Based on Marcel Aymé’s novel, this is one of Claude Autant-Lara’s very best movies, a deceptively simple tale of Grandgil (Gabin), a famous artist, and Marcel (Bourvil), a cab driver, lugging black market pork across occupied Paris at night. There are no heroes here, no grand acts of resistance, just two guys, one in it for the experience and the other in it for the money. As they cross the city, you get a good sense of the chillingly grey, neutralized morality of an occupied country. Gabin and Bourvil are nothing short of extraordinary together. With, in one of the film’s most memorable scenes, the great Louis de Funès. —Film Society of Lincoln Center
Claude Autant-Lara (5 August 1901, Luzarches, Val-d’Oise – 5 February 2000, Antibes, Alpes-Maritimes), was a French film director and later Member of the European Parliament (MEP).
Autant-Lara was educated in France and at London’s Mill Hill School during his mother’s exile as a pacifist. Early in his career, he worked as an art director and costume designer, his best known work in this vein was possibly for Nana (1926), a silent film directed by Jean Renoir. Autant-Lara also acted in the film.
As a director, he frequently created provocative movies, saying “if a film does not have venom, it is worthless”. In the 1960s, he turned his back on the New Wave movement, and from then on he had no popular successes.
On 18 June 1989, he came to public notice again, controversially, when he was elected to the European Parliament as a member of the National Front and the oldest member of the assembly. In his maiden speech, in July, he caused a scandal by expressing his “concerns… read more
A look at the various international posters for the soon-to-be-revived French Occupation classic.