24 January 2020 | ulicknormanowen
Happy times when the banker's cards were not used .
Jean-Paul Le Chanois ,as anyone French cine buff past infancy should know,was the main Bête Noire of the New Wavelet;their simplistic put down overlooked his good movies,and the good ones are worthy of of investigation:if one can forget his failed " Les Misérables" and his sixties mediocre stuff,it is to his neglected worthwhile works that any fair review must address itself: "Messieurs Ludovic" ,"Sans Laisser D'Adresse" "Agence Matrimoniale""les évadés" ,even "le cas du docteur laurent" and his marvelous "Ecole Buissonnière" ,an effort every teacher of the world should see.;
In the sixties,though , this gardener is a minor but endearing final effort ;for Le Chanois was about to call it a day though he had still twenty years to live .
Lovely filmed ,with sparkling colors, it depicts a place where time stood still : a suburb of Paris, with its gardens where Monsieur Tulipe grows flowers ,its cafés and its quietness,soon to be disturbed by the arrival of appartment buildings ;and a cinema which stood still too, deaf to the Nouvelle Vague's so called innovations -which often weren't :filming on location was used as soon as the silent age .
Monsieur Tulipe leads a peaceful life till the government claims arrears on his taxes .He does not work in a honest way : although he is a talented painter,it's a cover for shady business;" I've been in that business since I was born,says he,false good marks at school ,false furloughs in the army ,false papers during WW2-you can't blame me at all for that- and now forged banknotes" .
And then begins a very funny comedy ,devoid of vulgarity -as the "films guide "claims - : you should see the gardener ,on the First of May , buying a lily of the valley sprig to get some "honest " change ;or his godson's fiancé paying a fine to the gendarmes with a big forged banknote ;this banknote will pass from hand to hand .There's the rub: the smart fiancé urges her future husband to egg on his godfather to expand this lucrative business.
I would tone it down for Curd Jurgens' interventions: the "happening" on this playboy's luxury yatch displays a desire to be groovy ,trendy and the casino is a hackneyed trick.These scenes get in the way .But do not miss singer-songwriter extraordinaire Serge Gainsbourg -who also wrote the (indifferent) score- cast as a hip photographer.
But the ending ,as a precedent user has already pointed it out, makes up for it ; forget the highbrows, and do not deny yourself a good moment of fun.Grumpy Gabin is true to form and Liselotte Pulver is up to scratch.