Thursday, July 1, 2010

Fantasia chez les Ploucs (1971)

Based on The Diamond Bikini novel by Charles Williams, this Gérard Pirès movie is quite funny, although I think it's strangely edited. The director inserted little scenes here and there, which sometimes work and sometimes make me raise my eyebrow. Some parts have bad sound editing - although I'm not sure whether they did it deliberately. The underwater scene, for example, when Jean Yanne tries to grab the bikini while Mireille Darc screams; seems the timing is wrong.

A ruined bookmaker, Doc Noonan, brings his son Billy to visit his brother Sagamore who lives in Cicero county - that is in America. Sagamore owns a farm, but the sheriff has a suspicion that Sagamore is producing alcohol illegally. Nearby, lives Uncle Noé who believes the end of the world is coming, so he is building some kind of Noah's Ark. A couple arrive in the farm to stay for a while: Severance and Caroline Tchou-Tchou, a striptease dancer. The Noonan brothers will soon find out that the couple have stolen diamonds. Billy sees the jewels hidden in Caroline's bikini when she teaches him to swim. Some gangsters find it out as well and to escape them, Caroline runs in fear and is lost in the marsh. The Noonan brothers announce that whoever finds Caroline will get a big reward and this causes all inhabitants from the radius of 30 kms swarming the farm and the Noonan brothers get a lot of money from parking fee and the big fair.

There are funny moments, like the sheriff's failures to catch Sagamore red-handed, police cars which always burnt and blown, Caroline and Beethoven 5th Symphony which hypnotizes her to strip , and a dachshund with a broken leg. Both main actors, Lino Ventura and Jean Yanne as the Noonan brothers, are very good. Mireille Darc is very sexy here, and in many scenes she appears topless with only wears the diamond bikini. The gangsters have cool costumes.

Alain Delon made a brief appearance as a chief of gangsters. Most likely he was visiting Mireille Darc (they were a couple then) in the location and the director asked him to help in this scene.

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