French Comic Gangster Flick Hits All the Right Notes
FULL TITLE: Du Mou dans la Gâchette (Deux Tueurs)
CAST: Bernard Blier (Nicolas), Jean Lefevre (Léon), Marc Lawrence (Magnum), Gastone Moschin (Jo Laguerre), Francis Blanche (La Prudence), Corinne Marchand (Valérie), Michel Serrault (the gunsmith), Bernard Faure (Prudence's pupil), André Badin (member of Laguerre's gang), Fernand Berset (member of Magnum's gang), Marcel Gassouk (monk), Francesco Rosano, Katia Christine, Jacques Bertrand, Sébastien Floche, Carlo Cioccolante.
FULL CREDITS: Director: LOUIS GROSPIERRE. Screenplay: Louis Grospierre, René Havard. Dialogue: René Havard. Based on an original idea by René Havard. Photographed in Eastman Color and Franscope by François Charlet in collaboration with Gricha Willy. Camera: Robert Schneider, assisted by Jean Castagnier. Art director: Claude Boxin. Music: Claude Bolling. Film editor: Eric Pluet, assisted by Hadassa Misrahi. Set continuity: Claudine Gaubert. Franay L.T.C. film laboratory supervisor: Maurice Laroche. Assistant directors: Philippe Marquani, Alain Quercy. Sound recording: Guy Rophe. Associate producer: Stany Cordier. Interior sets photographed at Studios de Boulogne.
A co-production of Filmes Cinematografica (Rome) and Les Productions Belles Rives (Paris). French release through Les Films Fernand Rivers: 30 August 1967. Title translation: Of the Slack in the Trigger (Two Killers).
SYNOPSIS: Through a series of errors, two bungling hit-men (who couldn't hit the Eiffel Tower at two paces) earn a reputation for fearless efficiency, which puts them in solid with Parisian crime boss, Jo Laguerre, who hires them to wipe out the visiting American gangster, Magnum, who is gathering recruits for a rival crime league.
COMMENT: Given this movie's twin themes of gang wars and murder, one would think it rather impossible to come up with a script that focused almost exclusively on comedy. Yet that is exactly what Louis Grospierre and his brilliant cast have accomplished. The way all have done this is both clever and simple. From first to last, the actors plays their roles perfectly straight. Thus the two "killers" are both presented as real people. They're funny because they're natural bunglers. They come by their stupidity and maladroitness not because they're innately half-wits like Laurel and Hardy or the Three Stooges, but simply because they are actually not a tenth as effective as others are led to think they are. Other comedians have used this device too, but they always accept the fact. Thus when Stan Laurel is appointed a professor at Oxford University, he accepts the position without reservation. He never milks any comedy from the situation, by saying to himself, "I'm only a quarter as clever as these people think I am. I'm going to have to watch myself here." In other words, although he's innately stupid from first to last, it never actually occurs to him that he's an idiot. On the other hand, Blier and Lefevre are always well aware that they have been inadvertently caught up in circumstances in which they have over-reached themselves, but there seems to be no way out of their dilemma. Thus the movie becomes funnier and funnier as it progresses, and is then capped by the hilarious scenes in the monastery in which Lefevre, disguised as a monk, is forced to make senile observations as he wheels Lawrence along in a wheelchair while Moschin and rival gang members jostle for killer positions in the procession.
Of course, Blier and Lefevre aren't the only ones who play their roles with precision. Gastone Moschin is really chilling as the splendidly appointed, Hollywood hero of a French gangster, while American noir icon, Marc Lawrence, hits all the right sleazy notes as the rival mobster. Corinne Marchand supplies little more than decoration but we're not complaining.
A really appropriate atmosphere is also supplied by Claude Bolling, whose music score imparts the proceedings with just the right balance of mockery from the very outset.
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