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The Law Is the Law (1958)

La legge è legge (original title)
Assola is an imaginary village on the border between Italy and France and the borderline crosses the village itself. The French customs agent Ferdinand is always trying to catch the Italian... See full summary »




Jacques Emmanuel (screenplay) (as J. Emmanuel), Jean-Charles Tacchella (screenplay) (as J. C. Tacchella) | 7 more credits »
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Totò ... Giuseppe La Paglia
Fernandel ... Ferdinand Pastorelli
Nino Besozzi ... Le maréchal des carabiniers / Il Maresciallo
Noël Roquevert ... Le gendarme Malandain
Leda Gloria Leda Gloria ... Antonietta La Paglia
Nathalie Nerval Nathalie Nerval ... Hélène Pastorelli
Luciano Marin ... Mario
Albert Dinan Albert Dinan ... Le brigadier-chef des douanes
Anna Maria Luciani Anna Maria Luciani ... Marisa La Paglia
Henri Crémieux ... Bourride
Renato Terra
René Génin ... Gaspard Donadieu
Gustavo De Nardo ... Luigi
Franco Di Trocchio Franco Di Trocchio
Aldo Pini Aldo Pini


Assola is an imaginary village on the border between Italy and France and the borderline crosses the village itself. The French customs agent Ferdinand is always trying to catch the Italian smuggler Giuseppe. Giuseppe discovers that Ferdinand was actually born in Italy and therefore he can't be a French customs agent. Written by Piergiorgio Romani <p.romani@flashnet.it>

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France's Most Famous Funny Man! Italy's Greatest Clown! Europe's Two Top Clowns!




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Did You Know?


The plot is based on the real story of the Italian village of Briga Marittima, which was attached to France in 1947 (becoming La Brigue) according to the Treaty of Paris. The communal territory was actually cut in two parts, leaving some fractions to Italy. This led to problems for some inhabitants, who used to live in the Italian part but had properties on the French side and who were considered smugglers by French authorities. The surname Pastorelli, the one of the character played by Fernandel, is one of the most diffused in La Brigue. See more »

User Reviews

THE LAW IS THE LAW (Christian-Jaque, 1958) **1/2
7 October 2006 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is one of Italian comic Toto''s more notable outings since it pairs him with French star Fernandel and is directed by a well-known film-maker. Still, it's not much better than his typical vehicle - but the plot is interesting, though it eventually becomes repetitive: the two men live in a small town through which passes the borderline that separates Italy from France; Fernandel is a customs officer, while Toto' is a smuggler (who happens to be married to the former's first wife!). The narrative begins with Fernandel catching Toto' on the Italian side of the town but he still takes him over to the French side to be arrested; however, it transpires that Fernandel was born in the town kitchen (which is on the Italian side) of an Italian mother and unknown father¡Kwhich legally makes him an Italian and, consequently, his life is turned upside down - he's forced to become an Italian citizen (thus making his presence on the French side undesirable), his second marriage is declared null and is therefore a bigamist, he's branded a deserter by the Italians because he fought on the French side (and was decorated for it!), etc. The complications, all based on what is decreed by law (hence the title), are many and amusing...but, personally, I found Toto''s broad gestures and general mischief more gratifying than Fernandel's understated performance and his rather sentimental antics (though that may be because I've watched far more of the former's films, in fact some 50 titles over the course of the last 2 years!).

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France | Italy


French | Italian

Release Date:

17 September 1958 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Law Is the Law See more »

Filming Locations:

Venafro, Isernia, Molise, Italy

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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