Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe More at IMDbPro »Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (original title)

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25 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Hysterically funny French spy farce!

Author: David S. Rose from New York, NY
31 August 2002

This film was one of the most successful crossover French films of the 70's, and for very good reason. It is a delightful spoof of the spy genre, with a hapless musician unknowingly caught in the middle of a war between two factions of the French secret service. The plotting is extremely funny, the directing tight, the music (played by Zamphir on the pan pipe!) unforgettable, and above all the ensemble acting by a stellar cast will have you watching this again and again. Pierre Richard, playing the title character, brings an unusual elegance and sense of class to what would otherwise be a Woody Allen-esque role (it was played by Tom Hanks in the American re-make). Mireille Darc is the femme fatale, and there were quite few teenage boys in the 70's who never got over the image of her in a jaw-dropping backless dress. The rest of the group, from the cool head of the Secret Service, to the efficient but misguided spies, to the bumbling best friend and his wife, all leave indelible memories. Thirty years after having seen this film for the first time, I can remember everything with crystal clarity, and my own kids have found it just as delightful. Go ahead and rent this one for truly fun evening, you will love it!

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21 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Perfect Comedy with Great Soundtrack

Author: Galina from Virginia, USA
26 November 2006

This comedy/mystery is simply delightful. You can call it a masterpiece of its genre(s) or you can just enjoy its great timing, hilarious physical comedy, its story that involves spies, murders, and a sexy blonde (Mireille Darc) in a dress you have to see to believe. Pierre Richar is excellent as the blond man of the title who one day became a "person of great interest" for two rival departments in the French secret service. As we know, it is very difficult to find a black cat in a dark room especially if the cat is not in the room and that's what the experienced employees of the secret service try to do - to find the sense in the routine activities of a man they are convinced is an important spy and who is in reality an absent-minded and oblivious violinist and the object of the practical jokes by his fellow musicians.

If it is not enough, there is a soundtrack written by Vladimir Cosma and performed by the King of Pan Flute, a famous Romanian musician Gheorghe Zamfir. Cosma recalls that when he was composing the music for The Tall Blond Man, he was thinking of the movie "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" and he wanted to use the elements of the Eastern European music. His idea to use the themes of Romanian doinas played by Zamfir was a stroke of genius. Once you hear the melodies, you won't be able to forget them.

YES to the movie and YES!! to the soundtrack

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15 out of 15 people found the following review useful:


Author: artzau from Sacramento, CA
28 April 2001

This is one of the funniest films I've ever seen. Pierre Richard is HILARIOUS! The script is tight as a mosquito's leotard and the action unrelenting. The story, based in part on a serious of government agencies play SPY vs. SPY games and bureaucratic CYA, arbitrarily pick a fall guy for their foil and who better than a musician hooked on modern music. The amazing thing is Richard's apartment where the walls are covered with pictures of modern composers, dominated by a huge picture of Stravinsky. And, the riotious aside when he tells the girl trying to pump information from him that he has a "secret." When all of the spying evesdroppers stretch their ears to hear, he announces, "Je compose." Is this some new code? They look from one another as Pierre takes his violin and warns, "Mais, elle est moderne," and launches into a chromatic allegro ala Stravinsky. The movie goes on with great slapstick abetted by the marvelous timing of Richard who is rivalled only by Peter Sellars in that means. As the other reviewer noted, there was a decent American version with Tom Hanks, who played the part a lot more low key than Richard. I've seen this movie more than a dozen times and plan to see it again soon. Each time I find some new twist that gives me an extra tickle. Check it out! On s'amuse assez avec ce film-ci!

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11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Interesting commentary on privacy

Author: woody weaver (woodyweaver@yahoo.com) from Frederick Maryland USA
29 December 2003

An earlier comment was sophisticated slapstick, but while there are the occasional pokes in the eye -- the scene where an exploding cigar goes off and all the spies silenced weapons go "pfffht" (no blood, just lots of people falling over with silly expressions) is wonderful -- I think I'd instead classify this as sophisticated silliness. Reminds me of the old David Niven movies, except much less restrained.

But I also want to point out that the movie ends with a quote: "Every person is entitled to the respect of his or her private life. Penal Code, Article 9." Indeed, the wry tongue in cheek is pointed squarely at the absurdities of the French intelligence community. I find looking at the movie in that light adds another bit of fun to identifying the "good guys" and the bad guys.

Well worth your time.

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

The excellent brilliant French comedy

Author: Serge (drbars@rambler.ru) from Kazan, Russia
20 December 2001

The film is real pleasure, masterpiece in its genre. Dynamic scenario, delightful music and of course excellent actors Pierre Richard, Mireille Darc Jean Carmet, Jean Rochefort acting as a team. Very 'aerial' and sunny film. The film is one of the best and unforgettable films of my childhood and I like it today. 'Grand blond' was a best-seller in Soviet Union and it did not lose its charm now.

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10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Hollywood flattery

Author: bullfrog-5
1 April 2000

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Hollywood has paid homage to this Gallic gem. And, as usual, the original is better than the Hollywood copy.

The best description of this classic is the oxymoron: sophisticated slapstick. But there is much more. Like the category list suggests (comedy, mystery, and more) there's something for everybody, and you needn't be a Francophile to enjoy it.

Simply delightful!

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:


Author: ikaros-3 from Columbus, Ohio
26 January 2002

Many, many years ago -- the mid-70s, in fact, this movie was on TV in our local area. It was one of the few times I'd seen my dad really excited about a movie, and watched it with him.

It's stuck with me ever since.

This is a brilliant piece of film-making, satisfying as both a comedy and a spy movie. Pierre Richard has a masterful sense of comedic timing, on par with Buster Keaton.

If you get a chance to see this, do.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

To make disparaging comparisons between this and the Hollywood remake would seem obvious

Author: frannywentzel from Berlin - Germany
24 September 2006

But there's a reason why "obvious" gets to be so... well obvious.

Despite the fact that the print I saw of this had colour so mucky I would've been better off watching on a black and white TV set and that it was the dubbed version and not the original French version it is still better by far than the Hollywood remake in the 1980s.

First off the director of this has a sense of timing which goes a long way. Scenes like the opening interrogation using a lie detector move fast and with a Spartan minimum of activity.

More importantly is the fantastic art direction and the score by Zamfir (master of the pan flute). The hero's apartment could've easily graced the pages of Progressive Architecture. Especially his bathroom - no really. Only 'The Prisoner' made better use of art direction.

Even the dubbed dialog retains a level of precision with lines like "I didn't see you behind me" "Ah, but I'm already ahead of you...". They could've gotten a better voice-over for Maurice, but at least the sound effect for the guns was an inspired choice.

Some things like the bagpipe-as-a-snake scene don't work so well (at least outside of France) but they're a minor annoyance. Most of the comedy set pieces are inspired genius worthy of Chaplin, Keaton or (Harold) Lloyd.

By all means see this movie - and make sure to see it before you subject yourself to the American remake.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Classic French comedy with brilliant timing

Author: Eric Stein (estein@free.fr)
12 February 2006

Pierre Richard at his best. The movie has both verbal and slapstick comedy scenes which are some of his best. Mireille Darc when she turns her back to hapless Pierre. The dead bodies everywhere (including the refrigerator). A great comedy if you can understand the French.

Now finally available in a collected set of DVDs

"Coffret Le Grand blond - 2 DVD Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire - Le Retour du grand blond De Yves Robert Avec Pierre Richard, Jean Rochefort, Mireille Darc DVD Zone 2 - Pal. 2 volumes"

But for the English speakers - you may have to check out the Web to find some subtitles - product available from www.FNAC.com in France.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

so amazing

Author: titof1682 from France
13 September 2005

first, excuse me for my English bur i didn't write in this language since 2 years. This movie was one of the best i've ever seen. Pierre Richard is the same as usual, with all its "tics" like : - his face with a little smile and look like someone which don't have any idea of what he's making here ! - its clothes are always out of fashion or completely "vintage" Moreover, the french version is more interesting because it's the VO so he "word games" are respected. In fact, all the characters are good in this movie, they all see to be exactly what they seem to be. The men who are supposed to be secret agents are too much : their raincoats and their shoes couldn't have been better than this. then, the music sound is one of the best i know. i can sing this song all the day without any problem.

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