Inexplicably, it has never been shown in the United States, particularly given that Montand's co-stars are Françoise Fabian and Mathilda May.
Very much a burst-into-song, MGM-style musical that Demy loved (and appropriated), "Trois places" is also something of a fictionalized biopic of Montand who plays himself as he prepares for "Montand Remembers," the show-within-the-film, and reminisces about his life and career while rehearsing. There's an apt vérité quality to Jean Penzer's cinematography.
Watching it, one is struck by just how much Montand was the French equivalent of Frank Sinatra, a solid actor who was also a first-rate song-and-dance man. Few Americans realize that, even though Montand sang in two American films - George Cukor's "Let's Make Love" (1960), a movie that was overshadowed by the notoriety of Montand's affair with Marilyn Monroe during the production, and Vincente Minnelli's "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" (1980).
Not surprisingly, Demy's house composer, Michel Legrand, wrote the original score for "Trois places," which also has several standards interpolated, classics such as Edith Piaf's "La Vie En Rose" and Monroe's version of Cole Porter's "My Heart Belongs to Daddy," recorded for the Cukor film.
Montand would appear in two more films - Jacques Deray's "Netchaïev est de retour" (1991) and Jean-Jacques Beineix's "IP5: L'île aux pachydermes" (1992), both released after his death. He died on the set of the Beineix movie on its last day of shooting in 1991, after filming his final scene.
He was 70.
As for Demy, the same year he made "Trois places," he also collaborated with cartoonist Paul Grimault on "La table tournante"/"The Turning Table," an animation about a clown who visits Grimault - the clown being the star of Grimault's movie "Le Roi et l'Oiseau." Their conversation is laced with clips from other Paul Grimault films. Demy died two years later in 1990.
He was only 59.
Note in Passing: I long had a fantasy of a remake of "South Pacific" - with Yves Montand as Emil De Becque. Well, one can dream, right?
Regarding Comments: All comments are enthusiastically appreciated but are moderated before publication. Replies signed "unknown" or "anonymous" are not encouraged. Please sign any response with a name (real or fabricated) or initials. Be advised that a "name" will be assigned to any accepted post signed "unknown" or "anonymous." Thank you.
~Playbill for "An Evening with Yves Montand"