Francis Veber – La chèvre AKA The Goat AKA Knock on Wood (1981)


One the best, most serious detectives in France (Gérard Depardieu) is teamed up with a luckless stumble-bum (Pierre Richard) and sent off to Central America to search for the clutzy daughter of a powerful magnate in this fast-paced and funny French farce.

— Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide

Certainly one of France’s supreme farceurs in the classic tradition, comedian Pierre Richard was born to an uppercrust family with an embarrassing riches of middle names as he was christened Pierre Richard Maurice Charles Leopold Defays. Working and building up his trade at the Paris Music Hall in the early years, he appeared in small movie roles thoughout most of the 60s. In the 70s, however, he aimed his genius directly towards film and succeeded beyond the wildest expectations. Directing and co-writing many of his slapstick vehicles, his characters often have taken on an hilariously guileless persona and, coupled with his innate gift for klutzy physical comedy, have become an audience favorite for nearly four decades. His superior work in Le distrait (The Daydreamer, 1970) and Les malheurs d’Alfred (The Troubles of Alfred, 1972) was immediately recognized and this led to the international crossover hit Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, 1973) in which Richard played a naive, innocent concert musician plucked by chance to become a superspy on a top secret mission. A potent association in the 1960s and 1970s with actor/producer/director Yves Robert and the 1980s with writer/director Francis Veber and actor Gérard Depardieu produced several comedy classics: Alexandre le bienheureux (Alexander, 1967), Le retour du grand blond avec une chaussure noire (The Return of the Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe, 1974), La chèvre (The Goat, 1981), Les compères (Les Compères, 1983) and Les fugitifs (The Fugitives, 1986). Many of Richard’s classic comedies, including Le jouet (The Toy, 1976), have spawned Hollywood remakes and imitations, though most pale compared to the originals.

— Gary Brumburgh, IMDb

Language:French, Spanish