The Troops of St. Tropez (Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez)
Release Year: 1964
Director: Jean Girault
Writers: Richard Balducci (original story), Jacques Vilfrid (screenplay, adaptation & dialogue), Jean Girault (screenplay & adaptation)
Starring: Louis de Funès, Geneviève Grad, Michel Galabru, Daniel Cauchy, Christian Marin, Guy Grosso, Michel Modo
Moviegeek Sunday Classic # 212, week 28 2018
Village gendarme Ludovic Cruchot (Louis de Funès) is reassigned to Saint-Tropez on the French Riviera. Here he has his hands full with petty criminals, persistent nudists, a stolen Rembrandt, and the escapades of his own daughter, Nicole (Geneviève Grad).
Gendarme Cruchot has his small rural village under control, fishing regulations are upheld, chicken thieves are caught just in time for Cruchot to pop into the local church and sing in the choir. But when he is promoted and relocated to the seaside resort town of Saint-Tropez, he is thrilled. But the move from a conservation small village to the more liberal-minded seaside resort with a young beautiful daughter causes more troubles than he had anticipated. The temptation to compare Funès’s Cruchot and Peter Sellers’s Inspector Clouseau (The Pink Panther, 1963) is hard to resist, but while they are both spoofs on the French police, the dissimilarities are obvious, Cruchot is not clumsy like Clouseau, and where things often go terribly wrong for the good inspector, Cruchot often succeeds through sheer ingenuity and a good bit of luck. The Troops of St. Tropez feels very French, but thanks to the physical comedy and energetic performance by Funès (The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob, 1973), a stable in classic French film, everyone can enjoy this crime comedy. The story is not brilliant, and the film feels somewhat episodic at times, the films strength is in its character and they deliver the comedy, not the script. A good beach comedy as they made them in the 1960s. Recommended to comedy fans.
Biggest box office hit in France in 1964 with 7.8 million ticket sold.
Picture Copyright: UIP