Moulin Rouge (1952) Script

I hope you split your breeches, kid!

Control yourself, Aicha.

They talk like they were Herculeses, all of them.

And after a few turns, they pant, they gasp, and they wheeze.

One has to give them smelling salts! What is the matter?

My shoes are soaking wet. I shall die of cold.

Then take them off. I can't. I haven't any socks on.

When the wine arrives, you pay for it as if it were your own money.

You should not drink so fast, Monsieur Lautrec. It burns your stomach.

I'm thirsty. Please.

Wine is for thirst.

At least you did not say water. Water is for Americans.

Some men can swing by their heels on the flying trapeze.

Some men can become President of the Republic. I can drink cognac.

Henri, I thought I'd find you here. I've great news.

Maurice, have a drink.

You're made, Henri. Again?

This is serious. Guess who came into the gallery today.

Who? Camondo!

To get out of the rain?

And what do you think? What?

He halted by your canvas of the woman ironing.

Stepped back two paces, nodded twice.

You realize what this means, of course. What?

Henri, you've arrived!

He's the greatest collector of contemporary art in the world.

When he buys, the painter is made.

Did he buy? Not exactly.

I see. The sun came out and he was in a hurry.

Mark my words, he'll be back. I'll make a frame for the canvas tonight.

You'd do much better to sit and have a drink.

Trust me, Henri, the sale's as good as made.

Did you see that dirty-necked Algerian step on my foot?

I saw you kick her in the derriere.

Kick her? One day I'll go right down her throat... pull her heart out, and feed it to my cat.

If you can get at her. She has long arms, Aicha.

I'll break them! I'll...

You kick me. You kicked me.

This calls for a drink. Cognac?

Thank you.

Now we're all friends again.

I tell you, Monsieur Lautrec, I am fed up with these Lorettes!

They behave like alley cats.

A regiment of angels with flaming swords could not keep order.

That's not bad. Thank you.

It might make a good poster for the Moulin. It might at that.

I'll tell you what I'll do, Monsieur Lautrec.

You make that poster, and I'll give you free drinks for a month.

Well, that's the best offer I've had. Think it over.


The river goes rolling.

O may, O may.

Our love remain true.

It's April again.

And lovers are lining.

The banks of the Seine.

It's April again.

And every eye is shining.

Was it love let your lucky fingers.

Seek mine that you were meant to hold.

Was it love sang a song that lingers.

Now both of us are growing old.

Lie closer, my dear.

And hear the refrain.

Of your seventeenth year.

In the sun and the rain.

Beside the River Seine O.

Away, away.

The river goes rolling.

O may, O may.

Our love remain true.

It's April again.

And lilacs are springing.

The length of the Seine.

It's April again.

And everyone is singing.

Was it love led me on a Sunday.

To dance with you beneath the trees?

Was it love echoed on a Monday.

The music of the river breeze?

Lie closer, my dear.

And listen again.

To your seventeenth year.

In the sun and the rain.

Beside the River Seine O.

Away, away.

The river goes rolling.

O may, O may.

Our love remain true.

Lie closer again.

I danced with you here.

In the sun and the rain.

The very next year.

Beside the River Seine O.

They like you tonight.

They are cruel. They only pretend to applaud my song.

What they really want is another glimpse of my broken heart.

What is wrong with me, Henri?

Other women find love and happiness. I find only disenchantment.

But you find it so often. I know it's all my fault, Henri.

I see them as I want them to be, not as they really are.

The mist of my dreams surrounds them.

They walk in beauty to the music of a shepherd's pipe.

And then the morning wind blows, and the mist is swept away.

Poor Philippe. I can see him standing there in the cold light of dawn, shivering.

Philippe? Oh, Philippe.

What has he to do with it? That has been over for ages.

Forgive my confusion. You were telling me only last week...

Last week, last year, so what's the difference?

Though now that you remind me, he was in many ways superior to Etienne.

So many ways.

Now, who is Etienne?

Have you ever had contact with the legal mind, Henri?

It's beyond belief.

I wasn't the vision of his dreams. I was "the party of the first part."

He didn't declare his love. He merely acknowledged:

"Whereas a state of affection exists."

Why couldn't you be tall and handsome?

Two more of these, and I shall be.

You are the only man who has never bored me.

I am the only man who has never loved you.

Henri, over there.

There is the most beautiful creature.

Look at those shoulders.

For your sake, I pray that they are not padded.


Good night, Monsieur Lautrec. Good night, Sarah.

Can I drop you, Monsieur Lautrec?

There's one drink left, Zidler. I will finish it.

No offence, little man.

With hunchbacks and midgets, I always rub the back for luck.

Yours is a great heritage.

Your great, great, great, great, great-grandfather...

Your great, great, great, great, great-grandfather...

Raymond, the fourth Comte de Toulouse, led the Christian knights to Jerusalem... and rescued the sacred tomb from the wicked Turks.

We were dukes of Aquitaine... counts of Louergue, Gercy, Albi... marquises of Narbonne, Gothea, viscounts of Lautrec.

But, above all, we are and always will be counts of Toulouse.

Today I am the head of the house.

Some day it will be your turn. Then your first son's turn.

And his son's and his son's son's.

As long as there is France.

Mademoiselle Denise de Frontenac... may I present Monsieur Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

One, two, three.


Little one...

My legs.

The bones are not knitting as they should.

We need the advice of a specialist. An operation may be necessary.

Unfortunately, madame, the operation has not been a success.

It will be necessary to re-break the legs.

Then perhaps a better union can be effected.

Madame, you must both know the truth. All that can be done, has been done.

The legs will never grow again. It's not true.

You are first cousins, are you not? We are.

I am afraid that is the root of the problem.

You don't remember me? I'm Denise de Frontenac.

The time has come to be honest, Adele. We should never have married.

Henri's poor misshapen body is the proof of our mistake.

We dare not have another child.

That is why I must leave this house.

But I don't love you, Henri. It never occurred to me...

I'll spend my life trying to make you happy. I swear you won't regret marrying me.

Please, you're hurting me! I wouldn't dream of marrying you. Why, the idea's absurd!

Why is it absurd? Because I'm a cripple? Is that it? Because I'm a cripple?

Yes, you ugly little monster!

No girl will ever marry you, ever! Do you hear?

It is so easy to deceive oneself, Maman.

By degrees you minimize your ugliness, your lameness... and you begin to think of yourself... as a presentable young man with a slight limp.

Until you are brought face to face with the grotesque, stunted thing you really are.

Someday a woman will have eyes to see you tall and straight.

And she will love you.

No woman will ever love me. I have it on the best authority.

Maman, I'm leaving here. I am going to Paris.

I shall become a painter. I shall try to make a life for myself.

You will be lonely there, Riri.

I'll be lonely anywhere, Maman.

Monsieur, please say I'm with you?

Let her go. You're hurting her. Don't interfere!

Leave her alone or I'll tell the police. Police? That's a good one. I am the police.

Why aren't you in uniform?

I am Sgt. Balthazar Patou. Here are my credentials.

It's all right, I believe you. But this young woman has been with me all evening.

All evening? Don't take me for a fool, monsieur.

I know this girl, who she is, where she comes from. Everything.

She's as bad as they come. A real rotten apple.

I am not a moralist, Sergeant. I do not blame people for what they are.

Only for seeming to be what they are not.

You're Monsieur Toulouse-Lautrec? That's right.

I'm only doing my duty, you understand?

It's all right, and I understand your mistake in the dark.

As a matter of fact, we just saw a woman going that way.

Didn't we, my dear? Yes, she went down that way.

Very well, monsieur.

If you choose to give her your protection, there is nothing I can do.

But you shouldn't amuse yourself at the law's expense.

You really shouldn't.

Good night, Sergeant. Come along, my dear. It's getting late.

Can't you walk a little faster? What's the matter with your legs?

You don't have to stay with me. He'll leave you alone now.

Once I knew a man who got his arm caught in a machine.

He was lucky, that one.

He got 500 francs from the insurance company.

Please hurry. Go on, why don't you? You're safe.

I'd like to spit in that policeman's face.

He let you go, didn't he?

Because of you. They're hard to fool, the police.

You're a sharp one.

Look, here is a hotel. They are open all night and you can get a room.

Have you got any money? I don't want to go to a hotel.

They won't even let you in unless they know you.

And if they do, they charge you twice the price.

And in the morning, they tell the police just to get the 10 franc reward.

You live around here? Yes, a little farther up the street.

Let me stay there. I won't make any trouble.

When you wake up in the morning, I'll be gone.

Please, you can trust me.

I won't steal anything.

You're an artist.

Once I knew one. He painted Cupids on soup plates.

Got a cigarette?

Looks like real gold.

Once a man gave me a pair of gold earrings. But I lost them.


Were you born that way, or what?

Go away! I don't want you here. I didn't ask you to come.

Why do you get so mad?

When I was a child, I broke my legs. The bones wouldn't knit.

The stove's going!

Do you keep it going all the time?

For an artist, you don't talk very much.

The one who painted soup plates, he never stopped talking.

You can undress in there.

Take this lamp.

A bathtub! You have a bathtub.

Let me have a bath, please. Please let me.

I'll clean up after myself, I promise.

If you like.

It'll be the first time I ever had a bath. In a real bathtub, I mean.

Are you still there? Yes, I'm here.

You will sleep here.

"I am Sgt. Balthazar Patou.

"If you don't believe me, I'll show you my credentials."

I believe you.

"Give her a good, stiff sentence, Your Honor. She's a habitual offender.

"A menace to the morals of my district. Also, she called me the name of a dog."

There, I made you laugh. I knew I could.

I'll make you like me, too.

You have beautiful eyes without those spectacles.

It's the first time I was ever told that by a policeman.

What was it that policeman called you? Monsieur Toulouse something?


What kind of a name is that?

My own.

It isn't a name. It's a town.

People don't go about calling themselves Paris or Marseilles, do they?

But, come to think of it, I knew a man once they called Five Points... after that corner in the Temple district where all the streets come together.

He was born while his mother was crossing the road.

She was delivering washing.

He said she put him in a wash basket and carried him home.

Are you from Toulouse? Is it the same with you as with Five Points?

More or less.

You didn't waste any time getting into bed, did you?

What's the matter? Afraid I'd see your legs?

Get out! Put your clothes back on and get out of here.

Stop shouting. Do you want to wake everybody in the house?

Look, I don't care about your legs.

It makes no difference to me that you are a cripple.

Do you want the light on? Put it out.

You don't really want me to go, do you?

Do you?

Did you used to sing in the mornings, before me, I mean?

Does a man ever sing in the morning, when he is alone?

Oh, rats.

What's the matter?

I always mean to sketch you with your hands in your hair.

But the sight is so enchanting I forget to do anything about it.

You're nice, Toulouse.

I never thought I'd be wearing real silk stockings.

Bébert always says they do things to him. Even on a plaster leg in a window.

Who is Bébert?

A fellow I know.

But I don't like him anymore.

I finished a long time ago with him.

He'd give anything to have me back. But when I'm through, I'm through.

If I saw him now, I'd spit on him.


Very pretty.

Real silk, and three pairs.

Did you ever go to the Rue Mouffetard?

Where is it?

It's where I was born, in the liquor district.

There is a thick slime all over the cobblestones, from the wine.

It's so slippery even the cats can't keep their feet.

And talk about a stink.

I was 12 before I found out the whole world didn't stink like that.

When I did, I left.

I was glad to get out of that, I can tell you.

I've only been back once, to see my mother.

She still lives there?

She likes it. One thing you can say for the Rue Mouffetard:

You may go hungry, but never thirsty.

My mother has a pushcart.

She was smart.

When she was my age, she put a little away each week... and got herself a license. You know, saved up for it.

When you've got a pushcart license, you'll never starve.

Once you get it, you never have to buy another one.

It's good for life.

You need a new dress. They cost money.

We'll go and pick one out for you. You mean you'd buy me one?

We'll go down the Rue St. Honore. We'll find you the prettiest dress in Paris.

I know just the dress. I've even had it on.

You won't have to come with me. Just give me the money.

But I want to come with you.

It's on the other side of town where things are not so expensive.

It'll save you money.

As you wish.

100 francs!

You're so good to me, Toulouse... and I'll be good to you. Nicer than ever, you'll see.

There'll be no complaints out of you. I'll smother them like this.

It's getting late.

When will you be back?

One hour, as soon as I get the dress.

Come in.

It's you, Madame Loubet.

Are you all right, monsieur? Yes, of course.

I didn't see you about last night or this morning.

I was afraid you were ill or something.

This room is as cold as ice and your stove's gone out.

I'll make some soup and bring it up. Please don't bother. I'm going out.

It's no bother. It's on the stove already... I'm going out, I said.

I'm sorry, Madame Loubet. You are very kind.

If I starve...

I'll never take another canvas to that dealer.

He sucks blood, that one.

I've always got 7 francs for an Ascension. This morning he offered me 5 francs.

He says religious sentiment is waning. Everybody knows it's a lie.

Go to any church on Sunday, even a Protestant one.

Packed to the doors.

Henri, sit with us.

Hello, Seurat, Gauzi, Anquetin. Waiter, a cognac.

A round of cognacs, if you're paying.

Is that why you called me? Bring the bottle.

How is the work going, Henri?

The smell of paint sickens me, and painters.

We missed you at the meeting last night. Meeting? What meeting?

The Society of Independents.

I had better things to do. Independents!

Pariahs, rather. Outcasts.

It is not ideals which bind us together, but failure.

Call me any name. Insult the memory of my mother.

But do not dare speak so of the Society of Independents in my presence.

What a dismal bore you are, Anquetin.

Drink your drink. Then we'll go to the Louvre and refresh our souls.

The Louvre, that graveyard.

Graveyard! The home of the Mona Lisa, and he calls it a graveyard.

The Mona Lisa. Truly the greatest painting in the world.

At this moment, I could kneel down and give thanks to Leonardo.

How do you know it is the greatest painting?

How do you know it was painted by Leonardo?

How do I know it? Because I feel it.

I feel it here in my heart.

I feel in my heart that you're a pompous ass, but that doesn't make it so.

Only Leonardo could have painted that smile.

She smiles with her eyes. I don't care if she smiles with her navel.

That still doesn't say da Vinci painted it.

The technique, the brush strokes. Each bears his signature.

There is only one way you know the Mona Lisa is by Leonardo.

By the little brass plate with his name on it.

That is what you bow down to, a name printed on brass.

Good day, gentlemen. I'm leaving.

If I hadn't needed this drink...

I'd have thrown it at him.

I wonder what has made him so unhappy.

I've been looking for you. Guess what happened.

I know. Camondo did not come. You did not sell a painting.

Who cares about him? This is important. Figaro's art critic wants to write about you.

Is this another delusion?

I saw him outside the Café Noir where he breakfasts.

I was waiting for him. I introduced myself, told him about your work.

I was eloquent. He wants to write about you if your paintings justify my words.

I invited him to the gallery. He said he would come.

When? When he has time.


How do you like my new dress?

I got it from a friend. Only 50 francs.

That's cheap for real velvet. My friend wanted more.

She wanted 75 francs, but I beat her down.

I love the feel of velvet.

Feel it, Toulouse.

Where have you been?

Is that your idea of a welcome? Answer me.

Hey, watch yourself, Toulouse. You didn't buy me with that 100 francs.

I don't have to account to you for anything.

If you want to know where I've been, you'll have to ask me nice.

I don't have to. I know already.

You followed me?

I can imagine your night out. I can see every move you made... from the first sour-smelling kiss in a dark doorway...

Well, it doesn't matter.

You'd better go, Marie. Quickly.

Go? I just got here. Go where?

I don't care. Wherever you were last night.

All right.

Whatever you say.

So long, Toulouse.

I'll tell you where I was, though.

First I hunted for my friend to buy the dress.

Then I went to see my sister. She was sick.

Very sick. She was in bed with a fever.

I had to call a doctor. He said someone had to stay with her.

What could I do? My own sister.

Am I supposed to believe all that?

I don't tell lies, Toulouse, except sometimes to the police.

I was a fool ever to let you stay in this place.

You said I made you happy.

I wish I'd never laid eyes on you!

You are.

You're in love with me.

The real thing.

Aren't you?

That's why you're acting like this.

You're in love with me and you're jealous.

Imagine being jealous over me.

Nobody ever was before. I like it.

But you've no cause to be jealous.

Honest, you haven't, now or ever.

I'm so crazy about you, I wouldn't look at anybody else.

How many times have you said that before?

I'm all yours, as long as you want me.

And if you ever stop wanting me, I don't know what I'll do.

I'll never stop wanting you.

Hold me, then. Hold me tight.

Hug me. I love it.

What day is today?


My sister will be worried to death.

She'll think I've been murdered, or in jail again, or something.

Hold still, my dear.

What are you doing? Painting you.

How long will it take? Not long.

I've got to see my sister.

You've seen her almost every day. But I've got to see her today.

Please sit still. And if you like the portrait, I'll give it to you.

How much is a painting worth?

It all depends who painted it.

One of yours, I mean.

It's too soon to tell.

How do you mean, too soon?

Some 300 years ago, a man named da Vinci painted a portrait of a woman.

Her husband did not like it and would not pay for it. Today, it hangs in the Louvre... and no one man in the world has enough money to buy it.

What good does that do old what's-his-name the painter?

He had his reward. He painted it.

Doesn't make any sense to me.

How much do you pay your models?

The usual rate is 3 francs for the morning, and 5 francs for the whole day.

Then you should pay me. I didn't ask you to do my portrait.

So you must pay me the same as a model.

I said I'd give it to you. Isn't that enough? How do I know it'll ever be worth anything?

If I've got to work, you've got to pay me. 3 francs.

A model poses four hours for that. You haven't posed five minutes.

If you won't pay me, then I won't pose for you.

It doesn't look like me.

I'm prettier than that! I knew you didn't know how to paint.

The one who painted soup plates, he was...

Get out! Leave me alone! Go back to him. I don't care.

What about my 3 francs? Now you don't want me to pose so you need not pay me.

You owe me the money! Here, take it!

You bet I'll take it. And I'll get out, too, like you told me!

I'm sick of this place, sick of you!

Forgive me, Toulouse. I'm awful.

I don't know why you put up with me.

All the other men I've known would beat me up and kick me out.

Is that what I should do?

I could, you know. I'm very strong. My arms make up for my legs.

I wouldn't hurt you.

I want to be good to you. Please let me, Marie.

Let me have the joy of giving you things freely.

Don't put a tariff on everything you do.

I'll try, Toulouse.

I don't know what gets into me.

I don't know why I say the things I do.

If I were sick of you, I'd have kept on going down those stairs.

I'm just as crazy about you as ever I was.

I know you don't mean half the things you say.

The streets of Paris have taught you to strike quickly and draw blood first.

Maybe that's it. Maybe it's being cooped up in this room that's getting on my nerves.

I've never been so long in one place.

Sometimes I feel like I was back in jail.

We'll go out. We'll make tonight an occasion.

We'll dress up and go to the Pre Catalan in the Bois.

You'll love it, Marie. You'll have a wonderful time.

I don't like those fancy places where the waiters look down their noses at you.

How do you know? You've never been.

All right.

- Monsieur Lautrec, this is a pleasure. Good evening, Felix. It's been a long time.

Too long. Your father, the Comte... did us the honor of dining with us last week.

Do you have a table for us? But of course.

Thank you, Felix.

Good evening, monsieur.

You have a good champagne nature?

It is perfection. Good. A champagne nature to start.

Then for food, I think a Coquille St. Jacques first.

Then Pheasant Under Glass. And the sauce...

I know, monsieur. With the armagnac.

And to drink, Pommard '89.

Very good, monsieur.

Have you ever had champagne nature? Sure, plenty of times.

What did he mean, "Your father, the Comte"? Is it a joke or something?

My father still lives in a world where people use titles.

The wine.

To you, my dear.

That man over there is staring at me.

And who shall blame him?

Every man in the room would be looking at you, were he not afraid of his companion.

More wine? Slop.

Would you like something else?

Why doesn't that orchestra play something with some life in it?

They'll play anything you ask for.

Why don't they bring our food? The service isn't very good.

It takes time to prepare.

Anyway, they ought to have things ready. They charge enough, I bet.

How much do they charge for that wine? You must learn not to think of the cost.

Isn't it a lovely room? That table is reserved for the President of the Republic.

I'm sick. What's the matter?

I don't feel well, that's all.

It's too close in here. There isn't any air.

What's the matter? Nothing. Why?

Are you really ill?

Can't you walk any faster than that?

How did you break them anyway? I told you, I slipped on the floor.

There must have been something wrong with you.

Kids fall all the time and they don't break their legs.

Did you have to use crutches? Yes, for a while.

What did your mother do when... That's enough!

There you go again, losing your temper. You're a hard one to get along with.

I was only talking about your legs. Shut up!

Go ahead, hit me. Make out you're a real man. I dare you.

Go off, before I do.

Look at him, full of fight. Throw it at me, why don't you?

Or buy yourself a new pair of legs.

Go back to the Rue Mouffetard where you belong!

That's right, Toulouse. My father wasn't a count.

I'm scum. Real scum. That's why you hang on to me.

You know if you can't hold someone like me, you'll never hold any woman!

Before morning, you'll come crawling after me... begging me to come back, if you know where to look!

Hey, cabby!

So long, Toulouse. You won't be singing tomorrow morning.

Rue du Poirier, and I'm in a hurry.

Let me in, Toulouse.

I know you're there. I saw the light from below.

I didn't mean all those things I said.

Please, let me in.

I'll be good. I'll be good to you.

I'll do anything you want. I'm so crazy about you.

Would you like me to pose for you? I won't charge you anything.

I'll pose in the altogether, if you want.

Only don't send me away.

I can't stand it if you do. I'll kill myself in the Seine.

Honest, I will.

Let me in. I'll never quarrel with you again... or say mean things. All I want is to be good to you.

Make you happy, happier than you've ever been.

You'll never get another girl like me.

Please, Toulouse, don't be mean to me.

I won't come back again, Toulouse.

This is your last chance.

I'll count to three, that's all, and then I'm gone.




Madame la Comtesse, I'm so glad you are here.

Where is my son?

Upstairs, as I wrote you. In 11 days, he has not left that room.

I send him food, but it comes back untouched.

He always drinks. He will kill himself.

But why? What is the matter with him, do you know?

There was a girl, madame.

Go away.

Maman, I'm so sorry. Why did you not write? I would have met your train.

How are you, Riri?

Never better, Maman. I've been working very hard.

Will you just give me five minutes to comb my hair and put on a tie?

What kind of girl is she, Riri?

Your bearded son is just as transparent as when he was a little boy of 9.

Tell me.

The kind you will never know, Maman.

When she was a child... she had to choose between the streets and the river.

But you love her?

It is all I can do to keep from going after her and begging her to come back.

What happened between you?

Her past was too strong for her.

The world she lives in is a jungle, where people prowl like wild animals.

They go without eating when the game is scarce.

And when there is a kill, they claw and bite each other over it.

It is a world of cruelty and cunning.

But it is free.

I put chains on her. They only made her vicious.

One night she broke them, and escaped into her alleyways.

How could you expect such a woman to care for anyone?

In the jungle they feel neither pity nor revulsion.

The sight of me did not offend her as a woman.

She did not see me tall and straight as you once prophesied.

Her eyes were wide open.

She loved me for what I am.

If only I knew more of the world.

It is your father you need now.

To what purpose? To tell me that a Comte de Toulouse... does not permit himself to fall in love with such a girl?

To say that a cripple has no right to...

Forgive me, Maman. It was the cognac speaking.

How are things at Albi?

As always, Riri. Your room kept ready for you.

Perhaps next summer I can spend a few weeks.

Come home now, Riri. Give up this life.

It is the only one I have, Maman. It is not all dissipation, as you might think.

There is some virtue in it, too.

These canvases are your son.

Not a miserable cripple with shrunken legs.

Can you not paint at home, Riri?

The countryside is so beautiful.

I have a friend, Maman. He is a painter, too.

His name is Vincent van Gogh.

He paints wheat fields hot with the sun of Provence.

A man can stare at one of his canvases and go blind with the light.

I cannot paint his fields... but he cannot paint my girls of the Moulin Rouge.

I am a painter of the streets and of the gutter.

It is no accident that I met Marie Charlet.

Show me your latest painting, Riri.


The paint is dry.

Sometimes one's inspiration falters.

Forgive me, Maman. Go and find her, Riri.

You cannot kill the pain of losing her with cognac... the way you can the pain in your legs.

You can only kill yourself.

I offend my own conscience by saying this... but I care more for your survival.

Bring her back.

Stop here.

I'm sorry, mademoiselle. I mistook you for somebody else.

She can't be much if she'd take up with you.



Rum only. Rum, then.

I used to have a bottle of cognac. But my wife, she likes it.

She drank it up herself.

I'm looking for a girl.

You may know her. Her name is Marie Charlet.

Her sister lives in this neighborhood.

She has no sister.

You know Marie Charlet?

Rue de la Planchette, the Bon Vivant.

She hangs out there. You have only to wait.

Want to dance? Buy me wine.

I've come to take you home.

Hello, Toulouse.

Come on, Marie.

Marie, I said that I... I heard you. You've come after me.

What do you want me to do? Kiss your feet?

Hey, Giselle, send your man over here.

Look who's here.

My rich cripple from Montmartre. He's come after me.

He'll give me anything I want, won't you?

50 francs a day.

100 francs. It makes no difference to him. He's got millions.

Haven't you, Toulouse?

His father is a count.

Now, Bébert, what have you got to say?

Don't listen to her, monsieur. She's drunk.

For sure, Bébert. My Bébert!

Why did you think I stayed with you one night even?

For love of your ugly face?

A runt, that's what you are. A runt and a cripple!

It made me sick when you touched me.

I'd never have come back except for Bébert.

To keep him in silk shirts and pomade.

Monsieur, I beg of you. She doesn't know what she's saying.

Believe me, she holds only the tenderest feelings for you.

Get out of my way!

I told you he'd come back, Bébert. I told you he couldn't live without me... but you wouldn't listen.

But you wouldn't listen.

You threw me over for a mangy redhead... with a few measly francs in her stocking.

You sold out cheap, Bébert.

Too cheap.

Monsieur Lautrec!

A cognac if you please, Sarah. Where have you been? It has been weeks.

Have you been ill? A malady of the mind only.

Where is Zidler? In his office.

Now that you are back, he will have no cause to complain of bad business.

I am no longer an asset, Sarah. Zidler has to supply me with free drinks for a month.

I am furious with you.

Why did you allow me to make such a ridiculous fool of myself?

That mountebank of a guardsman.

Have you ever had contact with the military mind? It's fantastic.

There is nothing one does except according to the military manual.

But absolutely nothing.

I was afraid those shoulders were padded. What has padding to do with it?

Monsieur Lautrec, where have you been? How we have missed you!

I have something for you. What's that?

You commissioned me to do a poster.


It's good, very good.

I like it immensely, but...

But what? It's so very different.

I hope so.

If you are going to do a poster, it should be of me.

I am the attraction here. It's my singing that draws the crowd.

Forgive me, but it's much harder to draw a song than a dance.

I also dance. To be sure, and most exquisitely.

True, monsieur, it is striking. Most striking.

But doesn't it make the Moulin Rouge seem a little small?

After all, it holds some 2,000 persons... and you only show, one, two, three, four.

I have not got an Adam's apple like that. True, Valentin, true.

It is an exaggeration. But you must allow an artist to take certain liberties.

But not with my Adam's apple.

The point is, Zidler, this makes La Goulue seem to be the star here... which is false and misleading. I leave it to anybody.

Have I got an Adam's apple like that?

Is that supposed to be me?

It couldn't be. Her linen is clean.

Which could never be said of your neck. Ladies, ladies!

Carrion! Gutter filth!

You will drink your own bathwater. You drink other peoples'.

You can't print that. Why not?

Because there are no such colors in lithography.

What kind of green is that? It looks like green, but it isn't.

It's blue, pink, yellow, gray. Anything but green.

I mixed the paints. I shall blend the inks.

Imbecile. What are you doing?

Stippling the stone. No, it's impossible.

Nobody has ever done crachis with a toothbrush.

It seems to work.


Not enough acid, and the solution won't bite.

Too much, and the fine lines will break.

Good evening, Monsieur Toulouse-Lautrec.

Good evening, Sergeant.

I was wondering could I ask a great favor of you?

Name it. I have a daughter. She is to be married.

Her fiancé is a good man. At present, he is a guard at Roquette Prison... but he has already been promoted to the guillotine section.

A post of trust.

Mark my words, some day he'll be a captain. Perhaps an inspector.

You will congratulate your daughter for me, I hope.

Thank you, monsieur. But I shall miss her.

If I had a portrait of her, I could keep it on my mantelpiece.

Of course, I am a poor man, but I could pay something.

Bring your daughter to my studio. The portrait can be my wedding present.

Monsieur, I would be so grateful.

Would you do me a favor in return? As you said, name it.

Here's 1,500 francs.

I want you to take out a license for a pushcart... in the name of Marie Charlet.

See that it is given to her.

It's an outrage.

It's disgusting!


You should be horsewhipped for smearing our name over every kiosk in Paris.

That revolting poster is a disgrace.

I'm sorry you do not like my work, Father.

But I shall continue to sign it as I please, for it is my name and it is my work.

Work? A pretext to hang about cheap dancehalls and drink all night.

You call that pornographic trash work?

Yes, I call it work.

On this, I am more of an authority than you, Father.

You've never worked. Our kind never did.

We are the grands seigneurs. We are above work.

We cloak ourselves in the glory of our name as if it were an achievement just to be born.

The truth is our world died with Versailles and Marie Antoinette.

We are the fossils of a bygone age... and I have dared to break the pattern.

I work. And, as you say, I drink.

A little more each day.

Thus I forget my loneliness and my ugliness... and the pain in my legs.

We each have our own escape, you see.

Mother, her prayers.

You, your horses and your falcons and your dreams of an age that is no more.

And I... my cognac.

So let us put an end to this scene, Father, for it serves no purpose.

We won't meet again, Henri. Live as you please.

But don't call on me for help as I shall not give it to you.

You did not give it in the past. I shall not expect it in the future.

Big crowd tonight. Too big, thanks to your poster.

I know I'm making millions, but I liked the Moulin Rouge as she was:

Lightheaded and hot-blooded.

A little strumpet who thought only of tonight.

Now she's grown up and knows better. She has money in her stocking... wears corsets, and never drinks a drop too much.

Worst of all, she never sees her old friends anymore.

She has gone into society.

Last night, she entertained a cabinet minister, his wife, and daughter.

It's disgusting.

You are to paint my portrait. Life-size.

He insists. Who is he?

I haven't heard around whom your life revolves this week.

Don't be cynical. It's not for this week. It's for eternity.

He is the most divine... Of this, I am sure. Has he a name?

Paul Biradiaut.

If you must chose for eternity, one can hardly do better than the Bank of France.

Don't be coarse. You know that money means nothing to me. But nothing!

You see what's approaching? Is that...

Can that be...

Before, she was difficult. Now she's impossible.

There you are, Zidler.

Don't "Zidler" me, you... You will rise, please, on my approach.

I insist upon politeness.

I am the premiere danseuse here... and entitled to courtesy.

Good evening, Monsieur Lautrec.

Waiter, a glass for La Goulue.

I only drink champagne. But naturally.

Moët et Chandon, and be sure it's '78 vintage.

I think I shall sell out.

Driver, stop a moment.

The morning wind is cold, but not so cold as the waters of the Seine.

You are mistaken, monsieur. I am not a candidate for the river.

We are all candidates when driven by the mania of love.

Must it be love that brought me to the Pont d'Alexandre?

What else?

The latest creations are not worn by those in dire poverty.

Believe me, monsieur...

I didn't come here to throw myself in the river.

Only this.

So now we can both go home.

My carriage is at your disposal. Good morning, monsieur.

I do not see the signature. I buy nothing that is not signed.

The signature is on the back, Monsieur Camondo.

But if you would like one on the front of the painting...

I'm sure Monsieur Lautrec would be glad to...

Where is he? Supposed to be here, is he not?

Yes, Monsieur Camondo, of course. I expect him at any moment.

I buy nothing that is not signed.

Do you suppose he really looks like that?

From what I've heard, it's very flattering.

Here he is, in the flesh.

Madame. Monsieur.

You've been drinking again. One must be fortified for such an occasion.

Monsieur la Fontaine, I am honored by your presence.

Camondo's here. Is it raining?

Are you Monsieur Joyant?

Yes, madame. You should be arrested.

To hang such a thing on your wall! Look at this woman. She is undressing.

With a man looking on.


Forgive me, madame.

The lady is not undressing. She is dressing.

The gentleman happens to be her husband.

They are celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary.

They are going to have dinner with their oldest son. He is a taxidermist.

I am appalled that you should thus malign these good people.

It goes to prove what I have always maintained... that evil exists only in the eye of the beholder.

I will thank you to stop looking at my pictures.

You're right. I am tipsy.

Perhaps if I can wash my face...

How much is it?

4,000 francs, monsieur. 4,000 francs?

Look here, Lautrec is still a very young man.

So was Raphael, monsieur.

I'll take it.

Excuse me, monsieur, I am negotiating for this painting.

Deliver it to my hotel.

Yes, Your Majesty.

I must have slipped off.

I'll go right in. It's all over, Henri.

The last of the guests have gone.

Well, in that case...

Including the King of Serbia.

I'm sorry, Maurice... but don't take it too hard.

After all, his forefathers were tending sheep in the wilds of Bosnia... when mine were kings of Navarre. You can't go on this way.

Quite. Work or dissipate. You can't do both.

Don't lecture me, Maurice. If I could be different, I would.

I know I drink too much, but I can't stop myself.

I wish I could. You must stop.

At the rate you're going, you'll never reach 40.

Neither did Raphael, nor Watteau, nor Correggio.

I shall be in good company.

Anyway, it's all for the best.

Think how my paintings will soar in value.

You stand to benefit hugely.

That isn't funny, Henri.

No, it isn't.

Forgive me, Maurice.

Now let us get out of here. I need a drink.

Mademoiselle Avril. How ravishing you look.

Isn't he sweet? Monsieur Paquin, Monsieur Toulouse-Lautrec.

I am honored, monsieur.

Won't you sit down, mademoiselle? We are all ready for you.

I will call your mannequin.

You've traveled a long road. A few years ago, you were singing for your supper... and here you are, a full-fledged star at 29.

Twenty-five. Of course. I beg your pardon. 25.

I have been 25 for four years, and I shall stay there another four.

Then I'll be 27 for a while.

I intend to grow old gracefully. - Voila, mademoiselle.

Myriame, darling!

Ravishing! But then, what isn't on you?

It isn't fair to your customers to have her model your things.

Forgive me. Mademoiselle Hayem, Monsieur Toulouse-Lautrec.

Well, Henri, what do you think? How do you do, mademoiselle?

We've already met, haven't we, Monsieur Lautrec?

Of course, Henri knows everybody. Well, Henri, what do you think? Will it do?

If it looks as well on you, it will do admirably.

Don't talk nonsense. Of course it will. Au revoir, darling.

Don't forget, you're coming to my opening, Thursday.

Henri will bring you, won't you, darling? I'll tell him where to pick you up.

I shall be delighted, mademoiselle. I shall be waiting.

Au revoir, Paquin. Au revoir, darling. Come now, Henri.

She's lovely to look at, but I'm not sure I approve of Myriame... if what I hear is true.

They say that she buys her own clothes, pays her own rent.

What I mean is, there's no telling where something like that can end.

Men will start getting the most ridiculous ideas.

I know it for a fact... that Marcel de la Voisier wanted to give her one of his thoroughbreds.

I ask you, what is the world coming to when a girl won't even accept a horse?

I had one fine son.

Born to be a sailor.


Wine can leave you pale.

But a man can leave you paler.

Wine can leave you pale.

But a man can leave you paler.

He has his father's eye.

Never was a bluer.

Never walks a maid.

But he is her wooer.


Wine can make you true.

But a man can make you truer.

Wine can make you true.

But a man can make you truer

Victor, you do the ordering.

No problem. Caviar, bowls and bowls. And keep the champagne flowing.

It's enough, isn't it?

I adore generals. They come right to the point.

I'm surprised at you, Jane.

I thought that you had given up the military years ago.

Oh, this is different. I might even marry Victor.

Perish the thought.

Marriage is like a dull meal with dessert at the beginning.

I have it on the very highest authority.

Pay no attention to him. He's a cynic. He doesn't believe in love.

Love is a purifying influence... that ennobles the heart of man.

On the contrary, General... love is a state of confusion in which the victim cannot distinguish... between spiritual aspiration, carnal desire, and pride of ownership.

The wise man satisfies the different thirsts at different fountains.

And the wise woman?

The wise woman patterns her life on the theory and practice of modern banking.

She never gives her love, but only lends it on the best security... and at the highest rate of interest.

Don't you agree? Tomorrow I'll think of an answer to that.

In the meantime, I prefer to change the subject.

Come on, Victor, I want to dance.

Will you dance, mademoiselle? No, thank you, not this evening.

I hope that wasn't because of me? I shan't be lonely.

I enjoyed your exhibition very much, Monsieur Lautrec.

I have been back three times.

You are interested in paintings? When they have wit and elegance... and truth.

I am flattered on my account and sorrowful on yours.

What do you mean?

One should never meet a person whose work one admires.

What they do is always so much better than what they are.

Is this true of you?

More than of anyone else.

Do you drink for pleasure, Monsieur Lautrec?

Is there any other reason?

Many. My father, for instance... because he sought oblivion.

Mercifully, he found it quickly.

Your father was very fortunate. Then do you, too, seek oblivion?

I meant to have so understanding a daughter.

Myriame, you are incorrigible.

The first time you're out with a man, you tell him your father died of alcoholism.

Anyway, whose father didn't?

Good night. Thank you for a most pleasant evening.

Won't you come in? Need of sleep brought you home.

Not really. And I have something that may interest you.

Curiosity is my cardinal weakness.

It's not really an apartment.

Just one room over the courtyard.

Where did you get that? Are you surprised?

Where did you get it? I bought it years ago in the flea market.

What's the matter?

Nothing. Who is she?

Her name is Marie Charlet.

She owns a pushcart.

My congratulations.

If you bought it in the flea market, you made a good investment.

It didn't come cheaply.

The King of Serbia bid 4,000 francs for his Lautrec.

Camondo, 6,000 francs.

But I paid all I had. 2 francs.

I was an apprentice in a dressmaking shop.

1 franc a day for 10 hours' work in a crowded, unventilated room.

My evenings were spent sewing buttons on gloves to earn a few extra centimes.

But having the painting was more important to me... than the suppers I should have to go without.


Because her eyes told me there were worse things than cold or hunger.

Or even loneliness.

I should think loneliness would be unknown to a beautiful woman.

Not when the man you loved is dead, Monsieur Lautrec.

Forgive me.

And the key to all the dreams you shared lies at the river's bottom?

He has been dead for five years.

That key was to another door in the Avenue du Bois.

Had the offer included marriage, I might have opened it.

But it didn't.

And not being the wise woman of your description... loneliness still seemed to me the better choice.

Will you go to the opera with me tomorrow night, mademoiselle?

While you decide, let me remind you of the ladies of the Spanish court... who kept pet apes, so that they themselves would look more beautiful.

Is your wit always turned against yourself, Monsieur Lautrec?

This is to assure you that, in my case, there will be no advances to repulse.

I will ask for no more than an occasional handful of peanuts.

Until tomorrow, then.

Good night, mademoiselle.

Henri, how nice to find you here.

Good evening, Myriame. I was passing by and could not resist these.

Now that I am here, may I take you home? Yes.

Excuse me.

Good afternoon, Myriame.

Good afternoon, Marcel.

Monsieur de Toulouse-Lautrec. Monsieur de la Voisier.

I am honored, Monsieur Lautrec.

You are the lucky owner of Magnific?

Congratulations. He's a fine individual.

It's all in the breeding. Not necessarily.

I beg your pardon? An idle comment.

Perhaps one day you'll honor me by sketching Magnific.

Horses are my next-to-favorite subject.

I am overwhelmed, Monsieur Lautrec.

I shall treasure this.

Au revoir, Myriame. I have missed you.

Thank you again, monsieur.

Now that I have seen him...

I admire even more your courage in throwing away that key.

He is as handsome a man as his horse is a horse.

Conformation isn't everything, Henri.

All we know is that a Greek peasant found her in a cave... and sold her to the French government for 6,000 francs.

She is so beautiful, we forget how old she is.

She is older than Paris itself.

She was before Christ, before Caesar.

Until the end of time... men will try to penetrate the mystery of her perfection.

But it will always elude them.

It is not true that great art is simple. Why should it be?

Life itself is not simple, nor is the human mind.

Nor, for that matter, is the human heart.

Won't you come in?

Not tonight, Myriame. I have another engagement.

Where does one go at this hour?

Where does one go at this hour?

Some of the fountains at which I drink flow ceaselessly.


Good night, Henri.

On the Bateaux Mouche the only polite direction in which to look is up... at the moon.

You're shivering. It is cold and I need a drink.

The first words you ever said to me:

"The morning wind is cold, but not so cold as the waters of the Seine."

Was that only one month ago, Henri? Four weeks and five days.

I am cursed with such a memory.

It is exactly 11 weeks and 4 days since I last saw my tailor.

Two weeks and three days before I deliver Madame Natanson's portrait.

My mind is a storehouse of such trivia. Really important things, I forget instantly.

The bar is one deck below.

Henri, tell me about Marie Charlet.

What do you want to know? Were you in love with her?

Let us say that she opened doors for me that might better have remained closed.

It's a long time ago. And have you never loved since?

My dear Myriame, any man can play the fool once, no more.

Unless he enjoys the role.

That's how it went.

And then I toured Spain.

I can still hear the applause.

Nobody held a candle to me.

I was the one. Only.

I danced rings around all the others!

The musicians got tired... before I did.

I could dance faster than they could play.

Look at that.

There was no one who could kick like me.

Once you'd have paid 5 francs to see that.

You never saw 5 francs.

You're a liar! I got 50 francs a night.

Every night.

I fed my cat better than you eat.

I was a star.

People came from all over Paris to see me.

In a sideshow. You don't believe me... any of you. But it's true.

Yes, it is true.

I hope you remember me. We've pledged many a glass in our day.

The little gentleman...

with the funny legs.

Of course. The little gentleman.

I was the star of the Moulin Rouge! Wasn't I, Monsieur Lautrec?

Yes. Tell them I was a star.

When you made the poster... it was La Goulue you put in the middle of it.

Who else but the great La Goulue?

Here, cab.

What do you think of that?

Now will you believe me?

To the hospital in Passy.

You made her very happy, Henri.

They say men kill the thing they love most.

My posters did their part in destroying the Moulin.

With great success, it became respectable.

There was no place for La Goulue, or any of us.


I'm appalled at such extravagance. One of the joys of being independent... is to buy an occasional bottle for a dissolute friend.

And long-stemmed hothouse roses for oneself.

We'll have to hurry or we shall miss the first act.

Would you mind very much our not going out tonight?

Just as you please.

There is something I want to talk to you about.


The roses are from Marcel.

I should have guessed.

He came here last night after you left.

Did he offer you another brighter key?

He asked me to marry him.

So withholding yourself from him turned the trick.

Congratulations on a signal victory.

Henri! Forgive me, my dear.

I forgot that once accepted, it's vulgar to suggest marriage isn't arranged in heaven.

You're even blinder than I thought. On the contrary...

I saw clearly the other day, that your Marcel is fighting a losing battle with himself.

How do you know I accepted him? It stands to reason.

He is everything that a woman could desire. Tall, handsome, rich.

And, thanks to your strategy, an abject slave to love.

Do horses bore you, he will sell his stable.

Do you like a moustache, he will grow one.

Will you change your mind, he will shave it off.

Stop, Henri!

Forgive me again. I was merely rejoicing for you.

I haven't given him my answer.

Excellent! Keep him on the rack longer.

He deserves it for being so tardy.

Thank you, Henri.

You have told me what I wanted to know.

And what is that?

That you are not in love with me.

Did I ever act as though I were? No.

I am moved by your concern for my feelings, but it is quite without cause.

And now that I have set your mind at rest, I think I shall go to the play.

So please give your devoted monkey his hat.

Don't call yourself that!

Good night, Myriame.

Will you be outside Paquin's tomorrow?

You can count on me to perform faithfully... as long as it pleases you to keep Marcel in torment.

- Monsieur Lautrec? Yes.

From Mademoiselle Hayem. Thank you.

"Dearest Henri, Marie Charlet has worked her evil on us both.

"I have tried to win your love, but know now it is hopeless.

"I cannot endure things as they are.

"I am marrying Marcel.

"He knows I do not love him, but is content.

"Adieu, Henri."


Myriame, where are you?

Myriame, where are you?

Are you there? What do you want, monsieur?

Mademoiselle Hayem. Where is she?

She gave up the room, monsieur. She left no address.

Bring me more absinthe and be quick about it.

Now, Monsieur Lautrec, you've had enough.

Besides it's time I closed up.

You insolent lout.

Don't argue with me.

Bring me more absinthe, or I will break everything in this...

He'll fall and break his neck some day.

This is the last one, Monsieur Lautrec. I close in five minutes.

Thank you, Victor. You're a good man.

You are my friend.

For a year I've told him to take his trade elsewhere.

But, no, he keeps on coming back.

Can I do anything about it? Not unless I want Patou down my neck.

I'd throw him out in a minute if it wasn't for Patou.

He's told every bistro owner in Montmartre:

"If anything happens to him, I'll put the screws on you."

Nobody wants trouble with the police.

Look at him. Reading the same letter over and over.

You'd think that after a year he'd know what's in it.

But, no, he keeps on reading it. It gets on a man's nerves.

Victor, get me a drink. There's no more absinthe.

I didn't ask for absinthe.

Here, give me a glass.

Your health, Victor.

Take him out of here, Inspector.

I don't care if you close my bistro, I don't want him in it.

He'll kill himself, and I don't want it to happen here.

It gives a place a bad name.

Time to go home. Take your hands off me.

How dare you... Come on. Be sensible, Monsieur Lautrec.

It's time to go home. It's you, Patou.

We're old friends, Patou and I. You didn't know that, did you, Victor?

Come on, let's get out of this rat's nest.

Let's go somewhere, just you and I, and have a drink.

By all means, Monsieur Lautrec. You think you're fooling me, don't you?

You say you'll have a drink, but you really mean to take me home.

What are you doing here anyhow?

Always putting your nose in other people's business.

Why don't you stop pestering me?

I'm a citizen. Have you a warrant for my arrest?

It's a mystery how he can go on.

He still works.

He drags himself to his easel and paints in spite of all.

He is sleeping soundly enough now.

Nothing will wake him, not for hours.

I must report to the prefecture that he needs medical attention.

He must go to a hospital. They'll know what to do.

They'll give him things to make him sleep, and they'll keep him away from the bottle.

Wait till tomorrow.

Then if he's not any better, I will send for his mother.

Madame Loubet!

Where are you? They're back, the roaches! Millions of them!

Where are you? They're back, the roaches! Millions of them!


His eyes are open.

Can you hear me, Henri?

Listen, this is from Maurice Joyant.


"The Louvre has accepted Camondo Collection."

This makes you only artist to be so honored in his lifetime.

This makes you only artist to be so honored in his lifetime.

Do you hear me, Henri?

Your paintings are to hang in the Louvre.

I didn't understand.

Forgive me, Henri.

I didn't understand.

Henri, my dear, we just heard you were dying.

We simply had to say goodbye.

It was divine knowing you. We will see you later, of course.

But now, if you forgive me, I must fly.

There is the most beautiful creature waiting for me at Maxim's.

Goodbye, Henri.