It Happened at the Inn (1943) Poster

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Country Hitchcock.
dbdumonteil11 April 2002
This is Jacques Becker's second effort and the first one that really counts.Along with "casque d'or" ,"rendez-vous de juillet" and "le trou",it may be his finest work,and for sure one of the classics of the French cinema,one of these that you can watch and watch again without being tired.

The scenarist Pierre Very,is,along with Boileau-Narcejac,the best French suspense writer,and he outdoes himself here,creating an absorbing plot,a magic atmosphere,and a dozen of colorful characters .Out in the sticks,lives the Goupi family:actually a clan who's got its own laws and in which strangers are looked upon pretty much as enemies.In this strange family,every member has got a nickname,each one of them beginning with Goupi:Goupi-mes-sous,Goupi-Muguet,Goupi-Tonkin,of course Goupi-mains -rouges (Goupi-red-hands),and more.One fine day,a young man arrives from Paris :this is the first time he has come in this lost country,to visit his family.His late mother had escaped the Goupi clan,being unable to stand this place cut off the world.Needless to say,coming from the City,he's not welcome.The plot thickens when a Goupi wicked woman is murdered and the patriarch has a stroke and is no longer able to indicate where the family pile is hidden.

Jacques Becker created a very strange atmosphere,mainly during the first part:when the young man arrives ,he's taken by his uncle Goupi-Mains-Rouges to a scary place full of stuffed animals and black magic. He has wonderfully depicted his peasant milieu,in which they all stand together ,and in which they would not betray one of them,even if the police investigates their home.

There is a first-class cast,including Fernand ledoux,Georges Rollin,Germaine Kerjean and Blanchette Brunoy ;but the stand out is Robert Le Vigan,who portrays a former legionnaire,slipping gradually into madness.The most famous scene of the film belongs to him:pursued by the police,he climbs upon a tree,higher and higher,trying to reach for this sun he used to know when he was a soldier in the Colonies.A similar character is featured in Becker's follow-up movie "Falbalas",but insanity is much more credible in "Goupi Mains Rouges".

Had Hitchcock directed a country thriller,that would have been this one.
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9/10
Meet the Goupis
bob99815 May 2007
Who could have wanted to kill Tisane? The list of suspects is a long one. Marie and her son Jean had just been told that they would have to leave the house where they had been taken in "out of charity"; no love lost there. Mains-Rouges and Tonkin both had been the targets of Tisane's insults over the years, while Muguet had just been told that she must marry Monsieur, who has just arrived from Paris. The 10,000 francs that Tisane had hidden in the armoire are missing... The story as told by Pierre Véry and Jacques Becker is full of atmosphere and menace and has the cream of French actors of the time (those who hadn't left Vichy France for easier surroundings).

Fernand Ledoux is splendid as Mains-Rouges; he puts on a deadpan face in order to play detective--we are told that the Goupis have no need of the police, they solve all their problems in house. Robert Le Vigan is once more at the top of his game: Tonkin is so poetic and threatening, an unforgettable performance. Blanchette Brunoy gives an accomplished performance as Muguet, the girl who is not sure where her heart lies.

A film classic that is not available on DVD is an orphan. Will somebody give this deserving orphan a home?
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Family Plotting
writers_reign3 July 2004
For better or worse Jacques Becker is destined to be remembered - at least outside France - for Casque d'Or and whilst this is not bad as memorials go it's a pity that some of his other work such as Touchez pas au grisbi and this one are not better known and/or perhaps do not travel quite so well. Marcel Pagnol has a lot to answer for but not all of it is bad. He wrote the Book as far as French Provincials are concerned and if imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery then he will be a happy bunny and smiling down benignly on the likes of Les Enfants du Marais, etc. Of course in 1943 he could have looked Becker in the eye and laid a broad smile on him for he was still very much with us and it is interesting to speculate on what he would have made of this entry in which, in no particular order, Lust, Avarice and Murder, shuffle to center stage, take a bow and exit pursued by a cliche. Becker returned to the group-as-microcosm plot time and again and often - Touchez pas au grisbi, Casque d'Or, Le Trou - the group was the Underworld, but here it is our old friend the 'extended' family. Deep in Charente - though it could be anywhere where trees outnumber people -live the Clan Goupi, each one complete with his or her nickname and like families everywhere they have their own internicine digs. But what's a group situation without a catalyst so enter Eugene Goupi, fresh from Paris - his mother had fled the claustrophobic atmosphere when he was a mere tot so he has never seen his 'family - and enter Murder most foul and missing treasure and green-eyed monsters all contributing to a rich bouillabaise that stirs rather than shakes the viewer. Some sixty years later the actors, to a man, are virtually forgotten but they live on in this bizarrely-patterned yet ultimately warm patchwork quilt. 8/10
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Goupi Mains Rouges
dreverativy30 December 2006
This is actually a very subversive film, given the circumstances and the date (1943) at which it was made. It is set in the Charente, which is a region a little to the east of La Rochelle, and not too far from the cities of Limoges and Poitiers. As such it was close (if not on) the border between the zone of (German) occupation and Vichy France. Although this film consists mostly of interiors there are enough outdoor scenes (all shot in what looks like late autumn or early winter) to give a real feel for the countryside.

Vichy (which had a reduced jurisdiction over occupied France) sunk a very large amount of political capital into the promotion of a 'certain idea of France' - that's De Gaulle's phrase, however, not Petain's). That 'idea' was of a rejuvenated nation, that case aside the infamous corruption of the Third Republic, and which gave pride of place to morality, (Roman Catholic) religion and country - specifically the countryside, rather than the cities (which were nests of subversives and Semites, so-called). It was a form of the 'integral nationalism' promoted by Charles Maurras, but with Petain as a substitute monarch.

However, here is a film which deliberately sets the city (in the person of the naive store clerk, Eugene, played by the young Georges Rollin) against his rather wicked rural relatives, complete with a tipsy, centenarian patriarch (Maurice Schultz). It turns into a rather interesting detective story, but one with a very literary style.

I imagine that it slipped through the censor's scissors only because of the portrayal of the Parisian Eugene as witless and rather feckless - almost a pawn in the hands of his unscrupulous uncles and cousins. Yet the film is much more savage towards the peasants, who are really a gallery of grotesques. They are superstitious, opportunistic, entirely selfish, idle and grasping - it is almost like one of Guy de Maupassant's caricatures of the narrow-minded and bigoted Norman farmers and petit-bourgeois. So the enormous propaganda push by Vichy to elevate 'la France profonde' to mystical status is here either ridiculed or simply disregarded. This is really a film about characterisation rather than plot, and the cast (led by the excellent Fernand Ledoux) are first rate.

It is a pity that Jacques Becker was not able to keep up the good work in the postwar years - films like "Ali Baba" (with Fernandel), "Montparnasse 19" and "Arsene Lupin" for the most part didn't measure up to "Goupi Mains Rouges" or "Casque d'Or". Perhaps it is true that the restraints of a repressive culture and regime do make for a better and more subtle product.
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7/10
Every Family Has Them
boblipton18 April 2019
27-year-old Georges Rollin get called back from Paris by his father to their farm/inn, none of which he has seen for 25 years. He doesn't know why, but it turns out his father wants to consolidate the fortune of both branches of the family by marrying him to his cousin Blanchette Brunoy, despite the fact she and another cousin, Robert Vignon. On arrival, he's scared out of his wits by an uncle, discovers his great-grandfather's corpse, is accused of murdering an aunt and stealing the mysterious family fortune.

A typical French country family, you'd say, particularly if you're fond of TOBACCO ROAD. Every one of them has a nickname that everyone in the town knows about to exclusion of actually knowing their real names: Goupi Monsieur or Goupi Le Loi or Goupi Mains Gauches and they don't get along particularly well, but unite against outsiders. As the movie went along, it got darker and darker, and I thought director Jacques Becker had made a Clouzot-style picture. Was he trying to get himself banned, too?

Well, you'll have to see how it turns out. It's certainly entertaining, and familiar enough if you come from a large family.
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10/10
"A bouquet where each province is a flower."
morrison-dylan-fan5 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Deciding to watch a number of works from Jacques Becker,I started trying to decide what would be the final viewing from my (current) Becker fest. Taking a look at other reviews on IMDb,I found out about an allegorical murder-mystery Film Noir shot by Becker during the Occupation of France,which led to me getting ready to meet the Goupi's.

View on the film:

Going on a train from Paris to the provinces of Charente, (a place almost on the border between Vichy and Nazi France) Jacques Becker's adaptation of Pierre Véry's novel dissects the Vichy's gov vast program for a rejuvenated nation growing out of the cities to the countryside.

Eugène's "cultured" city life is looked at with suspicion by the rest of the Goupi (who are possibly named after the Bandge Rogue/Red Gang-French Gestapo),who Becker brilliantly cuts allegorical as a law unto themselves,who keep outsides separate. Whilst digging up rural allegorical life,Becker stops the title from becoming dry by offering up an excellent bundle,of animated,oddball characters,which flow from the hilariously meek,way out of his depth Eugène,to the silent,crusty L'Empereur Goupi having a cheeky spark behind the eyes.

For what was only his second feature, Becker shows an impeccable grip on the major theme of loyalty to soon cover his future work,where the Film Noir wilderness that the Goupi's live in view speaking out/revealing family "secrets" as the ultimate form of betrayal.

Gliding round the countryside with the Goupi's,Becker & cinematographer Jean Bourgoin cast a frosty atmosphere over the outdoors,which subtly expresses the icy relationship the "all in the family" Goupi's have with the walking in the wild Eugène.

Backed by the operatic score from Jean Alfaro, Becker digs the Goupi's into murky Film Noir,where the Goupi's family house is covered in mouldy colours and dour, dried up shadows where the Goupi's keep their family activates from being seen in the light. Stepping off the train, Georges Rollin gives a superb,hilarious performance as Eugène,by Rollin making Eugène shake like a leaf from the mere glance of a Goupi. Trying to keep the family on track to her death, Germaine Kerjean gives a fantastic,blistering, pure battleaxe performance as Tisane,as the Goupi clan welcome an outsider.
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8/10
Dark fun
runamokprods23 December 2011
An effective dark comedy and satire, that sort of reminded me of a warped, angry Gallic 'You Can't Take It with You'.

An outsider, in this case a son who left years ago, returns to his family, who are a strange and twisted lot indeed. Funny, but unlike the Capra film there is a tone of creepy decadence and potential violence underlying this group of only somewhat endearing eccentrics.

There are echoes too of Renoir (for whom Becker long served as an assistant) in it's pithy, insightful look at group and class dynamics. It flags at moments, and can't compete with Becker's later and greater films, but this a rarity worth seeking out.
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7/10
The Old Dark House
richardchatten5 March 2017
French cinema from the era of the Occupation not surprisingly continues to remain relatively unfamiliar territory, along with French rural life in general. In 1943, however, two major postwar directing talents, Jacques Becker & Henri-Georges Clouzot attracted attention with their second feature films, both rural melodramas as far from Marcel Pagnol as you could get: Becker's 'Goupi Mains Rouge' and Clouzot's 'Le Corbeau'.

Although the opening strongly reminded me of Will Hay arriving at Buggleskelly in 'Oh, Mr.Porter!', what follows is neither as funny, as dramatic (considering that someone gets murdered) or as rural as I had been expecting; with much of the action consisting of talk in the hotel occupied by the grotesque Goupi clan, presided over by the extremely elderly Emperor (played by Maurice Schutz).

As one expects from a Becker film, the acting is consistently good, including the veteran stage actor Fernand Ledoux in the title role, Robert Le Vigan (who ended his days in Argentina after fleeing the fall of Vichy France) as the craziest of the clan, and a young Albert Rémy, best remembered as Antoine Doinel's father in 'Les Quatre Cents Coups'.

I found most of this interesting but strangely uninvolving, and suspect it probably resonates more with a French audience.
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