Ma femme est formidable (1951)
aka: My Wife Is Formidable
A film directed by André Hunebelle

Genre: Comedy

Review published:


Ma femme est formidable photo
When his wife Sylvia sets out to spend the weekend with her mother, sculptor Raymond Corbier becomes suspicious.  Just who was that man he saw sitting beside her in her car?  The man in question was Sylvia's ex-lover Francis, whose threat to kill himself lured Sylvia to pay him one last visit.  Convinced that his wife has left him, Raymond decides to commit suicide, but first he sends a parting love letter to an old flame of his, Marguerite, the wife of his best friend, Gaston Rival, a dentist.  On receiving the letter, Marguerite races to Raymond's apartment and, convinced that he really did try to kill himself, resolves to renew their erstwhile relationship...
© 2012

Film Review

Although this film now feels very dated and just a tad ridiculous (almost the parody of a French bedroom farce), it was hugely popular when it was first released in France, and effectively secured André Hunebelle's career as a director of popular films.  Whilst there are some good jokes, much of the comedy is painfully unsophisticated  - note the obvious caricature of drunks and comedy suicides, and that excruciatingly over-the-top cat-fight with the two lead female characters.  The film is funniest in its first half; towards the end, the pace lags and the jokes get fewer and far between.  Amongst a bevy of cameos from distinguished film actors of the day, the spectator can hardly fail to notice one (at the time) unknown performer who would - twenty years on - become the most popular comedy actor in France: Louis de Funès.

© James Travers 2006

The above article was written for and should not be reproduced in any medium without the author's permission.

Other comedy films of the 1950s from France that are recommended viewing include: Maurice Régamey's Comme un cheveu sur la soupe (1957), Jean Renoir's Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe (1959), Henri-Georges Clouzot's Miquette et sa mère (1950), Jacques Tati's Mon oncle (1958) and Marcel Achard's La Valse de Paris (1950).

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Film Credits

  • Director: André Hunebelle
  • Script: Michel Audiard, Jean Halain
  • Photo: Paul Cotteret
  • Music: Jean Marion
  • Cast: Fernand Gravey (Raymond Corbier), Sophie Desmarets (Sylvia Corbier), Simone Valère (Marguerite Rival), Suzanne Dehelly (La mère de Sylvia), Pauline Carton (La concierge), Max Dalban (Un déménageur), Paul Demange (Un déménageur), Pierre Destailles (Le portier), Anne-Marie Duverney (L'infirmière), Claude Garbe (La jeune mère), Nicole Jonesco (La femme de chambre), Andrée Tainsy (La femme de chambre), Alan Adair (Hartley, L'Anglais), Charles Bouillaud (Le chef de réception à l'hôtel), Louis Bugette (Le clochard), Paul Faivre (Le chauffeur de taxi), Louis de Funès (Le touriste skieur), Jean-Paul Moulinot (Le docteur), Gaston Orbal (Un déménageur), Paul Villé (Le concierge), Jacques Dynam (Francis Germain), Alfred Adam (Dr. Gaston Rival), Jack Ary (Un pensionnaire de l'hôtel), Charles Bayard (Un joueur d'échecs), Giani Esposito (Le barman de l'hôtel)
  • Country: France
  • Language: French
  • Support: Black and White
  • Runtime: 92 min
  • Aka: My Wife Is Formidable

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