Having died exactly 53 years ago, Bourvil was celebrated yesterday in Saint-Julien d'Intres, in the heart of Ardèche. Officials have been added to the 300 inhabitants who live in this village, starting with the prefect and sub-prefect of the department. They inaugurated the Relais des Cracks, a gatekeeper's house where, in 1967, Bourvil filmed for three weeks several scenes from a film directed by Alex Joffé, Les cracks.
On screen, we see him, among other things, trying to board a train, when pigs come out of a wagon. The line which then connected several municipalities was closed in 1968, and the rails were then replaced by a 90 kilometer lane reserved for bicycles and pedestrians. Named the “Dolce Via”, it offers a view of the mountains of the Rhône valley, but also of the sources of the Loire. Several tens of thousands of walkers stroll there every year. It has today become the preferred European route for Dutch tourists.
Also read: Bourvil: the great films of a brilliant comic trouper who became a tragedian
In 2010, the barrier guard's house was bought by the municipality and painted pink, that is to say the color of the facade that we see on the screen. The two rooms and the terrace have been renovated and transformed into a snack bar which now serves as a stopover for pedestrians and cyclists. A poster and photos from a film during which Bourvil fell off his bike were hung on the walls. This fall was the origin of a battery of medical examinations which led to the discovery of the cancer which would take his life three years later. Philippe and Dominique Raimbourg, the actor's sons, gave the green light to this place of remembrance and sent a letter of thanks that Catherine Faure, mayor of Saint-Julien d'Intres, read during the ceremony.
Les Cracks by Alex Joffé in 1968, with Bourvil, Monique Tarbès, Robert Hirsch...
This tribute is in addition to that paid to the actor, a few days ago, at La Vieille-Lyre, in Normandy. A life-size statue, that is to say 1.74 m tall, was unveiled. Placed next to a gas pump identical to the one featured in this comedy, it was found and purchased from a collector. The two monuments were placed a few dozen meters from the Trou Normand, a hotel which became a lodge. It was the setting for the film of this title, directed in 1952 by Jean Boyer.
Le Trou normand by Jean Boyer in 1952, with Bourvil, Jane Marken, Brigitte Bardot, Pierre Larquey, Jeanne Fusier-Gir, Noël Roquevert...
In the role of Hippolyte Lemoine, a simpleton in his thirties, Bourvil opposite Brigitte Bardot, then a beginner. The association “Sur les pas de Bourvil”, created to defend the memory of the actor, is at the origin of this memorial, but also of tourist circuits dedicated to him. Among them is a 13.2 kilometer route which allows you to discover Bourville, where André Raimbourg grew up. A village which, thanks to him, has entered history.