“LA CAGE AUX FOLLES”–wonderful

“La Cage aux Folles”


Amos Lassen

Looking back at my DVD collection, I realized I had never written a review of a gay classic, “La Cage aux Folles”. I do not care if you are gay or straight or where you are from, this is one movie you will enjoy. It is one of those movies that sneaks around every once in a while and finds a home. It is funny, uplifting, gay positive and allows us to see that being gay is just fine. Watching it again last night it s not as funny as I once thought but it is still very enjoyable. After all it was made 1976, a long time ago. It is not a new story and the direction is nothing special but there is some great humor here and the actors give dynamite performances. The final scene still elicits a great many laughs.

The score by Ennio Morricone takes us into a very different world with its very sensitive music. You feel the softness and tenderness of the gentle music which is torn apart by the actions of the actors when the movie gets going. Let me say that the actors are not ridiculous characterizations but real people with real emotions. Unlike the American version of the film “The Birdcage” this movie is not a total farce. What appear as stereotypes in the American version are here humans who exist beyond stereotype.

“La Cage” is a brilliant exercise in comedy. Michael Serrault makes you laugh all of the time and never disappoints and Ugo Tognazzi as Renato, suave and debonair, successful and over the hill is just great as the more “male” of the two characters. His log time partner, Albin, or Zaza (Serrault) wit a volatile temperament and a mincing walk gives a performance of rarely seen caliber. Together the couple pulls off a major acting coup. It is next to impossible not to love these two characters.

Here is a wonderful French romp that all of us can empathize with—especially at the ridiculousness  of the situations of our heroes. There is an underlying theme of sensitivity that is often  overlooked in favor of the comedy. This is a must-see for the discerning movie goer as well as for the ma on the street.

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