Cyrano de Bergerac (1900-2008)


Introduction

Cyrano de Bergerac is a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. There was a real Cyrano de Bergerac, and the play is a fictionalisation following the broad outlines of his life.

The entire play is written in verse, in rhyming couplets of twelve syllables per line, very close to the classical alexandrine form, but the verses sometimes lack a caesura. It is also meticulously researched, down to the names of the members of the Académie française and the dames précieuses glimpsed before the performance in the first scene.

The play has been translated and performed many times, and is responsible for introducing the word “panache” into the English language. Cyrano (the character) is in fact famed for his panache, and he himself makes reference to “my panache” in the play. The two most famous English translations are those by Brian Hooker and Anthony Burgess.

Outline

Hercule Savinien Cyrano de Bergerac, a cadet (nobleman serving as a soldier) in the French Army, is a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. In addition to being a remarkable duellist, he is a gifted, joyful poet and is also a musical artist. However, he has an obnoxiously large nose, which causes him to doubt himself. This doubt prevents him from expressing his love for his distant cousin, the beautiful and intellectual Roxane, as he believes that his ugliness would prevent him the “dream of being loved by even an ugly woman.”

Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano (March 1619 – 28 July 1655) was a French novelist, playwright, epistolarian and duellist.

A bold and innovative author, his work was part of the libertine literature of the first half of the seventeenth century. Today he is best known as the inspiration for Edmond Rostand’s most noted drama Cyrano de Bergerac, which, although it includes elements of his life, also contains invention and myth.

Cyrano de Bergerac Films

There have been several film adaptations of Edmond Rostand’s play Cyrano de Bergerac:

  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1900 film), a French production starring Benoît-Constant Coquelin.
    • A French short drama film directed Clement Maurice.
    • It was shown at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1925 film), starring Pierre Magnier.
    • A Franco-Italian silent film directed Augusto Genina in 1922.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1938 TV film), a live television adaptation starring James Mason and Leslie Banks.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1946 film), a French production starring Claude Dauphin.
    • A 1946 French romantic comedy directed by Fernand Rivers.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1950 film), starring José Ferrer.
    • A 1950 American adventure film.
    • It useds poet Brian Hooker’s 1923 English blank verse translation as the basis for its screenplay.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1962 film), starring Christopher Plummer.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1972 film), starring Peter Donat.
    • A 1972 videotaped version production originally staged by the American Conservatory Theatre.
    • Shown on PBS as part of the Theatre in America series.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1985 film), starring Derek Jacobi.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (1990 film), a French production starring Gérard Depardieu.
    • A 1990 French comedy-drama directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac (2008 film), starring Kevin Kline.
    • A 2008 made-for-television adaptation.

Derivative Versions

  • 1959 Aru kengo no shogai (Life of an Expert Swordsman), starring Toshirō Mifune, adapted by director Hiroshi Inagaki.
  • 1987 Wimps (film) a teen romantic comedy.
  • 1987 Roxanne (film), directed by Fred Schepisi, starring Steve Martin.
  • 2010 Cyrano Agency, a Korean romance-comedy of a group of actors and stage experts working as professional love makers by writing monologues, staging scenarios and directing their clients.
  • 1996 The Truth About Cats & Dogs, starring Uma Thurman.
  • 2010 Megamind, animated film by DreamWorks, inspired by the story and re-imagining the characters in a superhero and supervillain format, with the titular Megamind as Cyrano.
  • 2012 Let It Shine, a Disney Channel Original Movie loosely based on the story.
  • 2014 Oohalu Gusagusalade, a Telugu adaptation, written and directed by Srinivas Avasarala.
  • 2018 Sierra Burgess Is a Loser, a gender reversed Netflix Original based loosely on the story.
  • 2020 The Half of It, another Netflix Original that has Cyrano as a girl, Roxanne as a girl, and Christian as a boy.

Production & Filming Details (1990 Film)

  • Director(s): Jean-Paul Rappeneau.
  • Producer(s): Rene Cleitram, Michel Seydoux, and Andre Szots.
  • Writer(s): Jean-Claude Carriere, Jean-Paul Rappeneau, and Edmond Rostand.
  • Music: Jean-Claude Petit.
  • Cinematography: Pierre Lhomme.
  • Editor(s): Noelle Boisson.
  • Distributor(s): UGC.
  • Release Date: 28 March 1990.
  • Running Time: 137 minutes.
  • Country: France and Hungary.
  • Language: French.

 

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