This is a not a movie for Fernandel fans unless they are prepared to make important concessions. The first is that, despite the fact that he's playing the title character, Fernandel's part is almost peripheral to the main plot. True, he comes on like gang busters and has a wonderful scene with Brasseur in which good old Pierre fearful of being searched by the police palms a wad of counterfeit notes into ever-smiling Fernandel's coat pocket and then when the coast is clear tries vainly to retrieve them. But as far as Fernandelish comedy is concerned, this is the movie's high point. And that is the second concession: Don't expect Fernandel to be funny. True, he smiles a lot and his super-toothy grin is rather infectious, but that's about as far as the comedy goes. As said, he's not even the main character in the story. The honor belongs to one of these three (take your pick): The lovely Simone Simon who sets the plot in motion and has a lot to say for herself and of herself (her voice which is so delightfully soothing in her Hollywood movies is somewhat grating here especially when the listener is exposed to it for such an enormous length of time); bullying con-man Pierre Brasseur (whom the lovely Simone attempts to kill in the movie's opening shot alas, without success); and the equally (but far more sinisterly) aggressive combination night club proprietor and head of the counterfeiters, Marcel Dalio, who loves to verbally browbeat everyone in sight. Bringing up the support cast are assorted cops and, of course, chorus girls among whom the connoisseur can spot Corinne Calvet and Simone Sylvestre. IMDb rightly describes this film's genre as "Crime" and "Mystery" rather than "Comedy". Certainly the "Crime" aspect is strong, but the "Mystery" is half-hearted at best. In fact, the DVD cover designer regards the "Mystery" angle as so unimportant, he/she reveals who the killer is in a prominent photograph!
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