amy merrickliving in

living in: the young girls of rochefort

by amym

The Young Girls of Rochefort is a ridiculously bright and bubbly musical treat from 1967. It’s vibrant, stylish and teeters on the verge of comical. With the sunny French seaside as a backdrop, it’s easy to suppress your doubts about the dubious plot and musical numbers; just open your eyes wide, and drink up the delicious colors.

1. Pink Saucer Hat, $114; 2. Fleur de Lys Teapot, $28; 3. Trumpet, $150; 4. Pink Spray Roses, $1.25 a stem; 5. Antique Victorian Sofa, $2400; 6. Vintage 1960s Heels, $48; 7. Fleur de Lys Cup and Saucer, $10; 8. Wittner Metronome, $132; 9. Ichibad Side Table, $1395; 10. Porcelain Vase, $149

The next set of stills and the second roundup continue after the jump…

A little bit of summery sailor goodness goes a long way in tempering the practically absurd storyline. When you add a young Catherine Deneuve and an older Gene Kelly, just try to peel your eyes away. Feminine furniture, hilarious hats, polished dance routines — it’s really hard not to fall in love with French frippery at its finest.

1. Vintage Tennis Dress, $554; 2. Marble Bust of Apollo, $40; 3. Bow Clip, $14; 4. Brass Bowls, $26+; 5. Vintage French Sconces, $3800; 6. Gold Bracelet, $38; 7. Pocket Watch Clock, $78; 8. Vigo Round Table, $698; 9. French Sailor Hat, $20; 10. Anchor Studs, $40; 11. Rope Knot Doorstop, $44

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  • I quite liked this film–was fun to watch. Also, I think only film Catherine did with her sister, Francoise Dorleac, who died in car accident not long after. It’s sweet seeing them act together.

  • Beautiful as always, Amy.

    This film is deliciously odd from start to finish, a puff pastry on acid. One of my favorite subplots is the axe murderer who finishes off Lola Lola (only to pack her up in a chic wicker basket). I always figure Demi must be thinking of Lola from his first film, or Dietrch’s Lola in “Blue Angel,” but allusions aside, it’s a profoundly weird crack in the idyll he creates.


  • lol! This is a terrible movie, but I totally love watching it b/c it is just so pretty. And Gene Kelly speaking french is very entertaining too. Seriously though, someone mentioned “les parapluies de cherbourg” (umbrellas of cherbourg) – now THAT is an amazing movie!!

  • whoa, is that dude in the orange the guy from west side story?? how come i never noticed this?

    ((i have a similar metronome my grandmother handed down to me when i started to play the piano as a kid. thank goodness i kept it! i must have know that one day it would be a fine addition to a bookcase or table. even if i still can’t play anything . . .))

  • i just watched woody allen’s MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY. I know you’ve done Allen before, but this one is great for interior design (as opposed to fashion, like Annie Hall). Seriously, I was drooling over every room–even the creepy neighbor has crazy awesome paisley wallpaper. Please feature it!!!

  • The new website design is driving me batty, I feel like I’m listing…

    Lets leave asymmetry to haircuts, I miss my old layout..

  • What a perfect choice for your “Living In” series! Nice post. This is one of my favorite movies. “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” is a better film, but “Young Girls of Rochefort” is so much fun! Just for the production design alone. Your description of it as a “ridiculously bright and musical treat” is perfect. And how can you not dig George Chakiris in those tight jeans tucked into his white boots? :-)

  • Love this movie…
    Everything was shot on location, and a few years ago I lived near the town where the movie was filmed in the late 60s. Rochefort is a lovely 17th century military citadel with rectilinear streets and typical white charentaise stone houses. They actually had almost every shutter, door and window frame painted pink or yellow for the shooting… and they financed the repainting of everything afterwards. Most of the town people were extras. The demoiselles’ house is actually the city hall… moved out and refurnished for the occasion. The all-white music store set has to be one of my favourite film interiors (the set was built into the corner of a much larger market hall, only the windows are real). The tourist office offers tours of the film locations. Unfortunately the main square was totally transformed two years ago, but it still had that checkered tiling and basin. The region is really worth visiting.

  • J’adore ce film. I got a hot tip from some Frenchies on this one. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago through amazon and it has been on constant rotation whilst I sew ever since. The costumes, songs, white boots on men and Gene Kelly are too much fun.

  • Daniel, thanks for that info, it answered some questions I’ve had about this film. It is one of my all time favs for art direction and all-around craziness!

  • Wonderful post! I love this film.
    Look forward to a possible “Living In” post from the third movie of the Demy trilogy ;)
    <3 Peau d'Ane (Donkey Skin) <3


  • This film IS the essence of French lightness, delicacy and elegance! I can imagine the English subtitles or any translation of the film being impossible to give you the genuine atmosphere. Sorry to read that the film is ridiculous etc… The words are perfect, there was no point to shoot a perfect musical! Jacques Demy just had this “clin d’oeil”. The film is a Polaroïd itself, with the “Pschitt” sweets flavour!

  • By the way, being a daily fan of your site, I want to correct your selection about “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg”. First, nothing to do with Anthropologie cups and teapot, and the other vase:::: everything from the movie talks about Bone China and hand made dazzled crystal, the Victorian furniture design is to heavy,.Second, think about silk mousseline and sweet pea flowers or Muguet instead of Fleur de Lys!!!Sorry, but there’s nothing Royal! keep on !!

  • This film definitely needed its “Living In”… One of my favourite movies growing up !
    Every single shot is a treat to watch, it’s so aesthetically happy…
    I always thought it had a very singular atmosphere, even the tone in which the actors play is kind of corny, but it’s so part of the charm…
    And the music and songs by Michel Legrand are just addictive !
    Thank you !

  • After reding the comments I can’t wait to check this film out, I am always entranced with films set in other countries, add the dancing(Gene Kelly!!)vintage set and period costumes, sounds like a good time! This part of your blog is one of my Favorites!!

  • I’ve always wanted to design my kitchen to look like the mother’s cafe in this film; I seem to recall there are bowls of oranges or lemons on the counter and perhaps the cafe is blue?

    It’s a shame we had so little Francoise Dorleac.

  • I adore this movie, and prefer it to “Umbrellas of Cherbourg” (dazzling as that one is.) For me, the most delightful moment in “Young Girls” is when everyone at the dinner table starts to talk in rhyming couplets. It isn’t announced … it just starts, and the characters continue until it’ss, well, just time to stop. After all, if characters can suddenly sing, dance and play musical instruments, why can’t they burst into poetry too? It’s the kind of caprice that makes the movie work. And visually it’s just beautiful. (As is Dorleac. What a loss.)

  • omg i JUST watched this movie for the first time the other day! it is so delicious. the french (at least in the 1960s) have a different approach to musicals and it’s very refreshing! and gene kelly in a french jazz musical? win.

  • I’ve never heard of this one, but it looks like I might have to track it down! Gene Kelly is always a draw, and the sweet sixties dresses look like they make a cute & colourful set. Thanks Amy!

  • Haven’t heard of the movie but loving the production design already – fun fun fun and love the furniture pieces you picked out to go with it – I’ve always believed that the joy in every home starts with the heart and then moves on the decor — so anyone who walks in is shocked by the excitement of it all.

  • The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is one of my top favorite movies. Jaques Demy was so talented. I don’t love the story on Desmoiselles as much, but the color, the French seaside town, and of course, the beautiful Catherine Deneuve are amazing! And I love hearing Gene Kelley speak in French. So cute!

  • This is a wonderful film.. Forget the plot, watch the incredible dancing and the music score by Le Grand is amazing.. He takes one theme and expands it countless ways.. That theme became known as “You Must Believe In Spring” and I was amazed to find it in this beautiful movie. You have to love the French and their joie de vivre!

  • Love, love, love your column. It’s my Tuesday Treat! Every movie you pick is either already one of my favorites or instantly finds it way onto my Netflix queque. I find myself taking snapshots of movie frames in my head, and one of the movies I always think would be great for this column is Enchanted April. It truly is enchanting, as are you.

  • I never heard of this – and yes it’s available on Netflix instant watch! I watched it for the first time I loved it.

  • This amazing musical is now available on Blue-ray. It is a French issue and I ordered it online.
    The subtitles have been updated and the reissue is crisp and a pleasure to watch.
    This is a must for musical theatre fans. George Chakiris (underrated as a performer) is one of the best male dancers along with Grover Dale.
    LeGrand’s score is absolutely terrific. A few years ago, this film had a stage adaption in France. Check youtube to see segments. Beautifully realized!

  • Stop Press….. as part of a Jacques Demy retrospective at the Cinematheque de Paris Universal have released a boxed set of 11 cds devoted to his association with the wonderful Michel Legrand. It includes much of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Young Girls Of Rochefort soundtracks (an English language version of the latter too) plus rehearsal tracks and interpretations of the songs by leading jazz players and singers such as Tony Bennett and Astrud Gilberto. Wonderful stuff!

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