.....Marcel Pagnol wrote the dialog and provided the movie with his own wife Jacqueline.Both him and Jean Boyer wanted Bourvil to play the lead.But the actor was reluctant,knowing Fernandel had created the role in the thirties."But said Pagnol,you will be a better Normand than him cause you are Normand and your colleague was Provençal!" The first scene is enough to convince you the part was tailor-made for Bourvil: the village idiot,leaping about in the meadows where the cows browses on peacefully,picking flowers ...but when a woman comes near,he's so afraid he runs away....
Madame Husson and her circle of holier-than-thou ladies -including an old maid Madame Cadenas (=Mrs Padlock (sic))-are looking for a chaste and pure girl who will win a hefty sum!There's just one problem:the virgin girls are so rare that they are forced to elect a man: the village idiot! Maupassant's story is faithfully transferred to the screen in the two first thirds of the movie .Pagnol's dialog scores high and the movie is much fun to watch.But the last third drastically wanders from the writer's work.When Bourvil leaves the fête and goes to the pond,and realizes how miserable he is,one thinks for a while that the thespian will turn the comedy into a drama -he is as skillful an actor to do this-.But the ending is finally disappointing,some days in Paris are not enough to transform a sexually repressed man such as him!
N.B: In Maupassant's short story,Isidore,the goofy peasant, goes to Paris too,but he begins to drink hard and becomes a wreck.His mother turns his prodigal son out,and he becomes a carter,with no love of his own,of course.Maupassant was not as optimistic as Pagnol.
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