The Young Girls of Rochefort
Length: 125 minutes / 2.08 hours
I’ve seen quite a few musicals over the years, but practically all of them have been in English. That was until I saw The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) (AKA Les Demoiselles de Rochefort in its native French). It’s interesting to watch something with subtitles and hear how the songs rhyme in their native tongue. Partly because of this, I have quickly come to the realization that this film is an instant favorite of mine. I mean, who could blame me with the catchy tunes and upbeat jazz stylings of this musical?
Of course, in a musical like this, the colorful and fun festival atmosphere was merely accentuated by the continuous singing and dancing. It’s almost ridiculous how much dancing there is in this film. Even the background characters are dancing when there’s simple dialogue being spoken in the foreground. Perhaps the style of the late 1960’s is partly to blame for the colors styles and overall visual treat provided by this film. At any rate, it’s entertaining and worth a watch for any fan of French films or musicals in general.
A surprising aspect of this film is the appearance of famed American singer and dancer, Gene Kelly. Maybe he’s on his way home from being An American in Paris (1951)? Of course, he’s only one part of a triple set of missed connections that drives the plot of this film almost as much as its comedy. This carefree attitude shared by most of the characters is even so extreme that an actual murder as part of a sub-plot doesn’t phase them in the slightest. By the end, everyone gets their happy ending and you’re left with a sense that some of these people might need to get out more.
A fantastic musical filled with a frenzy of French earworms, I give The Young Girls of Rochefort 5.0 stars out of 5.