If you're fond of 1950's US cars, women's clothes and hairdo's, mid century modern interiors and nice houses, don't miss this movie. Furthermore, the dialogs are quite funny, with a hint of Oscar Wilde here and there.... (Aaah, I'm a victim of my reputation. No,it's your reputation that makes victims....) Unfortunately enough, most of the jokes only work in French, and you'll need to master the subtleties of the French language to understand the comic angle: so keep in mind that 80 % of the power of the dialogs will be lost, when you're watching a translated or dubbed version.
I'm quite surprised that some of the commentators seem to have missed the point, that Action Immediate clearly aims at being a parody of spy/gangster movies, but even more of the French intellectual lover-boy. The first remark is the reason why the bad guys have to look as cheap imitations of tougher gangsters or spies. The second remark is why special agent Francis Coplan is quite different in this movie than he is in the books of Paul Kenny. Sure.... Henri Vidal clearly is no Jean Marais (Fantomas) nor an Alain Delon (Les Félins, Scorpio...) or one of their US counterparts. He has no square jawbone, piercing eyes, no highly muscular feline body... He's neither a smooth operator à la Cary Grant, when it comes to approach the ladies. His exuberant clumsiness rather reminds me of Jean-Paul Belmondo in the 1970's, not exactly France's most handsome actor either, but still popular with the ladies.
Could it be, than, that the underlying message this movie is sending out is that, well, some women rather fall for "cute" clumsiness in the Droopy-style, and appreciate some wisecracking communication much more than the ice-cold semi-god like types as often portrayed by Alain Delon or Clint Eastwood ? Aha ! Think that one over ! The makers of this movie clearly wanted to appeal to a larger crowd than the Francis Coplan fans. And frankly, the Paul Kenny character known to the readers of the Fleuve Noir-detective novels –editor of the Coplan books- would probably have been far too brutal for the average 1957 French or Belgian moviegoers. In the books there was more room for violence and 'sex', less for the wisecracks.
This deliberate choice for more innocence certainly will have disappointed a lot of Coplan-fans... But well, the quite funny dialogs surely pleased lots of others... And still appeal to me...But then again, I never quite liked the modern answer to these so-called old fashioned movies ... Dialogs with as much as possible "prohibited words" just for the fun to shock never quite appealed to me... Try "Doublecrossed" (1991) with Dennis Hopper as a mild introduction if you don't know what I mean...
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