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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs
File:Préparez vos mouchoirs.jpg
French film poster
Directed by Bertrand Blier
Produced by Paul Claudon
Georges Dancigers
Alexandre Mnouchkine
Written by Bertrand Blier
Starring Carole Laure
Gérard Depardieu
Patrick Dewaere
Michel Serrault
Riton Liebman
Music by Georges Delerue
Cinematography Jean Penzer
Edited by Claudine Merlin
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
  • 11 January 1978 (1978-01-11)
Running time
105 minutes
Country France
Language French

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (French: Préparez vos mouchoirs) is a 1978 French romantic comedy film[1] directed by Bertrand Blier. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 51st Academy Awards.[2]


Raoul (Gérard Depardieu) and his wife Solange (Carole Laure) are eating in a restaurant when Raoul expresses concern with Solange's apparent depression, as she eats little, suffers migraines and insomnia and also sometimes faints. He finds another man in the room, Stéphane (Patrick Dewaere), to be her lover and hopefully enliven her again. Stéphane is puzzled by Raoul's plan but gives in to his desperate appeals for help. The two men take turns sleeping with Solange, and both try to impregnate her without success, believing a lack of a child to be the source of her depression.

Raoul, Solange and Stéphane work at a boys' camp in the summer, where they meet a 13-year-old math prodigy named Christian Belœil (Riton), who is bullied by the other boys. Solange becomes protective of Christian and one night lets him sleep in her bed. She awakes to find Christian exploring her body and scolds them. They make up and have sex, despite a drastic age difference. Afterwards, Solange becomes dependent on the boy, to the point where she, Raoul and Stéphane kidnap him from his boarding school. Christian eventually impregnates her, and the film ends with Raoul and Stéphane walking away after serving six months in prison.


Director Bertrand Blier wrote the screenplay "from the middle," starting by writing the scene where Raoul and Stéphane fantasize about meeting composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.[3] While writing the script, he was planning to use Dewaere and Depardieu in the leads, having previously worked with them on Going Places (1974). The familiarity meant the men were comfortable together.[1] David Denby of New York believed the film was made in the spirit of the French New Wave.[4]


The film had a total of 1,321,087 admissions in France.[5]

The film has received positive reviews, with Rotten Tomatoes counting nine favourable reviews out of ten.[6] New York claims the audience clapped and hissed at the New York Film Festival and that Get Out Your Handkerchiefs was "courageous and enjoyable."[4] Time Out called it "an erratic, often hilarious movie."[7] In his 2002 Movie & Video Guide, Leonard Maltin gives the film three and a half stars and calls it "disarming" and "highly unconventional."[8] Arion Berger writes that "to experience Get Out Your Handkerchiefs is to watch a master at the peak of his powers."[1] An Epinions critic wrote "Get Out Your Handkerchiefs is good for some laughs while flaunting somewhat outrageous disregard for standard sexual mores."[9]

The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film[8] and was named the best film of 1978 by the National Society of Film Critics.[10]

Not all reviews were favourable, as People wrote the humour could be "downright incomprehensible" and "so airy it floats right off the screen."[10]

Variety wrote that "a rather bizarre mixture of gritty comedy, satire and delving into female status makes this a literary film. There is a lot of talk, sometimes good, but often edgy and too often pointless in lieu of a more robust visual dynamism and life."[11]


  • Gérard Depardieu as Raoul
  • Carole Laure as Solange
  • Patrick Dewaere as Stéphane
  • Michel Serrault as the neighbour
  • Eléonore Hirt as Madame Belœil
  • Jean Rougerie as Monsieur Belœil
  • Sylvie Joly as the passer-by
  • Riton (Liebman) as Christian Belœil
  • Liliane Rovère as Marthe the barmaid ("Bernadette")
  • Michel Beaune as the doctor in the street
  • Roger Riffard as the doctor at the port
  • André Thorent as the teacher
  • André Lacombe as the councillor
  • (Alain) David Gabison as the man
  • Gilberte Géniat as the usherette
  • Jean Perin as a worker
  • Bertrand de Hautefort as an officer

See also


  1. ^ a b c Arion Berger, "Get Out Your Handkerchiefs," The Criterion Collection, September 23, 1993, URL accessed February 25, 2013.
  2. ^ "The 51st Academy Awards (1979) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2013-06-07. 
  3. ^ Sue Harris, Bertrand Blier, Manchester University Press, 2001, p. 54.
  4. ^ a b David Denby, "One Touch of Mozart," New York, October 16, 1978, p. 120.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Préparez vos Mouchoirs (Get Out Your Handkerchiefs) (1978)," Rotten Tomatoes, URL accessed February 25, 2013.
  7. ^ CA, "Préparez Vos Mouchoirs," Time Out, URL accessed February 25, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Leonard Maltin, ed., Leonard Maltin's 2002 Movie & Video Guide. A Signet Book, 2001, p. 514.
  9. ^ metalluk, "Is Statutory Rape Appropriate Material For Laughs?," Epinions, June 5, 2004, URL accesses June 14, 2003.
  10. ^ a b "Picks and Pans Review: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs," People, February 12, 1979, vol. 11, no. 6.
  11. ^ Variety staff, "Preparez Vos Mouchoirs," Variety, 1977, URL accessed February 25, 2013.

External links