Moulin Rouge Hotel
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Moulin Rouge Hotel was a hotel and casino located
in west Las
Vegas, Nevada, that is listed on the United
States National Register of Historic Places. The
first desegregated hotel casino, it was popular
with many of the black entertainers of the time,
who would entertain at the other hotels and casinos
and stay at the Moulin Rouge.
Moulin Rouge opened on May 24, 1955, built at
a cost of $3.5 million. It was the first integrated
hotel casino in Las Vegas, perhaps in the nation.
Until that time almost all of the casinos on The
Strip were totally segregated—off limits
to blacks unless they were the entertainment or
hotel was located in west Las Vegas, where the
black population was forced to live. West Las
Vegas was bounded by Washington Avenue on the
north, Bonanza Road on the south, H Street on
the west, and A Street on the east.
was during this era that Will Max Schwartz saw
the need for an integrated hotel. Will, along
with other white investors Louis Rubin who was
the creator of the Rubin Sandwich and was also
owner of Chandler's Restaurant in New York City,
New York and Alexander Bisno who worked in real
estate in California, including black boxing great
Joe Louis, built and opened the Moulin Rouge at
900 W. Bonanza Road. This location placed it in
a prime location between the predominantly white
area of the strip and the largely black west side.
The complex itself consisted of two stuccoed buildings
that housed the hotel, the casino, and a theater.
The exterior had the hotel's name in stylized
cursive writing and murals depicting dancing and
fancy cars. The sign was designed by Betty Willis,
creator of the "Welcome to Las Vegas"
sign on the south end of the strip.
it opened, the Moulin Rouge was fully integrated
top to bottom, from employees to patrons to entertainers.
hotel made the June 20th, 1955, cover of Life
magazine, with a photo of two showgirls. A veritable
"A" list of 50s- and 60s-era performers
regularly showed to party until dawn. Great black
singers and musicians such as Sammy Davis Jr.,
Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, and Louis Armstrong
would perform often. These artists were banned
from gambling or staying at the hotels on the
strip. In addition, white performers including
George Burns, Jack Benny, and Frank Sinatra would
drop in after their shows to gamble and perform.
Eventually management added a 2:30am "Third
Show" to accommodate the crowds.
November of 1955 the Moulin Rouge closed its doors.
Some say it was a victim of casino oversaturation
(the Moulin Rouge was one of four new hotels that
ran into major financial difficulties that year).
Some say it was poor management. The exact cause
will probably never be known. By December 1955,
the Moulin Rouge had declared bankruptcy.
short but vibrant life of the Moulin Rouge helped
the civil-rights movement in Las Vegas. For a
while the hotel was owned by the first African
American woman to hold a Nevada Gaming License,
Sarann Knight-Preddy. Many of those who enjoyed
and were employed by the hotel became activists
and supporters. The hotel was also the spark needed
to bring an end to segregation on the strip.
1960, under threat of a protest march down the
Las Vegas Strip against racial discrimination
by Las Vegas casinos, a meeting was hurriedly
arranged by then-Governor Grant Sawyer between
hotel owners, city and state officials, local
black leaders, and then-NAACP president James
McMillan. The meeting was held on March 26 at
the closed Moulin Rouge. This resulted in an agreement
to desegregate all strip casinos. Hank Greenspun,
who would become an important media figure in
the town, mediated the agreement.
1992 the building was listed in the National Register
of Historic Places.
the Moulin Rouge complex remained shuttered for
decades, many plans had been hatched to rebuild
and reopen the cultural landmark. But on May 29,
2003, a fire ripped through the buildings, almost
entirely gutting the complex. No witnesses
have ever been found, no one has come forward
with information leading to the cause of the fire,
and to this day all that remains is the facade
with its signature stylized name.
2004 saw the Moulin Rouge sold again for $12.1
million to the Moulin Rouge Development Corporation.
The stylized "Moulin Rouge" neon sign
was turned back on. A $200 million renovation
of the site was announced but was never completed.
Rouge (French for Red Windmill) is a cabaret built
in 1889 by Josep Oller, who also owned the Paris
Olympia. Close to Montmartre in the Paris red-light
district of Pigalle on Boulevard de Clichy in
the 18th arrondissement, it is marked by the facsimile
of a red windmill on its roof.
Moulin Rouge is a tourist destination, offering
musical dance entertainment for adult visitors
from around the world. Much of the romance of
turn-of-the-century France is still present in
the club's decor.
performers at the Moulin Rouge have included La
Goulue, Josephine Baker, Frank Sinatra, Yvette
Guilbert, Jane Avril, Mistinguett, Le Pétomane,
Édith Piaf and others. The Moulin Rouge
is also the subject of paintings by post-impressionist
Rouge" is the title of a book by Pierre La
Mure, which was adapted as a 1952 film called
Moulin Rouge, starring Jose Ferrer and Zsa-Zsa
Gabor. Several other films have had the same title,
including 2001's Moulin Rouge!, starring Ewan
McGregor and Nicole Kidman. Both the 1952 and
2001 films were nominated for the Academy Award
for Best Picture
Rouge! is a 2001 Academy Award-winning jukebox
musical film directed by Baz Luhrmann. It tells
the story of a young British poet/writer, Christian,
who falls in love with the star of the Moulin
Rouge, cabaret actress and courtesan Satine. It
uses the colourful musical setting of the Montmartre
Quarter of Paris, France. The film was nominated
for eight Oscars, and won two; for art direction
and costume design. It was shot at Fox Studios
in Sydney, Australia.
2006 Moulin Rouge ranked #25 on the American Film
Institute's list of best musicals.
year is 1900 and Christian (Ewan McGregor), a
grizzled, unkempt British writer who came to the
village of Montmartre, Paris at the height of
the Bohemian movement a year before, sits in a
garret overlooking the closed-down theatre Moulin
Rouge and writing on a typewriter. The story he
is writing is about both himself and the woman
he loved, Satine (Nicole Kidman).
1899, Christian arrives in Paris a naive and idealistic
writer, and falls in with a group of Bohemians
who frequent the Moulin Rouge. They are attempting
to produce a theatrical production, "Spectacular
Spectacular," which the Moulin Rouge's master
Harold Zidler (Jim Broadbent) plans to put on
at the cabaret. The Bohemians, chiefly Toulouse-Lautrec
(John Leguizamo) among them, are impressed with
Christian's gift with words and insist that he
write "Spectacular Spectactular." Once
they discover that Christian is an amazing writer
and should help them with their show, they come
up with an elaborate plan of presenting him to
Satine, a beautiful courtesan, in the hopes that
she will be impressed with him and persuade Zidler
to hire him as the play's writer.
understands the mercenary nature of her work,
though she dreams of leaving the Moulin Rouge
to become a real actress. Through a series of
misunderstandings, she mistakes Christian for
the wealthy and powerful Duke who will invest
in "Spectacular Spectacular," she is
charmed by his poetry. She declares that she has
fallen in love with him, but is shocked to realize
he's actually a penniless Bohemian poet.
after, the real Duke (Richard Roxburgh) arrives
and finds Christian and Satine together. Christian's
quick wit and Satine's charm fool the Duke into
believing that they were rehearsing "Spectacular
Spectacular." The main cast improvises the
plot of the show on the spot: a beautiful Indian
courtesan has her kingdom invaded by an "evil
maharaja." She sets out to seduce him to
save her kingdom, but accidentally seduces and
then falls in love with a penniless sitar player.
The two must hide their love and evade the maharaja,
though it is implied that one of them may die
at the end of the story. (It is soon realized
that the theme of their play foreshadows what
happens in the film's plot.) The Duke agrees to
support the show, but he quickly reveals that
he is a violently jealous man who will shut down
the Moulin Rouge if he does not get Satine to
himself. Nevertheless, he accepts that she will
be busy with rehearsals and in close contact with
Christian, the writer.
and Satine fall in love, while Zidler struggles
to keep the Duke interested in the show even though
Satine has not yet spent the night with him. Zidler
also discovers that Satine is dying of consumption,
but does not tell anyone because "The show
must go on." Meanwhile, Christian continues
to develop the play, in which the courtesan and
the penniless sitar player end up together. The
Duke, however, does not appreciate the ending
and tells the cast that the courtesan must end
up in the arms of the maharaja. To convince him
to change his mind, Satine finally agrees to spend
the night with the Duke. Christian is overcome
with jealousy while Satine has dinner with the
Duke, who offers her everything she has dreamt
of. However, when Satine spots Christian on the
street below, she refuses the Duke's offer, and
he tries to take Satine by force. After she escapes,
Satine and Christian plan to run away.
now, the Duke has realized Satine's cuckoldry,
and informs Zidler that, if the "maharaja"
does not get his "courtesan," he will
have the "penniless sitar player" killed.
Nonetheless, Zidler must inform Satine of her
terminal condition before she agrees to give up
on the escape plan. She goes to Christian and
lies to him, convincing him that her love was
an act in the hopes that this will inspire him
to leave Paris and therefore save his life.
the show debuts, Satine performs wearily, knowing
that her time is almost up. Christian, unwilling
to give up on her, confronts her backstage. When
she tries to drive him off again, he takes the
place of the show's hero, throwing money at her
feet to "pay his whore," and storming
off the stage. Satine confesses her love for him
in the form of his secret song, and Christian
and Satine reconcile in full view of the audience
and the Duke. The Duke attempts to shoot Christian,
but Zidler drives him off. The audience applauds
what they perceived as a good drama, but backstage,
Satine is overcome by her illness and dies in
Christian's arms. As her final wish, she asks
Christian to tell their story.
year later, still in his garret overlooking the
now-deserted red windmill, Christian finally types
the last page of his work, ending it with the
couplet, "The greatest thing you will ever
learn, is just to love, and be loved in return."
plot details, specifically the poor artist and
his dying lover, bear relation to the Giacomo
Puccini opera La bohème (which Luhrmann
has also directed several times), including references
to the "Bohemian" subculture. Otherwise,
the plot resembles that of Giuseppe Verdi's opera
La traviata (and its source, the novel The Lady
of the Camellias) in great detail. Luhrmann is
said to have been inspired to make the movie after
watching Dil Se (1998) by director Mani Ratnam.
Rouge! is a cinematic musical that has a storyline
and structure that is said to be inspired and
influenced largely by Italian grand opera: exuberant
music, colourful visuals, elaborate sets and intricate
costumes. It also has some elements of Bollywood
films such as a simple story line with a simple
conflict, a melodramatic heroine and two-dimensional
characters, with the added touch of a play within
a play, "Spectacular Spectacular," which
itself may have been based on an ancient Sanskrit
play The Little Clay Cart. In addition to the
Bollywood influence, Baz Luhrmann has revealed
in the DVD's voice-over commentary that he drew
from the ancient Greek tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Orpheus was a musical genius far surpassing anyone
in his world; the film-makers chose to replicate
this by using songs from the mid-to-late 20th
century, many decades after the film's 1899 setting.
In this way, Christian would appear to the other
characters to be an innovative musician and writer.
on the film began in November 1999 and was completed
in May 2000, with a budget of just over $50 million.
Nicole Kidman reportedly wasn't interested in
doing the musical until she heard Baz Luhrmann
would be directing it.Filming
generally went smoothly, with the only major problem
occurring when star Nicole Kidman injured her
knee while filming one of the more complicated
dance sequences. The production also overran in
its shooting schedule and had to be out of the
Fox Studios in Sydney to make way for Star Wars:
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (in which Ewan
McGregor also starred). This necessitated some
pick-up shots being filmed in Madrid.
the liner notes to the film's Special Edition
DVD, Luhrmann writes that "[the] whole stylistic
premise has been to decode what the Moulin Rouge
was to the audiences of 1899 and express that
same thrill and excitement in a way to which contemporary
movie-goers can relate." With that in mind,
the film takes well-known popular music, mostly
drawn from the MTV Generation, and anachronizes
it into a tale set in a turn-of-the-century Paris
cabaret. The movie also features editing that
several critics compared to a music video, involving
swirling camera motion, loud music, dancing, and
frenetic cutting. Some of the songs sampled include
"Chamma Chamma" from the Hindi movie
China Gate, Queen's "The Show Must Go On"
(arranged in operatic format), David Bowie's (originally
sung by Nat King Cole) rendition of the Eden Ahbez
jazz standard "Nature Boy," "Lady
Marmalade" by LaBelle (the Christina Aguilera/P!nk/Mýa/Lil’
Kim cover commissioned for the film), Madonna's
"Like a Virgin" and "Material Girl,"
Elton John's "Your Song," the titular
number of "The Sound of Music," "Roxanne"
by The Police (in a tango format), and one of
the few films to use "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
by Nirvana. The film uses so much popular music
that it took Luhrmann almost two years to secure
all the rights to the songs.
set for release on December 25, 2000 as a high
profile Oscar contender, 20th Century Fox eventually
moved the release to the following spring so director
Baz Luhrmann would have more time during post
production. The film premiered at the Cannes Film
Festival on May 9, 2001—making it the festival's
opening title. A limited release on May 18, 2001
in the United States followed, and the film was
released to theaters across the United States
on June 1, 2001.
film was an instant success in limited release,
grossing $185,095 in only two theaters on opening
weekend. Representatives from the studio said
that many audiences even burst into applause during
the screenings. The numbers continued to increase
over the Memorial Day weekend, with the film making
$254,098. When it expanded into over 2500 theaters,
it made $14.2 million in its first weekend of
wide release. The film eventually grossed over
$57 million domestically. It had a brief re-release
in October 2001 for Oscar consideration, with
Luhrmann stating that his intent was to get Kidman
and McGregor nominated.
movie was even more successful overseas. It broke
box office records in Australia where it was given
a rare theatrical re-release at the end of 2001,
and managed to find a stable audience in almost
every country. It eventually made over $120 million
internationally, resulting in a total of over
$177 million worldwide.
critical and financial success of the film renewed
interest in the then-moribund musical genre, and
subsequently films such as Chicago, The Phantom
of the Opera, Dreamgirls, and Hairspray were produced,
fueling a renaissance of the genre. The film also
helped propel Kidman onto the A-list, as she followed
this film with the successes The Others and The
Hours, the latter of which won Kidman the Oscar
for Best Actress.
film was selected by the National Board of Review
as the best film of 2001 over many other contenders.
After that, it picked up six Golden Globe nominations
including Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy,
Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or
Comedy (for Nicole Kidman), Best Actor in a Motion
Picture - Musical or Comedy (for Ewan McGregor),
Best Original Score, Best Director (for Baz Luhrmann)
and Best Song ("Come What May"). It
won three including the coveted Best Picture trophy.
A few weeks later, it received 13 nominations
at the BAFTA Awards, making it the most nominated
film of the year for that ceremony. It took home
three, including Best Supporting Actor for Jim
Oscar nominations were announced, the film received
eight nominations including Best Actress in a
Leading Role (Nicole Kidman) and Best Picture.
The film was not nominated for Best Director (Baz
Luhrmann); commenting on this during the Oscar
ceremony, host Whoopi Goldberg remarked, "I
guess Moulin Rouge! just directed itself."
It took home two Oscars when the winners were
announced for Best Costume Design and Best Art
Direction. At the lower-profile MTV Movie Awards,
Kidman took home the Best Actress trophy and Kidman
and McGregor took home Best Musical Sequence.
should be noted that "Come What May"
(the only original song in the film) was disqualified
from nomination for an Oscar because it was originally
written (but unused) for Luhrmann's previous film
William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet and not written
expressly for Moulin Rouge! (Credit:
Rouge official website
Baz Luhrmann website