Cruchot and his gendarmes from Saint-Tropez receive a highly responsible government mission - to ensure the safety of four young beautiful female gendarmes officers. In a few days they begin to be abducted by mysterious villains.
Louis de Funès,
The ambitious police officer Cruchot is transferred to St. Tropez. He's struggling with persistent nude swimmers, but even more with his teenage daughter, who's trying to impress her rich friends by telling them her father was a millionaire and owned a yacht in the harbor. He gets drawn into it when he tries to cover for her when a friend 'lends' the car of her assumed father. It turns out that the real owners of the yacht aren't exactly what they pretend to be either...Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
The Gendarm is one of these movies which get aired in Germany at least twice a year on television on public holidays. Shame on me I never took the opportunity to give it my full attendance. So now when it got re-released on DVD in a box containing the first 3 flix with Louis De Funes as Gendarm Cruchot I gripped my chance and was in no way disappointed.
In the first 10 minutes of his movie (which I never saw before) we are introduced to the choleric character of a county policeman arresting fish and chicken thieves and singing in the church choir. This piece of film is in black and white contrasting the colorful scenes at St Tropez later on. Already these first 10 minutes are the work of a genius in humor. De Funes never fails to amuse with his extraordinary combination of being the law abiding correct police officer and same time unable to control his overwhelming emotions as depicted in his facial expression and excessive gestures. With this he is throughout the movie never overacting like in some of his later works.
About the main part of the movie we see him elevated to lead a fearless four of flics in the mundane town of St Tropez on Mediterranean Cote D'Azur. Some story lines are welded together about nudist bathers (are they in existence still?), young folks doing some vandalism and finally a big robbery of a classical painting which he can (by chance for sure) resolve. These are used to include some extraordinary political and social satire sub-tones like Louis leading his flics into assault on nude people on the beach like famous French Foreign Legion soldiers in desert wars.
I was brilliantly entertained by this comedy and could laugh out loud on some of the punchlines and almost dadaist slapstick. Oh, and you won't forget the catchy St Tropez tune performed by his film daughter and featured 3 times in the film. I give it 8 out of 10.
Additional trivia for German version: In the restored version on DVD we see some short scenes which were cut from the theatrical version, recognizable by not being overdubbed with German synchro. They do not add much to the story but fit into the picture of a great comedy.
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