La Folie des grandeurs is a film Franco-italo-germano-Spanish realized by Gerard Oury, very strongly inspired of Ruy Blas of Victor Hugo, release to France on December 8th, 1971.

♦ Synopsis :

What follows reveals key moments of the intrigue.
Text not to be read if one wishes to preserve the intrigue.

Don Salluste is a Minister for king of Spain. It is a cheating, hypocritical and covetous being which does itself the collection of the taxes of which it diverts a part with its profit. It is hated by the population which it presses. ("This year, harvest was very bad, then it is necessary to pay the double."; "The poor, it is done to be very poor; and rich person, very rich.")

Shown by the queen to have made an illegitimate child with one of his lady-in-waitings, it deposed of its functions and is condemned to withdraw itself in a monastery. Decided to be avenged, it comes into contact with the brigand César, his nephew, but this last refusing to enter its machination it makes it capture by its henchmen and sends it like slave to Barbaresque. It turns then to Blaze, its servant recently congédié, and decides to be avenged for the royal couple by making it pass for César and by helping it to allure the queen with which it is in love. ("The king cuckold by my servant, it is that my revenge!")
The very same day of its presentation at the court, Blaze thwarts an attack warped against the king by the Large ones of Spain. It attracts itself the favours of the royal couple thus and quickly becomes minister.

According to by far the evolution of the situation, Salluste discovers that the Large ones decided to be avenged for Blaze what is likely to make hood its machination. On its side, Blaze, following a mistake, not declares its flame with the queen but with her Grumbling sound duenna whose sexual craving is thus poked. The situation still becomes complicated with the return of César truth, escaped of Barbaresque…

♦ Specification sheet :

  • Title : La folie des grandeurs
  • Realization : Gérard Oury
  • Realization for the second team : Jacques Besnard
  • Scenario : Free inspiration and parody of Ruy Blas Romantic drama of Victor Hugo
  • Adaptation and dialogue : Gérard Oury, Danièle Thompson, Marcel Jullian
  • Production assistants : Roberto Bodegas, Jacques Bourdon, Jean-Claude Sussfeld, Miguel-Angel Rivas
  • Delegated producer : Alain Poiré
  • Production : Gaumont (Paris), Coral Films (Madrid), Mars Films (Rome) & Orion Filmproduktion (Munich)
  • Leader of production : Ricardo Bonilla, Jean Pieuchot
  • Director of production : Robert Sussfeld, Henri Baum
  • Administrator of production : Robert Demollière, Guy Azzi
  • Distribution : Gaumont International
  • Music : Michel Polnareff (Editions musical Hortensia Méridian)
  • Musical arrangements : Hervé Roy
  • Images : Henri Decae and Wladimir Ivanov, for the second team
  • Operator : Alain Douarinou, Franck Delahaye
  • Sound : Antoine Bonfanti, assisted of André Louis
  • Mixing : Jacques Maumont in Paris-Studio-Film of Billancourt
  • Script-girl : Colette Crochot
  • Decorations : Georges Wakhevitch, assisted of Pierre-Louis Thévenet, José-Maria Alarcon, Jean Taillandier, Jean Forestier
  • Suits : Jacques Fonteray, Humberto Cornejo, Pierre Nourry, Jeanne Renucci, resulting from houses Monty Berman (Londres) and Cornejo (Madrid)
  • Dresses : Marie Gromtseff
  • Editing : Albert Jurgenson, assisted of Jean-Pierre Besnard, Martine Fleury, Catherine Kelber, Dominique Landmann
  • General manager : Jean Pieuchot
  • Outside manager : Jean Nassereau
  • Special effect, stunt : Pierre Durin, Jacques Martin, Daniel Braunschweig, Gérard Guenier, Claude Carliez
  • Equestrian adviser : François Nadal
  • Credits : Jean Fouchet
  • Hats : Jean Barthet
  • Wigs : Bertrand
  • Shoes : Galvin
  • Horses-drawn : Manfred De Diepold
  • Furniture : Pierre Charron
  • Camera : Samuelson-Alga
  • Shooting in the studios of Saint-Maurice "Franstudio" and in Spain for the outsides (Alméria, Barcelona, Grenada, Madrid, Ségovie, Séville, Tolède)
  • Format : Color, process Eastmancolor
  • Edition : Laboratory G.T.C
  • Duration : 113 minutes
  • Date exit : December 8th, 1971 (France)


♦ Distribution :

  • Louis de Funès : Don Salluste de Bazan
  • Yves Montand : Blaze
  • Alice Sapritch : Doña Juana, the duenna
  • Karin Schubert : Marie-Anne De Neubourg, the queen of Spain
  • Alberto de Mendoza : King of Spain, Charles II
  • Gabriele Tinti : Don Cesar (voice doubled by Dominique Paturel)
  • Venantino Venantini : Del Basto (voice doubled by Jean-Pierre Duclos)
  • Don Jaime De Mora y Aragón : Priego, a Spanish grandee
  • Antonio Pica : De los Montès, a Spanish grandee (voice doubled by Jean Martinelli)
  • Eduardo Fajardo : Cortega, a Spanish grandee
  • Joaquín Solís : Sandoval, a Spanish grandee
  • Paul Préboist : A mute
  • Salvatore Borgese : The blind in one eye
  • Léopoldo Triestre : Guiseppe
  • Robert Le Béal : Chambellan
  • Astrid Franck : A lady-in-waiting of the queen
  • La Polaca : The dancer
  • Fernando Bilbao : The giant (not credited)
  • Clément Michu : The servant stammerer of Salluste
  • Claude Carliez  : Stuntman
  • Angel Alvarez : A notable
  • Sophia Palladium : stand-in of Alice Sapritch in the scene of striptease
  • Xan de Bolas
  • Frank Brana
  • Fabian Conde
  • Fernando Hilbeck
  • Antonio Iranzo
  • Ricardo Palacios
  • Jésus Tordesillas

♦ Around the film :

  • La Folie des grandeurs was turned to Spain (Almeria, Barcelona, Grenade, Madrid, Segovia, Seville, Tolède) and with the studio Franstudio, in Saint-Maurice in the Val-de-Marne (France).
  • Gerard Oury the original band of film entrusted to Michel Polnareff who for that used of the electric guitars and the synthetizers.
  • Bourvil was initially planned for the character of Blaze, but its death had to force Oury to find a substitute to him, and it is Montand which was selected.
  • In the topic of the character miserly, De Funès played in 1979 the role of Harpagon in a version filmed of L’Avare of Molière.
  • Several humorous scenes are memorable, in particular those which put in scene the duet Louis de Funès - Yves Montand. In the scene of the alarm clock of Don Salluste, its servant recites "gold" rhymes and agitates a bag of parts to wake up his covetous Master : "It is gold… it is gold… gold to awake." ; or the scene of the bath where Blaze is played of the baldness of Salluste and mania the cloth with dexterity to clean the ears to him.
  • Karin Schubert, who incarnates the queen, began in 1985, passed forty, one second career of pornographic film actress.
  • The strip-tease of Alice :
    • For the famous scene of stripping of Alice Sapritch, this one is doubled in certain plans by the professional stripper Sophia Palladium.
    • Alice Sapritch : "Gerard Oury was made a concern monster for this scene. It wanted that I take courses of striptease with a high-speed motorboat of Crazy Horse Saloon, Sophia Palladium, during more than one month. You speak, we saw yourself once. A charming girl besides. It to me said two or three tricks, and then it was all. As if to stir up my bottom were going to pose insurmountable problems to me. They made it come to Spain, for it is there the day of my striptease. You cannot imagine the environment which reigned on the plate. Not for me, Sophia Palladium. Since the day before, all the types had the tail directed in direction of this poor girl. Me I laughed in my corner ; I knew that Sophia was far from being a whore. Very happened well, I made my striptease. Sophia remained in his corner. The evening, Mister Yves Montand moved towards it to invite it to dine ; it answered that she regretted, but that she was to dine with me. It is necessary to imagine the mouth of the male given to its place.
      The film made an enormous success, mainly thanks to this sequence of the striptease. Even Jean-Louis Bory, which hated Gerard Oury at an exceptional point, implied that the film was well."

  • The authors of film pay with humour their tribute with Victor Hugo by specifying in the credits which even if "Any resemblance to the characters of a famous drama would be only the effect of an annoying coincidence", they thank it for its "invaluable collaboration".
  • Large of Spain, except Don Salluste, are incarnated by actors of more than one meter ninety. nobility Spanish is present in the distribution of Large by the means of Don Jaime de Mora y Aragón (which incarnates Priego and which is authentic Prince of Aragon, and the brother of Fabiola, Queen of the Belgians) and also by the presence of Louis de Funès itself (of its true name Shine of Funes de Galarza, this one goes down from the marquis de Galarza, nobility sévillane).
  • With the origin, the film was to be entitled Les Sombres Héros.