Mad Adventures of "Rabbi" Jacob

Best Foreign Language Film
Golden Globes
A slapstick masterpiece. One of the all-time funniest flicks.


The Mad Adventures of "Rabbi" Jacob

Part of our Anniversary Classics series. For details, visit:
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present screenings of the raucous comedy, THE MAD ADVENTURES OF "RABBI" JACOB, on the 45th anniversary of its US release as part of the popular monthly Abroad program. The French farce, directed by Gerard Oury, will screen April 17 at the Royal, Town Center, and Pasadena Playhouse.

This madcap movie draws upon time-honored comedy tropes of frantic disguises and mistaken identities. The story, written by Oury, Daniele Thomsom, Josy Eisenberg, and Roberto de Leonardis, involves the return of beloved Rabbi Jacob (Marcel Dalio) after thirty years in the United States to his hometown in France. He is waylaid at the Paris airport by a bigoted French businessman, Victor Pivert (Louis de Funes), and an Arab rebel leader fleeing the police and assassins. Pivert and the Arab then impersonate Rabbi Jacob and his companion in their escape. Other characters, including Pivert’s daughter (Miou-Miou), jealous wife , and Jewish driver, join the pursuit in a hodgepodge of plot twists and slapstick shenanigans culminating in a chaotic, fun climax.

The movie is a showcase for Louis de Funes, a very popular French comic actor of the era, who topped French moviegoing polls several times in the 60s and 70s. With his high-energy acting style and wide range of facial expressions and tics, he was known in Europe as “the man with forty faces per minute,” but remains relatively unknown to American audiences. Filmmaker Gerard Oury, who had a long career in France, co-wrote a film there in 1958 that Barbra Streisand later adapted as the basis for her 1996 movie,
The Mirror Has Two Faces.

Leonard Maltin found THE MAD ADVENTURES OF RABBI JACOB to be “Often quite funny, with echoes of silent-screen humor.” The National Board of Review proclaimed it, “The funniest picture of the year,” with kudos to Louis de Funes as “in a class with Woody Allen. The best slapstick in years.” The Hollywood Foreign Press endorsed the acclaim with a Golden Globe nomination that year for Best Foreign Film.

"It's a credit to Gerard Oury, the director and co-author of the screenplay, and to the rollicking bad temper and bigotry of the star that so much of
The Mad Adventures of 'Rabbi' Jacob is so funny so much of the time." - The New York Times

"Comedy writers can get away with anything, so long as the racist is the ultimate butt of the joke. That, of course, is the tack taken by French writer-director Gérard Oury... Oury manages to walk the thin line between outrageously funny and just plain outrage with sure-footed skill. Throughout, he manages to remain respectful of beliefs and institutions while poking fun at people... Active, shrewd, essentially well-meaning." - Province

Directed by Gérard Oury. Starring Louis de Funès, Claude Giraud,
Marcel Dalio and Miou-Miou.

Format: DCP
Comedy, Jewish Culture, French Cinema, Anniversary Classics
Gérard Oury
Josy Eisenberg, Gérard Oury, Roberto de Leonardis
Louis de Funès, Claude Giraud, Marcel Dalio
Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film, Golden Globes
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