The Law Is the Law

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The Law Is the Law
(La legge è legge)
Totò and Fernandel
Directed by Christian-Jaque
Produced by Alfredo Bini
Written by Christian-Jaque
Jacques Emmanuel
Agenore Incrocci
Furio Scarpelli
Starring Totò
Music by Nino Rota
Cinematography Gianni Di Venanzo
Edited by Jacques Desagneaux
Release dates
  • 17 September 1958 (1958-09-17)
Running time
95 minutes
Country France
Language French

The Law Is the Law (French: La loi, c'est la loi, Italian: La legge è legge) is a 1958 French-Italian comedy film directed by Christian-Jaque. It was entered into the 8th Berlin International Film Festival.[1]


In the village of Assola, divided in half by the French-Italian border, the smuggler living Neapolitan Giuseppe La Paglia (Toto) and the French customs officer Ferdinand Pastorelli (Fernandel). On the feast day of the town on the French side, Ferdinand Joseph stopped arriving late to the traditional parade that was to bring the French flag, and during the following reception of the hotel two borders, which is divided in half by the border, Joseph discovered that Ferdinand was born Italian mother and an unknown father in the kitchen of the restaurant which is located in the Italian part of the hotel, for which, though recorded at the French Ministry, the customs officer, is actually Italian and is not entitled to exercise the profession. A subsequent audit at the municipality of Assola, Ferdinand discovers that those who recorded the birth years before, Gaspar Donnadiè, owner of the two borders, failed to register there, while it was the Italian municipality. The same Donaddiè tells Ferdinand that he went to the town hall French because it was raining that day and it was closer than the Italian one.

At the risk of losing their jobs, Ferdinand asks for help, just as Joseph takes him to Italy to ask the Italian identity card and then subsequently request French nationality, but according to an honorable friend of her father, being become Italian citizen effects will prevent him from obtaining French nationality and also the marriage will be invalid and his son said his father unknown. As if that were not enough Ferdinand is placed in custody by the police together with the first wife Antoinette, now the wife of Joseph, because under Italian law, which does not provide for divorce, they are still married and Antoinette is therefore a bigamist; clarified the situation Antoinette is released while Ferdinand is retained because, having been in the war for the French and the Italians, is a deserter, returned to the safe room there is Joseph who has been arrested for not leaving his wife alone with her ex-husband. Ferdinand point pride in being called a deserter, attempts suicide, but is persuaded to desist from Joseph and released by the police sergeant who, reviewing the practice, he discovered that Ferdinand is no longer a deserter but only lost all rights to be an Italian citizen.

Traced back to the border to be sent back to France, why not Italian, but is blocked by the head of the gendarmerie because it is undocumented and can not fit it in France. Ferdinand is thus to have become a homeless. Tired of this whole affair flees to the mountains armed with his rifle marksman and ponders his revenge against all, but Joseph with a letter warning: if you do not bring him some food as well he will put on the list of culprits! Joseph decides to favor Ferdinand and asks for food to Donaddiè, only to find on the label of some old wine bottles that the border years before cutting in half the hotel in a different way, the kitchen was in France and Italy then Ferdinand is a national French; Donaddiè confesses that he moved the boundary from the bathroom to the kitchen, to attract customers; clarified the misunderstanding Joseph, the police and the gendarmerie go to the mountains to convey the news to Ferdinand who saw Joseph with the police sergeant and the head of gendamerie believes that his friend betrayed him and shoots him, fortunately the shot hits the bottle of wine that Joseph was wearing and not injure him. Ferdinand is finally informed of the truth and can return to his work as a customs officer and the usual routine with Joseph trying to evade control.



  1. ^ " Awards for The Law Is the Law". Retrieved 2010-01-02. 

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