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French Cancan (Only the French Can) (1956)

French Cancan (Only the French Can)


Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 20
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

No Score Yet...
Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 729


Movie Info

Beautifully photographed, this comedy drama from Jean Renoir chronicles the revival of Paris' most notorious dance as it tells the story of a theater producer who turns a humble washerwoman into a star at the Moulin Rouge. The film is also title Only the French Can. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

Drama , Musical & Performing Arts , Art House & International , Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Aug 3, 2004
Criterion Collection


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Critic Reviews for French Cancan (Only the French Can)

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (20) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

M. Renoir's affectionate picture hasn't quite the class of Huston's Moulin Rouge. But it makes for diverting entertainment as sheer sentimental spectacle.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

The climactic cancan scene is one of the finest dance sequences ever filmed, and worth the price of a ticket on its own.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This 1955 Technicolor musical is the easiest to like of Jean Renoir's late films, full of color, movement, and romance.

Full Review… | May 7, 2003
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Nostalgic studio-bound Hollywood-like splashy pic about the beginnings of the Moulin Rouge.

Full Review… | November 2, 2012
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A simple story told with abundant charm.

Full Review… | August 7, 2011
Daily Express

Begins with an extended and breathtaking evocation of the Moulin Rouge at its most ravishing, one of the cinema's greatest sequences.

Full Review… | August 7, 2011
Observer [UK]

It is unashamedly nostalgic and somewhat meandering but chock full of colour and affection for its characters.

Full Review… | August 5, 2011
This is London

The glorious final sequence, in which the cancan is finally unveiled to the rowdy audience, is some kind of masterpiece, perhaps the equal of anything Renoir ever achieved: wild, free, turbulent, exhilarating.

Full Review… | August 4, 2011

Nothing if not thoroughly enjoyable.

Full Review… | August 4, 2011
Daily Telegraph

[It] was not the cinema event it promised to be. Yet there is still much to treasure in this exuberant tribute to the Moulin Rouge.

Full Review… | August 4, 2011
Radio Times

If the film lacks the social bite of Renoir's pre-war work, it's still a rich celebration of life and the director's own birthplace.

Full Review… | August 1, 2011
Total Film

A playful, colorful spectacle from the late era of Renoir.

Full Review… | July 3, 2011

French Cancan is full of fire, and incredibly sexy for 1954.

Full Review… | May 4, 2010
East Bay Express

French Cancan vibrantly brings to life the dawning days of the Moulin Rouge, complete with high-kicking choristers flaunting their frills.

Full Review… | August 30, 2006
TV Guide's Movie Guide

...the fin de siecle Paris of our imagination, or of Auguste Renoir's paintings. Renoir's finale blends exhilarating showmanship and a carriageload of characters reconciled, their intrigues and follies stepping aside for 'the show must go on.'

Full Review… | April 7, 2006

In wonderful color

May 28, 2005
Classic Film and Television

This is lighter than usual fare for Renoir, but his usual gracefulness is ever-present and he adds a distinct human center to the color and dazzle.

Full Review… | September 6, 2004
Combustible Celluloid

It's a true spectacle; Renoir suggests that, potentially, for those involved in theater, all of life is.

Full Review… | August 22, 2004

The birth of the Moulin Rouge lights up the screen in Jean Renoir's breathtaking, colourful vision of a bygone Paris.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003

Little can prepare us for the dazzling set piece that closes the film.

Full Review… | June 3, 2002

Audience Reviews for French Cancan (Only the French Can)

this is lots of fun and better than huston's 'moulin rouge' imo. how wonderful to see the fierce maria felix in such a high profile role outside of mexico. it's a little unbelievable that the aging jean gabin still gets all the girls. and he didn't need to be such a bastard about it either

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

It was quite seductive to watch this colourful concoction projected on the cinema screen in a beautifully restored print. It has the fluff and exuberance of an MGM musical standing on the legs of the usual Renoir social commentary and his view on the bourgeois and the world of the arts. This is supported by the fact that a fairly banal love story is followed by an incredibly exhilarating cancan final sequence: after all, why should we be so concerned with things so mundane such as romantic entanglements when dancing brings you so much more joie de vivre?

Matheus Carvalho
Matheus Carvalho

Super Reviewer


[font=Century Gothic]"French Can-Can" takes place in 19th century Paris where famed impresario Henri Danglard(Jean Gabin), who has always had a knack for spotting talent in ordinary people, is facing bankruptcy but has an ambitous idea to bring back the Can-Can to a new nightclub he is planning to open in Montmartre, the Moulin Rouge. To headline, he has recruited a laundress, Nini(Francoise Arnoul), to be his star dancer, even if her boyfriend, Paulo(Franco Pastorino), is less than thrilled and even a little jealous.[/font]

[font=Century Gothic]"French Can-Can" is a fun, enjoyable and beautiful movie about the complications and business of entertainment that ends with a great show stopper. It also has quite a bit to say about class relations of the time period, especially about the mixing of the upper and lower classes. Jean Gabin has charm to spare. But I feel like I needed a scorecard to keep track of all of the romantic entanglements.[/font]

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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