French tragical-comical warmovie with the famous Fernandel
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-This movie is based on "une histoire vraie" by Jaques Antoine
-"Fernandel" or Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin as he was born, was France's leading post-war comedian and remained so long after. But , as most superior comedians, he was also able to accuratly point out and criticize social problems in his films (cfr.: the Don Camillo series)
La vache et le prisonnier
This movie is a hidden gem! Nowadays the , often very clownesque, humour of the fifties does not appeal to spoiled modern audiences anymore ... and with each year that passes more and more great movies of that era are forgotten. Too bad, because they are not all about throwing pie in eachothers face...as this movie will prove.
We are taken by the hand by a most excellent director : Henri Verneuil (known and famous for his "week-end à Zuydcoote" , he guides us into a moving and appealing mixture of humour and drama. An "La Vita È Bella" avant la lettre. Just as Robert Benigni (Guido from “La Vita”), Fernandel- with his typical facial expressions and actingtalent- knows how to bring deeper emotion and feeling to every scene.
Still, what is this movie all about? Charles Bailly is a French POW doing forced labour on a German farm together with his fellow prisoners. Increasingly allied bombers make their run deeper into the heart of the Reich ,While his laid back buddies are confident the war will soon be over, each passing plane kindles a fire in Charles's heart! He's homesick and tired of working in a foreign country. One night , he has an idea that is both brilliant as ridiculous... armed with a mere cow (wich he promptly baptises "margueritte") he plans to defeat the Germans, and get back to his beloved France. Should anyone ask questions, he'll tell them he's just bringing the cow to a nearby meadow.
Ofcourse this is easier said than done ... on his long trip towards the border he'll meet many obstacles, varying from kind-natured but not so very bright Germans upto the dreaded Gestapo and from time to time Margueritte herself.
Passing through war-torn Germany, Verneuil gives us a peek at the horrors of war, yet, thanks to a good plot and an able director, the overall tone of the movie stays light. For a movie produced so short after the war , it even manges to stay fairly objective; one moment Charles can be found in the company of abused Russian prisoners, the next he's sitting at the table of a simple German family who's only son is lost in combat... It is at that exact moment Charles utters the underlying plot of the movie : “Toutes les mères sont les mêmes, dommage que les pères soient si bêtes", or in English, "All mothers are the same, too bad the fathers are so dumb."
The entire movie our hero will tumble from one hasardous situation into another, trying to catch a train wich will bring him over the border into France...
This movie gives us the best of French cinéma, i hope you'll enjoy it as much as i did.
written for www.go2war2.nl by Sébastien, and shabbily translated into English for "the Annex"
Just bopping around checking old links for fun, stumbled in here. Berli went in for suspected bronchitis a couple days before Xmas, passed from Leukemia (AML) on January 5. Steve (Seanachai) & I cleaned his apartment out and all his gaming stuff is in my living room. The details are on his FB page hs://www.facebook.co .