|La Cage aux Folles|
|Directed by||Édouard Molinaro|
|Based on||La Cage aux Folles|
by Jean Poiret
|Produced by||Marcello Danon|
|Music by||Ennio Morricone|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|Box office||$20.4 million|
La Cage aux folles ([la kaʒ o fɔl], English: "The Cage of Madwomen"; also released as Birds of a Feather) is a 1978 comedy film directed by Édouard Molinaro, based on Jean Poiret's 1973 play of the same name. It stars Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault as a gay couple operating a drag nightclub in a French resort town, Rémi Laurent as the former's son, and Michel Galabru and Carmen Scarpitta as his new fiancée's ultra-conservative parents. The French-language picture was a Franco-Italian co-production by United Artists. This was the first film adaptation of Poiret's play, which was later adapted into the 1996 American film The Birdcage.
The film was released in Italy on October 20, 1978 and in France on October 25. It was a considerable commercial success, becoming one of the highest-grossing foreign-language films released in the United States of all time. It won the Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film and was nominated for three Oscars: Best Director (Molinaro), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Costume Design. Michel Serrault won the César Award for Best Actor. It was followed by two sequels, with Tognazzi, Serrault, and Galabru reprising their roles.
Like the play upon which it is based, the film tells the story of a middle-aged gay couple – Renato Baldi, the manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub featuring drag entertainment, and Albin Mougeotte, his star attraction – and the madness that ensues when Renato's son Laurent brings home his fiancée Andrea and her ultra-conservative parents to meet them.
Exterior filming was on-location in Saint-Tropez and Nice, while interiors were shot at Dear Film and Cinecitta Studios in Rome, Italy.
As of 2020[update], La Cage aux Folles has remained the no. 11  foreign-language film released in the United States of America. The film was the second highest-grossing film of the year in France with 5,406,614 admissions. In Germany, it received 2.65 million admissions, making it the 11th highest-grossing film of the year.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 95% rating based on 21 reviews, with an average rating of 7.82/10. The site's consensus reads: "La Cage aux Folles is a fine French-Italian farce with flamboyant, charming characters and deep laughs".
Roger Ebert gave the film three-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote that "the comic turns in the plot are achieved with such clockwork timing that sometimes we're laughing at what's funny and sometimes we're just laughing at the movie's sheer comic invention. This is a great time at the movies." Vincent Canby of The New York Times wrote in a negative review that the film "is naughty in the way of comedies that pretend to be sophisticated but actually serve to reinforce the most popular conventions and most witless stereotypes." Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "For me, 'La Cage aux Folles' was over soon after it began. It's all so predictable. This could have been a Luci & Desi comedy routine. The film's only distinctive quality is the skill of its veteran actors in working with tired material." Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called the film "a frequently hilarious French variation on Norman, Is That You? and has the same broad humor and appeal but has been put over with considerably more aplomb." Gary Arnold of The Washington Post panned the film for "stale, excruciating sex jokes" and direction that "has evidently failed to devise a playing rhythm to compensate for whatever farcical tempo the material enjoyed on the stage."
David McGillivray of The Monthly Film Bulletin described the film as "a crude amalgam of Norman, Is That You? and John Bowen's play Trevor ... All shrieks, mincing and limp wrists, La Cage aux folles also looks positively antiquated beside the sophisticated gay comedy of such as Craig Russell."
|Academy Award||Best Director||Édouard Molinaro||Nominated|
|Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium||Édouard Molinaro, Francis Veber, Marcello Danon, Jean Poiret||Nominated|
|Best Costume Design||Piero Tosi, Ambra Danon||Nominated|
|César Award||Best Actor||Michel Serrault||Won|
|David di Donatello||Best Foreign Actor||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Foreign Language Film||La Cage aux Folles||Won|
|National Board of Review||Best Foreign Language Film||Won|
|Top Foreign Films||Won|
|New York Film Critics Circle||Best Foreign Language Film||2nd place|
|Sant Jordi Award||Best Performance in a Foreign Film||Michel Serrault||2nd place|
The film was followed by two sequels: La Cage aux Folles II (1980), also directed by Molinaro, and La Cage aux folles 3 - 'Elles' se marient (1985), directed by Georges Lautner.
The 1983 Broadway musical La Cage aux Folles based on the play and the film was also successful.
In 1996, an American remake titled The Birdcage, directed by Mike Nichols and written by Elaine May, was released, relocated to South Beach and stars Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.
La Cage Aux Folles is mentioned in the 1993 teen comedy movie Anything for Love, a.k.a. Just One of the Girls. When the PE teacher finds out the main character is a boy dressing as a girl, she says "I thought you were gay. Not auditioning for La Cage Aux Folles."
For the X-Rated film, see Adam & Yves.
La Cage aux Folles caught the attention of television producer Danny Arnold, who in 1979 pitched the concept of a weekly series about a gay couple similar to the one in the film to ABC. His planned title was Adam and Yves, a play on both Adam and Eve and a slogan used by some anti-gay groups. After months in development, Arnold realized that the concept was unsustainable as a weekly series, which led to the show getting dropped.