Can-Can (1960)

Directed by Walter Lang
Written by Dorothy Kingsley and Charles Lederer from a musical comedy by Abe Burrows
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Suffolk-Cummings Productions
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental

So goodbye, dear, and Amen/ Here’s hoping we meet now and then/ It was great fun/ But it was just one of those things – lyrics by Cole Porter

There are a lot of nice Cole Porter standards and some glorious dancing in this but the script could have been tightened considerably.

Simone Pistache (Shirley MacLaine) owns and performs at a nightclub in Montmarte which sometimes features the illegal can-can.  Her sometime boyfriend Francois Dumais (Frank Sinatra) is a lawyer who can often fix things with the police and avoid a fine and closing of the establishment.  New by-the-book judge Philipe Forrestier is determined to enforce the law and visits with the intention of conducting a raid.  His attitude changes a bit when he falls for Simone.

The two men vie for Simone’s affections.  Francois is a bit of a womanizer and has no intention of marrying.  Philipe proposes in short order.  It looks like the couple is looking at a happily ever after ending until Francois throws a spanner in the works by getting Simone drunk at a high society part intended to introduce her to Philipe’s friends.  When she sobers up, she is determined to get revenge.  With Maurice Chevalier as another judge, Juliet Prowse as a saucy dancer, and Marcel Dalio as the head waiter.

What should be a good musical is dragged out by an overlong script and by the “Adam and Eve Ballet” which brings the action to a screeching halt for several minutes.  I remember enjoying this when I was a young musical fanatic.  Not so much anymore though that final can-can almost made everything worthwhile.

Can-Can was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Costume Design, Color and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.


2 thoughts on “Can-Can (1960)

  1. Interesting to note that when Nikita Khrushchev was visiting the United States in September 1959, he visited the set of “Can-Can” and met Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine. He wanted to visit a Hollywood set and was quite taken with Miss MacLaine.

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