Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
Original Title: Le soupirant
France, 1962. C.A.P.A.C., Cocinor, Copra Films. Screenplay by Pierre Étaix, Jean-Claude Carriere. Cinematography by Pierre Levent. Produced by Paul Claudon. Music by Jean Paillaud. Production Design by Raymond Tournon. Costume Design by Yvonne Suné. Film Editing by Pierre Gillette.
Pierre Etaix graduates from shorts to features with this delightful comedy, showing the command of low-key comedy that he developed in his earlier work as well as his experience as a pantomime artist and clown. He plays an amateur astrologer whose parents are concerned with the fact that he likes to spend all his time looking at star charts and has no prospects of getting married and forming a family of his own. Encouraged to take on some amorous activities, he tries emulating the wooing techniques of the men around him but that only results in delightful disaster. When he does finally rope in an interested young lady (Laurence Lignières), he is inconvenienced by how well it is going because he has become obsessed with a popular singer (France Arnel) who is his ideal. The final sequence, set at a circus where Etaix attempts to finally make his dream woman his own, is where the slow build of the entire operation really pays off, delivering hilarious sight gags and brilliantly arranged pratfalls.
The Criterion Collection: #655