Gérard Oury directs The Mad Adventures of ‘Rabbi Jacob’ in 1973.
Portrait of a film : Louis de Funès, in his usual role – an authoritarian who terrorizes those around him – a role enhanced by racism and anti-semitism, is forced to conspire with an Arab leader, and disguise himself as an Orthodox rabbi. More than 7 millions people flocked to theaters to watch this fable about the learning of tolerance.
Portrait of an era : the script is written at the time of airplane hijackings by the Palestinians and during the Munich Olympics hostage crisis. The film is released in October, 1973, fifteen days after the start of the Yom Kippour War. The wife of the film’s distributor, Georges Cravenne, who is opposed to the release of the film, attempts to hijack a flight between Paris and Nice and is shot and killed by the police.
Portrait of a director : Gérard Oury loves fables, vaudeville in movies, and actors paired as antagonistic opposites. He is subjected to intolerance in the Jewish Orthodox neighborhoods of New York where he was forced to stop shooting after being called a pornographer. He also renounced filming in the Rue des Rosiers in Paris, and used in its place a neighborhood in Saint Denis.