Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Fr.) (aka Les Demoiselles de Rochefort)

In Jacques Demy's beautifully-choreographed, bright and colorful, joyful musical - a fairytale about finding an ideal or dream love (with lots of missed opportunities or connections and aborted chances, but also chance meetings) - featuring a Michel Legrand original musical score - a follow-up film to Demy's all-singing musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Fr.):

  • the opening musical number (during set up in the main square of a traveling carnival company) in the small, southwestern seaside town of Rochefort during a weekend's fair, when a flash-mob of singers and dancers exploded onto the town's central Colbert Square
  • the story of two twin sisters who ran a ballet dance school studio (overlooking the square) and were seeking love: ballet teacher Delphine Garnier (Catherine Deneuve) and piano music teacher and aspiring composer Solange Garnier (Françoise Dorléac, Deneuve's real-life sister); their unmarried mother Yvonne (Danielle Darrieux) owned and managed the town's modern shop/cafe near the square, and pinned for her long-lost fiancee whom she rejected because his name was Monsieur Dame (she would have been known as 'Madame Dame')
  • the introduction of the fair's two carnies: visiting sailor Étienne (George Chakiris) and Bill (Grover Dale) - who performed the song and dance: 'Nous Voyageons De Ville En Ville'; the two later recruited the twins as dancers for their song-and-dance show in the carnival
  • the catchy, repeated duet and tune for the two twins as they danced in coordinated pink and yellow hats: 'Chanson Des Jumelles' - their first song together in the film: "We are a pair of twins, born in the sign of Gemini. We're two demoiselles who took to the boys long ago. Our mama brought us up on our own. Working herself all her life to the bone. Make sure our minds could expand. She's spent all her time behind a French fry stand. Papa was somebody that we never knew. But when we undress one thing is true. In the small of our backs in the very same place. There's the same beauty spot he had on his face. We are a pair of twins, born in the sign of Gemini. Who love catchy tunes silly puns and repartee. We're a pair of carefree young things Waiting for the joys that love brings, When our blood races When our heart stops, We're ready to shout it from the rooftops We are delicate souls, two romantics in love with art, music and antics Where's that man? The man we long to find - Mr. Right - A few faults we won't mind...."
  • the inevitable pairing of the three females with their ideal mates:
    - Yvonne with her former fiancee Simon Dame (Michel Piccoli) - unbeknownst to her, the proprietor of a music shop in Rochefort
    - Solange with Simon's American friend and composer Andy Miller (famed American actor and dancer Gene Kelly)
    - Delphine with blonde ex-sailor, poet and painter Maxence (Jacques Perrin), who painted a portrait that resembled Delphine (his "feminine ideal"), that was exhibited in the gallery of Delphine's rich boyfriend Guillaume (Jacques Riberolles) (ultimately dumped)
  • the film was most noted for the two chance meetings between Solange and Andy when he helped her pick up items dropped onto the street, and afterwards, his exuberant and spontaneous dances (including with some of the passersby) about having found love as he happily romped through the streets, and in the second instance jumped up onto his white convertible after tap-dancing with a crowd of street children
  • the show-stopping performance 'Chanson D'un Jour D'été' of Solange and Delphine on stage at the fair, in glittering and sparkling red gowns, homage to Monroe and Russell in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
  • in the film's conclusion, a second graceful, courtship dance (to the tune of a Legrand ballet concerto) by Andy when he was ultimately reunited with Solange in the interior of the white-walled music shop - ending with a kiss and the couple in each other's arms as they walked away


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