6 January 2019 | adrian-43767
Superb dark comedy with Fernandel in top form
As dark comedies go, this is one of the best I have ever watched. At its heart, sublime performances by Fernandel, Carette, Rosay and the strapping black servant, Lud Germain.
Claude Autant-Lara directs with considerable grace and tact a film with a subject matter that could easily be mishandled and overdone.
The script is the result of inspired collaboration by Aurenche, Bost and Autant-Lara, and it is full of barbed remarks and sharp one-liners, with Catholic priest Fernandel in an unenviable position, after hearing a confession from Rosay that he must keep secret in line with his vows but which he knows can only lead to his own demise, and the demise of all guests at the hostel, if he does nothing to prevent the hostel owners' murderous plans.
In the process, he is on a balancing act between serving God and saving his skin. With a performance of this caliber, it is no wonder that the following year he landed the lead in THE LITTLE WORLD OF DON CAMILLO, and is probably best remembered for that role.
Photography is outstanding, mainly indoors but with very effective outdoor sequence reliefs. Action sequences are well choreographed, and dovetail quite gracefully and cleverly.