The scene where Zidler tells Satine about the Duke being "the one Toulouse is shaking a hanky at..." and they peek back and forth to helpfully get Christian as the Duke in Satine's mind, are we supposed to believe Toulouse knew exactly that Zidler was going to say that? Or has he just introduced sooo many people to Satine that he knew exactly what Zidler would tell Satine, and the timing of their spins?
Um, no? He was pointing out that the duke was the one Toulouse was shaking his hanky at because Toulouse was shaking his hanky at him and that was a pretty good indicator.
Zidler was just pointing out the Duke with an obvious indicator that he could see—Toulouse shaking a hanky at him. He didn't count on Toulouse turning around and grabbing Christian's. It was a coincidence that set the whole movie up.
The entirety of that scene involves Toulouse TRYING to apologize for knocking a drink in the Duke's lap, but only does it long enough for Zidler and Satine to get all sorts of confused about who the Duke is, and THEN Toulouse drops the facade and throws the hankie in the Duke's face... it's suspiciously timed, if nothing else...
I think (correct me if I'm wrong here) that the original troper thought that Toulouse and intentionally set up the situation and intended Christian to be mistaken for the Duke - my interpretation was that Toulouse had set up a meeting for Christian as a writer, and Satine/Zidler had forgotten or just ignored this as the meeting with the Duke was far more important. The mistaken identity was a happy coincidence as far as Toulouse was concerned. The hanky confusion was just that - confusion. It's a bit far-fetched to think that Toulouse could somehow have orchestrated the hanky mess up, and the reason he switched after apologising and called the Duke and his minder "Bourgeois pigs!" was because he was drunk on absinthe and they were being obnoxious. One person's suspicious timing is another's serendipitous, story-starting coincidence...
WHY does Zidler want to turn the Moulin Rouge into a theatre? It's obviously doing fantastically well as a nightclub.
Respectability, probably - a respectable theatre establishment can attract a much more upscale clientele than a nightclub. Even if the nightclub can get a handful of rich guys looking for a fun night of debauchery, the theater can attract a larger number of wealthy patrons, who can bring their sweethearts or even whole families, increasing revenue through ticket sales.
Along the same lines, respectability as an end unto itself. Zidler may well be tired of being 'in the game,' so to speak.
Then why not open the theater, or convert it? Did they really need the Duke? Look at how much money was being offered nightly. And those pimped-out-dresses could have probably had a few auctioned off.
WHY was the actual Moulin Rouge converted to a theatre shortly after the death of Charles Zidler? Truth is stranger than fiction.
Why couldn't Satine have told Christian the truth instead of doing the whole Break His Heart to Save Him? Couldn't they had come up with some sort of plan together on how to handle the situation instead?
Because the duke is an incredibly powerful, wealthy, important man, and they are a penniless writer and a dying high class prostitute. There is very little they could have done, and she probably thought there was no use putting his life in danger for her if she's already on death's door.
On that end then, why not tell him about the consumption—surely he wouldn't want to sleep with her then. Make it a "we just found out" kind of deal or something
Christian is the sort of guy who'd probably have wanted to stay with her even more if he knew she was dying. Loyalty and romance and all that.
Why is there a Duke in France 1899? France had abolished the nobility after the fall of the third empire in 1870.
They never said The Duke was French... He could've easily been Austrian or German or Russian or Danish or something.
A Freeze-Frame Bonus when the Duke shows Zidler the deed to the Moulin Rouge which he now owns shows him to be the "Duke of Monroth". This sounds very like a British name, and that is in fact the accent Richard Roxburgh uses.
Why do they even need the Duke's help to build a theatre? Their club is already pretty close to a theatre the conversion looks like all it would need is to install chairs and a curtain; that can't be very expensive.
Not to mention they already have a ton of money with which to do the conversion; the first scene in the club clearly shows that they have a lot of rich people throwing money at them every night, so why do they need even more just to build a stage?
Recall that the conversion included knocking through a wall; they wanted to build a proper theatre & the stage that is built is rather elaborate. As for the money, it's not directly shown how much time passes between the signing of the contract & opening night, but Zidler needed to keep paying everyone during rehearsals, & the club had to be closed during the renovation, hence cutting off the source of income.
The future of the Moulin Rouge hinges on the successful performance of its new show Spectacular Spectacular! Aside from all the behind-the-scenes issues with Satine, the Duke and Christian, there's a more obvious problem: why did they give the role of the male protagonist in such an important performance to a man who has repeatedly proven himself a risk to its successful completion due to his narcolepsy?
Why did Nini Legs-in-the-Air give Christian and Satine away? What did she have to gain?
My impression was that she was afraid Satine was jeopardizing matters with the Duke (thus the future of the Moulin Rouge, thus the income of everyone who worked there) by messing around with Christian on the side. So she likely figured if the truth were exposed, Satine would be forced to dump Christian and everything could get back on track. Also the subtext of the Tango de Roxanne scene and how the Argentinian acts toward Nini suggests she has been a heartbreaker or source of ruin for men in the past. She may also have been jealous of Satine, either for being the star of the club and the show or for getting to have a love with Christian she could never have. On a related note to this, see the theory about her and the Argentinian on the WMG page.