Great Film

I remember this as being part of the short lived (2 seasons) of great or significant plays filmed by famous directors, or, just filmed at all. This was in the series that included "The Iceman Cometh" with Lee Marvin and "The Man In The Glass Booth" with Maximillian Schell. These would come around and you were encouraged to buy a "season pass" to all the filoms in the series. I was in San Diego at the time and the series played there. Sadly, they did not do well and the project was abandoned after the second season. The series was called (I think) the American Film Theater.

I was a young devotee of rock when I saw this and I was fascinated with the movie- a loose framework to perform the songs of Brel (who himself appears and does one of them). I guess it was a kind of filmed cabaret show.

It's great. It predates MTV, of course, and it would make an interesting double feature with "Aria."

So, the praise you may read about it here is justified. Bummer it is not available to rent or own, but I did find the soundtrack and that is something.


You can rent it from Netflix.
I rented it and watched it before seeing the revival in NYC


I have the film's original soundtrack album. The cover is nothing like the thing displayed on this website. It shows just artwork of the three stars and a red, white, blue (and black) design based on the French flag.
I've seen the stage/cabaret show numerous times, but I'd never been able to see the film until a bizarre outdoor screening in a Philadelphia park a few years ago. After the first reel, the exhibitor announced he didn't like the film and was going to skip directly to the last reel (the third, I think), despite the howls of protest from many in the audience. (Unfortunately, since the event was free, there wasn't much else we could do about it.) So I've seen the beginning and the end--but still never the middle.
The film album has about 6 songs not on the original stage cast album, several of which are/were not in the stage show at all. It is missing a couple of songs from the stage show. On the film album, the album producers may have made a bad choice by putting "Madeleine" first, since the version of it here is raucous and off-putting, at least without the video to support it. But the rest of the album is quite decent. To my taste, the stage album is still better overall--and the cabaret-style instrumentation is better-suited for most of the songs--but some of the film album's renditions are also quite good.
Also, in case you didn't hear, co-writer/translator Eric Blau died a few months ago, age 87, survived by his wife, Elly Stone, one of the stars of both the original stage and screen versions.