At the Conservatory, already, Jean-Paul Belmondo amazed his classmates with his prowess in the form of jokes. But it is in The Man from Rio that he will understand that his stunts, often dangerous, could make him the perfect actor in a French action cinema.
An amateur boxer in his youth, “Bébel” was a passionate athlete for a long time. This ability, combined with his daredevil temperament, allowed him to perform the stunts in his films without dubbing. Itinerary of the most intrepid of French actors.
Belmondo-Daredevil’s story begins with his prowess in The man from Rio. In a Brasilia under construction, Bébel already amazes spectators. In an unforgettable scene, he performs a real trapeze act on the scaffolding of emerging buildings. A year later in 1965, in The Tribulations of a Chinese in China, now billionaire playboy Arthur Lempereur, he tries to overcome his boredom. And invent incredible acrobatics around a hot air balloon directed by Jean Rochefort.
The actor is capable of anything. At the Union des artistes gala, he transforms into a gorilla to climb the scenery. He wants to be and he turns out to be the greatest sportsman of the actors. During the 1970s, directors took advantage of his taste for the stunt.
In The Casse Henri Verneuil, clinging to the strength of his arms to a bus, he tries to open the door of Omar Sharif’s car. In The Animal by Claude Zidi, he plays his own voice actor. Poor Mike Gaucher alias Bruno Ferrari alias Bébel must, for the needs of the scene, redo the same stunt twenty times, down a staircase, in front of the amused and cruel eyes of Raquel Welch, the female star of the film.
Georges Lautner, also fond of stunts, will use, under the supervision of Rémy Julienne, the talents of his star actor. He will invent for him the most spectacular of feats. In The Guignolo, Belmondo, is paraded on a trapeze attached to a helicopter, for more than a minute over Venice.
Obviously, Bébel was often injured. Sprain on The man from Rio, thigh torn in The magnificent, ear lacerated by a tiger in The Animal then in Itinerary of a spoiled child… But fear does not avoid danger, these “risks of the profession”, in the actor’s own words, never prevented him from recommencing his exploits.
As a tribute to the greatest of actor-stuntmen, Le Figaro presents video extracts from The Man from Rio and the Guignolo.
The man from Rio by Philippe de Broca in 1964, with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Françoise Dorléac
The Guignolo by Georges Lautner in 1980, with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Georges Géret, Michel Galabru …