The Tiger Brigades (TV Series 1974–1983) Poster


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Very good French series
vostf11 September 2001
The charm of this series comes from the earl 20th century atmosphere. It's quite a change when you're used to those contemporary series in big cities with the usual sets for most scenes. In paved streets, with all those men wearing a mustache and a hat or a cap, cars are not a commonplace nuisance but simply curiosities.

The screenplays focus on true cases by the time the French police were beginning to have cars - the first Mobile Squad aka the Tiger Brigades as Clemenceau, Home Secretary by then, was named "The Tiger" for being untractable on any political issue. The prolog/epilogue voice-over helps to settle this atmosphere and the three officers easily become congenial while practicing French boxing (savate) in white underwear (look like Alex and some gentle droogs), tailing a suspect or being summoned to their irritated patron's office.

It's always a pleasure to hear Pierre Maguelon with his singing Provence accent call his superior "Valentin!" and to watch a slow-paced car chase after the engines have been cranked. To put it in a nutshell, an original idea with charming old-fashioned images and some humor.
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A Crime Caper Worthy Of Viewing
Charlieboy136 August 2014
At the beginning of the 20th century, Les Brigades Régionales de Police Mobile (Regional Mobile Police Brigades) more popularly known as Les Brigades du Tigre (The Tiger's Brigades) came into being.

Founded by then-minister Georges "Le Tigre" Clemenceau, they were introduced to tackle a wave of modern organised crime and a growing Anarchist terror threat. Skilled in Savate, a street form of French Kickboxing, Les Brigades employed new inventions in their investigations. Fingerprinting, the telegraph and the automobile became part of Les Brigades' arsenal.

The critically acclaimed series of Les Brigades du Tigre (1974-1983) follows a trio of detectives, Commissaire Valentin (Jean-Claude Bouillon), Inspecteur Terrasson (Pierre Maguelon) and Inspecteur Pujol (Jean-Paul Tribout) through their exploits from 1907 to 1930.

Each fictional adventure is interwoven with historical, socio-political and scientific events such as the Entente Cordiale, The Black Hand, the discovery of the atom, as well as the Suffragette movement. The viewer delves into another era with each episode opening with an animated prologue bestowing historical context.

Episode themes reflect the apprehensions of a rapidly developing society in the face of globalisation. Each unique narrative is beautifully crafted with refined attention to historical detail.

Nevertheless, these escapades rarely fall into the pitfalls of inadvertently creating either a dry or sombre atmosphere. The trio's fluid performances maintain a light-hearted perspective. In turn, the dynamic tone ranges from action and humour (the 30mph car chases are particularly entertaining) to dreading suspense.

The famed ragtime pianist, Claude Bolling glazes the nostalgic atmosphere with a retro flavoured soundtrack. The anachronistic instruments exude the charm of the show complementing the colourful aesthetics.

Unfortunately, outside of France, the series is all but unknown save for a cinematic remake in 2006 that didn't quite do the original justice. Despite this, the BBC's Ripper Street seems to have appropriated some of Les Brigades' themes for their gritty Victorian London. Les Brigades du Tigre was conceived by its creator, Claude Desailly, to be France's equivalent of the 1959 US TV- Series, The Untouchables. Nevertheless, their escapades are both a unique experience and a joy to watch.
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glorious entertainment
myriamlenys24 June 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Colourful and entertaining series, inspired by the creation, in France, of the first mobile police units meant to combat criminality. Much of the series breathes a "Belle Epoque" atmosphere and charm, although its continuing success encouraged the writers to write episodes dealing with later time periods. The series deals with the fight against crime, but also with subjects such as international tensions, diplomacy, sports, fashionable scandals, the birth of social movements like the emancipation of women, and so on.

Much of the charm derives from a careful attention to period detail. For instance : the various policemen and detectives know "savate" (French boxing), a sport which was popular in the late nineteenth, early twentieth century and which can be used for both agressive and defensive purposes. In "savate" one uses both hands and feet, which results in a characteristic movement pattern quite unlike modern Anglo-Saxon boxing. The costumes too are very well done, spanning the full spectrum from beggar to aristocrat.

Two other assets of the series : a number of well-fleshed-out, well-drawn (main) characters plus a tongue-in-cheek wit which illuminates the various themes and storylines. Finally there is the lively musical score, which extends not only to the famous theme music but also to songs, dances and musical interludes.

The series, in its time, was hugely popular and it certainly bears (re-)discovery.
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