French Language Blog

Fun with Funès Posted by on Jun 18, 2011 in Vocabulary

Yes, it’s true, dame nature (mother nature) may not have graced him with the charm of the famous French actors of his time, say, Alain Delon, or the looks of a Jean-Paul Belmondo, but what he did have, however, is un don unique (a unique gift) for la comédie !

The beginnings of Louis de Funès, as a young man in his 20’s, living in that momentous decade of the 1940s, were by no means easy: After having tried his hand at several jobs, he nearly always ended up getting… fired.

And speaking of fire:  “Jouer avec le feu (“playing with fire”) seemed to have been a constant fixation of his, one is tempted to say, to almost a “pyromaniacal” degree.

As un gag or une farce (a practical joke), he once almost burned to the ground one of the most distinguished movie and photography schools of Paris! Of course, that was an incident scandalous enough to have him once and for all kicked out of that prestigious establishment..

His percée (breakthrough) finally came with the WWII Franco-Italian comedy-hit, based on a novel of the famous French writer Marcel Aymé, titled La Traversée de Paris(“Crossing Paris”), where he played next to another monument of le cinéma français: Jean Gabin.

Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez

His major success, however, and what posterity mostly remembers him for, came with the role of Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez(“The Gendarme of Saint-Tropez”), which has knew such a succès fou (resounding success) that it continued with no less than five sequels.

Other amazing and must-see movies of his include La Grande Vadrouille” (“The Great Stroll”), which is widely seen as his best achievement ever, thanks especially to the co-starring of his complice (accomplice, or “partner in crime”, you may say), another comedy genius by the name of Bourvil!

He also managed to resurrect from nearly complete oblivion a French fictional character, created in 1911, called “Fantômas”, where he co-starred with the equally hilarious Fernandel.

It’s probably safe to say that the troika Funès-Bourvil-Fernandel gathers, hands down, les maîtres indisputables (the indisputable masters) of French Comedy in the 20th century!

Finally, you should also check out his “La Soupe aux Choux” (“The Cabbage Soup”), which came out a year before the “UFO/E.T.“-mania, in 1981, and also, malheureusement (unfortunately) for le monde du cinéma (the world of movies), two years before his death, in 1983.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Keep learning French with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it


  1. Nadja:

    I remember Louis de Funès films being on the television in Austria nearly every Sunday when I was a child and we watched them as a whole family, gathering around the telly. They are hilarious, great fun to watch 🙂

  2. buy valtrex:

    yay google is my queen aided me to find this outstanding web site ! .