The frozen body of Paul Fournier is discovered in Greenland where he had disappeared during a scientific expedition in 1905. Perfectly conserved he is brought back to life in the 1960s. His... See full summary »
Louis de Funès,
A RAF Bomber is shot down over Paris by the Germans. Its crew land there by parachute. With the help of some French civilians they try to escape over the demarcation line into the southern part of France, still not occupied by the Germans.Written by
Gerard Bader <email@example.com>
In the wide shots, the engine of the passenger train with which Peter Cunningham tries to escape, has large smoke deflector plates. When stopped in the station near Meursault, however, the engine has no more deflector plates. See more »
The original German release had several parts of the French original cut. Some of them might have been taken out because some gags could not be used because of the different languages used in the original (French, German and English). There is for example the quite funny scene when Claudio Brook reveals himself as an English man on the train when he says "I'm sorry" when spilling some vine. The German version instead just shows the angry German officer who commands to arrest the English soldier. Some parts are cut without any obvious reason - e.g. a humorous dialogue of de Funés and Bourvil, their escape and chase in German uniforms. The German version just comes into the scene when they are already arrested. See more »
In France, but also in the neighboring countries like Belgium (where yours truly lives), "La Grande Vadrouille" is more than just a cinematic classic It's a cultural monument and even national heritage! I certainly don't intend to sound pretentious, but I doubt if such a movie could ever exist in the United States. Why? Because this film is patriotic and satirical at the same time, the script is chock-full of clichés and stereotypes whilst the humor doesn't necessarily rely on clichés and stereotypes, and although the subject matter deals with the depressing events of World War II – forever one of the darkest pages in the world's history – the tone of the film remains courteous and innocent at all times. The Nazis in this film are naturally the bad guys but for once they aren't depicted as inhuman monsters, which is probably the main reason why "La Grande Vadrouille" is also enormously successful in Germany! And last but not least, the script respects the language differences per country! The French simply speak French - or English with extremely heavy accents – while the English speak English and the Germans speak German! I don't see that happening in Hollywood, to be honest.
The film received the funny but rather hokey sounding English title "Don't Look Now, We're being shot at", but actually "La Grande Vadrouille" simply means something like "The Big Stroll" or "The Giant Walk". As you can derive from the above paragraph, the film takes place in during the WWII Nazi occupation of France. The story already starts out hilariously, when the pilot of a British bomber plane asks his fellow passengers what their location is. They claim the plain is more or less above Calais, but when the clouds clear up they are surprised to see the Eiffel Tower directly beneath them. The plane is shot down by German ground troops and each of the three British soldiers wanders off towards a different part of Paris with their parachutes. The British pilots receive help from two typical yet entirely opposite French citizens, namely the simple but hard- working painter Augustin Bouvet and the snobbish orchestra leader Stanislas Lefort. Both men, along with the help of various other French citizens, take several risks in order to reunite the British team, which of course makes them enemies of the Third Reich as well. The whole group has to flee towards the South of France, but naturally the journey is full of obstacles and dangers. Many, and I do mean MANY, sequences in "La Grande Vadrouille" have become immortal cinematic highlights over the years and it's almost impossible to list them. The mix-up with the room numbers in the hotel, for example, is very famous and still as incredibly funny by today's standards as it must have been back in 1966. Other unforgettable highlights include the rendezvous in the Turkish bath house and the pumpkin counterattack. In fact, every single interaction between the legendary French actors/comedians Bourvil and Louis de Funès qualifies as classic comedy cinema. Both geniuses where at the absolute heights of their careers at this point, but Bourvil sadly passed away far too young a couple of years later, at age 53. Louis de Funès continued to make several more French comedy classics until his death in the early 1980s, including the sequels in the successful "Les Gendarmes de Saint-Tropez" franchise, "Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob" and "La Soupe aux Choux". De Funès truly was, without any exaggeration, one of the funniest people who ever lived. His looks and his energetic facial expressions were his main trademarks. He wasn't very tall and his almost naturally cantankerous apparition, in combination with his distinct voice and habit of talking really fast, made him the ideal hothead-character. "La Grande Vadrouille" is a brilliant film, with a brilliant cast and a brilliant director, as well as brilliant music (courtesy of Georges Auric) and brilliant cinematography by Claude Renoir. It's warmly recommended to all admirers of genuinely funny comedies and fundamental viewing for everyone living in Europe.
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