“Garou-Garou, le passe-muraille” is the adaptation of a short story by the famous French author Marcel Aymé. But then, does the feature film follow the events told by the latter to the letter?
Garou-Garou, the pass-through : the story of a donation
Garou-Garou, the wall pass tells the story of Léon Dutilleul, a man with a relatively banal existence. This office functionary, suffocated by a narrow hierarchy, one day discovers an extraordinary power. He is now able to walk through walls! A gift as surprising as it is practical, which he immediately entrusts to his best friend. From then on, this one enjoins him not to deprive himself of it and Léon has fun with his new ability.
Only, one fine day, his path crosses that of Susan, a young English woman. The one who works as an employee in a hotel is actually a burglar in her spare time. The hero instantly falls under the spell of the beauty. Despite his friend’s warningswho advises her to be careful of him, Léon cannot help but try to date her.
If at first he wants to reason with the chosen one of his heart in order to see her stop her illegal activities, Dutilleul is quickly overwhelmed by his feelings. To get Susan’s attention, he undertakes to pretend to be a legendary thief, better known as Garou-Garou.
In the feature film released in 1951, the famous Bourvil (The big mop, directed by Oury) lends his features to Léon Dutilleul. Joan Greenwood (The Fires of the Theater) and Gérard Oury (The Vengeance feathered serpent) appear alongside him in the feature film. Note that Jean Boyer is not the only one to have adapted the author’s work. The actors Michel Serrault (The children of the swamp) and Denis Podalydes (yesterday’s world) also played the famous Léon Dutilleul on screen!
The freedoms of Audiard and Boyer
The filmmaker signs the screenplay for Garou-Garou, the wall pass with Michel Audiard, based on a (very short) short story by Marcel Aymé. The latter, also a screenwriter, is particularly known for the colorful adventures of his famous “perched cat”.. Also, several points of the news are not found – or have been modified – in Garou-Garou, the wall pass. If some are relatively derisory, we can note some important changes. Attention, spoilers below !
To begin with, the main character’s best painter friend holds a much more important place in the feature film. Conversely, the news relegates him to a very secondary role. A choice that is all the more understandable because, at Aymé, the woman with whom the hero falls in love has little to do with that of the film. Originally, the protagonist was abused and kidnapped by her husband, hence the interest in Dutilleul’s power to rescue her.
As you will have understood, in the book, the latter does not use his gift to impress any burglar with whom he has fallen madly in love, but rather to attract the attention of his peers. Not insignificant point, the endings of the two works are relatively different. In the short story, Léon remains prisoner of a wall, while in the feature film, he simply loses his wall-passing power – and returns the money stolen throughout the film.