As Long As You're Healthy

1966 [FRENCH]


IMDb Rating 7.1 10 675

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January 08, 2022 at 05:25 AM



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1 hr 8 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 6 / 10

This one plays a lot like a Jerry Lewis film....

In "As Long as You've Got Your Health", Pierre Étaix brings us a film in which jokes come one after another after another at such a rapid pace that it boggles the mind! And, while many of the jokes fall flat, enough of them give you a little chuckle that it's probably worth your time. Don't expect a lot of plot here--and in many ways it reminds me of several Jerry Lewis films--particularly "The Bellboy". Both have minimal plots and both have rapid-fire jokes--some of which fall very flat and some of which are very clever. And, like the Lewis films, this one relies extensively on physical humor. It sure appears as if Étaix has learned from Lewis--and, of course, Lewis from Jacques Tati. And, of course, Tati from.....and the list goes on and on!

The film is broken into four segments. They are as follows:

L'insomnie--Pierre Étaix plays a man who cannot sleep and so he sits in bed reading a scary novel about vampires. On the plus side, the visuals were great--quite spooky and exciting to see. On the negative, it just wasn't all that funny and relied on a final punchline...which doesn't work if you anticipate it happening.

Le cinématographe--The setting is a movie theater. At first, the film is about all the crazy little annoyances that can occur at such a place. Later, Étaix falls asleep and dreams that life is like a long series of commercials (much like they did on "The Carol Burnett Show"). The jokes are hit and miss but there are so many, I didn't mind. Kind of fun.

Tant qu'on a la santé--About life's little annoyances. Not funny in the least and pretty flat. Étaix is in this segment the least of the four. My least favorite of the four segments.

Nous n'irons plus au bois--Étaix is out hunting, an old man is TRYING to work and a couple are on a picnic. All three end up annoying each other and there are LOTS of jokes here. Most of the time, Étaix unintentionally instigates many of the problems. This is by far the best and funniest of the four segments and my wife and I particularly liked the duck.

So there you have it--four small films within a film. Some bad, some very good and some in between. It's a real mixed bag, that's for sure.

Reviewed by Bunuel1976 7 / 10

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.

Reviewed by myriamlenys 7 / 10

agreeable French comedy

This is a movie with a VERY checkered past : a)various options were entertained with regard to length and content and b)the original material was badly damaged by long-term storage problems, which necessitated extensive repairs by digital and other means.

I remember watching this comedy as a young child. I get the impression that it was longer, funnier and smoother than it is now - but I could be mistaken, given the fact that so much water has flowed through the Dijle.

Even in its restored version there is an episodic and somewhat random structure to the movie : it is a series of four unrelated (or but loosely related) vignettes. I'm especially fond of the last vignette, "In the woods", where four people with the best of intentions - a hunter, a farmer and two tourists - try to enjoy a nicely bucolic landscape. Sadly enough the area is so small that they keep bumping into each other. (Watch out for the running gag with the fence.)

Also notable is an earlier scene, worthy of "La cantatrice chauve", where a man goes to visit some friends of his. One expects the normal chitchat - how are you, what have you been up to, this apple pie is delicious, your wife is such a great cook - but in fact the friends speak only in publicity slogans. It's a funny (and unexpectedly savage)comment on the various lies and enormities used to lure customers or deceive consumers.

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