Moulin Rouge Reviews
I walked into this movie thinking it was just going to be an early version of 2001 musical of the same name. Well, its not at all. John Huston has put together a beautiful and angry portrait of French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec in the country's post-revolution decadance.
For his part, Huston has written and directed a dark nearly-sadistic love relationship between the crippled artist and a young prostitute (which of course is never expressly stated). A guy whose appearance leaves him rejected at every turn. A woman shows him an ounce of kindness and he turns it into possession. She, a fiery redhead, may not have ladylike poise, abut she has always known freedom. When she feels controlled, she gets cruel. Both José Ferrer and Colette Marchand play these roles excellently. Ferrer is expecially sterile and seemingly emotionless, but played against the plot of a guy hiding his emotions for fear of constant rejection, it's exactly what's called for.
As we move on in Toulouse's life, we see him gain wealth and fame and the affections of another woman. We see how the success of his art turns his streets into unlivable spectacles. His own emotional safety net ruining the chances that await him. And Huston has somehow made a film about the past seem ahead of its time. Maybe it's the whole European aspect, but this film feels much more 1968 than 1952.