Saturday, February 6, 2010

Les tontons flingueurs (1963)

Literally the title perhaps means 'my annoying uncles'. I like this kind of comedy from Georges Lautner where the actors play seriously. Lino Ventura played Fernand Naudin, an honest businessman who sells tractors. His old friend, an old mafia boss known as 'The Mexican' dies and leaves him his business. Naudin is also expected to take care of The Mexican's daughter (played by Sabine Sinjen. She was very fetching here). The other gangsters of course don't like a new stranger becomes their boss and try to get rid of Naudin. "C'est un revolt?" Naudin asks his notary. "No, Sire. C'est une revolution." [This piece of famous conversation comes from The French Revolution, when Louis XVI heard the commotion.]

Bernard Blier and Jean Lefebvre played the Volfoni brothers, who state strongly that they refuse Naudin as their new boss. After experiencing a series of attempted murders, Naudin believes that the Volfonis are behind them, but it is not.

The strength of the movie also comes from the dialogues, supplied by Michel Audiard, one of the best in his field. For example, when Naudin's hitman, Pascal, expresses his disappointment after eliminating easily his enemies: "They could have had their chance from their look-out under the trees. These days there are less and less trained infantry. The spirit of foot-soldier doesn't exist anymore. It's a mistake." And a nod to 'Touchez pas au grisbi' when Patricia's friend goes into the kitchen and is about to touch the suitcase full of money, Maître Folace (the notary) barks to her: "Hands off the loot, b***h!" And this is my favourite:

"By the way, your dwelling is not easy to find. I've been driving around for 1 hour."

"The police has been looking for 10 years and they haven't found it."

The ending where shows Pascal and his cousin calmly goes into the church after assassinating the culprit, confirms my earlier post that gangsters are usually religious.... and honest. Naudin is told that: "A driver for clandestine transport does not only have to meet qualifications, but he must be also honest."

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