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La Chèvre (1981)

September 18th, 2007 by Maxim · No Comments · 5,936 Views

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“Knock on Wood” is the American title of this excellent French classic – a comedy directed by Msr. Francis Veber and starring great comedian Pierre Richard and famous Gérard Depardieu. I have not seen it since the 80s when it was in theatres and also on TV (we had black&white TV back then) and loved it. Watching it again 25 years later is a lot of fun. It was a big hit in Russia/USSR when it came out under title “Nevezuchiye” (literally, “Unlucky ones”) in late 80s, and I shall add this information to IMDb: they only list release data in France, USA and Mexico. It was also remade by Veber in US in 1991 starring Martin Short and Denny Glover under title “Pure Luck”, and I thought the latter just wasn’t as good – it was more like “National Lampoons” – a goofy movie. But the original was excellent and sweet. The chemistry between the two actors, Richard and Depardieu is amazing. Although it’s not the best Richard’s comedy, it is a lovely movie.

If you haven’t seen either, rent the original on Netflix or wherever you rent them; your local library may have it since it’s a classic.

Here’s the plot: Businessman’s daughter is a walking disaster, a trouble magnet. She’s not dumb or clumsy, she’s just absent-minded and unlucky. When she is kidnapped somewhere in Mexico, her father sends a private eye to recover her, accompanied with an accountant who works for him, who appears to have the same curse: bad luck. The theory is that only an absent-minded person like him can find his unlucky daughter by attracting similar sort of disasters. Pierre Richard plays the accountant and Gérard Depardieu is private eye and his muscle man who despises the troublemaker-accountant, but the two have to work in a team to accomplish their goal.

It’s a funny comedy. If you’ve seen any one of the two version it will not look original anymore, but back in the 80s it was very popular. I saw it on DVD in French with English subtitles.

If you liked this movie and would like to see other Pierre Richard’s comedies, I highly recommend 1976 “Le Jouet” (”The Toy”) – my favorite film with Richard, also very popular in USSR due to “class struggle” theme there – such a great sweet movie. By the way, Richard’s character in it, François Perrin – is it a coincidence that he has the same name as the accountant in “La Chèvre”? Is it the same character? Write me if you know. Another great one is a 1972 spy movie spoof, “Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire”, known in US as “The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe”, and the sequel, “Le Retour du grand blond” (The return of the tall blond). Again, his character name is François Perrin in these films. Another popular comedy, but one I did not care for because I did not like the fact that murder can be funny (at least back then), is “Le Coup du parapluie” (1980, a.k.a. “Umbrella Coup” in USA and “Stabbing with Umbrella” in Russia). He had done some really bad comedies too: “To the left as you exit the elevator” was a flop, although also was released internationally. Nevertheless, Richard is a great actor and only gets better as he ages – he continues to play in movies to this day.

Gérard Depardieu is well known to American viewers and does not need introduction. He is doing great job in this movie, as always.

Enjoyed the movie after seeing it almost 30 years ago.

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Tags: Adventure · Comedy · DVD · Foreign · France · Movies

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