An absolute classic of comedy released a year before the triumphant “Grande Vadrouille”, “Le Corniaud” is the third film which brings together Bourvil and Louis de Funès. A work in which appears a scene that has become cult: that of the accident …
An indestructible classic of French comedy released in 1965, repeatedly broadcast on TV channels with the regularity of a Swiss cuckoo clock, Gérard Oury’s Le Corniaud marked the third reunion of the tandem Bourvil and Louis de Funès, just one year before the success colossal of La Grande vadrouille.
First real popular success of Gérard Oury, The Corniaud features for the record a character named Saroyan (de Funès), a trafficker, who uses at his expense an honest trader by the name of Antoine Maréchal (Bourvil), to take from Naples to Bordeaux a Cadillac filled with heroin . But also precious stones, including a huge diamond housed in the horn, baptized Youkounkoun.
If you have already seen the film, you logically remember one of the cult scenes of the work; in this case that of the accident, where poor Bourvil sees his 2 CV reduced to crumbs by Louis de Funès’ car. “Well now, she’s going to work a lot less well, obviously!” blurted out an annoyed Bourvil. “What am I going to become now?” “Bah a pedestrian!” gives him the tac-au-tac of Funès.
Below, the sequence in question, for fun …
Two days before the start of filming, on August 29, 1964, the son of first assistant Gérard Guerin borrowed the Jaguar that Louis de Funès was originally supposed to use, and wreaked havoc on the car in an accident … In the end, it was not a Jaguar but a Rolls Royce which will have to hit the small 2CV.
Bourvil’s car was fitted with push buttons, so that it could indeed be scattered like a puzzle when the time came. Pierre Durin, the special effects manager on the film, cut the 2CV into 250 pieces (!), Then connected them together with hooks. Small electrical appliances blew up the hooks securing the pieces at the opportune moment.
To avoid any incident, which would then have required a dismantling and then a complete reassembly of the 2CV – in other words hell -, Pierre Durin had installed 250 electric buttons on the bumper. When Bourvil gently strikes the final obstacle, all the push buttons thus requested trigger the car to break up in a very specific order.
It was Rémy Julienne, the famous stunt coordinator of French cinema, who had calculated the correct speed of the accident so that Bourvil did not hurt himself. And there was no question of missing the stage. As Gérard Oury will confess in his memoirs, the slightest incident would have forced the film crew to wait a month to return the scene, so complex was Gérard Guerin’s creation. It is for this reason, moreover, that this sequence was shot last, on December 7, 1964.