Bonjour sourire (1955)



Bonjour sourire photo
Monte-Marino is a thriving principality whose main export is musical instruments. Despite her country's prosperity, the Princess Aline cannot bring herself to smile. The king, her father, offers to marry her to anyone who can succeed in bringing a smile to her lips. To that end, the Prime Minister sends his lieutenant, Bonoeil, to Paris to kidnap France's funniest comedians. Annie Cordy, Henri Salvador, Christian Duvaleix and Jimmy Gaillard, along with Jean Courtebride (mistaken for his famous cousin), end up in Monte-Marino on their toughest assignment yet. Unless they can make Princess Aline smile they will remain in captivity forever...
© 2014

Film Review

Film poster
Claude Sautet's first feature as a director is one which, in later years, he would be more than willing to disown. Bonjour sourire is not the kind of film that we would ever associate with Sautet, an infantile comedy that, despite its abundance of comedic talent, struggles to elicit even a glimmer of a smile from its spectator. Sautet was originally assigned as an assistant on the film but had to take over as director when Robert Dhéry fell out with his producer. It's not hard to see that Sautet's heart is not in this spluttering comedy, and the attempts by its stars Annie Cordy, Louis de Funès and Henri Salvador (later to become a legendary musician) to be funny are risible in the extreme. The film may appeal to children but to an adult audience Bonjour sourire is excruciatingly dull and repetitive. Its only redeeming features are Annie Cordy's musical numbers and Louis de Funès being pursued by what is obviously a man in a monkey suit. After this baptism of mediocrity, Claude Sautet could have been forgiven for giving up directing altogether. Mercifully, this was the low point in an otherwise brilliant career.
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