Moulin Rouge is the story of 19th century French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, portrayed by José Ferrer. The film records his frustration over his physical handicap (the growth in his legs was stunted by a childhood accident), his efforts to "lose" himself in Paris' bawdy Montmartre district, and his career as a painter, which brought him money only when he turned out advertising posters--but what posters! Toulouse-Lautrec's drinking and debauchery lead to his early death, which in the hands of director John Huston is staged (brilliantly) in the manner of a musical comedy finale. This is the film in which Zsa Zsa Gabor actually acts, in the role of demimonde entertainer Jane Avril. As a bonus, the film's musical score (by Georges Auric) managed to hit the Top Ten charts in the U.S. When this immensely successful film was released to television in the late '50s, Moulin Rouge proved to be one of the strongest-ever incentives to purchase a color TV set. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
I rented this movie to learn more about Touluse-Loutrec and was extremely pleased not only to gain a wealth of information about his life and about Paris in the late 1900's, but this movie was very insiteful, entertaining and tastefully done!
Filmed as though the whole movie was a Lautrec painting, absolutely beautiful. Mel Ferrer was great as Lautrec and he managed to convey the deep sadness and self-hatred but ultimate humanity of the main character. Zsa-Zsa plays herself in just about every role she has ever had but for once, playing Zsa-Zsa was just the right touch for the character of Jane Avril. No one else could have done it better.