In 1966, Jacques Besnard directed “Le Grand Restaurant” with Louis de Funès and Bernard Blier. The opportunity to come back to this cult comedy, which was a special production in the career of Louis de Funès, and for which the actor had other hats.
The Grand Restaurant
In 1966, Louis de Funès finally broke through in his profession as an actor. While he’s just coming out of The Corniaud, of Fantômas and of The Gendarme in New York, the actor now has a series of successes. Corn The Grand Restaurant is a first time in the career of Louis de Funès. Indeed, the actor changes hats in the feature film, and takes on the roles of co-writer and producer.
As a reminder, The Grand Restaurant recounts the daily life of Mr Septime, who runs his restaurant with skill and passion. But one day, a South American head of state is kidnapped in his restaurant. Directed by Jacques Besnard, who signs here his first feature film, The Grand Restaurant brings together an attractive cast, composed among others of Louis de Funès, but also of Bernard Blier and Olivier de Funès, the son of the French cinema star who signs here his second participation in a film of his father after Fantômas is unleashed. In all, Olivier de Funès will tour six times with his father.
Based on an idea by Louis de Funès
In addition to being the main actor of The Grand Restaurant, Louis de Funès had a completely different involvement in Jacques Besnard’s film. Indeed, the actor also co-wrote the screenplay, composed the film’s cast and collaborated in the direction of the actors during the shooting. The Grand Restaurant is therefore the first film of his career in which Louis de Funès takes a concrete part in its overall conception. Initially, Louis de Funès was even considered for direct the feature film. Indeed, the idea comes from him, the actor imagining in the years 1950 the pitch of the feature film. But at the time, the actor was not yet famous enough to produce his project. Hence the 15-year wait to relaunch the idea of this film.
To imagine the story of The Grand Restaurant, Louis de Funès was based on his personal experience. Before being an actor, he was a jazz pianist. He toured in many bars for whole nights. To write the screenplay for the film, the actor drew on memories, anecdotes and experiences from that time. An involvement that paid off for Louis de Funès since the feature film gathered more than 3.9 million spectators at the time of its release.