Ma femme est une panthere (1961)

aka My Wife is a Panther
Article 5058 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 1-23-2016
Directed by Raymond Bailly
Featuring Jean Richard, Jean Poirot, Michel Serrault
Country: France
What it is: Comedy

Thinking that he’s preventing a murder, a man meets a colonel who keeps a panther in his house; the colonel tells him that the panther is the reincarnation of his wife. When the man returns home, the panther stows away in his car, and follows him into his apartment. When a sexy neighbor shows up, the man believes she is the panther transformed into her human form. Hilarity ensues.

For the record, this French comedy remained unavailable to me for some time and the movie fell into my “ones that got away” list. However, it recently became commercially available, albeit in French without English subtitles. In this case, it’s no big problem; if you know the basic premise of the movie, it’s extremely easy to follow, as most of the humor is visual. In fact, it’s so easy to follow that I may have enjoyed it more than I would have otherwise because I was happy not to have to struggle through the language barrier; I rather enjoyed it, though from its 3.0 rating on IMDB, it’s reputation is very low. Admittedly, it’s a silly trifle, but I thought some of the gags worked well enough for me. The language content does make it a little difficult to gauge its fantastic content, though; though the transformation from panther to woman is clearly a misunderstanding, there’s a slightly hallucinatory scene where the man believes he’s driving his car through Africa that I found difficult to explain. At any rate, I’m glad to have found another movie that I thought had eluded me completely.

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