27 February 2017 | dbdumonteil
(Nb:the critic ,the link of which is on the IMDb page does not concern this film)
You do not change a winning team ; in Julien Duvivier's "Don Camillo" ,the Fernandel/Gino Cervi pairing proved highly successful.
Here they are again: Two pals are working in a gas station and their meager pay does not satisfy them.
Antoine is a tender-hearted meek guy whereas Paulo the wop is a would be tough guy ,but an educated one,for he knows Latin,American (he knows how to pronounce James Stewart ,and he is an art connoisseur who knows Millet's "L'Angelus".
They decide to kidnap a wealthy man's son and to ask for a ransom...As the kid enjoys playing at Indians,Antoine dresses up as "Black Eagle" and everything seems to go according to the plan.
Unfortunately ,after a promising beginning,all that follows is eminently predictable: of course the boy is a little rascal who drives his abductors up the wall and costs them a lot of dough .But,with a few exceptions, the gags are repetitive and the implausibilities abound (for instance ,all the news papers talk about the rapt and the police issued a photo-fit of the suspect -whom they make look like an ape-,but the kidnapper and his "victim" can visit wounded Paulo in the hospital without trouble)
Some good gags,but they are few and far between :
-Fernandel ,trying the car keys .
-The big ice block which Fernandel desperately tries to bring back home .It's interesting to note that in the late fifties,many French people did not have a fridge and had to go to the cafe to get ice .
-The old lady '"seeing things" "It's all right ,dear,take your drops"says the considerate husband.
Even the unexpected final twist is not really funny .
The following year ,Henri Verneuil and Fernandel would team up again :that time ,it was one of the biggest French blockbusters of all time "La Vache Et Le Prisonnier" (the cow and I),deservedly so.Pick it up instead.