AND NOW LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: DVD
Jewel thief Valentin Valentin (Jeremy Irons) buys a racing yacht from Thierry (Thierry L'Hermitte) to sail solo around the world, while Thierry is left to comfort Francoise (Allesandra Martines), the girl Valentin leaves behind. Valentin starts to have blackouts and when his yacht goes off course, he finds himself in Morocco. Diagnosing a possible brain tumour, Doctor Lamy (Jean-Marie Bigard) suggests Valentin has a scan, and tells him about another patient, French singer Jane Lester (Patricia Kaas), who is in a similar predicament. Jane has a month season singing at the hotel where Valentin is staying and the two are drawn together. Meanwhile, rich hotel guest Madame Falconnetti (Claudia Cardinale) has been robbed and Valentin is the key suspect.
Review by Louise Keller:
A poetic and romantic love story with an exotic storyline and location, And Now Ladies and Gentleman is a bewitching and often intriguing film from filmmaker extraordinaire Claude Lelouch. This is a film that revels in the mood, the music and the emotional journey that its characters partake. And Jeremy Irons revels in the complexity of the role, drawing us to him. The storyline about a jewel thief who is developing both a conscience and a brain tumour sounds more bizarre in the telling than it seems as the plot unfolds. In fact, the key elements are not about the plot. It's about the journey, the connection between the characters and often the incongruity of events.
It never seems to matter that coincidence plays a major role in the meeting between Valentin and Jane, who both end up in Morocco. We simply gravitate towards their inevitable meeting and connection. Lelouch develops our interest in the parallel stories, as we flit from one to the other. We meet Valentin at work pulling heists at Bulgari. His disguises are transparent, but the relish that Irons exudes in playing the part is compelling in itself. Besides, who doesn't enjoy watching a likeable rogue effecting daring swindles that are classically cheeky.
Irons is a charismatic actor who excels in dark roles. How could we forget his mesmerizing Oscar-winning performance as the suspect-husband in Reversal of Fortune?
There's a tangible connection between Irons and French chanteuse Patricia Kaas, who impresses in her first role, and in particular in her thoughtful delivery of the splendid assortment of songs. Notable is the inclusion of the theme from A Man and A Woman, which is perhaps Lelouch's most remembered film. In case you're wondering, the film title is also a song, which Kaas croons, although there is no doubt it offers suggestions of a double meaning.
Reminiscent at times of To Catch A Thief, with an intriguing sub plot in which Claudia Cardinale plays a bored, wealthy woman, who has more jewels than sense, And Now Ladies And Gentlemen wavers from heist film to romance to drama. From the arresting witchdoctor ritual at the film's start to the endless mystery of the sea, there is no lack of complexity.
Best not to over-analyse the storyline; the joys are in the fluidity of the telling, the characters and the taste that lingers provocatively.
Published October 7, 2004
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AND NOW LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: DVD (PG)
CAST: Jeremy Irons, Patricia Kass, Thierry L'Hermitte, Allesandra Martines, Claudia Cardinale
DIRECTOR: Claude Lelouch
SCRIPT: Claude Lelouch
RUNNING TIME: 133 minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES: none
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount
DVD RELEASE: October 7, 2004