3 May 2017 | ElMaruecan82
Gabin, De Funès, the director and the writer didn't enjoy the experience... why should you?
When a movie reunites the greatest and most iconic French actor: Jean Gabin and the funniest and most popular of the day: Louis de Funès, you expect fireworks of laughs resulting from the interactions between these two messieurs, but in the case of "The Tattoo", it's almost on the level of an armadillo's fart. There are a few funny moments popping up here and there, the film had a great visual look and a jazzy score, but its drought of gags makes it one of the least rewatchable De Funès movies
again, there are some good scenes but hey, you can find them on Youtube and life is too precious to endure this, even for the sake of nostalgia.
That a film joining two monuments of cinema get so embarrassingly bad has at least one merit, it shows that a good premise doesn't make a good movie, success is never written in advance, and neither was the script actually, which I was surprised to learn was canceled because neither Gabin and De Funès liked it, so it was written on the job, with the shooting. Actually, it's almost a miracle that the film could be made, by the standards of its non-existing script, it is decent. It is even decent by the numbers, the film attracted more than three millions of viewers which is not the best score from Gabin or De Funès but it was still enough to belong to the Top 10 of 1968, it's like the top billing was already a guarantee of success.
So it's a case of empty-full glass, induced by a few guilty pleasures. As a matter of fact, the film gets slightly better near the end as you can feel the chemistry growing between the two characters and you enjoy the interactions rather than their importance to the plot, the restaurant scene doesn't add much but it happens to be the most memorable part along with the ice skating, but just when you end the film with the illusion that there was something between Gabin and De Funès, you learn that both didn't get along. Whatever it was, it might explain why this was their last collaboration, and why in the crucial scene where Gabin's character said he started to like De Funès', I couldn't buy it.
Gabin wasn't without a comical nature of his own and by overplaying the angry patriarch, he could even be a match for De Funès, but the actor who was known for his tantrums was actually the cooler one and it was difficult to see De Funès playing the supporting role, and it says a lot when his best scenes are without Gabin, one involving the two foreign businessmen and that inspired the IMDb picture of the actor, and a few interesting moments with his wife (who's not Claude Gensac anyway). The rest of the time, De Funès is begging Gabin to give him the tattoo and Gabin spends his time shouting and yelling and screaming, you could tell the pains the screenwriters had to fill the moments. There is a reason why this is not the first title to come to mind when you think of De Funes and Gabin's movies.
I'm just into a Gabin's phase and the more I appreciate the actor, the more I see how he and De Funès couldn't match, and I appreciate De Funès, too. They just have too larger-than-life personalities to share the screen in a complementary way, a "lite" version De Funès doesn't work, not when it's mixed with a red-bull version of Gabin. Other scenes are really awkward and according to director Denys de La Pattelière, it's only during the editing that they realized they weren't as good, some bizarre moments involving the African butler made me cringe because they were offensive without being funny, and even what could have been a funny little suspenseful moment was ruined by a rip-off of the Pink Panther theme, that was so outrageous, I hope it was meant as a homage.
There's no other thing to say, this is a film to watch on the basis that there are two great actors, for pure historical value, but that's all, both actors made better films, so don't waste your time with this one, the best scenes are on Youtube, and if the director, the writer, and the two main concerned ones didn't enjoy it, why should you?