And … ACTION! Let’s get into some French humor with the incredible Louis de Funès movies! I’ve been watching all those movies and the Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez series since I was very young and I continue to just love it! And another good thing about these movies is that they used great cars, as well as funny ones, on the set. Not to forget the ultimate French actors Louis de Funès and especially Bourvil, who plays truly convincing as a naïve Corniaud, which means a softy.
Today’s article will be about the cars of the movie Le Corniaud from 1965. The cars are very much alive in this setting, which took place in France and Italy and it seems they really have their own personality… Like the yellow Autobianchi from a sanguineous Italian! The all-star of this movie is the white Cadillac, but also an Austin Healey, a Jaguar, two Rollses and as you might know from an earlier article, of course the 2CV, that will also pass the revue. The Jag and the Caddy each have onboard telephone to allow communications between Saroyan et le Corniaud!
Sadly there isn’t a YouTube vid of the full movie available anymore : ( But if you like to see the movie, which I can really recommend, just look for the paid version! Or the music, which is always a great tune and typically French from the period.
The ’big star’ of this movie, the white Cadillac, is the car that is used to smuggle cocaine, or as they say le schnouff, stolen gold, jewelry and diamonds, including the famous and gigantic You Koun Koun! What makes the whole movie so hilarious is the naivety of the smuggler, who doesn’t know that he actually is a smuggler until the end of the story… Then all of a sudden he is the clever hero, in a nutshell a true Corniaud!
To start this movie, the Rolls-Royce of Monsieur Saroyan (Louis de Funès) clashes in central Paris with the 2CV of the Corniaud (Bourvil), who is just leaving for a camping vacation. His 2CV is totally smashed to pieces. Saroyan, who is the head of a smuggler’s gang arranges for the Corniaud the attractive alternative to travel in a huge white early 1960s Cadillac convertible from Naples to Bordeaux. Of course the Corniaud doesn’t know that the car is packed with contrabande. From there on the smuggling story kicks off.
It wasn’t a secure job to bring this car from point A to B, especially with the rival gang of the stutterer (in the red Austin-Healey) that is continuously following and always watching and stalking the Cadillac… The Jaguar of villain Saroyan, the big mafia-boss who has set this whole journey up, has quite a race to make to catch up with the Cadillac!
There are a lot of parts in this movie that are hilarious for very different reasons. My fave parts are the Cadillac on a vertical lift going up and down in the garage and Bourvil trying to get out via a ladder, which of course goes totally wrong! And the part that mafioso Saroyan has to quickly repair the Cadillac after a wild night race/fight with the gang of the stutterer who had stolen the Cadillac… Formidable!
A vintage RR is shortly used as a replacement car for the Jaguar of gangster-team Saroyan, after the stutterer had put sugar-cubes in the patrol tank… Soon after the stutterer repeats this joke with the Rolls as well, so this RR was not a very big personage in the movie.
Then, what is left, is the oh so cute Autobianchi! This little yellow beastie is the car of a real sanguineous Italian. Bourvil is stealing his girl and so the Italian lover had to plank his gas pedal to catch up with the Cadillac, which was quite an exhausting experience for the petite canari. A very characteristic feature of this car it its horn!This movie is where my love for the classic Americans started, especially le Mustang and le Cadillac! To continue my interest in those cars next up I will write about le Mustang! But first a very special request for an upcoming war-movie! ‘Actor-cars’ WANTED…!
Written by Rosemarijn Atalante Veenenbos