Le Mouton enragé (1974) from Tuna and Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Tuna's comments in white:

Le Mouton enragé is a French black comedy starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, and featuring Jean-Pierre Cassel, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin.

Trintignant plays a bank teller who gets up enough nerve to pick up a girl (Birkin) who turns out to be a hooker. However, rather than pay her, he more or less forces himself on her. When he tells his friend, Cassel, who is crippled from an auto accident that also cost him his ability to have sex, Cassel comes up with a plan. He will turn Trintignant, who is clearly no longer timid, into a ladies man and deal-maker, and then write a best seller about it.


Jane Birkin and Christine Boisson show all three Bs

Romy Schneider exposes her breasts, and several unknown women are shown in various states of undress

DVD info from Amazon

  • widescreen letterboxed, 1.66. Not an especially good transfer.

  • audio interview with the director

  • still gallery

The plan starts with taking Birkin to Maxim's for lunch every day until she is part of the furniture there, and then leaving her alone so she can meet an influential person. This contact is then parlayed into business deals, a job, and a great many more women, including Schneider, the wife of a friend of the author. Trintignant indeed becomes rich and powerful, including owning a newspaper and controlling politicians. The joke is that it is all so easy.

Birkin was charming, as was Schneider, but I couldn't relate to the mercenary main character, and was very glad to see the 110 minutes end.

Scoop's comments in yellow:

I'm pleased to see that this film is finally available on Region 1 DVD with a few features. It isn't an outstanding DVD (no anamorphic enhancement) but it's better than having nothing at all.

I find this film quite interesting, although it's not really very funny. I guess the Parisians have their own concept of humor, which is heavy on the cynicism and irony, and the atmosphere of this film is quite distinctively Parisian, from the sophisticated and amoral conversations, to the street scenes, to the music by Saint-Saëns

Unlike Tuna, I enjoyed watching the way that the two cynical guys plotted Trintignant's rise through society. It was kind of a straight-faced Gallic approach to "What Makes Sammy Run?", with the additional spin that the author/puppetmaster who directs Trintignant's ascent has a hidden agenda of his own, which eventually ends up in a tragic dream-crushing revelation, just because tragedy and crushed dreams seem to be de rigueur in French comedies. In fact, most of the major characters in this film ended up dead, many of them through murder or suicide.

Those French are some nutty guys.

The cynicism of the film was nicely balanced by the completely charming performances of Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin, especially Birkin as a prostitute who is a truly innocent and good person. Birkin's completely genuine naiveté provided a very sweet counter-balance to the sleazy conniving of the other characters, similar to the role performed by the Georgette character on the classic Mary Tyler Moore Show. Trintignant was also guileless at the beginning of the film, so his first meeting with Birkin seemed to promise a sweet, frothy romantic comedy, which was not to be. Trintignant soon managed to compromise himself in every possible way, and even the wide-eyed Birkin was compromised by marrying a rich man she did not love. When Trintignant eventually gave up his greedy social climbing to marry Birkin, thus forfeiting her considerable inheritance for true love, they both managed to redeem their innocence, at least to a degree sufficient to end a comedy, and they finally returned to the callow relationship promised by their first encounter.

Interestingly enough, one of Trintignant's great successes in the film was that he managed to turn a moribund newspaper into a top seller by essentially turning it into Weekly World News. (Remember, this is a French film and was made in 1974! Certain things transcend national cultures.). He and his editor had a great time creating sensational headlines to describe completely mundane events, then setting the headlines in the largest type possible and accompanying them with outrageous pictures.

The Critics Vote

  • no English reviews online

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 (Tuna) to C+ (Scoop).

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