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The Umbrella Coup (French: Le Coup du parapluie) is a 1980 French comedy film directed by Gérard Oury, starring Pierre Richard, Gordon Mitchell and Gert Fröbe.

Grégoire Lecomte (Richard), the unlucky actor anxious to find a “real job”, goes to take a screen test for a role of a killer, but then he takes a wrong turn and meets a mafia don who he takes for a producer, and they mistake him for a hitman with whom they had an appointment. Deluded Grégoire signs contract with them. He is supposed to kill gun dealer Otto Krampe at his birthday party in Saint-Tropez by piercing him with a cap of the umbrella with a built-in syringe with potassium cyanide. Grégoire is not aware that it has to be a real murder.


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This film provides examples of:

  • Blackface: The members of the jazz band at the party have their faces painted black as part of the 1920s theme.
  • All Part of the Show:
    • Even when the real killer assassinates the target and gets shot by police, Grégoire thinks it's all a game.
    • When Grégoire come flying out of a window and down a palm tree, the guests thinks he is a hired clown and laugh.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Grégoire manages to take out two of Krampe's goons while not even realizing they were after him.
  • Carnival of Killers: Several hitmen line up to get a shot at Grégoire but he manages to foil all their attempts on his life.
  • Coincidental Dodge: When The Fairy tries to strangle Grégoire on the plane, a turbulence causes the latter to tumble which foils the assault.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: Nobody seems to take notice when Moskovitz kills Otto Krampe by throwing the umbrella at him.
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  • Covered in Gunge: Moskovitz gets a bucket of paint emptied on his head.
  • Curtain Camouflage: Moskovitz hides behind the curtains at Grégoire's hotel suite but the latter notices the shoes and calls the bluff.
  • Flynning: Grégoire and Moskovitz have a sword fighting scene with umbrellas.
  • The Fool: Grégoire has no clue what he is in for or up against but he succeeds anyway.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Josyane mistakes Moskovitz for Grégoire and whips him one with a huge pan when he enters the apartment.
  • Gambit Pileup: Krampe's goons try to kill Grégoire, Moskovitz tries to kill Grégoire as well as Krampe, and the police try to protect Grégoire from harm.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Krampe's death is testified by some bystander shortly listening to his (missing) heart beat.
  • Hidden Weapons: Radj has a Butterfly Knife hidden up his sleave.
  • Hollywood Silencer: The Professional Killer uses one in the opening scene to kill his target in the photo booth.
  • In Love with the Mark: Sylvette is an undercover cop who takes a liking to her mark Grégoire. They end up getting married.
  • Ironic Juxtaposition: The scene when Grégoire tells Sylvette of his allegedly blind wife and how helpless she is without him, intercut with scenes of Josyane wreaking havoc on his belongings.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: Grégoire only realizes that he has been involved in a mafia Mob War at the end of the movie, when his partner spells it out for him. He then decides that the story would make for a great movie. Cut to the epilogue — he is now a celebrated film director at Cannes with Money to Burn.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: The band stops playing this way when Krampe's death is confirmed.
  • Mistaken for Badass: Grégoire is invited to play an assassin, but enters a wrong office and gets confused for a Professional Killer by The Mafia. And Hilarity Ensues.
  • Parasol of Pain: Grégoire receives an umbrella with a retractable poisoned needle in the tip to assassinate a target with. He doesn't find out what's going on until the very end of the film.
    • Unlike the real-life murder case the movie is based on, the movie uses a fast-acting poison instead of ricin.
  • Percussive Maintenance: The meter maid early on punches Grégoire's meter to reset it.
  • Pretty Little Headshots: It's a screwball comedy so the gore part is heavily downplayed. We see two headshots, the target at the photo booth and when Sylvette shoots Moskovitz, both merely cause a red spot to appear on the victim's forehead.
  • Professional Killer: Gordon Mitchell's character is one. Grégoire is mistaken for one.
  • Really Gets Around: Grégoire is shown to have several Friends with Benefits.
  • Rule of Pool: Several characters end up in the pool fully clothed.
  • Running Gag: Grégoire touching other cars with his bumpers when backing into and out of parking space.
  • Shoe Phone: The titular umbrella and The Fairy's wrist watch holding a killer string.
  • Shout-Out:
  • That Poor Plant: There is a cactus at the florist shop which dies instantly when Grégoire stabs the poisonous umbrella in its flowerpot.
  • William Telling: Radj proves his aiming skills by hitting a pineapple placed on Grégoire's head.
  • Woman Scorned: Josyane destroys Grégoire's possessions after learning about his latest fling with Sylvette.

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