Antoine Marechal wants to take a holiday in Italy to escape the cold weather in Paris. Within a few minutes, his car is hit by another car, damaging it completely. Saroyan, as a compensation, offers him a chance to drive a Cadillac from Naples to Bordeaux, all expenses paid, which would make a wonderful trip. Antoine cannot even beleive his luck and sets out to Italy. He is unaware that Saroyan has been looking hard to find a naive and innocent looking man to smuggle something from Italy to France. The Cadillac is actually carrying Heroine, Gold, some pearls and a very famous diamond. All these are placed secretly in different parts of the car that all they wanted was an innocent man who could drive it through the customs on Italy/French border. Saroyan's plan is to follow Antoine through out to ensure the safety of the car. Well there are somebody else too, who has some idea of these plans, who would follow both these cars. This is a crazy journey of the sweet and naive guy Antoine, in a Cadillac, from Naples to Bordeaux. He is followed by Saroyan, with two idiotic assists, and another group of criminals. The whole journey ends in the small French town Carcassone.
Classic 'Fun on the road' movie. Two criminal groups following an innocent man itself makes a great plot for a comedy. The facts like the innocent is not aware about the real value of the car and that he is followed by the same guy who offered this free trip and the innocent is losing the valuable parts one by one enroute, adds to the plot. The scene, in which Antoine uses the Cadillac's phone to call Saroyan, just to enjoy that facility and to say how much he is enjoying his trip, when Saroyan picks up the call from another car just 2 meters away, alone conveys the comic plot. The movie is full of such scenes and most of them are hilarious, especially the ones in the hotel in Rome and the camp site. The bonus is definitely the naivety of Antoine. What an excellent character. Though we laugh out loud we still feel sorry for the guy. But towards the end when he realises that he is being fooled, he turns street smart and that is quite nice.
Louis De Funes as Saroyan is excellent and is at his usual best, but Bourvil as Antoine is the show stealer. His face is so kind and innocent and he fits perfectly for the role and with his master performance makes it a brilliant show. Bourvil is so sweet and kind and I doubt if he plays any nasty characters, would it be so convincing. I am sure he will make it great too, but this man was really special. I especially likes his naive moments like when he offers more money to the work shop man, who stole the gold in the car, and his romantic overtures with the two women he meets in this journey are really really brilliant. That is classic French I must say, a lesson in wooing and being nice and sweet to woman.
I feel sorry that both these men have left this world. How would they have felt to know that their performances are still being watched and appreciated by people from a different century.