My selections for this month had been pretty heavy in content. Because of this, I decided to clear my pallet with some nice fluffy comedies. The trouble was, that beyond not wanting to take another dive into screwball comedy I really didn’t know what I wanted to see. Not knowing where to go I started with the archetype of the fool, as in the kind who stumbles through life unscathed. Going through a list of film examples I stumbled over The Tall Blond With One Black Shoe…(Le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire) In the same info dive, I found another film The Man With The Red Shoe. While studying them enough to see if they’d fit as a possible theme of “Comedies With Shoes” I discovered one was the remake of another. 

So instead I had the opportunity to do another “Old Vs New”, even better.

Wednesday Double Feature - Old Vs New - Men With a Shoe - The Tall Blond With a Black Shoe

So in Yves Robert‘s The Tall Blond With a Black Shoe a French drug smuggler has been captured with a car full of heroin. (I’m tempted to hypothesize that this makes it an indirect sequel to The French Connection from three years before.) He is immediately tracked back to French Intelligence. The Director suspects a department head but doesn’t have quite enough evidence. To flush out his rival and his followers out, he tells a subordinate in a bugged room that he shall be picking up a super-spy at the airport the next day at 9:30. After they are out of earshot he tells him that it really doesn’t matter who he meets at the airport, he just wants someone for the rival department to waste a couple of days following. So, just pick up anybody at random. Given a handful of promising choices, the subordinate a tall man with blond hair (Pierre Richard) who for unknown reasons is wearing one reddish-brown shoe and one black shoe. 

The rest of the movie consists of the rival factions trying to keep the tall blond under surveillance but because they’re too busy fighting each other the blond goes through what he thinks is a slightly weird day, completely oblivious to the chaos going on around him.

This was a really fun film. Richard is an incredibly versatile comic actor who owns every shot he is in. The rest of the crew are no slackers providing wonderful comic moments, my favorites consist of one agent methodically taking apart a babushka doll while they are ransacking the blond’s house and another scene where the blond is under surveillance, with a honeytrap agent who has been set up with him (and falls in love with him) The people watching the date, and eventual lovemaking, unconsciously mimicking the pair’s actions.

Wednesday Double Feature - Old Vs New - Men With a Shoe - The Man With One Red Shoe

The Stan Dragoti‘s Man With A Red Shoe, with Tom Hanks playing Richard’s place in the titular role, follows the original storyline loyally, serving as an American translation of the original film. Based on this everything is bigger with the whole CIA after our hero, and in this case, I do mean hero. The film goes out of its way to present that everything going up against our hero rather than what in the original film where nothing is personal and everything seems more like especially bloody office politics. 

The biggest difference between the two films is unlike the original film where doesn’t notice anything. Hanks does discover he’s being targeted and reacts in the end.