Cyrano de Bergerac
Based on Edmond Rostand’s romantic play, a witty soldier with a huge nose loves his cousin and woos her for the handsome man she wants to love her.
In the 17th century Cyrano de Bergerac (Jose Ferrer) interrupts a play and challenges anyone to stop him. He tosses his purse so their money can be refunded. Cyrano defends his large nose with wit. During a duel he composes a poem and then stabs his opponent. Cyrano loves his cousin Roxane (Mala Powers); but he does not tell her because he is ugly. He is summoned to meet the lady. Ragueneau (Lloyd Corrigan) says a hundred men will attack him if he goes home. So Cyrano goes with him and fights several men, who run away.
At Ragueneau’s bakery Cyrano meets Roxane, who says she loves Christian de Neuvillette. She asks Cyrano to defend him. Cardinal Richelieu tells Antoine Comte de Guiche (Ralph Clanton) to hire Cyrano as a writer. Antoine asks Cyrano to write a play and admits he sent the men. Cyrano explains why he declines to write for others. The company warns Christian de Neuvillette (William Prince) not to mention a nose, but he inserts the word in Cyrano’s story numerous times. Cyrano learns who he is and says he is Roxane’s brother. Christian says he cannot court a woman, and Cyrano offers his wit.
Cyrano tutors Christian, who sends him to Roxane to find out how she feels toward him. She tells Cyrano how eloquent Christian is. Antoine comes to see Roxane, and Cyrano leaves.
Christian tells Cyrano that he will speak for himself. Cyrano hides as Christian woos Roxane with plain words. She is disappointed and tells him to go away. Cyrano coaches Christian from below her window and then speaks for him. Cyrano pours out his love, and Christian asks for a kiss. Cyrano persuades her, and Christian climbs up to her balcony and kisses her. Cyrano feels he won her. A priest brings a letter to Roxane from Antoine, who wants to marry her. Roxane says she is to marry Christian. Cyrano with his face hidden delays Antoine from entering the house while Roxane weds Christian. Antoine orders Christian to report for duty. Cyrano promises Roxane that Christian will write to her every day.
Cyrano kills a Spaniard behind the lines and brings back Antoine’s scarf. Antoine tells his men they must sacrifice themselves. Cyrano writes a farewell letter to Roxane for Christian. Roxane arrives in a coach with food. She thanks Christian for his letters and says she loves his soul. Christian tells Cyrano that Roxane loves Cyrano, who loves her. Christian urges Cyrano to tell her. Christian volunteers to scout. Roxane tells Cyrano that she would love Christian even if he were ugly. She sees the wounded Christian, and he dies. Cyrano fights for revenge.
Fourteen years later Cyrano describes the battle. He criticizes the powerful in a Gazette, and they plot to kill him. In a convent Roxane is warned that Cyrano is in danger. Cyrano is run over by a carriage. Injured Cyrano visits Roxane as usual and tells her the news. He is weak and asks to read her letter. She realizes that he wrote it and that he loves her. He reports that Cyrano was murdered. Cyrano stands up to face death and dies.
This classic romance shows how people are first attracted to outward beauty but really love the inner qualities and skilful expression. The violence of the Thirty Years War pervades the tragedy that poignantly reveals how an odd physical feature can affect people’s attitudes toward someone.