Gérard Barray was good friend with Frederic Dard ,which may help him get the part of the Commissaire San Antonio ;he was much better than the dreaded Philippe Gasté in Joel Seria's abysmal "San Antonio Ne Pense Qu'A Ca"(1981)Barray was a genuine actor,with plenty of go, derisive ,elegant,the "French stiff upper lip" ;he was never given the parts he deserved .Jean Richard is well cast as Inspecteur Bérurier,whose gargantuan sandwiches would choke the common run of people .
I have got to write it,San Antonio books have never been ,in a month of Sundays ,my cup of tea although I did like Dard 's thrillers ("toi,Le Venin;" Le Monte-Charge" brilliantly transferred to the screen by Robert Hossein)The true lovers of San Antonio will fatally be disappointed :gone are the vividness of the language,the colorfulness ,the Rabelaisian side ....But the others will enjoy Michel Audiard's lines ,with puns,double-entendre expressions,and lots of good humor.Censoreship would not have allowed Dard's bawdy lines anyway and the novel ("Messieurs Les Hommes" ) had to be watered down.
The McGuffin is difficult to decipher and anyway does it matter that much? Well atomic scientists are kidnapped and given a treatment close to that of the abducted marines of "Cinq gars pour Singapour",released the same year : they become as stiff as a poker and thus can be concealed in mannequins ....before being sold to the Russians (?)
A good introduction:in the first sequences,San Antonio and Beru act as if they've never met.
The movie must have attracted some revenues ,for a second "San Antonio" was made ,"Beru Et Ces Dames" .
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