The Tati Movie That Never Was

On Film / Short Takes — Jan 5, 2011

The blog Dangerous Minds has just posted a short entry focusing on the early-seventies almost-collaboration between Ron and Russell Mael, of the Los Angeles pop-rock band Sparks, and Jacques Tati, revealing what might have been a fascinating final chapter to the Hulot films. Confusion—which would have starred the Mael brothers as American television execs who’ve come to France to modernize a rural TV station—never happened because of Tati’s failing health and bankruptcy, but we’re tickled just hearing about the whimsical, even radical, touches he had planned (apparently, he seriously considered killing off Hulot in the first reel, by way of a mix-up of a prop gun with a real one!). We would have loved to see what surely would have been a hilarious media age satire, but at least we can daydream about it. And Jonathan Rosenbaum once mused about its potential in this essay for our edition of Playtime.