Creator / Louis de Funès

Louis Germain David de Funès de Galarza (1914-1983) was a hugely popular French comedian and actor who played in more than 150 movies. He is still very beloved and famous in the francophone world and Continental Europe in general.

Once he started getting successful past the age of fifty — after a lengthy career of minor and mostly ungrateful roles —, De Funès always played the same character: a hyperactive, self-important, stubborn and unsympathetic little man who often threw himself into temper tantrums and made amusing facial expressions and nervous tics (he said he modeled his screen persona after Donald Duck, so go figure).

He is probably best known for his role as Gendarmerie officer Ludovic Cruchot in Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez (1964) about a local military police force in the South of France, which spawned six films in total between 1964 and 1982. English-speaking audiences might recognise him as the star opposite Bourvil in the film La Grande Vadrouille (1966, released as: Don't Look Now! We're Being Shot At). Among his most loved films are Le Corniaud (The Sucker, 1965), Le Grand Restaurant (1967), Oscar (1967), Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob, 1973) and L'Aile ou la cuisse (1976) with Coluche. Among his lesser-known films is Jo.

Tropes featured in his works:

  • Angrish: A common gag for his characters when stressed out is to speak gibberish.
  • Combat Pragmatist: His characters rarely have to tussle at all except in the most comical way, and are generally portrayed as physically inept, but also big fans of dirty moves like the foot-stomp or the eye-poke.
  • Comical Overreacting: Another of his trademarks.
  • Disguised in Drag: A few times, notably at the start of L'Aile ou la cuisse, as a Spaniard Grande Dame in Delusions of Grandeur, as a nun in Le Gendarme et les extraterrestres or as a policewoman in Le Gendarme et les gendarmettes.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He rejected every movie project where his character would cheat on his wife.
  • Greed: A common trait of his characters — including Harpagon himself in Molière's The Miser — to better mock it.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat:
    • In a mythic scene for French cinema, the dispute between de Funès's character Jambier and Grandgil (Jean Gabin) in La Traversée de Paris. The script required for Gabin's character to be as loud as possible; Gabin was a living legend and de Funès was not the King of French Large Ham yet. Nevertheless (and despite being visibly intimidated), de Funès held his own, and was noticed by a lot of people. Bonus point for the argument involving literal ham.
    • De Funés and Gabin were reunited in the movie Le Tatoué, and most of their interactions there are Ham-to-Ham Combat.
  • In-Series Nickname: His character (in Le Gendarme series and other movies) always nicknames his wife "Ma biche" (literally: "My doe", another word for "Honey").