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La Cage Aux Folles
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 97 minutes
Starring Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault
Directed by Edouard Molinaro
Retail Price: $19.98
Features: Theatrical Trailer
Specs: 1.66:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen, French Mono,
English Mono, English Closed Captions, English Subtitles,
French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Chapter Search (16
Truly one of the most popular foreign films of all time,
"La Cage Aux Folles" is a comedy classic all the way from
France. While many people are familiar with it and it highly
regarded, mainstream audiences are probably most familiar
with the 1996 English language remake, that being "The
Birdcage" with Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman.
The movies do have their similarties and differences, but
instead of discussing them, I'll talk about the original
that even spawned two other sequels.
The film follows Albin and Renato, two homosexual lovers
who live in St. Tropez. However, things get a little crazy
when Renato's son, Laurent comes home to announce he is
getting married. While Renato is a bit shaky on all of it,
things get really crazy when the two families get together
for dinner. They try to make things seem all normal and to
coverup their lifestyle, all while hiding their transvestite
club. Of course, this is all a set-up for some classic,
insane and hilarious screwball comedy anyone can enjoy.
There's a lot to like about this movie and it's no wonder
why it's so popular. The performers are great, especially
Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault. They have great chemistry
and are really wonderful. The supporting cast that plays off
of them are great too. This is quite an ensemble.
The screenplay, credited to many writers (including
Francis Veber) and based off the play by Jean Poiret (who
co-wrote the script), is hilarious. There's a good sense of
the story and a lot of hilarious lines and moments to be
found throughout it. There's so much to take in and you'll
laugh a lot... there is just to much zaniness throughout the
movie and this script is really well written with
larger-then-life characters and good dialogue.
The movie was directed by Edouard Molinaro, who also
co-wrote the screenplay and was even awarded an Oscar®
nod for directing the film. He does an outstanding job here
with interesting choices with the sets, designs and the
pace. The pace is really even and tight, it's a rare kind of
comedy that hits its mark nearly every single of time.
Molinaro knows the story well and how to play it out, he's
the reason why it's so enjoyable. He takes everything, puts
it on the edge and runs with it. He creates a funny
atmosphere that is likeable where it could make people
uneasy. He makes all the right choices and really makes this
quite a farce. The editing in this movie is also really good
as you can really take it all in and get a feel for things.
Overall, if you've seen "The Birdcage" you owe yourself
to see this. While I liked "The Birdcage" a lot, the
original, that being this, is better in a few key areas.
This is a great comedy you can just pop in, watch and enjoy.
Humor lovers and world cinema fans, this is one movie you
should not miss.
"La Cage Aux Folles" is presented in 1.66:1
non-anamorphic widescreen. Forget about that it's not
anamorphic, this transfer is terrible. Blemishes and dirt
pop up all over throughout the movie, while the overall
image is soft and faded. All of it gets annoying fast.
Colors are a bit mute and undersaturated while there is some
shimmering to be found. There is a good portion of grain too
as well as fuzziness and quite a few scratches. Overall
black levels and detail are average, but hues and fleshtones
are pretty bad. This is a movie that deserves a restoration,
but it obviously isn't getting one. It's really a shame, and
a really big disappointment.
The movie has an English dub mono track and the original
French mono track. The French mono track sounds pretty
faded, while the English dub is in better condition. I found
sounds in the background that overpowered dialogue in the
French track. It also sounds a tiny bit distorted. The
Enlish dub is a bit louder and more clear, but it's still
nothing great. As far as the actual dub goes, it's actually
quite good. Lips match the mouths often and it does stay
pretty true to the original script. The voices are not corny
or stupid either which is a plus. So, the audio is also
disappointing. This could be good 5.1 in some areas, but I
bet if there was a remix it'd still sound largely mono. Oh
well. English, French and Spanish subtitles are also
included with this release. There are also English closed
The short, pointless Theatrical Trailer is
included. Some production notes or info comparing it to "The
Birdcage" would have been cool, or even a documentary on the
impact the movie had.
A hilarious and wonderful foreign film, "La Cage Aux
Folles" is not to be missed. Too bad this DVD is really
lackluster, but the price is pretty cheap.
(4.5/5 - NOT included in
NOT an average)