John Huston at Moulin Rouge Premier in 1952- Even Hollywood wasn't immune to the Red Scare.

Hollywood Goes To A Premier – Moulin Rouge – December 23, 1952 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles

John Huston at Moulin Rouge Premier in 1952- Even Hollywood wasn’t immune to the Red Scare.

Moulin Rouge Premier- George Fisher Red Carpet Interviews December 23, 1952 – KNX – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Seventy years ago this week, Hollywood rolled out the red carpet and premiered Moulin Rouge. Directed by John Houston and staring José Ferrer and Zsa-Zsa Gabor, Moulin Rouge was the fictional account of painter Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, based on the 1950 novel by Pierre La Mure. It scored well at the box office and has been recently restored and was shown at the 2029 Cannes Film Festival.

Of course, the film was not without it’s controversy – nothing about the film itself, but rather those involved in it. Both Director John Houston and star José Ferrer were the objects of pickets at the premier by staunchly anti-communist groups accusing both Houston and Ferrer of having times to the Kremlin. The allegations proved false but it was enough for Houston to pick up stakes and move to Ireland.

In the film, Ferrer plays both Henri and his father, the Comte Alphonse de Toulouse-Lautrec. To transform Ferrer into Henri required the use of platforms and concealed pits as well as special camera angles, makeup and costumes. Short body doubles were also used. In addition, Ferrer used a set of knee-pads of his own design allowing him to walk on his knees . He received high praise not only for his performance, but for his willingness to have his legs strapped in such a manner simply to play a role.

It was reported that John Huston asked cinematographer Oswald Morris to render the color scheme of the film to look “as if Toulouse-Lautrec had directed it”. Moulin Rouge was shot in three-strip Technicolor. The Technicolor projection print is created by dye transfer from three primary-color gelatin matrices. This permits great flexibility in controlling the density, contrast, and saturation of the print. Huston asked Technicolor for a subdued palette, rather than the sometimes-gaudy colors “glorious Technicolor” was famous for. Technicolor was reportedly reluctant to do this.

The film was shot at Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, and on location in London and Paris. The U.S. premiere was on December 23, 1952 – the UK premiere was on March 13, 1953.

Here is a raw excerpt of the premier as it was recorded for KNX/CBS Radio by Hollywood reporter George Fisher.

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