Newest Reviews
Eyes of Orson Welles, The
Predator, The
Human Experiments
Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
King of Thieves
Unfriended: Dark Web
Blood Fest
Visit to a Small Planet
12th Man, The
Hotel Artemis
City on Fire
Bird Box
Nico, 1988
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead
Accident Man
Tomb Raider
Cold War
Newest Articles
Balance of Power: Harold Pinter at the BBC on DVD
Strange Days 2: The Second Science Fiction Weirdness Wave
Strange Days: When Science Fiction Went Weird
Ha Ha Haaargh: Interview With Camp Death III in 2D! Director Matt Frame
Phone Freak: When a Stranger Calls on Blu-ray
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
  Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, The Our MistakeBuy this film here.
Year: 1972
Director: Yves Robert
Stars: Pierre Richard, Bernard Blier, Jean Rochefort, Mireille Darc, Colette Castel, Jean Obé, Robert Castel, Jean Saudray, Roger Caccia, Maurice Barrier, Robert Dalban, Arlette Balkis, Tania Balachova, Paul Le Person, Jean Carmet, Catherine Obe, Bernard Charlan
Genre: Comedy, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Colonel Toulouse (Jean Rochefort) is dismayed to hear the news that a shipment of drugs has been intercepted in New York City - he's not pro-narcotics smuggling, it's just that the smuggler claims to have been sent by a high up member of the French secret service. Toulouse thinks he knows the identity of the spy pulling the strings and hits upon idea: he will convince this man, Bernard Milan (Bernard Blier), that there is an agent arriving at the airport who is privy to top secret information, the twist being, this fellow will be picked at random and have no idea he is the centre of such espionage...

The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, or Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire if you were French, was a modest international success in its day, and cemented the reputation of its star Pierre Richard as one of the eminent farceurs of his generation. For it is he who plays François, a concert violinist oblivious to the fact that when he arrived on his flight from Germany he was chosen as the patsy by Toulouse's right hand man (his shoes did not match, which was why he stood out). Although he is no fool, he does have a tendency to get into ridiculous situations, and none more ridiculous than being mistaken as a spy by the bad guys.

Not that the good guys come across as any less devious, so after a short while François is under survelliance by Milan's team while they are being watched by Toulouse's men. The big joke is that Milan and company cannot believe he is an innocent, and surely this whole air of foolishness he adopts must be a cover, but we know that he is indeed simply being himself. The laughs take a while to set up, and most of the initial third goes by without much in the way of ribticklers, yet director Yves Robert and his co-writer Francis Veber (no stranger to directing this kind of comedy himself) are carefully plotting the big pay-offs.

Richard was already a past master at this kind of thing, but it is this role which really earned him fame and recognition, and he is very good indeed, handling the slapstick and wit with equal aplomb. François is having an affair with Paulette (Colette Castel), the wife of the timpanist, Maurice (Jean Carmet) and when the bad guys listen in on them fooling around, they are put in the absurd position of trying to fathom some secret codes in their pillow talk (and broadcasting their audio outside the van they are using, leading to at least one hilarious gag with the sound of a toilet flushing). Milan decides he needs to make a more active effort to rumble François and sends in glamorous agent Christine (Mireille Darc) to seduce him.

Which of course ends up with Christine getting her hair caught in the fly of François' trousers when she attempts to get intimate, the kind of ludicrous situation that abounds in this film once it hits its stride. And yet, Robert has a serious point to make, in that appearances are not what they seem, and if you have been wrongly informed about somebody, especially if that information is detrimental to their character, it will colour you perceptions of them to quite outlandish degrees unless you stop and take stock of what you've heard and what you're seeing and how they don't match up. It ends with a caption about the right to privacy, but you can easily ignore all that and enjoy some well-crafted humour; the title sequence is particularly good, as well. Jaunty music by Vladmir Cosma. Remade as a mild Tom Hanks vehicle in the eighties.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1941 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali


Last Updated: