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Antoine is a maitre d' in a Paris brasserie, Chez Jean, and is so full of being of service to others that he can't say 'no'. Late for dinner with his girlfriend, Christine, he takes a shortcut home through the park but finds a stranger, Louis, in the act of committing suicide by hanging. Louis is distraught by the loss of his girlfriend, Blanche, and is so grateful that he attaches himself to Antoine. Antoine arranges a job for Louis - as a sommelier at Chez Jean and sets about trying to repair Louis' life...Written by
Beijing Opera Melody
Arranged by Mark Forstater
Courtesy of K Music/Music House See more »
French farce at its best
Daniel Auteuil is always good value. One of France's top actors he is the master of understatement, telling us more by facial expression and body language than words ever could. However, I think he was sold short by this movie where the other characters, with one exception, were poorly drawn. Without spoiling - he rescues a man about to hang himself because his girlfriend has left him, and becomes entangled in this man's life. But there was nothing about either the guy or his girlfriend which merited someone going out of their way to help. Both totally lacked charisma, Blanche particularly was one of those women you simply want to shake in an effort to get some sort of personality into her.
Louis needed a smart punch in the mouth and frankly, when Antoine finally got to the end of his tether with the guy's stupidity and weaknesses, I was looking forward to that as the high spot of the movie.
Nothing could have upstaged the marvellous André Tainsy though, who died only a few months after this film was released, aged 93. She was une trésor absolue, carrying off her role with finesse, incredible humour, so understated - and total aplomb.
It is a funny film (and if you know Fawlty Towers, it's in that vein) in an excruciatingly painful way where you just know everything is going to go wrong and there are a couple of laugh-aloud moments but given the mood throughout, it has the unlikeliest ending you could imagine.
Brilliant music by Camille Bazbaz all the way through and if nothing else his 'Papa Tango Charlie' should have been a massive hit.
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