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Probably made to capitalize on the success of Duvivier's "Don Camillo"SAGA ,this movie suffered accordingly;you do not change a winning team and here they are again:Fernandel and Gino Cervi.But it was not a blockbuster though.
Personally,as one of Duvivier's greatest fans,I have never thought ,however,that "Don Camillo" is among his best works ;so why not giving this one a chance?
Okay ,Cervi is the mayor again,and a mayor chosen by the fascists in a small town in Italy.And the Americans are about to arrive .A coward -as most of the characters of the film- he wants to call it a day and he asks his "good friend" the innkeeper (Fernandel) to replace him .
This is a pleasant comedy in which nobody wants to be a hero;in fact everybody's is busy saving his hide .Even when a fascist leader is murdered , they hide the body.The whodunit side does not matter ,although its solution is certainly smarter than many others. It's the depiction of an opportunist microcosm,where they furbish the German soldiers' helmets to use them to get rid of the militia and play "OH Suzanna" and "Yankee doodle" (and ring the bells) to welcome their liberators.
Fernandel's son is played by the actor's own son Franck (debut).You should see him bewail the fate of his poor boy,drafted on the very day of his wedding.
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