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A small European Kingdom wants to make a frowning Princess smile for the upcoming Royal photo to be done. A mischievous Prime Minister goes to Paris to kidnap three famous comics to force them to do an act to make the Princess smile. However, the King is not aware of this scheme... especially that this evil minister has to face a "fasting strike" by the prisoners and force them to surrender by telling a recipe of "Coq au Vin" by the radio... Written by
If you're going to appreciate Claude Sautet's first,you'd best forget about all those movies he made afterward ,film noir (" Classes Tous Risques " "Max et Les Ferrailleurs",IMHO ,his best works along with "Les Choses De La Vie") ) or "meaningful" "deep " psychological dramas about Cesar,Rosalie,Vincent ,François and the others .
This is part musical ,part music hall ,part slapstick farce and part romantic drama ;and this is a heavy-handed affair.
In a small principality ,inspired by Monaco and San Marino, a princess about to marry never smiles ;and she must smile before she walks up the aisle ;so secret agents kidnap four variety artists and hold them in the palace till they brighten up the wistful girl.
Most of the viewers will probably have a look cause Louis De Funès is in it ,although he is not really given a chance to shine,the producers fearing he might overshadow the four principals.
Only two of the principals,Henri Salvador (recently deceased) and Annie Cordy are still well known in France ;the most intriguing of the lot is Jimmy Gaillard ,who began as a child in the twenties (Duvivier's "Mystere De La Tour Eiffel ) ,then continued his career as a grown up in moderately pleasant comedies ("L'Amant De Bornéo" " Gringalet" )and ended,if we are to believe the screenwriters,as a stand up comic. At least 30% of the movie consists of music hall numbers and they are not particularly enjoyable ;Cordy's "Fleur De Papillon'" is not really exciting,at least to these ears ,and Salvador's ditties are not better.
All in all,it's a young clueless Jean Carmet who plays his game well;cast ,not as an entertainer -though he is one,and his career in the movies would prove more interesting than the three aforementioned artists-,but as an entertainer's cousin ,from a small Normandy town;in a Bourvil-like performance ,he is really the stand out.
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