Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Vhs CoverJacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Vhs CoverJacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris Vhs Cover
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Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris
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Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975)
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Videonut324 on 08/25/2013
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This filmed version of the popular (1800 performances!) off-Broadway musical by Eric Blau and Mort Schumann incorporates 26 songs written by Belgian-entertainer Jacques Brel. Three actors--Elly Stone, Mort Schuman and Joe Masiell--interpret Brel's sometimes angry, sometimes poignant ballads with strength and compassion. In the movie, the three are brought together when they seek refuge from a rainstorm. The songs are accompanied by vignettes which highlight the imagery and story in them. Jacques Brel himself sings a melancholy composition at intermission time. It's ironic that this film was produced by the American Film Theatre; Brel disliked America and refused ever to set foot in the country.

Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is a 1975 French/Canadian musical film directed by Denis Héroux. The screenplay by Eric Blau is an adaptation of his book for the long-running off-Broadway revue of the same name. The score is composed of songs with music by Jacques Brel and his accompanist Gérard Jouannest and English translations of the original French lyrics by Blau and Mort Shuman.
Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris was produced and released by the American Film Theatre, which adapted theatrical works for a subscription-driven cinema series. It was the second of two musical films created by the American Film Theatre, following Lost in the Stars in 1974.

The film did not receive a strong reaction from the critics at the time of its release. In his review in the New York Times, Vincent Canby said, "Mr. Heroux, with the obvious cooperation of Eric Blau and Mort Shuman . . . has transformed what was essentially a concert into an extravaganza of surreal images that keep messing things up. The images are vivid and disconnected to one another (good) but they inevitably wind up being visual translations of the lyrics (bad). It's a rather classy variation on the format employed by the old Hit Parade television show, though it's seldom as witty." [3]
Three decades later, when the film was released in the U.S. on DVD by Kino on Video, reaction was still negative. Glenn Erickson of DVD Talk wrote, "As interpreted here, the revue format has the same pacing problems that a stack of music videos would have if there were not enough variety. Many of the songs are amusing or emotional, but after a while too many seem similar - a plaintive half-melody that slowly rises in intensity and volume, until the singer is practically screaming. The elaborate scene changes don't help the fact that we're not seeing live performances - the frantic singers are mouthing to playback, which robs the material of its stage immediacy." [4]
Writing in The Boston Globe, Ed Siegel called the film "the biggest dud of all" in the American Film Theatre series and added, "As directed by Denis Heroux, Brel looks like an amateurish version of Hair.

Release Date: February 25, 1975

Distrib: American Film Theater