THE RETURN OF THE TALL BLOND MAN
Directed by: Yves Robert
Written by: Yves Robert, Vincent Weber
Featuring: Pierre Richard, Jean Carmet, Mirelle Darc, Collette Castel, Paul Le Person, Jean Bouise, Jean Rochfort, Michel Duchassoy
After getting away to Rio with the beautiful Christine, Francois Perrin, our hapless hero from the first film is unexpectedly dragged back into the world of French Espionage and Counter Espionage as Cambrai, a new man in the upper levels of the French Secret, has suspicions he was responsible for the death of Colonel Milan and might be a super spy. Colonel Toulouse makes sure of this by kidnapping Christine and forcing Perrin to play the role of the ‘The Tall Blonde Man’ in an effort to throw Cambrai off the trail and end his investigation.
Hollywood gets some deserved stick for making sequels to films that do not need sequels and it is only fair and equitable that French cinema gets the same.
Simply put The Tall Blond Man with One Brown Shoe did not need a sequel it was strong enough to stand on its own and The Return of the Tall Blonde Man proves this.
Everything that was charming and fun in the first film is diluted or gone in this film. The underlying seriousness of the espionage fraternity has flipped over to an absurd caricature with every spy wearing Dick Tracy raincoats and trilbies.
Even Richard’s character, enjoyable in the first film by being ludicrously unaware, now being fully cognisant of his situation and eventually resolving the situation and being in full control is a disappointing shadow of the original. The slapstick silliness feels forced and shoehorned in situations.
Dialling up the ridiculous of the characters and situations, making everything even more unbelievable, really took me out of the film to the point where I did not really care what happened to anyone.
Repeating the first film’s situations, in particular the ruined concert, which in itself is stupid and unbelievable even for a slapstick farce, is unforgivable, even the bum-cleavage dress makes a return, this time in white, yet like this film, it seems to have lost something and does not fit Darc as well. It feels as if everyone involved was forced to make this film and only put a half-arsed effort in, pun intended.
As much as the first film was strong with a serious story unpinning the comedy and some great straight acting this film is the exact opposite. It felt sloppy, rushed and only a quarter as funny and I could feel my attention wandering.
A sin that is hard to get passed in the summation of any film.
The tall blond man should have stayed happy and in love in Rio and never have returned.