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Les tontons flingueurs (1963)

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  • Written by Vaurien on 12.09.2009

    The plot —a rather simple affair of gang succession that has to be kept a secret from the innocent Patricia— is probably not what made this movie what it has been for decades to the French public: an absolute must-see, one of the classics, lines from which can be heard quoted on a regular basis. Fernand, a retired mobster now running an up-to-date farm in Southern France, is called back to Paris and the underworld by the death of his friend and former associate Louis le Mexicain. Against his will, Fernand finds himself burdened with a sacred mission: he has to manage his friend's business. He has especially promised to take care of the dead man's teenage daughter, who must not know what kind of life her late father, and her newly-met "uncle", had, and have...

    It is rather the brilliance of the dialogues, and the impeccable performance of all of the actors, that are striking in this film. Michel Audiard's use of old-fashioned underworld slang, playful mixing of registers and satirical cynicism —all of them specialties of his, which have made him one of the most famous French script writers, on a par with Jacques Prévert— certainly do the trick, and his wonderful dialogues are perfectly carried home by Ventura, Blier, Blanche and Dalban. Simply timeless.

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