Black Tights

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Black Tights
Directed by Terence Young
Produced by Joe Kaufmann (producer)
Simon Schiffrin (producer)
Starring Cyd Charisse
Moira Shearer
Zizi Jeanmaire
Roland Petit
Maurice Chevalier
Cinematography Henri Alekan
Release date
1961
Running time
140 minutes
Country France
Language French (singing)
English (narration)

Black Tights (1-2-3-4 ou Les Collants noirs) is a 1961 French anthology film featuring four ballet segments shot in Technirama and directed by Terence Young. The film is also known as Un deux trois quatre! in France (short title).

Plot summary[edit]

The four independent stories are performed in the form of ballet. All were choreographed by Roland Petit. Two of the stories (La Croqueuse de diamants and Carmen) each have one song sung in French.

La Croqueuse de diamants translates as "The Gold Digger", or more literally as "the diamond cruncher". (Twice during the story, the title character swallows a diamond, with a crunching sound.) The story, a romantic comedy, opens in Les Halles. Amid the hubbub of street activity, a group of woman street vendors sing in French about their trade. A furniture delivery man (Dirk Sanders), while delivering a seating bankette to a cafe, encounters a woman pickpocket (Zizi Jeanmaire, The Gold Digger), who is the leader of a pickpocketing gang, based next door to the cafe. The delivery man and the gold digger fall in love with each other, the latter leaving her criminal gang to go off with her new love.

Cyrano de Bergerac is a tragic romantic story, based on a play of the same name. Both Cyrano de Bergerac (Roland Petit) and Christian de Neuvillette (Georges Reich) love Roxanne (Moira Shearer). But the poet Cyrano has a big nose and is too shy to declare his love to Roxanne. Instead, he helps his friend Christian woo Roxanne, writing love letters on his behalf.

Deuil en 24 heures translates as "mourning in 24 hours" or more loosely as A Merry Mourning. (A shop appearing in the film shows "Deuil en 24 heures" as the shop name.) Along the Champs-Élysées, a wealthy man (Hans von Manen) accompanies his wife (Cyd Charisse) on a shopping trip to buy a dress. A strange man (Roland Petit) flirts with his wife in a cafe. The husband challenges the flirting man to a deul which the husband fatally loses. The wife starts to enjoy her widowhood. The story is a black comedy.

Carmen is the tragic story of the soldier Don José (Roland Petit) falling in love with the Gypsy Carmen (Zizi Jeanmaire). The plot of the ballet roughly follows the story of the opera with some variations in plot detail. The ballet features music by Georges Bizet. In the Lillas Pastia scene, the ballet troupe sings l'amour est enfant de bohème in a half-sung/half-spoken fashion.

Cast[edit]

The opening credits for the film are in English, but the closing credits for each story are in French.

Maurice Chevalier acts as narrator speaking in English. He provides an introduction to each story, and in two of them (Cyrano de Bergerac and Carmen), he also periodically explains events as the story progresses.

La Croqueuse de diamants

  • Zizi Jeanmaire as La Croqueuse de diamants (the Gold Digger)
  • Dirk Sanders as Le Jeune Homme (the young man who delivers furniture)
  • Bertie Eckhrat as Le Patron du café (the owner of the café)
  • Raoul Celada, Gérard Lemaitre, Hans von Manen, Elwin Carel, Claude Jourdan as Les voyous (the hooligans - the gang of pickpockets)

Cyrano de Bergerac

  • Moira Shearer as Roxanne
  • Roland Petit as Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Georges Reich as Christian de Neuvillette
  • Josiane Consoli as Lise Ragueneau
  • Cecile Zissler as La Duègne (the chaperone)
  • Lucien Mars as Le petit marquis
  • Leo Lauer as Le mauvais acteur (the bad actor)

Deuil en 24 heures

  • Cyd Charisse as L'épouse (the wife who becomes a widow)
  • Roland Petit as Le séducteur (the seducer or suiter who flirts with the wife)
  • Hans von Manen as Le mari (the husband)
  • Gérard Lemaitre as Le garçon de café (the café waiter)
  • Danielle Jossi, Regine Rourry as Les soubrettes (the maids)

Carmen

  • Zizi Jeanmaire as Carmen
  • Roland Petit as Don José
  • Josette Clavier as La femme brigand (the woman bandit)
  • Henning Kronstam as Le Toréador (the bull fighter)
  • Fredbjørn Bjørnsson, Hans von Manen as Les brigands (the bandits)
  • Regine Rourry, Sally Pierce, France Arnel, Irena Radkitwiecz as Les cigarières (the cigar makers)

Soundtrack[edit]

External links[edit]