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Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973) online

Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973) online
Original Title :
Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob
Genre :
Movie / Adventure / Comedy / Crime
Year :
1973
Directror :
Gérard Oury
Cast :
Louis de Funès,Miou-Miou,Suzy Delair
Writer :
Gérard Oury,Danièle Thompson
Budget :
FRF 18,000,000
Type :
Movie
Time :
1h 40min
Rating :
7.5/10

A bigoted Frenchman finds himself forced to impersonate a popular rabbi while on the run from a group of assassins - and the police.

Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973) online

Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who's returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States. Adding to the confusion are Pivert's dentist-wife, who thinks her husband is leaving her for another woman, their daughter, who's about to get married, and a Parisian neighborhood filled with people eager to celebrate the return of Rabbi Jacob. Written by Eugene Kim

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Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who’s returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States. Director: Gérard Oury. AKA The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. Previous Post Les rendez-vous de Paris (1995). Next Post Les Fugitifs (1986).

Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who's returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States. Original Title Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob.

Director: Gérard Oury, Synopsis: Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob: A bigoted Frenchman finds himself forced to impersonate a popular rabbi while on the run from a group of assassins - and the police. Or choose another server from the list below.

SS is dedicated to The Simpsons and host to thousands of free TV show episode scripts and screencaps, cartoon framegrabs and movie scripts. Long live rabbi Jacob. Bless them, uncle Jacob. That is why you have come. Stand up, uncle Jacob. They want to welcome you.

Director: Gérard Oury. Starring: Louis de Funès, Suzy Delair, Marcel Dalio and others. In this riot of frantic disguises and mistaken identities, Victor Pivert, a blustering, bigoted French factory owner, finds himself taken hostage by Slimane, an Arab rebel leader. The two dress up as rabbis as they try to elude not only assasins from Slimane's country, but also the police, who think Pivert is a murderer. Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who's returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States.

In this riot of frantic disguises and mistaken identities, Victor Pivert, a blustering, bigoted French factory owner, finds himself taken hostage by Slimane, an Arab rebel leader. The two dress up as rabbis as they try to elude not only assasins from Slimane's country, but also the police, who think Pivert is a murderer. Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who's returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States. Adding to the confusion are Pivert's dentist-wife, who thinks her husband is leaving her for another woman, their daughter, who's about to get married, and a Parisian neighborhood filled with people eager to celebrate the return of Rabbi Jacob.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Louis de Funès Louis de Funès - Victor Pivert
Suzy Delair Suzy Delair - Germaine Pivert
Marcel Dalio Marcel Dalio - Rabbi Jacob (as Dalio)
Claude Giraud Claude Giraud - Mohamed Larbi Slimane / Rabbi Zeiligman
Renzo Montagnani Renzo Montagnani - Le colonel Farès
Janet Brandt Janet Brandt - Tzipé Schmoll, la grand-mère
André Falcon André Falcon - Le ministre
Xavier Gélin Xavier Gélin - Alexandre, le fils du général
Henri Guybet Henri Guybet - Salomon, le chauffeur de Pivert
Popeck Popeck - Moishe Schmoll (as Jean Herbert)
Miou-Miou Miou-Miou - Antoinette Pivert
Denise Provence Denise Provence - Esther Schmoll
Jacques François Jacques François - Le général
Claude Piéplu Claude Piéplu - Le commissaire divisionnaire Andreani
Georges Adet Georges Adet - Le vieux Lévi

The movie was released on October 18th 1973, during Yom Kippur War between Israel and Arab countries. That very day, the press attaché's wife hijacked a plane to prevent the movie from being released, claiming that the movie was pro-Israeli. She eventually was shot by police marksmen.

Louis de Funès admitted later in an interview that if any trace of racial prejudice remained in him, shooting this film helped him "clean his soul".

This film is known as the film with the most "gags" per minute.

The final scene was filmed at Les Invalides in Paris, which is in fact a military hospital and museum. You can even see the tomb of Napoleon, which is part of the complex in the background (It is the building with the dome). There is a chapel in the complex where people can get married.

Fares tries to kidnap Slimane in St-Germain-des-Près, Paris. One of his assistant tells him that it can't be done on the boulevard because it's been done before. It's a reference to the Mehdi Ben Barka affair in 1965. The kidnapping happened in front of Brasserie Lipp on the other side of the street and that building can be seen in that sequence. The movie J'ai vu tuer Ben Barka (2005) is about that case that was a big event for a time in French politics.

The helicopter in the final scene wears the registration F-BUFB. Built in 1973, this Sud-Aviation SA341G Gazelle now flies in Italy as I-LDAV. When the movie was filmed, the helicopter was more or less brand-new.

Italian censorship visa # 63732 delivered on 18-12-1973.


User reviews

Corgustari

Corgustari

I first saw this when I was a kid on its first US release back in the early 1970's. I laughed to kill myself and thought it was one of the funniest things I had ever seen.

The quest to see the movie again over the last 30 years has been a labor of love. I don't think it ever aired on New York TV and its showings on cable can be counted on one hand. I was lucky enough to see it a a local revival theater a few years ago before it completely disappeared. Thanks to E-Bay I recently picked up a VHS copy and now comes word that a US release on DVD is moments away. Life couldn't be better.

The one thing the handful of viewings of the film has taught me is that the movie plays differently every time I see it. Depending on mood it I may find it to be one of the funniest or one of the most charming films movies ever made. Some sequences in one viewing will leave me gasping for breath while other times it will simply make me smile. No matter though I've enjoyed it each time I've watched it.

The story of a bigot who gets way laid and ends up on the run all over France only to end up posing as a beloved Rabbi, is ripe with comic potential most of which is put to good use. Also put to good use are some twists that no rational person would come up with, but which work in the context of a wild comedy, the bubble gum factory for example.

This is a wonderful life affirming story that makes you laugh until you cry while showing that ultimately we are all the same. Which is kind of tragic in view of the films opening shots which are some of the earliest film footage shot at the World Trade Center, which had just opened.

If you like to laugh see this movie, its wonderful.
Chillhunter

Chillhunter

In USA, Rabbi Jacob (Marcel Dalio) and Rabbi Zeiligman are traveling back to Paris after a long absence far from his hometown. Meanwhile the bigoted French Victor Pivert (Louis de Funès), who is the owner of a factory, is traveling by car with his Jewish driver Salomon (Henri Guybet) to France to the marriage of his daughter Antoinette Pivert (Miou-Miou). They have a car accident and Pivert fires Salomon and walks on the road looking for help. He stumbles with the Muslin rebel leader Mohamed Larbi Slimane (Claude Giraud) and unintentionally saves the Slimane from assassins that want to kill him.

Slimane abducts him and they head to the Paris airport, chased by the killers and the police. They meet with Rabbis Jacob and Zeiligman that have just arrived in France in the toilet and they impersonate them to escape from the pursuers. When they meet the Jewish community that is welcoming Rabbi Jacob in the airport, they have to proceed in the farce getting in more confusion.

"Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob" is one of the funniest comedies of cinema history, with a complex screenplay entwining the lives of several characters without coincidences but hilarious situations. The story makes fun of polemic themes, like religion and prejudice, and with government economical interests, but is never disrespectful.

Louis de Funès is fantastic with a top-notch performance, considered by fans of the French king of the comedy as his best ever. Unfortunately the studios do not make movies like this anymore. My vote is nine.

Title (Brazil); "As Loucas Aventuras de Rabbi Jacob" ("The Crazy Adventures of Rabbi Jacob")
heart of sky

heart of sky

This is an excellent movie. I have had few connections with French comedies, and the opening gags were unexpected. The acting, the plot, the dialog and the site gags were fantastic. You are not bothered by the English subtitles. The movie is never sluggish, and you will be pleasantly surprised. I have watched subtitled movies for 35 years and many French movies, and this is top tier. I have read various reviews and most of the negative comments concern the packaging and DVD itself, not the movie. However, when I viewed the film (and was not aware of the packaging or lack of extras)I was hardly bothered by what the DVD lacked. After reading the negative reviews, I was disturbed even less by the packaging. It's all about the movie, and it was wonderful. I rented it and now I shall own it.
Celace

Celace

This is one of the funniest, bust-a-gut laughing, most hysterical films ever made. It came out in France in 1973, and did so well that it was put into release (with subtitles) in the US, where it more than held its own. This is slapstick farce at its very best, triumphantly showcasing Luis De Funes, who was as big a comedy star in France as was Jerry Lewis. It is unfortunate that this is one of the only films of his that made it to America. The premise is the typical switched identities / coincidental mixups / innocent man being chased plots of the genre, but what makes this one sublime is the unbelievably rubber face and spot-on timing of De Funes, backed up by a good supporting cast, decent script and excellent direction. I first saw this in my teens when it originally came out, and my entire family all agreed that it was the funniest film we'd ever seen. I recently saw it again with my own children, and it has absolutely held up over thirty years. If you like comedy (particularly of the fish-out-of-water and/or slapstick variety) do your best to track this one down. It's worth it!

PS: As a little treat, look closely at the actor who plays Rabbi Jacob. Look familiar? It was Marcel Dalio, who played the croupier in Casablanca!
Blackbeard

Blackbeard

This is one of the funniest films every made. Explores the differences among peoples. A very funny commentary on life. Has not been available on VHS with English subtitles until mid-2001. The acting is superb although the dialog somewhat slapstick.
Άνουβις

Άνουβις

After seeing this movie, I wanted to write a review saying how funny this film was, so anyone checking IMDB would know. Luckily, all of the other reviews already capture the hilarious nature of this film. I can only add that my French teacher said most French people have seen the movie many times and practically know it by heart. Even though she has seen it many times, she wanted to see it yet again. Everybody will like this film, unless you really hate slapstick. If you are Jewish, it is especially funny, but if you aren't its still a complete riot.
Doukasa

Doukasa

Gerard Oury, the husband of Michelle Morgan, was an actor who turned director. His movies as an actor where mostly unimportant, but his movies as a director are superb. Adventures of Rabbi Jacob with the great comedian Louis de Funs is probably his greatest achievement to date. In the plot, De Funs, and antisemite, is obliged to pose as a Jew, in order to save his life!! This concept alone is enough to trigger an avalanche of comedic situations unsurpassed in any previous de Fun's movie, and fitting his cinema persona as a glove. The supporting cast is also superb, and includes Suzy Delair as his dentist wife, and other well known French actors. Unfortunately this movie is unavailable even in France, but I am sure that it will soon appear on DVD as have some other de Funs movies at this time, two by Gerard Oury.
Siralune

Siralune

A really funny movie, in my opinion the best of Louis de Funès' movies. For everyone who hasn't seen him yet: You're really missing out on a treat. But watch it in french (with subtitles if necessary) because it is so much better in the original!!!!!

Louis de Funès was the comedian of the french television and is still extremely popular there as in many other countries like Belgium or Germany (in Germany at least a bit) I can recommend every movie he has made, but this one is still my favourite!!
Gaudiker

Gaudiker

I've just watched this again as the DVD is now available in France, I had no idea it had been subtitled in English as the version I've seen just has the original French - if you can watch it without subtitles to appreciate the original French humour it's worth it. I think one of the funniest scenes is when the loud over-the-top older Jewish lady meets LDF in his disguise as Rabbi Jacob at the airport & they talk about different types of fur coats in crazy accents & with the maddest wordplay ever I can't imagine how this was translated into English (especially as I'm a translator myself!). The film is totally ridiculous and combines wit with lots of visual humour, wordplay, the whole lot. As for the dance my 8 year old daughter does an excellent version of it! Louis de Funès - RIP. The world is definitely darker without him. I'm British and to my knowledge this film, and none of LDF's films are known in Britain which is a great pity, if anyone knows otherwise please put me right!
caif

caif

Give Louis de Funes a good role and the freedom to go nuts, and you will have a good movie. In Rabbi Jacob, Funes is the owner of an industrial plant who "knows that the people like to be lied to" ("mais il AIME qu'on lui mente, le peuple!"). His character is intolerant of Arabs, Jews, Blacks, etc. At one point during the story, however, he must take on the identity of a Rabbi and try to pass himself off as Jewish in order to save his hide. With him is an Arab, who must do the same. If you've seen de Funes before, I'm sure you can imagine the hilarious scenes that arise out of this predicament.
Dagdalas

Dagdalas

Does anyone know where I can get a copy of this movie? I saw it in 1973 and can only remember that I was glad it was in subtitles because the laughter drowned out the dialogue. The juxtaposition of rabbis that weren't, with other Jews was hilarious. This movie was heavy with slapstick type humor as well. Loved it !
Linn

Linn

Finally a comedy that deals with issues related to the Jewish religion without a hint of disrespect. Hilarious from beginning to end, this movie is a model of its genre.
Rleyistr

Rleyistr

My grandfather, as well as my father were both of them fans of french cinema. I grew up watching this film in our Beta video (oh yes, way before VHS existed and DVD wasn't even thought of) and now, 20 years later I see it again in an anniversary edition. I can say I remember almost every gag from the film... every scene. I just watched it on DVD with my father again and was a blast from the past for both of us, he had seen it with my granddad 35 years ago in the cinema and with me and my brothers several times on video. I am saving this film to watch with my kids too in the future, they'll grow up with it too.

Such a great time...and so many memories
Kazijora

Kazijora

This is one of the best comedies in the French cinema. Louis de Funes plays the role of Victor Pivert, an industrialist with a Napoleonic complex and a tendency for racist viewpoints, who inadvertantly teams up with, Mohamed Larbi Slimane, an exiled Arab political oposition candidate who is on the run from hired assassins in Paris. Pivert and Slimane masquerade as two Jewish rabbis in order to save their lives. What follows are hillarious scenes taking place in the Jewish section of Paris as well as in the surrounding areas. Watch out for the incredible mime scenes by Louis de Funes at the gas station and in the Orly airport.
Ishnsius

Ishnsius

"Solomon, you're Jewish?"

Victor Pivert is so baffled at the very thought that his long-time driver was Jewish all along that he asked this question at least three times with a shocked look of disbelief. Solomon even mentioned that his uncle Jacob, coming from New York is a Rabbi. "But he's not Jewish" hopes Pivert, immediately deceived by Solomon's smiling nod.

This brief exchange is one of the most memorable comedic movie scenes of French cinema and I admire Gérard Oury, who directed the film, for his equal talent as a writer. It's funny because no one would make such a big deal about having a Jewish driver and be so damn serious about it, and it's also smart because it sets the tone of our lead character: Louis de Funès as Victor Pivert, a racist, xenophobic and narrow-minded bigot. The scene is even funnier because he was previously attacking all the foreigners through their driving or mocking an interracial couple in a wedding, and even smarter because ten seconds before, the guy was stating that he wasn't racist. Not racist but glad though that his daughter is marrying a white, "very white … even a little bit too pale" in his opinion.

Only Louis de Funès could have played a despicable character with such comical appeal. Although we don't share Pivert's views, we feel sorry for his ignorance and only hope that he'll be taught a good lesson. And this lesson is very explicit in the film's synopsis: Pivert becomes the hostage of an Arab revolutionary leader named Mohamed Larbi Slimane (Claude Giraud) and to escape from some other Arab goons, both disguise as rabbis. In a nutshell, you have a Catholic and a Muslim passing for Jews. And beyond this ethnic premise, one of the funniest movies of French cinema: a comedy of slapstick and errors, but not without a subtle and poignant touch of social and political commentary.

"The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob" marks also the pinnacle of the collaboration between Gérard Oury and Louis de Funès, after three of the greatest French box-office successes, with a de Funès, at the top of his game with his hot-tempered mannerisms and all the expressions that elevate his talent to the level of Chaplin, Keaton and Donald Duck. Take the way he mimics the sound of a woodpecker ('Pivert' in French) when he gives his name, his devilish smiles, his body language, a true comical talent who alas would never be the same after "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob". Indeed, Louis de Funès suffered a massive heart attack two years after the film, and would never have the same range of physical talent. But let's get back to the laughs.

"The Mad Avdentures of Rabbi Jacob" starts with a respected Rabbi leaving New York for the first time after 30 years, to celebrate his nephew's bar mitzvah. Rabbi Jacob is played by Marcel Dalio, Gabin's companion in "Grand Illusion", the croupier in "Casablanca", an underrated figure of French cinema, miserably exploited by the Nazi occupation to denounce the Jewish control on filmmaking. Rabbi Jacob is Dalio's last memorable role and what a fitting way to share it with another veteran actor. And involuntarily, it's Rabbi Jacob and his assistant who contribute to the misunderstanding, because they share the same physical features than Pivert and Slimane, so when the lead pair is seen at the airport by an old Jewish grandmother who can barely see, Pivert becomes Rabbi Jacob, and Slimane Rabbi Zeligman.

The film is a spell-binding rodeo of gags, involving Pivert, Slimane, three Arab agents, three French cops, the Schmoll Family, Pivert's wife, from a chewing-gum factory to a dentist's room, from a synagogue to a Jewish quarter street, with an interesting running-gag involving Slimane's fondness on red-headed women. The film also features a series of unforgettable lines and moments now deeply rooted in French Pop-Culture. "Silence, Rabbi Jacob, he will dance!" shouts the grandmother with her strong Yiddish accent, and then starts the most emblematic moment of the film when Rabbi Jacob performs the Hassidic group dance. If you haven't seen the film yet, just watch this part on Youtube: a real classic of French cinema.

The film is punctuated with more serious moments, particularly relevant in the context of the film (released right before the Kippur War) and even today, when both Pivert and Slimane bless the Jewish boy, and the powerful handshake between Sliman and Salomon, after Pivert genuinely asked them "Sliman, Salomon … are you guys cousins?" Like the greatest comedies, the film knows how to loosen up, and it was a nice touch for Gérard Oury to think of such moments. "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob" is also the proof that we can mock any race or religion, through caricature and stereotypes, without being labeled as racist or Anti-semitic. Oury, from a Jewish background, can hardly be accused of Anti-Semitism of course, but through his film, he proves that one of the most essential elements of Jewish humor is self-derision.

The film features also one of the most memorable scores of French cinema from the Master Vladimir Cosma, the sight of New York with his catchy Yiddish-like tone is the film's most unforgettable signature, enriched with a more melancholic melody at the end. Speaking of the ending, it's a bit chaotic in the way it sweeps off many of the subplots with some deus ex machina resolutions or cringe-worthy dated humor, but it doesn't really affect the film, not after so many great laughs anyway.

Now, I've always been perplexed by Slimane's statement : "When we ask a Jew question, he always replies by another question" I asked one of my Jewish friends about that, and his reply was : "What makes you think so?"
Prorahun

Prorahun

I really love this movie ! I remember when i saw it when i was a child and every time it's, on i watch it again. Louis is very funny in this one, and the film reflects on every aspect of being Jewish, the cultural aspect and other religions in broader view. My daughter of 11 just asked me what being Jewish is all about and told her about the film in my early days, and told her whenever she got the chance to see this film, she should, and i completed it with a a free interpretation of the 'dance'... and she was very amused:-) Love the 'dance'as a highlight of the film completed with babushka style in a very funny way. Can't wait until it's on again ! Please, check it out
Thordigda

Thordigda

In "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob", Louis De Funes can apply all his talents: Not only his notorious fast-talking that makes him even for native French speakers hard to understand, the sudden break-outs of his temper, his enormous capability for slapstick which included for him playing whole scenes without a double, but also his wonderful pantomimic talents. In this film, his name in "Pivert" (which sounds a bit like "pervert"), this is the bird pee-wit, and whenever Victor Pivert is asked about his name, he feels urged to imitate the bird in a pantomimic manner, whereby his acting gets every time more insane. De Funes played his movies with such an intensity that he suffered several heart attacks before his last one killed him in 1983. One of his sons, a heart-surgeon, should be constantly on the set. Did the Funes really play? French people say that the three greatest French comedians of all times were (in alphabetic order) Bourvil, Fernandel and Louis De Funes. In the films of Bourvil and Fernandel you can laugh with a warm and happy heart, but in the films of Louis De Funes you cry out with insane laughter. He was too short time of earth, but was in over 100 movies and in approximately 50 in the main role. And now look: In the USA there are exactly 2 of his movies available: "The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob" and "Delusions of Grandeur", both directed by the French comedy giant Gérard Oury. A third movie, again by Oury, you can buy from a New York video place for approximately 50 dollars on VHS: "La Grande Vadrouille" - by many considered one of the best French movies ever. And that's it. Only from the 6 "Le Gendarme De St-Tropez" movies which made De Funes internationally known, not one is on a DVD that would play on an average American player. For "The Gendarme in New York" you must pay fantasy prices for the only VHS recording that is long out of print. It is beyond human understanding that De Funes works are not available outside of France.
Hallolan

Hallolan

One of the best movie featuring Louis DeFunès. He's such a good actor, funny to the extreme, and all natural! In this one, he plays Pivert, a French industrialist who's all surprise to learn that his assistant, Salomon, is Jewish! From there, the fun starts and keeps going right up to the final large scale "dénouement".

I've seen this movie maybe a half-dozen times, but never got tired of it. Another great comedy by Gérard Oury.

Out of 100, I gave it 81. That's good for *** out **** stars.

Seen at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, at the Bloor Cinema, on April 24th, 2002.
Bluddefender

Bluddefender

If you have seen other Louis de Funes movies, and have missed on this one, you need to rectify this immediately! Louis de Funes was at his best as Rabbi Jacob, and the rest of the cast isn't bad either. Comic of situation never stops.

One thing I would mention in particular: contrary to other 70s-80s french comedy which tend to age a bit, this movie has remained unscathed by time, and is every bit as funny as the first time I watched it.

For those of you who have never seen Louis de Funes in action, check out the small, bald, eternally grumpy, over-excited comedy star that he was...no wonder my favourite comic died of a heart attack!
Iriar

Iriar

I accidentally re-viewed this movie and to my surprise, it's humor worked out as a wonderful antidote to the recent painful terror we had to witness in Paris. Here too bandits with Middle East connections try to turn the French capital and its surroundings (near Oisors and Chaumont) in an unsafe place. More ironically, the film kicks off in New York, providing 7 shots of the Twin Towers. Contemporary discrimination, cultural prejudices and even corruption are ridiculed well. Main actor Louis de Funès is - even then at 58 years of age - a genuine example of an ADHD disorder. Appealing scenes with the 'almost car of the 20th century' Citroën DS helped well to get an authentic perception of France in the seventies.
Fek

Fek

It's really hard to make good comedies. Usually they revolve around people being stupid or incompetent. That's why this one is so amazing -- it's not only hysterical, the laughs are non-stop from start to finish without relying on "formula". And for that, you can mostly thank the incomparable Louis de Funes. His physical comedy, delivery and facial expressions are all sure to keep you laughing the entire film.

With its theme of Jews & Arabs (and Frenchmen), I was wondering how this would hold up after 9/11. Well fear not, it's still as funny as it ever was.

Even if you're not generally a sub-title fan, watch this film when you're looking for something funny. Just be prepared to laugh for 90 minutes straight!
Roram

Roram

'les aventures de rabbi jacob' and 'la grande vadrouille' are according to me the best french movies ever. It's a shame that it's so hard to find a copy of these movies. After some weeks of searching I managed to get both movies.

'les aventures de rabbi jacob' has some epic movie scenes. the first one is the fight in a bubble-gum factory, I start laughing even if I just remember the scene. Every movie lover must see this scene.

the second scene when louis de funes (known as rabbi jacob) gets in the Jewish town and must welcome the people. Everyone knows him, but he knows nobody, just hilarious. To make this scene epic, louis de funes performs a nice Jewish groupdance....

For some people louis de funes is just an hyperactive big-headed person.But if you can manage these characteristics, you will fall in love with the movie!
Jediathain

Jediathain

"Les Aventures De Rabbi Jacob" (1973) is actually based on two very different plot lines: The movie starts in New York, showing children playing in a street somewhere in Lower East Side and waiting to say good-bye to their revered Rabbi Jacob, who, after more then thirty years, returns to his native France in occasion of the Bar-Mitzwah of his nephew David. However, before the Rabbi and a good dozen of his friends make it - all together in one single taxi can - to the airport, the movie starts, so-to-say a second time, showing the industrial Mr. Pivert (Louis De Funes) and his chauffeur Salomon rushing home to Paris for the wedding of Pivert's daughter. But not enough with these two main lines: There is a third one interwoven: The trip of Mohammed Larbi Slimane (Claude Giraud) on the flight of his henchmen under the lead of the Colonel Fares (Renzo Montagnani). Now, the second plot-line with Pivert and Salomon breaks insofar apart, as Pivert fires his chauffeur Salomon because he is refusing to help his boss out of a misery that he (Salomon) caused, driving their car into a lake - because it is Shabbes. However, again, the fact that Salomon is Jewish, is a little side-line again to the real Rabbi Jacob, who turns out to be his uncle. Therefore, from the second plot-line, only Pivert remains, and he soon meets Slimane, so that the second and the third plot-line merge. After a long and funny trip, they arrive just at Orly Airport where the real Rabbi Jacob and his assistant arrive (merging of the second and third with the first plot-line). And at this point, the road-movie goes over into a screwball comedy, because the Jewish grand-mother, the sister-in-law of the real Rabbi Jacob, takes Pivert and Slimane for the real couple, because they had themselves to disguise as rabbis on their flight from the Colonel Fares and his henchmen and are at that time in Orly, when the real Rabbi and his assistant are scheduled to arrive. Thus, Pivert and Slimane, neither Rabbis nor even familiar with basic Jewish customs, have to play their newly overtaken roles as good as it gets in order to escape Fares and the henchmen. Furthermore, another confusion is caused by the jealous wife of Pivert, Germaine (Suzy Delair), and her trial to get to her husband whom she suspects to have left her at the day of the marriage of their daughter with a "Therese Leduc", is also conceived in the form of road-trip, thus here we have a forth plot-line. One really has to watch this movie several times - not because it is so complicated, but because in order to scoop out the tremendous potential of truly effective humor that is in it. This film is doubtlessly De Funes greatest performance ever, he pulls out all the stops which he commands, there are even people saying that "Rabbi Jacob" remains to be the greatest French comedy made ever.
Dranar

Dranar

Like so many other Europeans of my age I split my sides with laughing when I saw Rabbi Jacob the first time 30-35 years ago. So I was very curious how it would hold up today. And I was not disappointed.

Sure, the movie drags a little here and there, especially in the opening scene (Rabbi Jacob leaving New York). Several others though are so fast paced that modern flicks are put to shame. The first example is the ride that end with the car floating in the lake upside down. Also note that the shoots with visual jokes are kept very short, like the patient locked up in the wardrobe. The spectator has hardly started laughing or immediately follows a rude comment. The result is literally breathtaking.

There is more. De Funes' pantomime scenes are as great as I thought them back in the 70's. Perhaps the most hilarious one is when he impersonates a traffic agent.

Some of the dialogues are awesome. Claude Gensac at the airport is an absolute match for the De Funes.

In general I am not that fond of De Funes' movies. The Gendarme ones for instance rely way too much on cheap double meaning jokes. Rabbi Jacob though should be a classic example for any aspiring - and many experienced - comedy director.

One lesson to be learned: comedies greatly benefit from treating controversial subjects. Indeed (French) racism and Arab/jew antithesis are subjects not spoofed enough in my opinion. That makes the comparable Don't mess with the Zohan tolerable, but Rabbi Jacob is way superior. Adam Sandler obviously hadn't studied it.
Whiteflame

Whiteflame

I first saw this movie when I was 8 years old, and I laughed my head of with the slapstick humor (the bubblegum factory scenes). Now I laugh at all the subtle anti-racism humor, whether it is anti-Jew, anti-Muslim, anti-black and anti-Belgian ("un belge, là on est derrière un belge") humor which 25 years after the release is still very up-to-date and funny (a sign of good quality). For instance: the traditional, Catholic but ignorant character of De Funès is shocked to find out that his big nosed chauffeur is Jew "Salomon, you, a Jew? Who would have thought". The music of Vladimir Cosma is worth mentioning too, and above all the directing of Gérard Oury, who keeps the reins on De Funès short. With the recent trouble in the middle-East and the price of the crude oil, this film is worth watching again.