List Film

La Grande Dadrouille (3 stars)

La Grande Dadrouille

(PG) 118min

The principle attraction of this madcap 1966 Gallic comedy (aka Don’t Look Now – We’re Being Shot At) is the presence of British comic marvel Terry Thomas, here delivering his lines in a mix of English and badly dubbed French. Thomas puts his gap-tooth-topping bristly moustache to fine use as one of three RAF airmen shot down over German-occupied Paris during World War II. From there, the chums endeavour to exit the city and cross the country to the neutral zone with the well-intended but less-then-able assistance of an affable painter and an irascible conductor (played by French clowns Bourvil and Louis de Funès) plus a Nazi-hating nun and a puppeteer’s daughter.

The RAF chaps’ flight amounts to little more than a series of knockabout comic episodes, many of which have dated badly. That said, enough of them work to hold the attention and the recreation of the wartime era is quite lavish. It was, allegedly and inexplicably, the most popular film shown in France until the release of Titanic. No extras.


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