The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob is a 1973 French-Italian comedy film directed by Gérard Oury, starring Louis de Funès and Claude Giraud. The plot involves a bigoted businessman and a kidnapped revolutionist who disguise themselves as rabbis to escape from a group of assassins.

Rue Jean Jaurès and Rue du Grand Pichet 1970s, the site of the Rabbi Jacob dance / Image: Pierre Douzenel (French photographer 1924 – 2004) – Image source

The two dress up as rabbis as they try to elude not only assassins from Slimane’s country, but also the police, who think Victor Pivert (Louis de Funès) is a murderer.

Pivert ends up posing as Rabbi Jacob, a beloved figure who’s returned to France for his first visit after 30 years in the United States. Adding to the confusion are Pivert’s dentist-wife, who thinks her husband is leaving her for another woman, their daughter, who’s about to get married, and a Parisian neighborhood filled with people eager to celebrate the return of Rabbi Jacob.

28 Rue Jean Jaurès in Saint-Denis, the site where Rabbi Jacob danced 

It is in the rue des Rosiers, in the heart of Marais, that Louis de Funès is supposed to perform his famous dance. But in reality, the choreography wasn’t shot in the capital. The decorator Théo Meurisse reconstructed the street in a district that was being demolished at the time, in Saint-Denis, north of Paris.

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