The Joker

1960 _ Édouard, a bohemian playboy, spends his time flitting from one conquest to the next until he falls for the beautiful Hélène, the wife of a wealthy industrialist. Drawn to his whimsical, extravagant lifestyle, she leaves her husband for Édouard, but soon realizes that security has its advantages too...
Image du film Le Farceur de Philippe de Broca avec Jean-Pierre Cassel

Édouard Berlon is a charming, elegant young man who fails to use his many talents to earn a living. Instead, he devotes all his time to romance, flitting easily from one woman to the next. He lives with his uncle Théodose, along with his ex-wife Pilou, his brother Guillaume (who has now married Pilou), and the maid Olga, whom he frequently visits in her bedroom. Guillaume brings this funny little group to life by casting them as characters in his historical photo-novels.

One day, while scrambling over the rooftops to flee a jealous husband, Édouard meets Hélène Laroche, the beautiful wife of a wealthy industrialist. But this somewhat cold and reserved young woman resists his charms. He instantly falls in love with her. He bombards her with phone calls and visits, so much so that Hélène softens a little and agrees to go to Théodose’s home. Bored by her husband, who is only interested in money and business, she is seduced by this unconventional family and their bohemian lifestyle so different from her own.

Yet she remains aloof, casting Édouard into despair. He becomes reclusive, almost making himself ill. Pilou is sent to plead Édouard’s case to Hélène, who is touched and agrees to visit him. Won over by this world of whimsy and the attention she never received from her husband, she takes lodgings with Édouard in an inn on the outskirts of Paris.

But she cannot adapt to Édouard’s lifestyle, and begins to miss the luxury to which she was accustomed. She decides to leave Édouard, who has also realized, now his desires have been satisfied, that he is far from suited to life in a couple. When Hélène goes to inform Édouard of her decision, she catches him red-handed, wooing the inn’s maid.

 

Crew

Production: Ajym film (Roland Nonin and Claude Chabrol).
Screenplay: Philippe de Broca and Daniel Boulanger.
Script: Daniel Boulanger.
Director of Photography: Jean Penzer.
Cameraman: Pierre Lhomme.
Editing: Laurence Méry.
Music: Georges Delerue.
Sound technician: Jean Labussière.
Sets: Jacques Saulnier.
Make-up: Billy Bonnard.
Production manager: Roland Nonin.
Stage manager: Tonio Suné .
Assistant director: Georges Pellegrin.
Script supervisor: Andrée François.
Press agent: Jean Laporte.
Photographer: Silvère Pierre.

 

Cast

Jean-Pierre Cassel (Édouard Berlon), Anouk Aimée (Hélène Laroche), Geneviève Cluny (Pilou, Guillaume’s wife), Anne Tonietti (Olga the maid), Georges Wilson (Guillaume Berlon, Édouard’s brother), Pierre Palau (uncle Théodose), François Maistre (André Laroche, Hélène’s husband), Jean-Pierre Rambal, Liliane Patrick, Irène Chabrier.

Running time: 88 minutes.
Filmed: 14 March – 30 April 1960, Studios de Saint-Maurice.
Location: Paris.
Distribution: film Fernand Rivers.
Release in Paris: 20 January 1961.
Box office: 66 666 tickets sold over 13 weeks in one Paris cinema.