La Folie des grandeurs


U.S. Premiere (restored version) • Comedy • France, 1971

DCP • 1.66 • Mono • Color • 110 min

Directed by: Gérard Oury

Written by: Gérard Oury, Danièle Thompson, Marcel Jullian

Cinematography: Henri Decaë

Film Editing: Alber Jurgenson

Original Score: Michel Polnareff 

Produced by: Alain Poiré

Cast: Louis de Funès (Don Salluste de Bazan), Yves Montand (Blaze), Alice Sapritch (Dona Juana), Karin Schubert (The Queen) 

International Sales: Gaumont • 


To mark the 25th anniversary of the passing of the great Yves Montand, COLCOA proudly presents the international premiere of this restored classic. Montand is paired with comedic giant Louis de Funès in an historical spoof of the Victor Hugo play, Ruy Blas. De Funès plays Don Salluste, an irascible nobleman commissioned to collect taxes in the farthest reaches of the kingdom. In truth, the Queen has exiled him for his appalling wickedness and Salluste is now penniless, reduced to wandering the countryside with his loyal Black Knights in search of peasants to tyrannize. But Salluste has a plan to regain favor with the court, a cunningly simple plan: his valet Blaze (Montand), will simply seduce the Queen by impersonating Salluste’s idealistic cousin Don Caesar. At that point, Salluste will expose the Queen’s infidelity, and thus inspire the grateful King to simply reinstate Salluste’s privileges. Simple enough?

If the word madcap didn’t exist before Louis de Funès, surely someone would have had to invent it for him. Providing a narrative framework for all that manic energy fell to Marcel Juillan and co-writer/director Gérard Oury, who had collaborated on previous de Funès mega-smashes The Sucker (1965) and Don’t look Now…We’re Being Shot At (1966). For the latter, film Oury enlisted his daughter, writer/director Danièle Thompson, who would collaborate on many of his subsequent projects, including this one. Just as with the previous films, de Funès was to be paired with Bourvil, but the endearing comedian’s untimely death forced Oury to risk casting pop singer/actor Yves Montand opposite de Funès. Oury needn’t have worried; Montand pulled off his first comedic role with his usual grace and effortlessness. Oury began as an actor before settling into his directing career. His early thrillers have been completely eclipsed by the comedies that made him the most successful filmmaker of his day, holding box-office records that were only broken decades later by James Cameron’s Titanic. He was awarded the Légion d'honneur in 1991, and the César d'Honneur in 1993.



“…one of the director's most colorful and beautifully made films.”

­– James Travers, Films de France