Holy Year ★★★

L'année sainte / Holy Year (Jean Girault, 1976) 6/10

Jean Gabin's last film is a light hearted, delightful comedy with the star fittingly cast as a convict. Most of his memorable films had him playing theives and gangsters but with a strong code of honour. An old convict (Jean Gabin) and his cell-mate (Jean-Claude Brialy) plan an escape from prison with the old geezer planning to collect a hidden stache of gold buried under a lemon tree next to a church in Rome. Successfully escaping from prison they don the guise of priests and board a flight for Rome. As luck would have it the flight is hijacked by a group of terrorists demanding a ransom of a million dollars and take the flight to Tangiers instead. What they don't realize is the resourceful gruff priest on board who has quite a few tricks up his sleeve. Adding a sense of deja vu to the proceedings is another passenger, an elderly duchess (Danielle Darrieux), who happens to recognise the old priest as her former lover 40 years before. The two stars shine during their brief scenes together. Gabin, who died soon after the film was shot is fabulous as usual and the only reason to watch this very minor film.