By Amelie Com
Danièle Thompson announced in 2016 to work at Rabbi Jacqueline. But the project will not see the light of day, deplores the co-screenwriter of the film by Louis de Funès.
Danielle Thompson knew that the project was difficult; she now realizes that it is impossible. The director wanted to follow up on the immense success that were The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob. Co-written with designer Jul, Rabbi Jacqueline was to stage the adventures of the children and grandchildren of the characters of Rabbi Jacob.
“We started working on a possible sequel that would pick up the next generations,” explained Danièle Thompson on France 2 on Sunday. But forty years later, the task has proven to be thorny. Even more, according to him, than at the time of Gérard Oury, his father. “We would no longer have that freedom, lamented the director. It’s a shame because humor must explode all the time and everywhere. You have to be careful and not offend sensibilities like, it’s a kind of censorship that exists today.
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“We were walking on eggshells»
It should be remembered that in 1973, upon the release of Rabbi Jacob, the film had already caused controversy. Despite the success of Corniaud, of The big mop or of Megalomania, Gérard Oury is dropped by Gaumont. He struggled to find producers for this script celebrating friendship between Jews and Arabs under the patronage of a xenophobic Frenchman. In New York, filming was disrupted by Orthodox Jews who vilified the project. On screen one Louis de Funes in the role of Victor Pivert, an openly anti-Semitic French industrialist disguises himself as a rabbi to save Slimane, a revolutionary from an Arab country. “We were aware throughout the writing of the film that we were shaking things up and that we were walking on eggshells”, remembers the co-screenwriter of the film. Lines had to be cut”because they would not have been possible“. Replicas that would still not be broadcast today. “Especially today”insists Danièle Thompson.
The film’s release on October 18, 1973 turned tragic. It intervenes in the middle of the Yom Kippur War. To protest against this film which she considers to be propaganda, Danielle Cravenne, the wife of Georges Cravenne who was responsible for promoting the film, hijacks a plane armed with a rifle. She was mortally wounded during the intervention of the GIGN which stormed the Boeing at Marignane airport.
However, the public acclaimed the film: 7.3 million spectators flocked to dark rooms to discover this latest collaboration between Gérard Oudry and Louis de Funès. And the production remains one of the most rebroadcast on French television, until today.
After considering a musical adaptation in the early 2000s, the idea of a cinematic sequel emerged. In 2016, the project was confirmed for a release scheduled for Christmas 2018. At the time, in the show The Big Court on Europe 1, the director explains her project. Rabbi Jacqueline would have beena sequel without being one, because it’s a huge leap in time“, she says. “These are delicate and formidable subjects and always on a razor edge“, recalled then Danièle Thompson. A continuation well inscribed in his family history since Jacqueline is the first name of his mother, the actress Jacqueline Roman.