Saturday, October 3, 2020
Futures Vedettes (1955)
Futures Vedettes (which means future stars) is a romantic melodrama with a few comic touches but it’s always romance that takes centre stage. It can also be seen as a coming-of-age movie. It focuses on the girls studying music and dance at the Vienna Conservatory of Music. More specifically it focuses on their relationship with their singing teacher, famed tenor Eric Walter (Jean Marais). He is a good teacher but a hard taskmaster. The girls are not only learning to be singers and dancers, they are learning to be women, which means they are learning about love. Eric is quite happy to give them lessons in this subject as well.
Pretty much all the girls are in love with him. There is a rumour that he used to beat his wife, with a belt. This excites the girls a good deal. What a man! So passionate!
Obviously hearts are going to be broken, the question is which of the three women will be the ones to suffer. Eric is rather cold-blooded about this. If you want to be a great singer you have to learn about suffering so even if he breaks a girl’s heart at least it will make her a better artist. If he’s not quite a cad he’s pretty close to it but this makes him more sexy and more desirable. As you may have gathered by now this is not a movie that could get made today. Its political incorrectness levels are almost off the scale.
The main reason for seeing this movie today is of course Bardot. It’s not one of her greatest movies but she is impressive. The fact that she was stunningly gorgeous and wiling to take her clothes off led to her being underrated as an actress (and she’s still underrated by critics today). She was very good at light comedy (her early romantic comedies are charming) but she could handle serious dramatic rôles when given the chance to do so.
Isabelle Pia might have been overshadowed by Bardot but she gives a strong performance as Elis. It’s quite a demanding part since she has to make Elis timid and mousy but at the same time sympathetic and likeable.
Both Sophie and Elis are perhaps naïve but they are supposed to be young, just beginners at the game of love, so we can forgive them and sympathise with their hopes and their heartbreaks. We can’t help liking them both. They’re rivals but neither could be described as scheming or manipulative.
Cinetrove International’s Blu-Ray release (which includes the movie on DVD as well) is superb. The black-and-white cinematography looks terrific. The only significant extra is a brief featurette on Bardot.
If you enjoy romantic melodramas then Futures Vedettes should satisfy you, and if you’re a Bardot fan you’ll definitely want this one. Highly recommended.