Louis-Philippe Fourchaume, another typical lead-role for French comedy superstar Louis de Funès, is the dictatorial CEO of a French company which designs and produces sail yachts, and fires...
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Charles Bosquier, a role apparently written for French comedy superstar Louis de Funès, is the dictatorial headmaster of a French strict boarding school. No father could be deeper shocked ... See full summary »
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,
Guillaume has made it: A machine that can clean dirty air by simply sucking all dirt into air balloons and then shipping them far far away so his explanation. Some Japanese business guys, ... See full summary »
Louis de Funès,
Antoine Brisebard, a famous comedy playwright, is struggling with financial difficulties and is preparing to sell his country villa to an English couple. What no one knows, however, is that... See full summary »
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Based on Molière's play. The children of Harpagon, Cléante and his sister Elise, are each in love but they still haven't spoken to their father yet. Harpagon is a miser who wants to choose ... See full summary »
Louis de Funès,
Louis de Funès,
The whole clique of Cruchot's police station is retired. Now he lives with his rich wife in her castle - and is bored almost to death. He fights with the butler, because he isn't even ... See full summary »
Louis-Philippe Fourchaume, another typical lead-role for French comedy superstar Louis de Funès, is the dictatorial CEO of a French company which designs and produces sail yachts, and fires in yet another tantrum his designer André Castagnier, not realizing that man is his only chance to land a vital contract with the Italian magnate Marcello Cacciaperotti. So he has to find him at his extremely rural birthplace in 'la France profonde', which proves a torturous odyssey for the spoiled rich man; when he does get there his torment is far from over: the country bumpkin refuses to resume his slavish position now the shoe is on the other foot, so Fourchaume is dragged along in the boorish family life, and at times unable to control his temper, which may cost him more credit then he painstakingly builds up...Written by
What we generally call a guilty pleasure is a film we'd feel guilty to admit we like but we watch it anyway, I'm not sure I'd like to watch "The Little Bather" again but I'd feel guilty to criticize it. But I'd rather have a guilty pleasure than genuine annoyance.
This is obviously a product of its time that exploited the comedic talent of Louis de Funès, king of comedy and champ of French box-office since 1964, but all the comedic talent of the world can't carry a thin and plot-less story, one that can be summed up as a big and wacky chase across the French coast, one à la "Mad, Mad World" with less stars and less ambition.
Louis de Funès, plays one of his trademark role, a little man but a big shot, a local entrepreneur of French naval industry named Fourchaume. He fires his red-haired engineer Castagnet (Robert Dhéry) after his last prototype lamentably sunk during when the bottle of champagne was thrown by a Margaret Dumont-like baroness who apologized because she didn't know her strength. It's always a bad sign when the funniest gag of the film happens so early.
Bad timing causes Fourchaume to fire Castagnet just before he learns that an Italian businessman (Franco Fabrizi) wanted to buy the "Bather" after it had just won a famous race. Fourchaume tries to reach his fired worker to make amends and the rest is just a series of gags involving vehicles and transportation used during the trip, a running gag with Castagnet's step-brother played by Galabru and one with red-haired siblings that is so damn silly I'm actually glad they kept it.
The film isn't bad at all, it actually offers some visually dazzling locations and in its own right, it's a fun action film with a great mix of slapstick and good deal of escapism across beautiful landscape and there's a scene involving a barrier and a bike that plays like a touching tribute to Jacques Tati's "Jour de Fête". Robert Dhéry who directed the film and one of Funès' earlier successes in the 50's show his heritage and makes the most of it through the film, but there comes a point where the energy runs out and even Fufu who usually carries any role seems to be as lost as us.
The situations never really stop being funny but they betray a sort of desperation to make us laugh and that's rather cringe-worthy, as if the sights of men falling, screaming, or having their car cut in half was supposed to make anyone laugh. There's a sort of preconceived notion of comedy that seems outdated even by the standards of 1967. And I don't think the primarily concerned was oblivious to that as De Funès had often criticized the amateurship of some movies he's made and the lousiness of some scripts, I wonder if he had this film in mind.
It still did well in the box-office in 1968 but it reminded of "The Tattoo" directed by Denys de la Pattelière, successful but forgettable. De Funès worked with a few directors near the end of his career: Jean Girault, Gérard Oury, Edouard Molinaro and Claude Zidi, by his own admittance, he felt at ease with directors he knew so he could have some control over his work. This is a film consists on the same pattern and things getting out on control with all the characters as rather passive observers, it's overplaying to such a point that even the ending can't really save it.
You can tell it tries to play like "Oscar" with the final gag but actually, it made me realize that at least "Oscar" pushed its screwball concept to the limit of zaniness, I didn't like it much but it has a richness and consistency of its own. "The Little Bather" is a minor "De Funès", not his Top 10, but it has its moments, most of them before the first half hour is over. The visuals save the film, but surely you don't watch a De Funès film for them.
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