The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

The nice thing about this break in blogging, is that I at least started posts for several movies making it easy to complete them with perhaps a bit of help from imdb or wikipedia to get names of actors/directors or award info.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) is a 1964 happy happy musical. At least initially. Its very Sesame Street in its bright colors, young love, sing-along way.

Boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, boy gets shipped overseas in the name of his country.

Basically, Genevive i.e. girl in the previous scenario is the daughter of a broke umbrella shop owner Madame Emery. Mom's only hope at not being broke or almost broke is to marry Genevive off to a wealthy man. Genevive meanwhile falls for Guy a young man working as a mechanic in someone else's shop. Guy's parents are dead and he lives with his aunt who is cripple or sick or something.

Young love ensues while Madame Emery sets up dinner and meetings with a wealthy jeweler (who actually keeps the umbrella shop from going under by buying Madame Emery's jewels).

Then Guy is drafted. The two love birds are of course sad, and want to spend their last moments together. They go to Guy's room after his Aunt is in bed.

In a rather foolish moment Genevive and Guy sleep together his last night in France. Genevive soon discovers that tryst led to a little guy on the way. She wrote to Guy with the idea that when he returns they will be wed, but after many months and no replies to her letters she unhappily agrees to marry the jeweler that her mother picked out at the beginning of the story.

Of course, Guy didn't die or forget her during the war. he returns home with an injury and finds the Umbrella Shop gone, Genevive gone, and his heart broken. Guy gets depressed. His girl went off and got married, he hates his job, he drinks. He drinks a LOT. He also quits his job and starts picking up women.

He hits rock bottom when he sleeps with a prostitute and learns her name is Genevive. Oh tragedy! He goes back home and finds out his aunt died, and the only person left is Madeline (the aunt's nurse/helper).

Fast forward, and Guy owns a gas station and mechanic shop and him and Madeline have a son. Genevive is driving through town and stops for gas.

I will let the end be a surprise.

Ok, usually French bothers me (ironic that I don't care for many foreign films just because of their language, yet I watch lots of them) but French singing? GĂ©nial! Its probably the fact that this is literally an opera. Every line is sung. So its got the gaiety of a 60's musical, and still dramatic and obviously not American.

I give this film 4 stars because its got star crossed lovers, and reality mixed in. It would have 5 stars, but all the singing voices are dubbed (yes in a movie where all the lines are sung).


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