Ni Vu, Ni Connu (Neither Seen Nor Recognized) is built around the talents of rubber-faced Gallic comedian Louis De Funes. Our hero is a poacher in a small provincial village, who always manages to stay one step ahead of the Law. Through a fluke, De Funes finds himself the town’s Leading Citizen when he is falsely arrested on another charge, forcing the village elders to bend over backwards making amends.
Blaireau, un braconnier très adroit, ravitaille tout le pays en gibier. Un soir, son ennemi de toujours, le garde champêtre Parju, se fait rosser. Ce dernier, persuadé, à tort, d’être la victime de Blaireau, le fait arrêter. Néanmoins, grâce à un directeur de prison compréhensif et aux attentions de la belle Arabella, son séjour en cellule ne sera pas trop rude. D’autant plus que « l’erreur judiciaire » sera découverte, Parju ridiculisé et le retour de Blaireau au village sera triomphal.
Director Yves Robert’s second film is this charming adaptation of a popular late 19th Century novella “L’Affaire Blaireau” by Alphonse Allais. The film offers the same engaging portrait of provincial life that we see in the films of Marcel Pagnol and Robert’s later film La Gloire de mon père (1990), with colourful characters inhabiting a world that has long since passed away. This was one of a number of literary adaptations which Yves Robert directed in the first phase of his filmmaking career; others include: Signé Arsène Lupin (1959) and La Guerre des boutons (1962).
Ni vu, ni connu was a significant film for the comic actor Louis de Funès, helping to establish him as one of France’s greatest comic performers. After Comme un cheveu sur la soupe (1957), this was only the second time that De Funès had been cast in the leading role – he had already appeared in a hundred films over the preceding decade. De Funès’s portrayal of the mischievous poacher Blaireau is one of the actor’s most memorable performances – hugely sympathetic, but with a nice streak of anarchic sadism. The film also features an early appearance by another talented young actor who would rapidly attain great celebrity, Claude Rich. Little wonder that this film is regarded with so much affection in French households.