Released in cinemas in 1975, We found the 7th company is a real triumph at the box office, attracting 3.7 million spectators. Robert Lamoureux’s film achieves almost the same score as the previous opus, but where did the 7th company go (3.9 million tickets sold).
This first part could count on a cast of sizes: Pierre Mondy, Aldo Maccione and Jean Lefebvre. It therefore seemed obvious that the 2nd episode would renew the same actors … and yet that was not the case. Indeed, the character of Tassin, camped by Maccione, was purely and simply replaced by Henri Guybet.
Why did Aldo Maccione shut the door on a successful franchise? This is due in part to his relationships with director Robert Lamoureux. The latter is extremely serious and very uncompromising when it comes to work, even if he makes a comedy. The Italian, good-natured and pleasant at heart, is often called to order on the set of The 7th Company because he distracts the rest of the team.
According to the filmmaker, Aldo Maccione didn’t have a big head, it was just a “big baby, with all that that includes whims, anger, it’s me the most beautiful, I’m the strongest.” Lamoureux describes Maccione as a naive man of extraordinary kindness. Despite this, his childlike side does not please the director at all, who has great difficulty in framing his actor. Aldo Maccione even ends up fleeing from the set to phone producer Alain Poiré, tired of the seriousness and the authority of the director. In addition to being upset by Robert Lamoureux’s admonitions, the actor did not support the casual attitude of his friend Jean Lefebvre, a follower of gambling and the bottle, often arriving late on the set.
The Gendarme on a ride on M6: back on the clash between Louis de Funès and Jean Lefebvre
However, the latter was the protégé of the filmmaker, who did not really blame him for his escapades, unlike the jokes of Aldo Maccione. This double standard was not at all to the taste of the actor, who preferred to refuse to return in We found the 7th company. His replacement, Henri Guybet, spoke of a disagreement over the salary. Maccione would have tried to raise the stakes, building on his various successes like L’Aventure c’est l’Aventure.
Anyway, despite the glorious 80s, Maccione will not really recover from this error in judgment. By leaving the ship of a saga in full rise, he left his career a taste of unfinished business.
Source: Aldo Maccione, class! by Gilles Botineau, Christian Navarro Editions.