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It was a genre which was very popular in the early thirties in France
.Two other good examples are "Les Dégourdis De La Onzième" and "Ignace"
where Fernandel was featured too.Here he is only supporting as is Jean
The "crazy barracks" style is really an acquired taste.This kind of comedy is terribly dated.Even with Raimu who plays Captain Hurluru, a military man who seems to make it rough all over the place and who finally is a good man,with a great heart who pays for the headcheese his squaddies have stolen.It's occasionally funny,notably when the general comes for the review and punctuates every captain's gaffe with a terse "it does not really matter" .In those lovely barracks,you can sing,smoke ,drink and eat headcheese in the prisons.
Based on Georges Courteline's work,a writer who wrote spoofs on the army and their iron discipline.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This 1932 French comedy surfaced recently on an international cable
channel. The allure for watching was the presence of Jean Gabin, but
alas, the actor only had a supporting role. The real star of the film
was Raimu a talented actor who is seen as Captain Hurluret. The
production, directed by Maurice Tourneur is dated, but that was a style
prevalent in French comedies from that period.
The story is simple, and yet there are moments of fun as the men in the barracks do what is expected of them. The story begins with the escape of two soldiers who have had it pent up in such close quarters. The superiors love to punish anyone who might look back at them the wrong way. It shows how the chain of command works in an institution such as the one at the center of the story.
Mr. Tourneur gets good moments in the film. Besides the great Raimu, one of France's beloved actors, there are Fernandel, Jean Gabin, Rene Donnio, Pierre Labry and a lot of comedians from the era that went on to have distinguished careers in the French cinema. The copy we saw evidently had been color mastered, but only at certain moments, reverting to black and white in some scenes. We have no clue as to why this discrepancy.
"Fun at the Barracks" offers a look at comedy in France in the 1930s thanks to Maurice Tourneur's direction. Incidentally, the director's son Jacques is credited with the editing.
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