Cage aux Folles, La (1979): Edouard Molinaro’s Oscar Nominated French Comedy

The French film, which later became a successful Broadway musical with Harvey Fierstein, and then a Mike Nichols Hollywood movie, made fun of macho pretensions. The story of a gay couple (played by Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault), who run a nightclub, in which Serrault has a drag act, was a new theme in the 1970s, untouched by most mainstream American movies. It would take at least another decade until the industry makes gay-themed pictures.

The whole movie is based on one premise that gets numerous permutations: Misunderstandings and complications that arise from Tognazzi’s son bringing home his fiance and her very straight parents.

The two French sequels were less appealing commercially, though Mike Nichols’ American version, “The Bird Cage,” with Robin Williams, was quite commercially successful.

Oscar Nominations: 3

Director: Edouard Molinaro

Screenplay (Adapted): Francis Veber, Edouard Molinaro, Marcello Danon, Jean Poiret

Costume Design: Piero Tosi and Ambra Danon

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

In 1979, “Kramer Vs. Kramer,” won the Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay awards. The Costume Design Oscar was won by Albert Wolsky for Bob Fosse’s musical, “All That Jazz.”

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