Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Jean Dujardin and the OSS 117 Revival


Jean Dujardin and the OSS 117 Revival


They’ve been making OSS 117 movies in France for a long time.  The first was a full six years before Dr. No started the James Bond franchise.  Over the years the series evolved into not much more than a generic euro-copy of the 007 series, before it ended in the early seventies.  American B-list stars like Kerwin Mathews and John Gavin were some of the leads in the series.  The actor most associated with the role though was French actor Frederick Stafford.  Stafford bore a close resemblance to Sean Connery, and I’m sure that helped a lot.

In 2006, the series was rebooted as a 1950’s spy spoof with Oscar winner Jean Dujardin in the lead role.  OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies has an awful lot of good things going for it.  It works well as a broad satire on western ethnocentrism, it’s a great parody of the 1960’s spy genre and it’s a terrific as a broad appealing PG comedy.

But the best part of the film is Dujardin himself.  He was born to be a clown.  He plays the 1960’s leading man/Arrow shirt model role perfectly.  He is a great physical comedian so the fight scenes and chase scenes come off marvellously. 

There was a sequel a couple of years later, that’s not quite as good, but still definitely worth a look.  So, if you want to see a great, smart and fun comedy, there’s few choices better than OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies.

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