A romantic hero cherishes his love even if his love prevents his happiness. Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand is a play of an obnoxious, opinionated man who finds pleasure out-witting and humiliating others, yet has a charismatic appeal to which attracts many followers. His appearance is grotesque and horrific, while his fearless attitude and fencing abilities are superb. His "panache" bars his chance with his one and only love, Roxane. Irony is a perceived difference between appearance and reality that is used to illustrate a contention. Irony is central to the appeal in Cyrano de Bergerac.
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In a black and white film on "Cyrano de Bergerac" the director, Stanley Kramer, begins his film at the Hotel de Bourgogne. At this time, we are not introduced to Christian as in the play and have removed the first few acts. I come to favor the director’s decision in cutting out the useless scenes before Cyrano arrives. Montfleury, an actor, is Cyrano’s first victim. Montfleury is about to start a play when Cyrano interrupts, "If you do, you fat oaf, I’ll tan your cheeks!" At this instance, the camera shows a close-up of Cyrano sitting impudently on a chair with his feet covering his face. This tends to give us a curiosity of Cyrano’s deformity. Next, the camera moves to a side-angle shot. His colossal nose comes to a surprise, yet he is not as hideous as I had imagined reading the play. His personality is also poorly interpreted in the film. His bold, obnoxious attitude is diminished when Montfleury, for an instance, is bold and responds by saying that he would not be embarrassed. Cyrano’s obnoxious attitude comes with many enemies.
The film’s next inaccuracy is when a duel begins between Cyrano and Valvert. In the play, Cyrano’s attitude and abilities are well conveyed in the duel. Cyrano fences with Valvert with ease and his extraordinary talents are seen when he decides to compose a ballad while he fights. "When I end the refrain, I draw blood." Cyrano lunges and stabs Valvert. Cyrano is a comical, strategically, superb swordsmen and poet. The duel scene is unfavorably perplexed in the film. Cyrano’s ballad can not be heard because of the clamorous swordplay. The audience does not see Cyrano’s unique skills. This is another scene I did not come to favor. The duel is very long and there is too much hassling. This gives an impression of a lack of confidence and skill by Cyrano. Cyrano is not as eased and smooth in his mocking of Valvert.
As the play progresses, we see a different side of Cyrano’s characteristics. Cyrano insists that everyone else appear to ignore his nose, but thereby keeps the consciousness of it in everyone’s mind, nor can he forget it for a moment. He tries to hide his deep emotions and his vulnerability to love. We first discover Cyrano’s love for Roxane when he expresses his hate for Montfleury to Le Bret. Cyrano loves Roxane beyond her physical aspects. He hopes Roxane will love him even with his unusual nose. He is in denial of rejection and dream to be handsome. "No! I love Cleopatra- do I look like a Ceasar?" He is greatly saddened by the thought of his appearance. "I think how much I, too, would like to be walking arm in arm, I forget myself- and then I suddenly see the sadow of my profile on the garden wall." Le Bret says that Cyrano could be proud and bitter to everyone, but to speak softly and truthfully and simply say Roxane does not love him. Cyrano replies with anger and tells Le Bret to shut his mouth.
Christian in contrast to Cyrano, looks handsome and becomes Cyrano’s hidden messenger of his love. Roxane is attracted to Christian for his looks, but comes to really love him because of the beautiful words of Cyrano in the balcony scene. Cyrano speaks words of love for Christian under Roxane’s balcony. A close-up of Cyrano is shown in the film without Christian. Cyrano uses passionate gestures to show his love for Roxane. Roxane is overwhelmed and weeps because of Cyrano’s words and not because of Christian’s look. The film shows Roxane short of breath and dazed. She is reacting to Cyrano’s poetic words. The actor’s facial expressions and body language are an innovative use I looked upon with favor. The film perfectly captures the dramatic tone in this scene.
The film version of "Cyrano de Bergerac" does capture the dramatic, romantic tone, but because of the lack of character in Cyrano the wit of the play is gone. The film shows a lack of expressing Cyrano charisma and "panache". Cyrano claims at the end of his life that he will be remembered for his "panache". But Cyrano is a man with a horrific nose and is afraid of rejection by Roxane and misses his only chance for happiness and love in his life.
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