Fun Sunday! (1935, Jacques Berr)

It takes Fun Sunday! almost the entire short film to find its footing. The problem is director Berr; he has no comic timing. Sunday cuts a couple corners as far as budget–the sound cuts in and out, going over to music and not the background noise–but it’s rather ambitious stuff. Except for Berr. He doesn’t have any ambition.

Writers and stars Jacques Tati and Rhum, however, have lots of ambition. They do an alternative on the classic comic duo–instead of playing off each other, they play off the environment. Rhum has more to do, just because he has the magic tricks (which Berr really can’t shoot).

Just when Sunday seems to be winding down, Tati and Rhum get in one good gag after another and bring it to a great finish. Even with Berr screwing the beautifully lighted shots (Fun Sunday!’s uncredited cinematographer does some excellent work).



Directed by Jacques Berr; written by Jacques Tati and Rhum.

Starring Jacques Tati and Rhum.

Brute Wanted (1934, Charles Barrois)

Quite a bit of Brute Wanted is rather funny. The whole idea is funny–dimwitted, failing actor (Jacques Tati) goes for an audition and it turns out he’s agreeing to wrestle a musclebound Russian grotesque. Tati’s got a nagging wife (Hélène Pépée) who also manages him.

A lot of the short is spent on the fight promoters. Tati and co-writer Alfred Sauvy exercise brevity with their exposition when it comes to Pépée and Tati’s situation so the fight promotion scenes just go too long. And so does the wrestling match, with Tati hilariously trying to avoid his opponent.

Barrois’s direction is never on par with the script’s humor, but it’s usually adequate. In the wrestling match, not so much. Barrois loses track of Tati, who’s holding Brute together, and spends it on his scheming friend, played by Rhum.

These problems are tolerable. But the final joke? Cruel and unfunny.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Charles Barrois; written by Jacques Tati and Alfred Sauvy; music by Marcel Landowski.

Starring Jacques Tati (Mr. Roustabat), Hélène Pépée (Mrs. Roustabat), Rhum (Mr. Mérandol) and Kola Kwariani (Krotov the Tartar).

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