13 March 2010 | dbdumonteil
La Mère Et Le Maire (the mother and the mayor)
In the sixties ,Autant-Lara's career became unfocused as ever.There were three great movies :"Tu Ne Tueras Point" (aka "the Objector")"Journal D'Une Femme En Blanc" and "Le Franciscain De Bourges ".The rest can easily be dismissed as rubbish;I know some people like "les Patates" (1969) and more power to all of them.
"Le Magot De Josepha " has three great leads ,Bourvil,Anna Magnani and Pierre Brasseur ,but except for the first one,who remains sparing of gestures and of words ,it's a waste of talent.In every scene they share,Brasseur and Magnani (helped ,so to speak, by the supporting cast ,Christian Marin and Jean-Marie Proslier)indulge in ham show .Anna Magnani is my favorite Italian actress,but it is one of her worst parts.
It's funny.In places.As the mayor does not want to provide the vicar with an harmonium ,Josefa gives him... a juke box!There is a good moment when Pierre Corneille (sic) plays his record ("Un Air De Jeunesse" Bourvil was also a singer):during these precious minutes,there is a real chemistry between Bourvil and La Magnani.But most of the scenes verge on coarse farce :the vicar taking off his cassock to dance the tango (or is it another touch of Autant-Lara's anti-clericalism present in earlier works such as "Douce" or "L'Auberge Rouge" ?),the final fire and the ridiculous ending.