Saturday, December 26, 2009

LE MAGNIFIQUE (1973)

Super-spy Bob St. Clair makes James Bond look like a pussy! He can shoot a single bullet into a tree and kill 5 soldiers, he can fight his way out of evil villains lair without even breaking a sweat and of course he always gets the girl. Unfortunately, Bob St. Clair is just a figment of novelist Francois Merlin's imagination. Merlin's real life is nowhere near as perfect. He has no money, his apartment is a dump and he's divorced. He has very little control over the things that happen in his real life so when somebody pisses him off he throws that person into his story and lets St. Clair shoot him to pieces. The same goes for the good things in his life like his sexy upstairs neighbor, who just happens to be St. Clair's current love interest.

But things turn out to not always be perfect in St. Clair's world either, especially when Merlin gets mad at him and turns him into a bumbling idiot and then finally a limp-wristed homosexual who runs off with the villain on a two-seater bicycle!

Everybody in this movie does a great job, especially the three main actors who all play duel roles, but I think the main praise should go to director/co-writer Philippe de Broca who does an excellent job of blending the two worlds so seamlessly that the story never lets up for even a moment. I was happy and smiling from beginning to end. Not many films can do that.

Favorite moments: when St. Clair's cyanide tablet falls out of his hollow tooth and kills all the tourist in the swimming pool; when a clumsy St. Clair gets mad at his robe; when St. Clair pours the hot water on his infected finger and all of the moments with Jacqueline Bisset.  She is absolutely radiant in this movie.

Highly recommended.