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The Fat and the Lean (1961)
"Le gros et le maigre" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 785 users  
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A small and thin barefoot slave (played by Polanski) plays a flute and beats a drum to entertain his large master who rocks in a rocking chair in front of his mansion. The slave jumps and ... See full summary »



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Title: The Fat and the Lean (1961)

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Uncredited cast:
André Katelbach ...
The fat (uncredited)
The lean (uncredited)


A small and thin barefoot slave (played by Polanski) plays a flute and beats a drum to entertain his large master who rocks in a rocking chair in front of his mansion. The slave jumps and leaps like a madman, wipes his master's brow, feeds him, washes his feet, shades him from the sun with an umbrella and holds a urinal for him. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Comedy | Music




Release Date:

December 1961 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le gros et le maigre  »

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Did You Know?


Roman Polanski directed this fifteen-minute black-and-white short just after completing film school. The film features the music of Krzysztof Komeda, who composed the scores for all but one of the director's films between Two Men and a Wardrobe (1958) and Rosemary's Baby (1968). (from the Criterion Collection DVD) See more »


Featured in Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Polanski Stars In Front Of The Camera This Time
22 June 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was an incredible short film by Roman Polanski, my favorite of the ones he made prior to his first feature film, "Knife In The Water." I don't mean that the film is incredibly good, just incredible to of the oddest films I've ever seen and, I think, Polanski's best comedy, by far. He liked making comedies before he got into his dramatic feature films.

The filmmaker Roman Polanski, also is the co-star in this two-man movie. He's the lean, almost a slave to "the fat" (Andre Katelbach), an uncouth slob who plays his master. Poor Roman; he has to constantly entertain and wait on his boss/master.

I can't remember all the things the poor "lean man" has to do for him but some of them are: dance, beat a drum, wash his feet, hold a pot to pee in; cook meals, shave him, tend to a goat, etc. Actually, it gets a little sadistic regarding the goat as the cruel master chains his slave to the goat. The poor now has to entertain while the poor animal is attached to him! Several times the slave tries to escape, but always in vain.

It's cruel, and yet the slapstick and silent film-type comedy makes it work. If you like old Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin films, you'd probably get a kick of out this curiosity piece.

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