A brilliant parody of all those James Bond kind of films, minus the gadgets but exposing all the mindlessness, Les Barbouzes stars Lino Ventura as the suave Frenchman who beats (literally “beats”, not in the sense of hoodwinks) a host of crooks trying to get their hands on a dead scientist’s thermonuclear patents, in possession of his feather-brained, pretty, insensitive widow. It’s the film’s comic timing and Lino Ventura’s hard-as-knuckles face amidst all the mayhem that makes the film compelling to watch as you wade further into it.
There’s nothing much by way of a plot in the film, and there are quite a few usual tricks and stereotypes, but in order to laugh at the expense of umpteen so-called thrillers and gangster films. Even a Chinese gang is not spared. It’s Ventura’s ever-optimism that infects you as you watch this black and white film, and the sequences of chasing the patents unsuccessfully and getting beaten up by Ventura every time do get repetitive but never boring, just as the road-runner never did so in The Road-Runner Show. —Dearcinema.com
Born in 1926. He worked as script writer, assistant cameraman and assistant director. After directing four short films, he made his first feature film La mome aux boutons in 1958. He is known as the director of the action films. —FESTIVAL ON WHEELS