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March 23, 2020


From June 22 to August 1, 1956, we filmed in Deauville "Assassins and thieves". From Planches to Place Morny, under the casino porch, in front of the Normandy hotel, the visit to the seaside town is exhaustive.
Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the sunshine.

I was 30 years old and I was in Deauville, on the beach, looking for an adventure - I will not hide it - when the most enticing creature I saw in my life suddenly passed under my nose . How good it smelled! Outside, an instant later, I saw her throwing herself into the sea, as we throw ourselves into the water in desperation. How well she swam, and how fast she went and how far she went. So far away that I worried about it…
Thus begins the story of the life of Philippe d'Artois alias Jean Poiret.

Behind the scenes of filming by Philippe Lenoir, journalist passionate about cinema

Sacha Guitry was one of the outstanding figures in the social life of Deauville. The playwright was a lover of Normandy all his life, spending part of his childhood in Saint-Martin-de-La Lieue, enjoying the sea baths as a child in Villerville, getting married once on his five nuptials in Honfleur and making the acquisition of a manor house in Yainville in 1913. It was the declaration of war between France and Germany in the summer of 1914 which decided Sacha Guitry to join Deauville where he met the poet Guillaume Apollinaire and the dancer Isadora Duncan .

Following this forced stay, Sacha Guitry will remain faithful to the seaside city where he situates the intrigue of Desired, a play created in 1927 where he takes the title role of the seductive valet. In 1937 he made the adaptation to the cinema of his work in his particular style of filmed theater which saved him from filming in Deauville. It was not until 1956, when outdoor shootings multiplied thanks to more mobile cameras, that Sacha Guitry made his penultimate film, Murderers and Thieves, in Deauville. The filmmaker leaves exhausted by the realization of ambitious period films including If Royal Affairs in Versailles et Napoleon, before directing this caustic and modern comedy, which he hoped to play with Michel Simon.

But Sacha Guitry, very sick, is condemned to the wheelchair and realizes the film under morphine. He entrusts the main roles to Jean Poiret and Michel Serrault in this story where an aristocrat accuses a thief of his own crimes. There are many scenes in Deauville, notably in a scene where Jean Poiret is looking for a young woman (Magali Noël) in his convertible car. Despite the illness, the film is a summary of cynical casualness faithful to the spirit of the master.

In detail

Director: Sacha Guitry (certain scenes were provided by producer Clément Duhour due to the filmmaker's illness).

Script, dialogues and adaptation: Sacha Guitry.

In the main roles: Jean Poiret, Michel Serrault, Magali Noël, Darry Cowl, Pierre Larquey, Pauline Carton.

The duo Poiret / Serrault had already toured together, but this is their first headlining film.

The film was released on screens on February 8, 1957. Sacha Guitry, its director, died on July 24, 1957, a year after the shooting.