Icon of the French comedy that gave rich hours to French cinema, undisputed champion of the national box office, Louis de Funès continues to be a safe bet for the television channels that broadcast his films. Here are 5 things you should know about the actor.
Chestnut watered to the max for decades by television networks, a true martingale for generous audiences when they usually have a soft stomach in their programming, it is an understatement to say that Louis de Funes it’s an ultra-safe bet for television.
We no longer count the multiple reruns of his films, between the saga of ghosts and you Constable of Saint Tropez, The Corniaud, Megalomania, The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob, wing or thighwithout forgetting of course the absolute classic, the big mop. A systematic audience card in each of its broadcasts. France 2 recalls its good memories since the channel broadcast precisely the film this April 17…
And if you still had some vague doubts about the regenerating and reassuring power of Louis de Funès on the public, we remind you. In 2020, in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, between March and April, television channels blocked most of their films for an audience condemned to remain confined to their homes.
The result ? A robbery: 50 million viewers gathered before his films during the first confinement, with a record of Megalomaniabroadcast on April 12, 2020 on France 2, in front of 5.3 million viewers. the big mop ? 5.1 million. rabbi jacob ? 4.1 million!
“Misfortunes, people find them soon. Laughter, we will always need it!” said Louis de Funes. Words full of wisdom… Here are five anecdotes about this absolute icon of French comedy.
Worry and fear of tomorrow.
Making his film debut in 1945 at the advanced age of 31, the actor did not know his consecration until 1964, at the age of 50, with the first part of the saga of Constable of Saint Tropez. The five sequels, the three Fantômas, the four films with Gerardo Oury it put de Funès at the top of the box office for quite some time. The public loves his grimaces, his elastic face, his facial expressions and his gestures. However, despite his difficult start and this very late breakthrough, Louis De Funès will still be very worried about the next day, which will push him to take only minimal risks.
No doubt he was also traumatized by his father’s ruin, who, however, pretended to commit suicide to escape bankruptcy. Louis de Funès will also hide a chest full of gold bars in the garden of his castle in Clermont. In “Louis de Funès from A to Z”, Bertrand Dicale says that in 1968, on the set of Gendarme marries, de Funès was worried: discontent was growing in the capital. He then instructed the director John Girault to unearth their ingots. One would almost believe that De Funès was still under the influence of Don Sallust in Megalomania…
he was a jazz pianist
Having become famous late in life, Louis de Funès did not always make a living from his acting profession. Between two works, he was notably a bar piano player. Initiated by his mother from an early age in this discipline, he had started his career in cabarets, under the Occupation. Thus he will recount in an interview his exhausting nights at the “Club de Paris”, where he was able to play 12 hours in a row: “At 5:30 a.m. when I woke up, I felt like I was Erich Von Stroheim in The Grand Illusion. I was cemented into the shape of the stool.”
Here’s a glimpse of his talent, on film. Like a hair in the souppublished in 1957:
He advocated organic farming long before his time.
Away from the hustle and bustle of the movie sets, Louis de Funès liked nothing more than coming home, walking the paths of his castle park, and above all dedicating himself to what was a passion for him: gardening, from a young age also, around 5-6 years. A simple and modest pleasure, in which he enjoyed the harmony of nature and calm. His (big!) Orchard was an immense source of pride for him, to the point that he even accepted -albeit very modestly- a journalist’s camera in his house to talk about this passion.
We must review this wonderful video of the INA, excerpt from the program life in greenissued on May 26, 1979. “I eat everything I grow! There are no chemicals in my garden! I make my own manure, with straw and seaweed” he says, surveying his production.
Admirable words full of wisdom, especially if we remember that at that time he was against the grain of the discourse around agriculture, which used huge amounts of chemical fertilizers to drastically increase yields, with the ravages that we now know…
He almost played Hitler’s half brother
Louis de Funès’s career could have been further enriched by numerous film projects in the 1960s and 1970s, which did not materialize. between a Ghosts in Moscowa movie with charlottes entitled Thanks boss ! accompanied by the then star producer, Christian Fechner; missed meeting in 1977 with Georges Lautner with whom he had been on tour Dandelions by the root in 1964; or even a Louis de Funès in the uniform of a dictator responsible for a series of false attacks against himself in The crocodile, directed by Gérard Oury, the list is long. we give it away ici.
Among these aborted projects was his participation in the cult film, grandpa resists, with the Splendid team. The actor had seen the play written by Christian Clavier et Martin Lamotte, and wanted to be a part of its film adaptation. The current went very well with jugnotKeyboard, lhermitte and the other members of the company when he met them.
He was first talked about playing the grandfather, then a World War I veteran living in a cabin. But finally it was to get into the skin of the half brother of Adolf Hitler who was chosen. Died of a heart attack on January 27, 1983, at the age of 68, de Funès never specified his participation. Is Jacques Villeret who inherited his character, while the role of the grandfather fell into the hands of his former accomplice, Miguel Galabru. The film is also dedicated to de Funès.
Sometimes very tense relations with their partners.
King of comedy, Louis de Funès had, however, complicated relationships, sometimes even very tense, with his playmates: the first of them was Jean Marais in the Fantômas, the second resentful of the fact that comedy steals the leading role Another saga: De Funès collided with Jean Lefebvre during the filming of Les Gendarme, especially in Le Gendarme en promenade (which was Lefebvre’s last Gendarme).
Let’s cite his complicated encounters with other great actors, each looking to pull the lid on himself. This was the case with Fernando pour The five-legged sheepeither with Jean Gabin in Le Tatoué. Although he had an advantage over his partner in The crossing of Paris (1956) and The Epsom Knight (1962), Jean Gabin had this time to compose as equals with Louis de Funès. This high-flying reunion between two holy monsters will quickly turn into a feud of egos, with plenty of script modifications demanded by the two actors.
“They are two actors with absolutely different styles,” said at the time on set Denys de la PatellereFilm director. “It is the charm and the difficulty of this meeting: his acting technique is different. Jean Gabin is used to interpreting very precise things, very planned in advance, with a technical breakdown that he has seen and knows very well, with reactions in specific words.”
And to add: “De Funès is spontaneity itself, and he finds things playing and even from one take to another. When we start the scenes again, he finds new things, and it’s important not to hinder his findings, how important it is that Gabin also finds his way of acting “.