As Long as You've Got Your Health (1966)

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As Long as You've Got Your Health (1966) Poster

The director's cut (restored version) opens and closes with theatrical curtains in homage to Georges Méliés films, and is divided into four parts, separated by title cards: I - L'insomnie [... See full summary »



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17 September 2011 | Bunuel1976
| AS LONG AS YOU'RE HEALTHY {1971 Re-Edited Version} (Pierre Étaix, 1966) ***
In 1966, Pierre Étaix unveiled his third feature film (as usual written in collaboration with Jean-Claude Carriere) which, however, did not adhere to its creator's original conception as a portmanteau film but rather made the same protagonist go through the disparate environments due to the producer's insistence. Even so, this original version received the 1966 Silver Mermaid prize at the "Incontro Internazionale del Cinema di Sorrento, Italy" and won the Silver Seashell at the San Sebastián International Film Festival. Eventually, 4 years later Étaix was given the chance to go back to the drawing board and came up with a four-part film that added a new segment – the first, entitled "Insomnia" – and disposed of another – called "Feeling Good" – that was much later given a release of its own on DVD in France.

The 1971 Director's Cut (which is the restored version readily available nowadays) opens and closes with theatrical curtains in homage to the early days of Cinema - particularly the films of Georges Méliés - and is divided into four parts, separated by title cards, namely:

"Insomnia": a man (Étaix) who cannot sleep (a condition that is currently afflicting me practically on a daily basis) starts reading a book about vampires all through the night, when his wife finally wakes up and reveals her true nature!; the narrative of the book is re-enacted for the viewer in a terrifically atmospheric tinted sequence that poses Étaix as the chief vampire and Carriere made up as an elderly victim! Among the more inventive touches adopted here have the dream 'responding' to its reader's whim, so that the action appears inverted when he picks up the book upside-down and is repeated when he turns back a page to re-read a particular passage! Interestingly, before starting to work for the Cinema, Carriere penned a series of 6 "Frankenstein" spin-off novels under the pseudonym of Benoit Becker and, for this life-long fan of the genre, it is a pity that he rarely dabbled in this field on film outside of his 2 movies for Jesus Franco: THE DIABOLICAL DR. Z (1965) and ATTACK OF THE ROBOTS (1966). For the record, I had previously acquired this "rarity" by itself – which is also available to view in its entirety on "You Tube" – and only realized a few days ago that it actually formed part of an episodic feature film!;

"The Cinema": the second and weakest episode basically shows a theater patron (Étaix) constantly unable to find an available seat in a crowded cinema and, when he does, his view is blocked in some way or the ticket holders of that particular seat suddenly materialize to claim it;

"As Long As You're Healthy": the titular episode deals with the modern era's stressful effect on the common man, and especially a psychiatrist who seems to be taking it even harder than his patients! There are plenty of sight gags to be found in this episode, the most memorable being one set in a diner where a pharmacist sitting near Étaix mistakenly devours a plate of food that has been spiked with the latter's medicine which he had laid on his dining table for closer inspection; by the time he gets back to his post at the pharmacy, his sickly pallor makes him look far worse than his customers!;

"We're No Longer In The Woods": the fourth, final and most enjoyable episode has a hunter (Étaix), a bickering couple out on a picnic and a farmer setting a wire fence on his plot of land getting on each other's nerves during a day in the country, The tit-for-tat routines reminiscent of the interplay between Laurel & Hardy and any of their frequent nemeses are often hilarious but never more so than when Étaix ineptly shoots a hanging wire off an electricity pole and this inadvertently comes into contact with the farmer's wire fence and, just as the woman turns up the volume of her portable transistor radio to drown out the sound of the nearby gunfire, the farmer does an impromptu dance – perfectly timed to the oncoming musical beat – when he gets electrocuted from touching his fence! This vignette is an achingly funny one and the genuine highlight of this lively if minor work from this unjustly undervalued French comedian.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

25 February 1966



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