CAN-CAN (1960) 

Frank Sinatra
Shirley MacLaine
Louis Jourdan
Maurice Chevalier
Juliet Prowse
Marcel Dalio
Leon Belasco
Nestor Paiva
John A. Neris

Walter Lang



Time: 131 mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Genre: Musical/Romance

Academy Award nominations for Best Costume and Best Score.

SYNOPSIS: The owner of a Paris nightclub – that stages the illegal Can-Can dance – is forced to woo a local law enforcement official in order to keep her establishment open. Her boyfriend's jealous, yet noncommital attitude throws more than a few kinks into the works.

BOTTOM LINE: A film with oodles of potential – Sinatra, MacLaine and the beauty of Paris – that's about as romantic and entrancing as watching paint dry. The songs pluck at the heartstrings and the dancing excites the soul, but the plot is a one-note bore. Simone (MacLaine) runs a night club where the famous, but illegal dance, the Can-can, is performed. Her flouting of the law to please her customers gets her and her dancers in a whole heap of trouble with a local, uptight judge, played by Jourdan.

Lucky for the ladies, they have a wonderful lawyer Francois (Sinatra) and a few friends in high places. Simone is in love with Francois who returns the favor, but refuses to ruin their relationship by marrying her. It goes without saying that the judge falls desperately in love with her and offers Simone her heart's desire – a respectable life. Torn between two lovers and acting like a fool, the crux of the plot has Simone trying to decide whether she's willing to risk spinsterhood while waiting for Francois to come around or take the life of comfort the judge is offering.

The best part of the film are the lovely lyrics and music of the Cole Porter songs, which spice up the soundtrack and make certain moments seem deliciously dreamy. What falls short are the obvious and irritating antics of Sinatra as the wedlock-challenged charmer. He's played this role before and done better with it – except for his singing, which is entrancing as usual. Ditto for MacLaine's dance hall girl, a part she could play in her sleep and does nothing interesting with here. A mediocre musical with enough energy to be mildly entertaining, but is far from memorable.

home | reviews | actors | actresses | film heaven | all reviews