Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs is another offbeat comedy/drama from that contentedly amoral Frenchman, Bertrand Blier.
Like Going Places, it features Dewaere and Depardieu sharing a woman, neither of them able to please her. In both cases, they take her out of the city to the countryside, where she eventually finds fulfillment from a highly unlikely source. (In one movie it's a babbling idiot, in the other it's an outcast 13 year old boy.)


Carole Laure does many topless scenes, and two frontals.

That brief comparison makes the two films sound more similar than they are. This one is kind of the kindler, gentler version. In Going Places, the boys are a couple of hooligans, and their failure to please their live-in lover is only a small part of the story, In Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, they are a couple of guys with standard middle-class values, and the sexual breakthrough is the entire story. Depardieu plays a young husband who can't make his wife smile any more. In fact, his wife (Carole Laure) doesn't seem to be interested in life at all. In order to bring some spring back to her step, Depardieu recruits her a new lover (Dewaere), a lonely, bookish fellow whose life consists of his library and Mozart. Laure seems to like him well enough, but there is no emotional connection between them, just as there was none between Laure and Depardieu. Their mutual failure to inspire Laure creates a bond between the boys, and they gradually rope in an-ever expanding circle of people into the Laure project, all the while treating her as if she is not there, and talking about her as if she were a pet cat.

When they get out to the country, Laure finally takes an interest in something - a 13 year old boy, with whom she forms both a maternal and a sexual bond. When the boy is carted off by his parents and shipped to a new boarding school, Depardieu and Dewaere help Laure kidnap the boy, for which they go to jail. When they get out, they peek in on Laure through an open window, see her contentedly pregnant. They shrug their shoulders and move on, obviously resigned to never understanding women, but happy that Laure is happy.

The film was considered kind of a trifling but amusing effort in France, and was not even nominated for a Cesar, except for the musical score. America's arthouse community, on the other hand, embraced it and named it the best foreign picture!

DVD info from Amazon.

  • widescreen anamorphic 1.66:1

  • no meaningful features, but the English-speaking viewer may choose between dubbing and subtitles

Tuna's Thoughts

Preparez vos Mouchoirs (1978), titled Get out Your Handkerchiefs in the US, is a wonderful but quirky comedy starring Gérard Depardieu as Raoul and Carole Laure as his wife Solange. Solange has taken to depression lately, and, in desperation, Raoul enlists the aid of a stranger, Stephane (Patrick Dewaere) in a restraunt to bed her and hopefully cheer her up. The three become close friends over lots of wine and lots of Mozart, but Solange is still depressed, and is having fainting spells. The doctors all say, "It is nothing ... just her nerves ... that will be $40.00." The three decide to spend the summer running a summer camp, and a very bright 13 year old who is hazed by the other kids puts the glow back in Solange's cheeks.

Laure shows breasts numerous times, and has a long full frontal in good light. The DVD is a very good transfer in the original aspect ratio, and gives you your choice of English or French spoken language and sub-titles. IMDB readers say 7.4 of 10. The film won the Oscar for best foreign language film, a Cesar for best music, and a National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA best film. It was also nominated by the Goldon Globes for best foreign language film. The film has nudity, is a totally unique comedy, it technically well made, in other words, it is my kind of film. B.

The Critics Vote

  • this film won the Oscar awarded to the best foreign film

The People Vote ...

IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+ (Scoop) to B (Tuna).

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