While “The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob” is broadcast tonight on France 2, return to the famous stage of the chewing gum factory and its backstage. What substance did Louis de Funès have to dive into for the purposes of the film?
A chase in a chewing gum factory, a long slide down a metal slide and an unfortunate dive into an enormous vat, filled to the brim with a bubbling greenish paste …
Of all the famous sequences that make up Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (broadcast this evening on France 2), the one during which we can see Louis de Funès splashing around and blowing bubbles (of chewing gum) in this giant bath is without the least doubt among the most memorable.
But before joining the classics of French comedy and our memories of spectators, the scene in question represented a colossal challenge for the teams of the film. Indeed, three weeks of filming were necessary to put this mythical moment in the box.
Danièle Thompson, the daughter of director Gérard Oury and co-writer of Rabbi Jacob, revealed in 2019 at the microphone of TV-Leisure that the chase scenes had been shot in a former sugar factory in Val-d’Oise, but that the large vat of chewing gum had been entirely created in the studio by the production designer Théo Meurisse, also known for having worked on La Grande Vadrouille or on Le Cercle rouge.
As for the green and pasty substance which filled the tank, as specified in an article by TeleObs, it has been designed so as not to irritate the skin and retina of actors, with the following ingredients:
- wheat flour
- green dye
- and a little yeast …
This last component was also the cause of a rather cocacious inconvenience at the start of filming, when the teams noticed that in their absence, the substance had swelled dramatically:
“It was like a horror movie”, declared Danièle Thompson at the microphone of TV-Leisure. “It had overflowed from the vats, and it had taken over the studio.”
As for the bubbles formed by the shoes of Louis de Funes when he walks, as the screenwriter also revealed, they were actually created with condoms, inflated using a bicycle pump placed inside the sole.
Still according to the article of TeleObs, the factory that can be seen in this scene from Rabbi Jacob was later reused by Olivier Marchal to shoot his thriller 36 Quai des Orfèvres.
(Re) discover our video dedicated to Louis de Funès …