The Young Girls of Rochefort


2h 4m 1968
The Young Girls of Rochefort

Brief Synopsis

Twin sisters who each want to find romance befriend a couple of visiting carnival workers.

Film Details

Also Known As
Les demoiselles de Rochefort
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 Apr: Jan 1968
Production Company
Madeleine Films; Parc Film
Distribution Company
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.
Country
France

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 4m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Synopsis

Boat salesmen Etienne and Bill arrive in Rochefort-sur-Mer with a dance troupe and attempt to establish an open-air fair. When their girl friends leave the company, the salesmen scour the city for replacements. In so doing, they encounter twin sisters, Delphine and Solange Garnier, music teachers and dancers. The twins' mother, Yvonne, owns a café and dreams of her old lover, Monsieur Dame, proprietor of a nearby music shop. Meanwhile, the sailor Maxence paints a portrait of the perfect female, and later discovers his ideal embodied in Delphine. Concert pianist Andy Miller discovers the manuscript of a masterful concerto penned by Solange, with whom he subsequently falls in love. The sisters perform at the fair, where they are a great success, but they resist entreaties to join the troupe. Instead, Solange finds happiness with Andy; Delphine meets the adoring Maxence; and Yvonne and Monsieur Dame are reunited. Songs : "Arrivée des camionneurs," "Le pont transbordeur," "Chanson de Maxence," "Chanson de Delphine à Lancien," "Marins, amis, amants ou maris," "Chanson de Simon," "La femme coupée en morceaux," "Chanson d'un jour d'été," "Andy amoureux," "Chanson des jumelles," "Chanson d'Andy," 60036458 "Chanson de Solange," "Chanson de Delphine," "Nous voyageons de ville en ville," "Chanson d'Yvonne," "De Hambourg à Rochefort," "Dans le port de Hambourg," "Les rencontres," "Toujours jamais," "Kermesse," "Départ des camionneurs."

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Movie Clip

Hosted Intro

Film Details

Also Known As
Les demoiselles de Rochefort
Genre
Comedy
Musical
Release Date
Jan 1968
Premiere Information
New York opening: 11 Apr: Jan 1968
Production Company
Madeleine Films; Parc Film
Distribution Company
Warner Bros.--Seven Arts, Inc.
Country
France

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 4m
Sound
Stereo
Color
Color (Eastmancolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1, 2.35 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Score

1967

Articles

The Young Girls of Rochefort


In 1964, French writer-director Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a pastel-colored, 100%-sung musical starring Catherine Deneuve, became an international success, winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes and scoring five Oscar nominations. It did so well that Demy and his composer, Michel Legrand, soon began to develop another musical, not a sequel but a companion piece -- actually the third of a loose romantic trilogy that had started with Lola (1960).

The new film, The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), was made in something of the spirit of Umbrellas, albeit with more traditional numbers interspersed with straight dialogue scenes. Deneuve again starred, this time joined by her sister, actress Francoise Dorleac. They play twins living in the southwestern French town of Rochefort, and the story has a fable-like quality, as the sisters give music and dance lessons while yearning for romance and musical careers in Paris. Injecting further glamour into the film are Danielle Darrieux as the twins' mother, Gene Kelly as a concert pianist who falls in love with Dorleac, and George Chakiris as a dancer who comes to town with a carnival.

Kelly and Chakiris, of course, function as links to the Hollywood musical, a genre to which Demy was consciously attempting to pay homage. Kelly was 51 when he made this film, and his dancing is still excellent, though his voice was dubbed. Chakiris later recalled being offered the film not with a script, but with Demy and Legrand playing the entire score for him. Chakiris's manager recommended not taking the role because it wasn't prominent enough, but, Chakiris later told the Los Angeles Times, "I liked the sound of it myself, so I chose to go ahead and do it. I just think it's a film that holds up... It has such charm."

With Gene Kelly's involvement, Demy and producer Mag Bodard were able to secure backing from Warner Brothers, and filming got underway in the summer of 1966, on location in Rochefort. The budget was bigger than on Umbrellas, allowing Demy to use crane shots and other expensive techniques. He even arranged for thousands of shutters in Rochefort to be painted in bright pastel colors, an example of his exacting vision of the overall color scheme.

Demy's collaboration with Legrand was a close one. Legrand later said: "I remember arriving at [Demy's] house in the mornings to work together. He would stand by the piano with a blank notepad, and I would have a blank music sheet in front of me over the keyboard. I would say to myself, for the moment, nothing exists. But after about an hour, or maybe a day or a week, all these sheets will be filled, and we will have created something new. On occasions, all that was necessary was quick riff on the piano to set the creative process in motion." One of their numbers, "Song of a Summer Day," featuring Deneuve and Dorleac, was designed as a clear tribute to the "Two Little Girls From Little Rock" number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953).

Dorleac had found success as a film actress even before her more famous sister, and she was on the cusp of breaking out into international stardom when she died in a tragic car accident in 1967, at the age of 25. She had completed work on one more film after The Young Girls of Rochefort: Billion Dollar Brain (1967), opposite Michael Caine.

Deneuve went on to a magnificent career and remains one of France's most esteemed and beautiful film actresses. In 1998, looking back on this picture, she told The New York Times, "It's less difficult to watch this film than others with my sister. It was the only film I did with her, but it was a musical. The scenes are so charming and related to what we were as sisters in real life." In another interview, with writer Britt Kelly, Deneuve added: "We were very close, and shooting that film brought us even closer, back to a place and way we had been when we were much younger. Life can give you some terrible knocks, and there's not a happy ending every time. But I do believe in them. I am very optimistic. I am still very romantic about life."

The Young Girls of Rochefort was a commercial hit in France but not in the United States, where a dubbed English-language version was released. Variety said "it has charm, sustained human observation, mixed with catchy music, dances and songs to come up as a tuner with grace and dynamism... An elegant film fable." The film also picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Score. (It lost to Oliver!)

Thirty years later, Demy's widow, filmmaker Agnes Varda, spearheaded the restoration of both The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort, whose original Eastmancolor film stock had faded badly. Varda had been on set of The Young Girls of Rochefort and even shot behind-the-scenes 16mm footage, which she incorporated into her 1993 documentary The Young Girls Turn 25. Freshly restored, The Young Girls of Rochefort was re-released in 1998.

By Jeremy Arnold
The Young Girls Of Rochefort

The Young Girls of Rochefort

In 1964, French writer-director Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, a pastel-colored, 100%-sung musical starring Catherine Deneuve, became an international success, winning the Palme d'Or at Cannes and scoring five Oscar nominations. It did so well that Demy and his composer, Michel Legrand, soon began to develop another musical, not a sequel but a companion piece -- actually the third of a loose romantic trilogy that had started with Lola (1960). The new film, The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), was made in something of the spirit of Umbrellas, albeit with more traditional numbers interspersed with straight dialogue scenes. Deneuve again starred, this time joined by her sister, actress Francoise Dorleac. They play twins living in the southwestern French town of Rochefort, and the story has a fable-like quality, as the sisters give music and dance lessons while yearning for romance and musical careers in Paris. Injecting further glamour into the film are Danielle Darrieux as the twins' mother, Gene Kelly as a concert pianist who falls in love with Dorleac, and George Chakiris as a dancer who comes to town with a carnival. Kelly and Chakiris, of course, function as links to the Hollywood musical, a genre to which Demy was consciously attempting to pay homage. Kelly was 51 when he made this film, and his dancing is still excellent, though his voice was dubbed. Chakiris later recalled being offered the film not with a script, but with Demy and Legrand playing the entire score for him. Chakiris's manager recommended not taking the role because it wasn't prominent enough, but, Chakiris later told the Los Angeles Times, "I liked the sound of it myself, so I chose to go ahead and do it. I just think it's a film that holds up... It has such charm." With Gene Kelly's involvement, Demy and producer Mag Bodard were able to secure backing from Warner Brothers, and filming got underway in the summer of 1966, on location in Rochefort. The budget was bigger than on Umbrellas, allowing Demy to use crane shots and other expensive techniques. He even arranged for thousands of shutters in Rochefort to be painted in bright pastel colors, an example of his exacting vision of the overall color scheme. Demy's collaboration with Legrand was a close one. Legrand later said: "I remember arriving at [Demy's] house in the mornings to work together. He would stand by the piano with a blank notepad, and I would have a blank music sheet in front of me over the keyboard. I would say to myself, for the moment, nothing exists. But after about an hour, or maybe a day or a week, all these sheets will be filled, and we will have created something new. On occasions, all that was necessary was quick riff on the piano to set the creative process in motion." One of their numbers, "Song of a Summer Day," featuring Deneuve and Dorleac, was designed as a clear tribute to the "Two Little Girls From Little Rock" number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Dorleac had found success as a film actress even before her more famous sister, and she was on the cusp of breaking out into international stardom when she died in a tragic car accident in 1967, at the age of 25. She had completed work on one more film after The Young Girls of Rochefort: Billion Dollar Brain (1967), opposite Michael Caine. Deneuve went on to a magnificent career and remains one of France's most esteemed and beautiful film actresses. In 1998, looking back on this picture, she told The New York Times, "It's less difficult to watch this film than others with my sister. It was the only film I did with her, but it was a musical. The scenes are so charming and related to what we were as sisters in real life." In another interview, with writer Britt Kelly, Deneuve added: "We were very close, and shooting that film brought us even closer, back to a place and way we had been when we were much younger. Life can give you some terrible knocks, and there's not a happy ending every time. But I do believe in them. I am very optimistic. I am still very romantic about life." The Young Girls of Rochefort was a commercial hit in France but not in the United States, where a dubbed English-language version was released. Variety said "it has charm, sustained human observation, mixed with catchy music, dances and songs to come up as a tuner with grace and dynamism... An elegant film fable." The film also picked up an Oscar nomination for Best Score. (It lost to Oliver!) Thirty years later, Demy's widow, filmmaker Agnes Varda, spearheaded the restoration of both The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and The Young Girls of Rochefort, whose original Eastmancolor film stock had faded badly. Varda had been on set of The Young Girls of Rochefort and even shot behind-the-scenes 16mm footage, which she incorporated into her 1993 documentary The Young Girls Turn 25. Freshly restored, The Young Girls of Rochefort was re-released in 1998. By Jeremy Arnold

Quotes

I must steer clear of dreary bourgeoisie art, I must be avant-garde and paint what's in my heart.
- Maxence
Did he have a camera?
- Delphine
No.
- Solange
Then how did you know he was an American?
- Delphine
How very sad it was the night she fled the scene, she didn't want the name of Madame Guillotine. She had this silly fear that if she went to bed, she'd suddenly wake up one day without her head
- Simon Dame

Trivia

Danielle Darrieux is the only actor who actually sings for herself

In some scenes 'Gene Kelly' 's voice is dubbed, while in others it's not.

Notes

Location scenes filmed in Rochefort-sur-Mer. Opened in Paris in March 1967 in 70mm as Les demoiselles de Rochefort; running time: 120 min.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video September 19, 2000

Re-released in United States August 14, 1998

Re-released in United States September 11, 1998

Film was a sequel to "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Franscope

Re-released in United States August 14, 1998 (Film Forum; New York City)

Re-released in United States September 11, 1998 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video September 19, 2000