Francis Blanche

  1.  Louis de Funès, Pouic-Pouic, France, 1963.     After three movies with Francis Blanche and four with Darry Cowl, auteur Jean Girault made it clear he didn’t want either of them  for his fifth.  And so, following their 1962 sketch film, Les Veinards, this was the first feature of  stutter, splutter, mutter, nutter comic de Funès and the maker of his future Gendarme de Saint-Tropez franchise. Girault, the ex-big band drummer, and de Funès, ex-bar pianist, had common tastes (jazz and farce) and a rapid rapport leading to six other hits, including their co-directing of Moliere’s L’avare/The Miser in 1979.  
  2. Louis de Funès, Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez, France, 1964.    Their publicity man on Pouic-Pouic and Faites sauter la banque, Richard Balducci, came up with a third consecutive project for Louis de Funès and realisateur Jean Girault – about a French Riviera cop and his colleagues or Troops  as the US title strangely dubbed them. Both Blanche and fellow unfunny comic Dary Cowl passed – they  were  (stupidly) known as the French Laurel and Hardy (but so were even the similarly unfunny Bernard Blier and Louis de Funès). Their defection woke up Louis Germain David de Funès de Galarza (who cost half their current fee). He made a franchise money-machine out of the gendarme:  Maréchal des logis-chef Ludovic Cruchot. By 1969, “Fufu” was the second highest paid French actor, after Jean-Paul Belmondo and before Alain Delon.The almost Carry On Gendarme comedies, won between 4.2m and 7.8m fans. Balducci then tried – and failed – rebooting them as  Le Facteur de Saint-Tropez in 1985.
  3. Jean Yanne, Êtes-vous fiancée à un marin grec ou à un pilote de ligne?, France-Italy, 1971.       Only the French can come with such a title: Are You Engaged To A Greek Sailor Or An Airline Pilot?  Blanche was too busy with cabaret, radio, screen and theatre to take the lead – he supplied  a “irresistable” cameo while Yanne (just as busy, really) became Françoise Fabian’s husband. He ius best remembered as the Nazi General Papa Schulz, telling BB in Babette Goes To War  “You will be shot – severely –  every morning…” 


 Birth year: 1919Death year: 1974Other name: Casting Calls:  3