Les Quatre Cents Coups
January, 2008
More years ago than I will allow you to ponder, I was involved in a minor way in the publishing of some of the Dick Francis thrillers. You may know that Dick was, in a previous life, a successful jockey: indeed I often see the frequently-repeated film of him astride a prostrate Devon Loch, the Queen Mother’s horse, which collapsed 50 yards from the finish, just failing to win the 1956 Grand National. He went on to write a whole string of best-sellers based in the world of horse racing.
We used to sponsor the annual Dick Francis Stakes at a small course in Kent, and I remember having to attend as part of ‘flying the flag’. I used to take a camera, but found far more interest and enjoyment in turning my back on the course and photographing the crowd, especially as individuals. It taught me that the most interesting things around me weren’t always on the stage itself.
So I was intrigued, and pleased, when a friend of mine posted a YouTube video on his blog of a puppet show scene from the François Truffault film,
Les Quatre Cents Coups.
Who could watch and still argue that theatre, even puppet theatre, fails to thrill the imagination.