General analysis: Le Gendarme à New York

The popular “Gendarme” series stars Louis de Funès playing, as usual, an irascible and agitated character, Cruchot. Cruchot’s brigade features a number of gendarmes who are not particularly renowned for their intelligence. This second opus in the series underlines one of their failings, a lack of proficiency in English, which might compromise their trip to New York for an international policing conference. Cruchot himself has very limited knowledge of English, but, proud as he is, he makes his colleagues believe the contrary.

In France, the commonest periphrasis for “English” is “Shakespeare’s language.” Hence, it is logical that, when you use English very rarely, Shakespeare and his writings come to your mind. This must be why Fougasse utters “That is the question” with a very strong French accent. This sentence is not only part of Shakespeare’s most famous soliloquy; it is also a very short and simple clause that anyone can remember from their English classes, even the most impervious to modern languages.

Contributed by Gaëlle GINESTET

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