The cult comedy “But where did the 7th company go?” is broadcast this Thursday evening on TF1. The opportunity to look back on a real success story of French cinema.
A great classic of French comedy, the feature But where did the 7th company go? is broadcast this Thursday evening on TF1. The opportunity to look back on a real success story.
But where did the seventh company go? plunges us into 1940. During the French debacle, the 7th company takes refuge in the woods. But she is ambushed by the German army. Only three men left as a scout survived. They find themselves on their own in occupied France.
Actor, notably with Sacha Guitry, humorist, lyricist, playwright, poet, Robert Lamoureux added a new string to his bow in 1960 by embarking on directing with Ravissante and La Brune que voilà. Thirteen years later, he signs his third film with But where did the 7th company go? without suspecting the success he was going to meet.
If it took him so long to return to directing after his first two feature films, it’s because Lamoureux prefers to devote himself to acting. But, inspired by his own experience, he had the idea of a military vaudeville where we would follow the comical adventures of soldiers lost in the wild in the midst of the French debacle of 1940.
His idea appealed to producer Alain Poiré, to whom we owe, among others, Les Tontons flingueurs and La Folie des grandeurs. Actors Jean Lefebvre and Pierre Mondy are contacted and enthusiastic about the script. Aldo Maccione, Alain Doutey, Pierre Tornade, Erik Colin and Lamoureux himself complete the cast.
Despite a minimal budget, Lamoureux demonstrates rigor and rigor on the set, unlike his actors who are sometimes dissipated. Jean Lefebvre thus often arrives late after spending the night at the casino, and Aldo Maccione ends up running away to telephone Alain Poiré, tired of the director’s seriousness and authority.
On its release, But where did the 7th company go? seduced 3.9 million spectators, making it the third biggest success at the French box office of 1973. This unexpected triumph obviously calls for a sequel. You don’t change a winning recipe: the original cast is back, with the exception of Aldo Maccione, replaced by Henri Guybet.
Lamoureux is accompanied in writing by the son of his producer, Jean-Marie Poiré. Originally titled The Return of the 7th Company, The 7th Company was found released two years after the first film. The success is once again at the rendezvous with more than 3.7 million admissions.
Never two without three
Rebelote: two years later, on December 7, 1977, La Septième Compagnie au clair de lune was released in theaters. Lamoureux and Poiré moved the action to 1942 within the Resistance. Gérard Hérold, André Pousse, Jean Carmet and Gérard Jugnot join the adventure to make up for the departure of Pierre Tornade, Erik Colin and Robert Dalban.
The critics gave the comedy a murderous welcome and the public was also less enthusiastic: this third part did not exceed two million admissions. A score far from shameful but well below expectations. In addition to concluding the triloge, this film is also the last achievement of Lamoureux, who resisted the insistence of producer Marcel Dassault to make a fourth episode of the 7th company.
An excerpt from “But where did the 7th company go?” :