Emile Boulard is a props man in a Paris movie studio. He has a wife, Suzanne. Or to be more accurate, let's say he HAD a wife since she left him fifteen years before, allegedly ... to go ...
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Emile Boulard is a props man in a Paris movie studio. He has a wife, Suzanne. Or to be more accurate, let's say he HAD a wife since she left him fifteen years before, allegedly ... to go buy a post stamp. But now that their daughter Martine , who lives with her, is old enough to marry, she resurfaces. She confesses that, in order to explain his absence, she has told Martine her father was a great explorer and lion hunter in Africa. Not to disappoint his daughter, Emile accepts to pose as the adventurer he is supposed to be. At the same time he will help Daniel, Martine's bashful fiancé, not to become a henpecked husband like him. Written by
Paul Nivoix's play was staged after the film adaptation was shot. It premiered on 26th February 1949 at the Théâtre des Variétés starring Bourvil in the Fernandel role and lasted until 14th July 1949. See more »
Yes it's all play acting !Emile works as a prop-man for a friend director (the prologue ,which features the famous "L'Hirondelle Des Faubourgs",badly sung,is rather smart ).
His wife left him when their daughter was still a baby because she asked for more .So she invented a fictitious husband ,enough to make the girl dream all night:he owns lots of plantations in Congo ,he meets presidents in Africa ,he is a raider ,an explorer . Now the girl wants to marry and at the time,she needed her dad's permission;but the snob wife does not want her hubby to meet this lousy father ,who has nothing to do with with the super papa she put on a pedestal.Emile is not prepared to accept it and he goes to his wife's mansion ,ready to play the part of the wealthy progenitor !It's all play acting!
Fernandel excels in this kind of part in which he plays a role which is not his:the subject will be reworked ,in Jean Boyer's "Sénéchal Le Magnifique" with even more style .He depicts Africa ,where he has never set foot in his life ,with a wonderful naiveté,and the daughter and her fiancé are worship the ground he walks on: the tom-toms,the cardboard jungle,the irrigation,and even the tigers ("there are no tigers in Africa ,sir/-I imported them")
And in the last segment,Emile hires an actor to play the part of a villain so that the gun-shy fiancé (who grows plants in a greenhouse and who is afraid of being out of his depth )can show he is brave too... It's all play acting again,but what if is the villain is a true villain?
Generally panned by the critics,"Emile L'Africain " is nevertheless a pleasant comedy which owes everything to his principal's prodigious talent.
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