans in cinema and for some reason this Cyrano is never listed as one of the top 10 greatest movies of all time.
It amuses me in reviews of this movie as most follow the same course of stumbling upon this movie by accident in having nothing to watch and being drawn in by Jose Ferrer. My experience was as a child in an afternoon movie from a signal broadcast skip where I came upon this movie and fell in love with it.
Jose Ferrer is wonderful in this movie, which is tragic beyond all measure, for it is the story of beauty and beast, of love and infatuation, of the eye and the heart, of honor and principles balanced against infatuation and desire.
For those who do not know the timeless tale, Cyrano is the greatest swordsman in all of France, the ultimate warrior, whose tongue is as sharp as his sword. He loves his cousin, who loves a handsome stranger, and Cyrano becomes entangled in wooing the woman for his rival and wins her for him.
It is the quiet suffering of doing what is right and honorable, for a greater love than the one which appears on the screen.
It ends tragically and I will give the spoiler as Cyrano takes to battle off the field in writing satire against the government, and the government finds it fitting to murder the bard. Cyrano survives long enough to keep his weekly meeting with his love, and in that she discovers that she was in love with him all along, as it was Cyrano's words which had won her long ago.
With that the great poet dies in the twilight, and it is not a mournful death as it is instead a scene of quiet understanding in it all had to be this way.
I watched Kevin Kline and Jennifer Garner, assassinate and murder this screenplay on stage. Kline was just too smarmy smart ass and Garner was too Affleck ditz in nothing worked, nor could anything compare to Jose Ferrrer.
In the Kline version Cyrano is murdered by a block dropped on his head, in this Ferrer version he is run down in the street. I prefer the first as it is more regime cruel in destroying one from the lurking heights, but for dramatic effect, horses on a street are more intense.
I can not state this is my favorite movie of all time, but this is one of my favorite movies of all time due to Jose Ferrer. He was masterful in this role and defined it, for his contempt for humanity in all of its inferiority and his being flawed by morals that he could not even be honest about love as that would not be principled.
There was a second movie in this version in the Son of Monte Cristo. Perhaps if this was the only movie around it would be acceptable, but I kept looking for Jose Ferrer to appear, but he never did. This was just an add on, and while it is an ok movie, it is nothing memorable.
So if you ever have nothing to do on a dark evening, and can curl up with a movie and just relax, Jose Ferrer will be something to entertain you, and then you can become a fanatic for him too as Cyrano, and people will wonder what it is all about, until they discover what you have happened upon.