LE DÎNER DES CONS, or, THE DINNER GAME

I cut a dialogue reel of this movie, excising silence, music, and sound effects, reducing it to a one hour track of talking only, and then exported it as an MP3 to my MP3 player.  I’ve probably listened to it over 50 times.  More than anything, and especially in its juxtaposition of a successful businessman who’s life is changed by a bumbling,  worker with a heart of gold, this movie reminds me of PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES on a far far more modest budget.

I have nothing against American remakes; Americans make awesome movies.  I was keen to see DINNER OF THE SCHMUCKS, and it had its highlights.  The original is funnier and shows a lot more cleverness; unlike the remake, they never actually make it to the Dinner Game in this version.  They never even make it to the street!

I decided last year I’d done enough Blake Snyder Beat Sheets, but I like this movie so much and it’s sure interesting to compare Hollywood Blake Snyder’s beat sheet to a European movie.  I’m really glad I did it, too, as I believe I learned a new insight in doing it: in a False Victory story, the Final Fun & Game is the Midpoint (as Jamie Nash & Pete Barnstrom & I have discussed before).  In a False Defeat story, the Midpoint is the First Bad Guy To Close In.

I compare this to Snyder’s Beatsheet, and also break it into Act’s via FilmCritHulk’s idea that an Act Break is “a decision there’s no going back on”, and by that measure, I count 6 acts.

Blake Snyder BeatSheet
Project Title: LE DÎNER DES CONS, or, THE DINNER GAME
Genre: MONSTER IN THE HOUSE
– A House: Pierre’s condominium apartment
– A Sin: His invitation to the Dinner Game
– A Monster: François Pignon, innocent, earnest, and good-natured, but hopelessly stupid.

MORAL PREMISE: Disrespecting the dignity of other humans leads to ruin; respecting the pain and loneliness in others and reaching out to it leads to salvation.  Dishonesty and deceit lead to destruction but truth can restore order.

Opening Image (1): This is a good one: one of the Dinner Idiots (a boomerang fanatic) tosses a boomerang and answers his cellular phone: he expresses excitement regarding an invitation to a dinner, extended from someone he clearly looks up to with obsequious respect.  Lost in his enthusiasm about the invitation, he is knocked out from behind by his own boomerang.  Be careful what you throw out into the world, lest it come right back at you.

Set-Up (1-10): PIERRE BROCHANT is a wealthy, successful big shot in publishing; at a coffee meeting with a friend, Jean Cordier, Pierre remarks he doesn’t have an Idiot for the Idiot Dinner.  The friend has a ladle he’s purchased for the birthday of his father, who has a large ladle collection.  Pierre’s ears prick up: does this father enjoy sharing his passion in public, before others?  Jean is wary and senses Pierre’s intentions to mock his father at the Idiot Dinner:

Theme Stated (5):
“You must think I’m a real dick,” chuckles Pierre.
“Yes…”, acknowledges his “best friend” (Pierre’s own words).

Pierre wonders what he’ll do.

Jean takes the TGV home and is forced to share a seat with FRANÇOIS PIGNON, who won’t shut up and loves to show off photos of his own passion: re-creating large structures in matchsticks.  Jean is annoyed and just wants to be left alone!, until he realizes… he’s found a “world class champion” for Pierre…

At his station, he rings up Pierre with the great news.

Opening Titles.

At the “French IRS”, François works with LUCIEN CHEVAL, a friendly, if arrogant, co-worker who has a serious sports-team rivalry going with François.  François tolerates it; he receives a call from Pierre Brochant, who has heard “all about François” from his friend Jean from the TGV.  He’d really like to meet François!!!  François is taken quite aback: “Meet me??”

Catalyst (12): Pierre plays golf and imagines how amazing tonight’s Dinner Game is going to be!!!!
Unfortunately, Fate is unimpressed with Pierre, and he badly wrenches his back on the course.  “Oh putain!” he cries in pain, stumbling.
(***A decision/action/event there’s no going back from: Pierre’s invited François, and twisted his back.)

Debate (12-25): Pierre waddles into his large, impressive condominium calling for his wife Christine to come help; he can barely walk.  She ices his back; he asks for a Scotch.  She is angry about his participation in the Dinner Game; won’t he stay in with her tonight?  (DOES HE REALLY REALLY NEED TO GO TO THE DINNER GAME?)  He brushes her concerns off; “Just come!” he implores, “You’ll see how fun it is!”  (YES HE REALLY NEEDS TO ATTEND IT!) But Christine is totally turned off.  “Fun to mock a defenseless idiot?” she asks.

François prepares for tonight, choosing a tie.  François tells a co-worker Louisette his hopes about meeting a publisher like M. Brochant, so interested in François’s hobby.  A photo book about his detailed, laborious matchstick constructions could change François’s life, forever.

Christine is STUNNED to discover Pierre has invited his Idiot (François) to their home tonight!  Pierre explains his simple need to “study” François before displaying him.  Christine is disgusted; she’s going out to have dinner.  “With who???” Pierre asks.  The door buzzer sounds: Christine adamantly doesn’t want to meet poor François, but it’s only the doctor.

Christine admits the doctor, Dr. Sorbier.  She is indignant and tells Sorbier all about the Dinner Game: surely he’s heard of them.  Everyone invites an idiot who has a geeky or lame or funny interest and loves to talk about it; at the end of the night, they choose the winner — but the idiots never find out they’re being made fun of!!

Pierre apologizes to Dr. Sorbier for the scene; directs Sorbier to the bathroom, “the last door on the left”.  Sorbier speaks of his college day “Ugly Dinners”, wherein guys would compete to invite the ugliest girls.  Pierre chuckles; he knows that game!!  But trust him, the Idiot Dinner is even better!  The doctor is concerned the idiots would be oblivious enough; Pierre reassures him: “Believe me doctor, there are totally oblivious idiots out there.”

Dr. Sorbier has bad news for Pierre: he must cancel his dinner because of his back injury.  Pierre begs: this is a world-class world-champion idiot!  The doctor has to do something — anything!!  But the doctor is firm: absolutely not!

Pierre finally, regretfully relents, and calls François to cancel.  “What does he do?” inquires the doctor; “Tax collector”, replies Pierre.  “Bit dangerous, no?” thinks the doctor, “Inviting an auditor here?”  Pierre rolls his eyes at François’s answering machine message and even calls back to play it out loud for the doctor.  “He thinks it’s funny but it’s totally pathetic,” introduces Pierre.  François’s happy recorded voice bursts into a rhyming jingle about his name, on speakerphone.  The doctor agrees that François sounds like a total idiot.

Francois buzzes to be admitted: the Monster has arrived at the House, downstairs in the lobby.
Break Into Two (25):
(***Definite Act Break; an action there’s no return from: The invitation is fulfilled and the Guest/Monster is here)

Dr. Sorbier leaves anti-inflammatories painkillers and a request: “Please, don’t ever invite me to dinner.  I’d wonder all night long.”  Pierre just chuckles.

Pierre greets François; he is sorry to have to cancel dinner.
François is also sorry, too…. for Pierre: a hurt back is serious and painful.  (SAVE THE CAT?  His wound up excitement at a social opportunity is called off, but François’s sympathy is with his tormenter)

And, François’s not doing anything next Wednesday night, so Pierre invites him out to dinner again, in seven days.

(Meanwhile, in another part of Paris, the Dinner Game has commenced, and Boomerang Enthusiast is waxing enthusiastic, to the delight of the Hosts.)

Fun and Games (30-55):
Pierre gets a call from the party; he just cannot make it tonight, he insists.  To François’s delight, Pierre tells the party caller that François “is really great, and definitely looks like a winner!”

Pierre sure thinks François’s answering machine message is cute; François is modest but admits he gets a lot of requests to do his friends’ messages, too!  He offers to do Pierre’s, right now, but Pierre declines.

Pierre suffers François to display some photos of his matchstick engineering feats; he is “absolutely delighted” to meet François.  François expresses gratitude that Pierre could have interest in a book on his work; Pierre has truly changed François’s life.  Pierre ignores the photos to ask if François is married.  “Yes,” says François, “Well, no.”  His wife left him for his best friend.  “That happens,” says Pierre.

(As we will see, Pierre has previously hurt his former best friend by running off with Christine)

François thinks the strange thing about the whole affair is that the friend was “an absolute idiot!”

“What?” presses Pierre, “But you’re so smart!  I cannot believe your wife would run away with an idiot!”

François details the amount of matches and tubes of glue that go into each construction, and, delighted at François’s preoccupation, Pierre makes a decision:  “M. Pignon, we’re going to that dinner.  Did you drive?”
(***An Act Break??  Pierre CAN’T make it out the door, but he TRIES his most determined best.  Probably, NOT a decision there’s no return from, as his physical well-being forces him to return.  I’ll say, NOT an Act Break, but a compelling, if foiled, decision)

But, en route to the door, assisted by François, Pierre hurts his back more.  He’s immobilized, and pained, and gets cranky with François.  They are interrupted by the Answering Machine (which, François remarks, doesn’t even try to be funny): it is CHRISTINE, and she is calling with bad news: she’s not coming back.  Ever.  She’s leaving Pierre, disappointed and troubled.
(***A decision there’s no return from: Christine is gone.)

François reluctantly leaves; he LOVES to be around Pierre, and wants to display his affection and devotion.  He tries to find an excuse to linger (he really, really reminds me of SpongeBob Squarepants).  He offers to call the doctor, and Pierre takes him up on it.

François looks up Sorbier in Pierre’s address book, under ‘S’ and dials.  Pierre can clearly detect confusion in François’s conversation, and can tell it’s not the doctor.  He urges François to just hang up!, but François pushes happily through the talk, explaining all of Pierre’s woes: he has hurt his back, cancelled his dinner, and his wife has left him!  Pierre is a broken, broken man!  Pierre gets more frustrated and insistent that François shut up and hang up.  When François finally disconnects, he insists he did the right thing telling all: it was Pierre’s sister, after all.

Pierre doesn’t have a sister.

François can’t understand: when he asked, “Who is this?”, the other party clearly said, “It’s Marlene sa soeur”, or, “Marlene his sister”.

B Story (30):
Pierre cannot believe the stupidity:  François has dialed Pierre’s unstable mistress, Marlene Sasoeur (or, Marlene “Hissister”) instead of Dr. Sorbier… AND informed her that Christine has left!

“It’s not your sister?”

“No!  It’s Marlene Hissister!  That’s her name!!”  Pierre’s upset; Marlene is unhinged!  He instructs François to call her back immediately.  François does so, and informs Marlene that “Pierre’s wife Christine just came back!  Everything’s great.  Everyone’s fine.  Thanks!”

Marlene is dubious.  Pierre INSISTS that François hang up NOW!

François excuses himself; he can’t leave Pierre “all alone in this state”.

“All alone????” asks Marlene. “You said his wife was there!”

“Name of god!” curses Pierre, realizing François has blown it.

“She’s just taking out the garbage!” insists François.

“I’m coming!” Marlene insists.  Pierre gets on the phone: “No!  Stay away, don’t come here tonight!”  But Marlene assures him that Christine isn’t coming back and “is probably at LeBlanc’s”.  Marlene will be there as soon as she drops the dogs at her brother’s place.

François helps Pierre back to the couch in a prone position and brings him some water; eager to be “helpful” in order to stay around Pierre.

Pierre wants to be alone now.  François sympathizes that Christine has left with another man, this LeBlanc.  Pierre snaps: “Leave me alone!”

Hurt, François turns to go: “When you asked me about my life, M. Brochant, I didn’t say to leave me alone.”

With a heavy sigh, Pierre confesses that in fact LeBlanc was his best friend, from whom he stole Christine.  LeBlanc and Christine wrote a book together while they were together.

François has an idea: why doesn’t he just call up this LeBlanc guy, say he’s a friend of Christine, and ask if LeBlanc knows where she is….?  If she is in fact with LeBlanc, Pierre will at least know.

Pierre refuses, but… relents, *IF* François will say EXACTLY what Pierre instructs.  Eager to be friends, François agrees, and Pierre carefully instructs him to claim to be a film producer interested in the cinema rights to LeBlanc and Christine’s book, The Little Merry-Go-Round Horse.

Unimportant to the beatsheet, yet I really love it: LeBlanc’s name is “Juste LeBlanc”.

François: Ah, he doesn’t have a first name?
Pierre: I just told you, his name is Juste LeBlanc.
François: Yes, so he just goes by one name only??
Pierre: No, his name is Juste LeBlanc!
François: Right, so just LeBlanc alone?

Etc, it’s kind of Who’s On First.

François puts on a false voice and although Juste initially believes it is a hoax, François excitedly convinces him that the call and offer is for real.  Juste insists on writing the screenplay adaptation himself, François assures him, and triumphantly hangs up after negotiations: “We got the rights!”

Pierre is stunned that François has forgotten to ask about Christine.

François calls back; Juste LeBlanc is on the line discussing François’s call.  Can he call back?  François happily reads out the number inscribed on the telephone…!!!!!

Pierre recalls Jean’s opening description of François: “World class!  Maybe the world champion!”  The stupidity is indeed stunning.

The phone rings: Pierre can’t answer.  Juste leaves a message: “I wondered what that Belgian producer was doing at your house, but now I realize you’re looking for Christine.  If you want to know, just call and ask, but without the funny voice and accent this time.”

Pierre picks up to catch Juste.  Juste can’t believe it’s been 2 years since he was in the same position, Christine having left him.  It hurts, huh?  But, she’s not with Juste tonight.

Pierre mentions his wrenched back; sympathetic, Juste offers to stop by if Pierre requires it.

Pierre, who’s current “best friend” thinks is a total “dick”, acknowledges that Juste, the man whose wife he stole some years ago and has never spoken to since, is a true friend.  (MOMENT OF GRACE – Pierre acknowledges some human feeling in himself)

Pierre writes a note: “Please leave me alone due to illness, come again another day” for François to pin on the door on his way out.  Pierre will sleep this horrible day off.  François apologizes humbly for his errors: he just wanted to help Pierre out.

Midpoint (55) – False Defeat, aka, beginning of Bad Guys Close In (55-75):
In the elevator lobby, François fixes the note to the door… just as CHRISTINE steps off the elevator.  François notes her direction of movement, and greets her: “Ah, Marlene!”

Believing Christine to be Marlene, François diverts her with smooth talk: he recognizes her as Pierre’s mistress.

“His mistress??” asks Christine.
François assures her he knows everything, and counsels her to just go back to like before.  See Pierre 3 or 5 times a week, be as playful and amusing as François imagines her to be.
“He told you he sees me 3 to 5 times a week??” inquires Christine, surprised.
“Oh, he would see you everyday if he only could!” François assures her.
Christine leaves — again.
“You’re the man Pierre invited to dinner tonight?” she asks from the elevator.
“How could you tell?!” François bubbles.
(***Why doesn’t this feel like a decision/action/event there’s no return from?  Perhaps because Christine has already announced her departure, so it’s repetitive?  It fits the “no return from” criteria but just doesn’t feel like an Act Break, although a Midpoint really is an Act Break (even if it’s a break from “2A” to “2B”).  Still, Christine has just been shocked to discover Pierre ALSO HAS A MISTRESS whom he’d love to see daily!  It’s a repeat of the earlier beat, but she certainly leaves more disenchanted with Pierre than ever before.  Though it’s a repeat, it’s stronger.  I feel like there’s some kind of Act Break here.)

François re-enters Pierre’s apartment again, to tell him the good news: François Pignon has sent Marlene away!
Pierre is totally dubious.  “You have succeeded in diverting Marlene???”
François asks about her; she is a writer.  “Do you sleep with all your authors?”, François asks.

C Story: (previously Introduced/Set Up, now playing out in Real Time)
The bell rings: it is JUSTE LEBLANC in person, come by to see his old treacherous best friend in his hour of need.  Pierre sees François to the door and impatiently asks him to leave while he catches up on news of Christine from Juste.

François packs his things extremely slowly, trying to overhear and involve himself.  Pierre gets more and more impatient for François to LEAVE ALREADY!!

Juste LeBlanc gives what he has: he’s pretty sure Christine has gone to Pascal Menaud, her publicist.  Pierre reacts to this grave news; Menaud is quite a hound dog.  But alas, they don’t know where Menaud lives.  And will François PLEASE go home????

François sees his chance to involve himself: his co-worker Lucien Cheval is in the middle of auditing Pascal Menaud and knows his address.  Good night!

Pierre chases down François and explains his bad manners due to stress; won’t François please stay?  Pierre explains to Juste LeBlanc that François creates extremely charming matchstick constructions!  Juste plays along and marvels at the photos.  François shows off a photo of a matchstick oil derrick that he calls “Beau Derrick” (good-looking derrick) in homage to Bo Derek — get it???   (They get it!)  Pierre explains that his wife Christine is in the clutches of Paris’s most renowned sex maniac; can François get the address from his co-worker Lucien???

Aside with Pierre, Juste LeBlanc remarks on François’s stupidity.  Discovering that he is Pierre’s guest to the Dinner Game, Juste bursts out into a (funny) laugh that he can’t contain, seeing the irony that Pierre’s fate lies in the hands of someone Pierre only knows due to his thick nature.

“It’s not funny!” Pierre growls, but Juste just can’t hold it in.

The bell rings.  It’s MARLENE SASOEUR/”HISSISTER”, whom Pierre introduces to a surprised François.

Pierre realizes they’ve never met before and demands: WHO DID YOU SEND AWAY EARLIER???

Juste bursts out into his (funny) laugh, and Marlene flips out in ignored indignation, as Pierre and François wrangle to uncover what exactly François told to Christine.  François apologizes humbly; he only wanted to help.

Pierre wants François to leave.  François wants the chance to call Lucien Cheval his co-worker.  Juste urges Pierre to “think of Christine”, and Pierre relents and allows François to stay.

Lucien is in the middle of watching the game; he and François bicker over sports, and François hangs up.

François calls back for a favor.  Lucien agrees but only if François cheers, out loud and proud, for Lucien’s team.  François balks but Juste and Pierre coax and cajole him; he does it.  Lucien realizes: this must be a big favor!

Yes, in fact, François’s new friend’s wife is “chez Menaud” and needs that address.

Lucien is kind of a prick and, not realizing he’s on speakerphone, he giggles and mocks Pierre: “Ah, chez Menaud, your poor friend!!!”  His laughter is cruel and delighted at the poor friend’s quandary.

Lucien doesn’t have Menaud’s address, it’s at the office.

CAN HE GET THE ADDRESS AND CONTACT INFO??????

And miss the game?  Pierre promises to record the match!  And make dinner!  And serve wine!

Lucien refuses, but François calls him on his debt: he cheered Lucien’s team.  He cheered Lucien’s team!!!

Lucien begrudgingly gives in: fine.

François cheers to Pierre and Juste!  We win!!!  YES!!!

But Hitchcockian violin music sounds as Juste LeBlanc realizes: Pierre has just invited a government fiscal auditor into his home!  He’s on his way now!!
(***An action/decision/event there’s no return from: Lucien Cheval, auditor extraordinaire, is en route.  Oops!)

Juste and Pierre, fighting his twisted back, madly hide artworks and sculptures in the last bedroom on the right, downsizing the expensive appearance of Pierre’s condo.  Juste can’t stop laughing.

They add vinegar to wine to make it taste less expensive, and Lucien arrives for his omelette.

And what does Pierre do?, wonders Lucien.  “Ah, publishing.  That pays well, hm?”  Lucien’s eyes narrow.

Lucien gives over Menaud’s contact information, noting the pale spots on the wall where artworks would have hung before.

Address and info now in hand, Pierre is ready to beat down Menaud’s door, but Juste urges caution: what if Pierre breaks down the door and forcibly enters only to find Christine’s NOT actually there?  Let’s be rational.

Juste suggests someone calls up Menaud to tell him “Pierre Brochant knows everything, and he’s on his way to bust in the door with 4 or 5 large-sized friends!”

But, Menaud knows the voices of Juste and Pierre, and of his current auditor, Lucien.  He doesn’t know François’s voice.

François is carefully, patiently instructed over and over what to say and how to say it, so as to not screw it up, and he performs to the letter.

Unfortunately, Menaud is STUNNED!  Pierre Brochant?  Why???  His wife isn’t even here!

François: “She’s not???”

Pascal Menaud: “Hell no!  I’m screwing my auditor’s wife!  That son of a bitch’s been on my back for months!”

Lucien, perfectly calm, takes the phone and asks to speak to his wife, whom he instructs to leave immediately.  Lucien coldly promises to keep tomorrow’s 9am appointment, as usual.

Lucien drinks the vinegar-disguised wine, and is almost sick — he needs the bathroom.  Pierre tells François “last door on the left!” but François takes Lucien to the right… the hiding room for all the objets d’art.  Lucien smells a rat that he’ll be looking into very shortly…
All Is Lost (75): His wife’s whereabouts unknown, Pierre’s long tax evasion is now unveiled as well… to the “IRS”!  François really has a destructive touch!

Break Into Three (85): Meanwhile, agitated and distracted, Christine is in a car accident.
(***An event there’s no going back on.)

Juste air-kisses Pierre; they’ve made up at long last.  Juste departs.

Dark Night Of The Soul (75-85): Via telephone call, Pierre discovers that Christine has been hospitalized after a car accident.  Pierre panics and frets.  She is alive but under observation.

François offers to drive Pierre, but Pierre will do it himself.  He hobbles away to dress.

The phone rings; François ignores it, but Marlene’s upset voice plays on speakerphone.  She is needy and, as Pierre said, unhinged.  She threatens to harm herself.

François picks up, and earnestly talks Marlene down.  He explains Christine’s medical condition; Marlene protests that she is the victim, and that Pierre is an SOB, a jerk, a dick, and everyone knows it.  Why, does François realize that each week, every Wednesday, Pierre invites a total, oblivious fool to a group dinner where Pierre and all his jerk friends mock these poor people, without their ever realizing it?

François sees the horrible, tragic truth.
(***An event there’s no return from: the Truth revealed.  I don’t feel this is an Act Break, tho.  Why?  I just don’t….)

Finale (85-110):
Off the phone, François gathers his will, and turns to face Pierre.

“What kind of dinner was it tonight?”

Pierre dodges, without the time to talk about dinner.

François prepares himself for the hard task:

“M. Brochant, did you invite me to a ‘diner des cons’ tonight?”

But Pierre calls the hospital; Christine won’t talk to him.

François asks again: “Did you invite me to a ‘diner des cons’ tonight?”

Tired, his life ruined, Pierre admits frankly the truth, and that frankly, tonight, François has avenged all the idiots every mocked at Idiot Dinners throughout all Eternity.  “Good night M. Pignon.”

François tells him he is a cruel man.

Pierre shrugs, acknowledging that EVERYONE thinks he’s a jerk, a dick, everyone knows it.  He mocks François’s sing-song answering machine message — “François’s such a nice guy, Pierre’s such a jerk, Oh well!”

Pierre pops a few of Dr. Sorbier’s painkillers and takes a swig of wine.

Concerned, François urges him not to mix alcohol and drugs.

“Why not?  It’s the perfect moral to the story!  Pierre, all alone and abandoned in his huge empty apartment, drinking and taking drugs, while Mr. Pignon goes home with his matchstick models thinking to himself, “Perfect ending for that jerk!”, no?”

Pierre drinks more, and François looks upon him, and sees the Truth.  I find this movie really funny; the wordplay of “Juste LeBlanc” and “Hissister” and the performances and the hectic pace really amuse me, sort of like BRINGING UP BABY or other farcical movies.  Then, at the ending, again harkening to PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBLES, it gets pretty touching.

François immediately dials the hospital.

A Nurse will not let him speak to patients after hours; but François presses, introducing himself as “Dr. Sorbier”, who urgently needs to speak to Christine Brochant.  The Nurse puts him through.

François informs Christine it is not Prof. Sorbier, but rather, her husband’s Idiot.

“Sorry?”

“My name is François Pignon, and I am the Idiot your husband invited to tonight’s dinner.”

“I’m listening.”

“I’m not calling to complain, but rather to beg for your husband’s sake.  I don’t know if he’s the most mean-spirited man I’ve ever come across in life, but I do know that he is the loneliest and unhappiest man I’ve ever known.  Mme Brochant, two years ago my wife left me, and my life crumbled.  All I have now are my matchstick models.  Life is difficult and lonely today, and I wouldn’t wish such a thing on any man, not even your husband.”

“He’s there, beside you?” guesses Christine, knowing Pierre’s proclivities for inventing lies.

“Um, er, no, I’m at a phone booth outside,” reassures François, and further, “For two hours now I’ve been with your husband.  I’ve seen him do incredible things for you tonight, even rally forces to find you at Pascal Menaud’s.  He has made up and reconciled with his best friend, he has broken off with his mistress, and even arranged a full fiscal audit to make good on his taxes owing.  He’s done a remarkable housecleaning, and now he’s all alone, mixing drugs and alcohol, and I — I’m worried about him.  Because I know what it’s like.”

Touched, Christine promises to think on it, and thanks François heartily for his call.

DEEPLY touched, Pierre has seen the Light: “M. Pignon, next week, we’re going to dinner.  Only this time, I’ll be the guest, and you’ll be taking me.  I’m sure to be the Gold Prize winner.”

They make up and François at last has a friend in the world, and Pierre has broken his ugly exterior to reveal the human beneath.  In the happy atmosphere of bonhomie, François casually picks up the ringing phone.

It’s Christine.

“What are you doing there???  I thought you were at a phone booth!”

Christine hangs up!

Finale Image (110):
“You idiot!” Pierre cries at François.

THE END