The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #161668   Message #3844429
Posted By: Thompson
12-Mar-17 - 05:59 AM
Thread Name: ADD: French song, J'ai ma combine - translate?
Subject: RE: ADD: French song, J'ai ma combine - translate?
Now that's interesting. Because that's the basic theme of Le Viager, in which the old gent is the victim of a family who… well, originally they're just on to a bit of a good thing, since the poor old man is (in the opinion of his doctor, one of the family) going to die within two years. So by offering him a viager deal, they're not doing anything crooked - they'll give him a nice living for his remaining years of life, he'll live a couple of years in his farmhouse in the "tiny fishing village" (as it then was) of Saint-Tropez, and then they'll inherit his house.

It's when things start to go wrong that the combine element comes in; the notary doing the deal suggests indexing the payment to the price of an obscure metal - aluminium - the price of which starts to rise and rise as it's used first for planes during the second World War, and then in everything from cooking implements and pots to casseroles to beer kegs, etc. And the old gent lives on and on.

And then (to quote Elmore Leonard) the murders began…

Or at least the family's increasingly desperate attempts to get rid of the old gent - by informing on him to the government with inventions of Nazi collaboration, then informing on him to the Vichi government with allegations that he's a dedicated maquisard - and so on.

So the song is particularly apposite in the film. I always find this satisfying, when a film's music satisfactorily echoes back the theme of the movie, like When Time Goes By in Casablanca or Singing in the Rain in the 1952 movie looking back at the last days of silent film in the 1920s, with the Depression looming.