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Film / The 7th Company

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The 7th Company (La 7ème Compagnie) is a French 1970s war comedy film trilogy, comprising Now Where Did the 7th Company Get to? (1973), The 7th Company Has Been Found (1975) and The 7th Company Outdoors (1977). All films were directed by Robert Lamoureux.

It relates the comical adventures of three French soldiers of the 7th Transmission Company, Chaudard (Pierre Mondy), Tassin (Aldo Maccione in the first film and Henri Guybet in the sequels) and Pithivier (Jean Lefebvre), during the early phase of World War II. The trio gets lost somewhere on the front in May 1940 during the Battle of France, and they wander aimlessly in the forests and countryside as German soldiers start occupying the country.

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    Tropes in the whole trilogy: 
  • Armed Farces: The films are military-themed comedies set during World War II. In the third film, the protagonists are not part of the army any more, but they get involved in the Resistance.
  • Artistic Licence – History: As explained below with Tanks, but No Tanks, German vehicles are mocked up American war material.
  • The Ditz: All three protagonists are pretty stupid, but Pithivier really takes the cake.
  • The Fool: The trio gets into really messy situations, often due to their stupidity, and they somehow always escape capture by the Germans.
  • Tanks, but No Tanks: German vehicles from 1940 were pretty hard to come by so the first movie's crew used American vehicles, which were available in sizeable quantities. German tanks are mocked-up American M24 Chaffee tanks, and the half-track the trio steals is an American M3 with some paintjob and a (genuine, for once) German PaK 36 anti-tank gun stuck on it.

    Tropes in Now Where Did the 7th Company Get to?
  • Artistic Licence – History: The Distant Finale of the first film, in June 1944. There were indeed French soldiers who were parachuted in France note  on June 5th 1944 (the day before D-Day) to disrupt German reinforcements that would head to Normandy, but they were SAS commandos, i.e. trained and equipped by the British, and they jumped during the night. The 7th Company trio wears American uniforms and jump in broad daylight.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Chaudard, Tassin and Pithivier, who are tasked to deploy a transmission cable, do it at a place that got in the view of German soldiers, who then cut the cable with a shear. Consequently, the trio is unable to warn the 7th company about the approach of the Germans.
  • Distant Finale: The bulk of the film takes place in May-June 1940. The epilogue takes place in June 1944.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: The three soldiers steal German helmets and a German half-track equipped with an anti-tank cannon. They try to pass as Germans by speaking French with a dreadful German-ish accent to the locals, and it's enough to fool a very complacent grocer into giving them food supplies.
  • Fauxreigner: The trio steals German helmets and a German half-track. They try to pass as Germans by speaking French with a dreadful German-ish accent to the locals.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Seventh company gets captured by the Germans because Chaudard, Tassin and Pithivier, who were tasked to deploy a transmission cable, did it at a place that got in the view of German soldiers, who then cut the cable and followed it until they reached the 7th Company's HQ. Only the trio escapes capture due to, well, getting lost in the forest.
  • Running Gag: Colonel Blanchet is ordered to retreat. Everybody goes away immediately in panic. Blanchet is left behind and he says: Pas si vite! ("No so quickly!").
  • Shirtless Scene: After stealing a German half-track, the trio spends most of the remaining screentime shirtless: they wear German helmets to pass as Germans.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: The trio gets lost in the woods just as the German army starts occupying France.

    Tropes in The 7th Company Has Been Found
  • Abhorrent Admirer: The woman from the farm who is waiting at the exit of the tunnel. Chaudard has to run away no to be raped.
  • Becoming the Mask: Chaudard rapidly takes his role as an officer seriously when he wears an officer uniform.
  • Cover Identity Anomaly: The trio wears officer uniforms and prentends to be officers. A real officer introduces himself to them. In turn, Chaudard introduces himself and he says he is from the Transmissions arm. Another officer then informs him that the uniform he wears is the one of an artillery officer.
  • Great Escape: The trio escapes from the castle. They try to make all the prisoners escape too, but it fails.
  • Immediate Sequel: In the end of Now Where Did the 7th Company Get to? (just before the epiloque), the heroes free the 7th Company with a German breakdown lorry. The sequel, The 7th Company Has Been Found starts at this very moment.
  • Mistaken for Badass: The officers think that the trio is made of badasses when they hear their story. Actually, all their feats were accomplished by mistake or by luck.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Tassin shut the door at the exit of the tunnel, while the escaped prisoners are still inside. He pulls the door so hard that the exit of the tunnel collapses and the prisoners are trapped inside and cannot escape.
  • Plunger Detonator: Colonel Blanchet uses one to blow up the bridges that the trio is going over.
  • Previously On…: The film starts with a summary of the first film.
  • Running Gag: Colonel Blanchet blows up a bridge just as the trio is going over it. Pithivier then wishes he knew the idiot who blew up the bridge.
  • Secret Underground Passage: There is one from behind a tapestry in the castle to the wood.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Subverted. The German commander of the castle wants to play chess with Cpt. Dumont, but he is not very bright, as showed by the way he plays chess and the fact that he does not realize there is an escape attempt under way.
  • Train Escape: Type 3. Tassin unhook the wagons so that the German soldiers cannot catch the trio, that is in the locomotive.
  • Wire Dilemma: Unusually for the trope, there's a wire dilemna about blowing stuff up instead of disarming it. A French officer of the 7th Company has to blow up a bridge. He keeps repeating to himself "The green wire on the green plug and the red wire on the red plug"... then finds out the Plunger Detonator has white and black plugs. He then connects the wires to the plugs as a German company is crossing the bridge and activates it... to no effect. He then switches the wires just as Chaudard, Tassin and Pithivier (in German disguise and in a German half-track) cross the bridge and blows it up, not knowing they are French.

    Tropes in The 7th Company Outdoors
  • Chase Scene: The trio goes to the Kommandantur, where Lambert recognizes them. They immediately drive away, but Lambert and German soldiers follow them.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Lambert, a member of the milice, who fights the Resistance.
  • Fauxreigner: The trio slips bomber jackets on and tries to pass as English pilots, so that M. Albert brings them to the zone libre.
  • Mistaken for Badass: The trio is mistaken by both the members of the Resistance and the collaborators for Resistance heroes, but all their feats were accomplished by mistake or by luck.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Chaudard's wife hides Gilles, a member of the Resistance, in her cellar. Tassin overhears their conservation and he thinks that Gilles is her lover. He later tells Chaudard about it.
  • Previously On…: The film starts with footage of the previous two films.
  • La Résistance: Chaudard's wife and his brother-in-law are members of the Resistance. Chaudard and his two friends are mistaken for Resistance fighters.


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