Carom Shots (1963) Poster

(1963)

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9/10
An excellent comédie noire, unjustifiably doomed!
I will not superfluously add to the excellent technical description of the plot given by nenslo. But I beg to differ on the overall comical content of this comédie noire, which is much higher IMO, not to mention the very high caliber of most of the actors and actresses and the dynamic authority of the camera work. Even though some of the humor lies in physical situations and a bit of slapstick, most of it is in the text, those lines delivered full tilt (subtitles are essential here – even for a French spectator such as me – us contemporary audiences having grown somewhat alien to fast thinking and talking in English and French films!), as well as in some subtle political winks.

The character of commissaire Baudu (played by a young Michel Serrault), ever nostalgic of the Gestapo methods of interrogation from the collaboration days of WWII in France, is probably one of the main reasons why this film, in spite of the major presence of De Funès playing here his typical screen self with much gusto and brilliance, was accursed by the French society of the day, for which the collaboration was still a big taboo, or at least certainly not a pet topic for humor.

"Carambolages" probably owes a lot of its own vision of the modern corporate world and its cinematic treatment of the subject to Jacques Tati's films ("Mon Oncle", etc.). Conversely, the entire opening scene, a conference room projection of a publicity campaign film as seen from the Carambolages spectator's POV, cutting to the boss admonishing the execs over it and vehemently requesting instead something that will make the customers hopelessly, sickeningly addicted to the product, struck me as having been lifted almost literally by Richard Donner's "Scrooged", 25 years down the road, for its own opening sequence! As well, the explosive cigar box gimmick, prepared step-by-step before our very eyes and fiendishly efficient (in a rather terrible scene, including the ensuing panic of the fellow workers), not to mention the perpetrator's reaction to its imminent opening-activation, sure as heck recalls a Columbo entry entitled "Short Fuse", featuring Roddy McDowall!
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6/10
Corporate Black Comedy of Errors
ONenslo3 February 2011
Carambolages is a mildly amusing French look at climbing the corporate ladder. Brialy is the subservient brown-nosing youngster who needs quick advancement up the hierarchy to pay for the modern lifestyle he is buying on credit. Seeing that marrying his immediate superior's daughter will not get him the results he wants, he begins plotting the demise of the head of the company. The company itself specializes in holiday travel and unscrupulously brutalizes its customers for maximum profit, spending more thought on publicity gimmicks than customer service, and de Funes is good as the head of the company, perpetually distracted except when scheming to terrorize his customers or to dispose of the man having an affair with his wife. Nothing goes as planned, this being a comedy, but there are enough murderous ploys going around to take out quite a few of Brialy's obstacles. Corporate culture seems to have been branded as a primarily American phenomenon by the U.S. films of the '60s, and this was a refreshingly different view. Not what I consider screamingly funny, but amusing enough, and fun to watch.
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7/10
Entertaining movie
jeremy-mention24 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Fist of all, I'm French and since my childhood, I watched with my father De Funès' movies. I watched "Carambolages" last night and I found it quite entertaining, some scenes like the scene with the frog in the hat and the gimmick of the lady with a man voice are funny.

I praise the Serrault's character, a nostalgic inspector about the "collaboration" during WW2 and the Gestapo. It's true that at that time, it could have been a sensitive subject. But it's very similar of the scene in "Le Grand Restaurant" in which De Funes' character tells in German his mashed potatoes recipe, telling "Muskatnuss, Muskatnuss Herr Muller !" with a Hitler's mustache appearing with the shadow of the chandelier that hangs from the ceiling (hilarious scene).

I enjoyed seeing De Funès as usual, even if I would have like seeing him a little more.

Anyway, Brialy's performance is interesting, at the beginning I found that he does too much but I understood after all that it's due to the madness of the character.

Daumier is cute and smart, this quite rare for an actress at that time (they often were there just for her physical apparency).

To finish I very liked the appearance of Delon at the end, very threatening.
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