An overlooked director,who retired long before his death ,Alex Joffé made several interesting movies:the bizarre " Six Heures A Perdre 1946" with a totally unexpected ending;his mini-disaster movie in real time long before "Cleo De 5 A 7" ("Les Fanatiques"1957) ;"Les Assassins Du Dimanche " (1956),dealing with responsibility;"Fortunat"(1960) ,a wonderful film depicting the dark days of the Occupation ,and friendship between a resistant fighter's family and a Jewish one,hiding in the same house.
"Fortunat" was Bourvil,probably Joffé's favorite actor. we find him back in "Tracassin".It is a very pleasant comedy ,which depicts the hard times in the city (Bourvil ,who often played peasants ,is cast against type ): He's employed in a laboratory which makes BH33, a magical anti-depressant;and as many of the inhabitants of Paris,he does need these pep pills : his apartment is tiny ,but he's got a folding metal bed (when you press a button ,but it does not always work);his boss is a tartar ,but he is in love with his secretary (Pierrette Bruno,who often played opposite Bourvil in those days );his car ,A Deux Chevaux -in his street ,ther's only this kind of car- has to fight against the Gendarmes and lots of traffic jams,but he plays the occasional taxi driver for elegant (or pregnant) women.
These urban problems give the movie a contemporary feel,but the long scene restaurant ,where people often go to watch TV -in the early sixties,few homes boasted a TV set- ,is now a thing of the past :the customers are more interested in the western than in food.
Alex Joffé was praised for his actors' direction,quite rightly so;nevertheless,in the final scenes ,he makes Bourvil overplay ,and it does not work,except maybe for proving that the pills are effective .
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