This is a surrealistic comedy, and it doesn't matter that its plot and situational developments are far-fetched. The director here is Jean Girault, who did some of the best De Funès films (and in particular some of the best from the Gendarme series). Fast-paced, brilliantly acted, hilarious... The banker from the start is guilty of insider trading BTW (which the Storyline here does not mention). This is necessary to make us sympathize at least basically with De Funès in his criminal undertaking to right wrong-doing, with the unlikely complicity of his incredible family. All terrific actors BTW.
Let's Rob the Bank
Comedy / Crime
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Shopkeeper Victor Garnier has naively invested his family's life savings in an African mine, on his banker's recommendation. When the mine is nationalized, rendering the stock worthless, he considers himself shamelessly robbed by the bank; it seems only fair to him to return the 'favor' and rob the bank, teaming up with the whole family as they were all duped. Even for professionals such an enterprise -he decides to dig a tunnel- is quite demanding, but for simple commoners it's daunting, as they also have their personal downsides; thus Victor's wife has a most unwelcome tendency to blurt out the truth, even to the grumpy local copper: a crazy risk when you need to keep a criminal plan secret.—KGF Vissers
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
March 01, 2023 at 03:19 AM
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Brilliant (changed my rating from 8 to 9 upon second viewing)!
If he doesn't rob the bank, De Funès still steals the show...
"Let's Rob a Bank" might not be among Louis de Funes' Top 20 comedies (not even by the numbers) but who cares? The film is obviously one of the last steps back before the big dive into stardom, a minor but charming companion piece to "Pouic-Pouic", also directed by Jean Girault, written by Jacques Vilfrid and composed of the same plot elements, mixing family, financial misunderstanding and vaudeville-like misunderstandings. De Funès plays Mr. Victor Garnier, the owner of an equipment store for fishing and hunting who's suffered a big financial loss because he was ill-advised by his banker played by Jean-Pierre Marielle. How does he contemplate vengeance? Simply by digging a tunnel to steal bulions from the safe.
Within its silly premise, the film has a little unpretentious charm of its own. And I suspect it was shot earlier than 1964 and from the little crop of hair remaining on Fufu's head and their shades of black, I guess he still had to age a little physically. Still, he was at the top of his game here, surrounded by a family that feels more like sparring-partners to his eternal tantrums. The cast isn't as memorable as "Pouic Pouic" where he had to act along Jacqueline Maillan, Christian Marin and Mireille Darc. Here the faces are relatively unknown (Yvonne Clech and Anne Doat aren't exactly household names) Doat is cute enough to catch the eyes of the young bank clerk (Jean Valmont) and form the obligatory beta couple. Clech doesn't have the comical timing of Maillan, nor the imperial elegance of Claude Gensac and the son (Michel Tureau) looks too old for the part.
In fact, it's the little nerdy daughter who saves the day and has that precocious quality that reminded me of the little sister in Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" she's played by Catherine Demongeot who was little Zazie in Louis Malle's film and she'd grown so much she was almost the same height than her father. In fact, the second big cast member is Jean-Pierre Marielle who's almost totally unrecognizable. The first time I saw the film 25 years ago, I couldn't associate that suave and debonair smooth-talking man in black suit (with hair) to the mustached bald guy who was harassed by Jean-Paul Belmondo in "Hold-Up" although his voice was unmistakable.
Now, there's something about De Funès confronting a man one foot taller that never gets old, and from the way he interacts with them, you could tell he was practicing his last comical quips. There's also a great moment where he confronts a policeman played by George Wilson and that foreshadows the keen eye he will always display with his subordinates or superiors, bluffing his way out of uncomfortable situations.
In fact, the film is mostly memorable for watching Funès interacting, shortening himself even more to get away from tricky moments or 'playing dumb' with people dumber than him like that interesting conversation with Jean Lefebvre. Speaking of Lefebvre (who co-starred the same year in the first "Gendarme") the film is also a little who's-who of all the character actors of that time Jean Droze, Philippe Dumat and Claude Piéplu. Some less inspired parts that can look as obvious fillers such as the unnecessary interventions of Belgian relatives giving the film the appeal of a little sitcom.
Still, Jean Girault makes it a great vehicle for De Funès and Marielle. It's obvious that it was made with a shoestring budget and wasn't meant to be a huge box office but it proved itself to be effective. I guess Girault understood that the 'family man' thing worked but there had to be a little more in the narrative territory to allow De Funès to express his comedic talent to the fullest. That 'little more' came the same year with the first 'Gendarme' film.
Who could suspect the shovel-wielding,mining helmet wearing nervous guy?
After a guy foolishly trusts his money with a downright evil bank owner(who tricks him out of it with bogus stock tips), he tries to get it back the shortest way: by digging a tunnel from his basement to the vaults. Lucky for him, he lives nearby. Of course this drags a lot of hilarious situations along with it. Well, some I guess. I'm probably used to the other type of comedies that bring gags of the same or lower quality like, every second. Still, this old-timer baffoonery can be appreciated, because De Funes is professional about it. He's better than the material he's given. He's above these types of things,but then again, they suit him brilliantly. This is not a one man show,but it seriously should be. This has more padding than McDonalds-beef. One bothering plot hole: there's no way anybody could think anybody other than them robbed the bank. It's just so obvious, we have scenes in which they ask about security, or in which the kid is ever so curious what the vault looks like, and they have a motive, and they can constantly be seen with massive amounts of shovels or covered with dirt, and they actually ask a guy about digging tunnels. I know, I know, it's just a funny little movie.