Original title: Le chômeur de Clochemerle
- 1h 32m
Tistin (Fernandel) is the only unemployed of Clochemerle. This provoques animosity amongst the village given that he frequents regularly Zozote (Ginette Leclerc), the only "respectable" one ... Read allTistin (Fernandel) is the only unemployed of Clochemerle. This provoques animosity amongst the village given that he frequents regularly Zozote (Ginette Leclerc), the only "respectable" one from the village. But Tistin is in reality in love with a beautiful widow named Jeannette ... Read allTistin (Fernandel) is the only unemployed of Clochemerle. This provoques animosity amongst the village given that he frequents regularly Zozote (Ginette Leclerc), the only "respectable" one from the village. But Tistin is in reality in love with a beautiful widow named Jeannette (Maria Mauban).
Fernandel a little more caustic than usual
« Clochemerle », a novel by Gabriel Chevallier, has been a bestseller since 1934 when it was first published in France. A biting and hilarious satire of parochialism, « Clochemerle » has been translated into 26 languages and sold million copies, soon entering the French language as a term characterizing heated disputes or quarrels over trifles. Chevallier wrote two sequels, « Clochemerle-Babylone » (1954) and Clochemerle-Les-Bains (1963), the quibble in the latter case being over the metamorphosis of Clochemerle into a spa. Pierre Chenal adapted the first episode for the big screen in 1947 and the BBC remade it in 1972. In 1957, it was Jean Boyer's turn to deal with another volume of the series. Helped by Jean Manse (Fernandel's brother-in-law), the very uneven writer-director indeed set about adapting « Clochemerle-Babylone ». Both men intended it as a vehicle for the French comedy star, which meant squeezing Fernandel's universe into the world of Gabriel Chevallier, a less than obvious move...: Provence vs. the Rhone region ; harmless comedy vs. caustic satire, it was doubtful that the graft would take. And yet the result, now entitled « Le Chômeur de Clochemerle », is not so bad as could be expected. First of all because the film (rather) faithfully respects the plot of the novel, the most conspicuous evidence of it being that Chevallier himself wrote the dialogue, which can appear as a tacit approval of the whole operation. Of course, as part of a Fernandel movie, the action had to be moved to the actor's native Provence. The purists in office could not but grind their teeth. But why not after all? Aren't there actually as many jealous, foxy, moronic, tart-tongued people in the Bouches-du-Rhône department as there are in the Rhône (and anywhere else for that matter!) where Clochemerle was originally situated. Second, because although diluted in a « Fernandellerie » that tends to cosy up to family audiences, part of Chevallier's insolence does survive. One example among others : when the mayor (Henri Vilbert) tries to flatter the washerwoman (Béatrice Betty) into making her believe she could easily go into politics, the good woman's reply is final: « I am busy enough with my own dirty linen! ». You will also be surprised to see Fernandel, the consensual comedian, kiss Maria Mauban on the mouth as well as gulp at Ginette Leclerc showing her bare breast or the village priest (Georges Chamarat) lie shamelessly. But, to rise above details, the film's must mostly be credited for not betraying Chevallier's look on human nature. For through Tistin, the happy-go-lucky villager who refuses to abide by the ways of the others' « right-thinking »( a type best described in Georges Brassens' song « La Mauvaise réputation »), Chevallier lauds the libertarian anarchist over the hypocritical Pharisee. Tistin dares poach, not look for a job, defy the churchy old maids for instance, but he does no one any harm. All he wants is to live life as he pleases and be happy. And, though in a slightly softer way, Boyer and Manse tell just that Not a masterpiece, but a pleasant surprise in the final analysis : an interesting theme, a good cast and a couple of witty lines make this comedy quite watchable. One of Fernandel's honorable efforts and one of Jean Boyer's superior achievements, with "La chaleur du sein", "Circonstances atténuantes", "Le passe-muraille" and "Sénéchal le magnifique" .
- Mar 3, 2017
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