The City of Fear, the famous Dummies comedy, airs tonight on TMC. Here is some tidbit you might not know about this absurd nugget of humor that appeals to every new generation.
March 9, 1994. Fans of the comic trio Les Nuls rush into dark rooms to discover the delirium on film concocted by Alain Chabat, Chantal Lauby and Dominique Farrugia, and directed by Alain Berberian. The latter, who died in August 2017, had been their accomplice since their debut on Canal, when the quartet – which became a trio after the death of Bruno Carette in 1989 – canned hundreds of hours of parody shows imbued with wacky humor. Word of mouth on this filmic UFO, mixing pastiches, puns and hilarious gags, is more than favorable. And, against all odds, The City of Fear unites well beyond the restricted audience of the encrypted channel and totals 2.2 million admissions. In 2011, Alain Berberian remembered in Nice Matin: “The people of the profession took us for old-fashioned because we came from TV but, as soon as the film came out, the theaters were full. These are especially young people aged 15. at 20 who made this film so successful. ”
Alain Berberian may well have the confidence of his friends Les Dulls, they had first tried to convince director Claude Berri to put their Anglo-Saxon parody delirium into images. The latter refused the offer, considering that their screenplay was “a little stupid”, as he told L’Express at the time! Dummies have always assumed that they drew their inspiration from the 1977 film, Hamburger Film Sandwich, by John Landis, written by the trio David Zucker, Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker, directors of the delirious series of Is there (a pilot on the plane? a cop to save the queen? etc.). Especially for the (countless) visual gags (the giant cup in which Valérie Lemercier pours sugars, the potato stuck to Dominique Farrugia’s cheek, the signs surrounding and locating Odile Deray at Nice airport …). The famous Carioca scene, shared by Serge Karamazov and Commissioner Bialès on the stage of the Palais des Festivals, is also a tribute to the introductory sequence of Hamburger Film Sandwich, which is inspired by the dance of Fred Astaire. and Ginger Rogers in the movie Carioca (1933)!
Many celebrities have agreed to make an appearance in the film, like Jean-Pierre Bacri, Eddy Mitchell, Tchéky Karyo (the various murdered projectionists) or even Dave, Rosanna Arquette, Michel Hazanavicius and even the director James Cameron. ! The director of Terminator and Abyss indeed knew Les Dulls for having agreed to play in one of their sketches mocking an advertisement, at the time of Les Dulls, the show, which aired on Canal.
In one sequence, the (not so) tearful widow of a projectionist receives the media… She is camped by Valérie Lemercier. Although … If the illusion is perfect, it is not always the comedian that you see on screen, but also his sister! Indeed, in 2013, Valérie Lemercier confided this anecdote to Allociné: “I had a little slack during the shooting, I swallowed a whole tube of drugs. I forgot for the first time in my career. ‘Go shoot! My little sister was a script intern on the film and, suddenly, she replaced me. Pierre Lescure came on the set and said: “But, what? You have Valérie Lemercier in the film and you don’t do no close-up? ” So they explained it to her. But there’s just one shot where it’s my sister. “
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