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The Bureaucrats (1936)

Messieurs les ronds de cuir (original title)
A comedy about the petty bureaucrats who need special leather props under their posteriors because of the long hours they spend sitting at their desks.


Yves Mirande


Georges Courteline (novel), Yves Mirande (dialogue)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lucien Baroux ... Lahrier
Pierre Larquey ... Le conservateur
Gabriel Signoret ... M. Soupe
Saturnin Fabre ... Le tondu
Roger Duchesne ... Chavarax
Jean Tissier ... Nègre
Josette Day ... Mme Chavarax
Arletty ... La belle-soeur de la hourmerie
Armand Lurville Armand Lurville ... La Hourmerie
Georges Bever Georges Bever ... Ovide
André Numès Fils André Numès Fils ... Sainthomme
Betty Spell Betty Spell ... Mlle de Rocroy
Jeanne Véniat Jeanne Véniat ... Mme La Hourmerie
Paul Faivre Paul Faivre ... Van der Hogen
Emile Saulieu Emile Saulieu ... Le concierge


A comedy about the petty bureaucrats who need special leather props under their posteriors because of the long hours they spend sitting at their desks.

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Release Date:

15 December 1936 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Messieurs les ronds-de-cuir See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paris Ciné Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The "ronds de cuir" of the title refer to the exact same thing, "rounds of leather", looking as a flat swimming buoy made of leather with hole in center, on which people working seated all the day as precisely in the Administration, - and here is the story of a fake minister to make fun at all, hence the title nickname - , use under their bottom to stay above contact with the seat, for two purposes. First is to avoid with time the tissue bottom of their pants to shine as used denouncing their (lack of) activity, second is medical to avoid the heat of staying seated for hours, weeks, months, years, occasioning blister or hemorrhoids. About the Folies-Bergère referred to, the name Folies is simply coined with Bergère (sheperdess) but with the simple fact of being close to the Rue Bergère, and the Cité Bergère, which at one time was directly leading to the facade of the music-hall. See more »


Version of The Bureaucrats (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

Give the pen pushers a push,
12 August 2011 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

"Ronds De Cuir" is French slang for " pen-pushers" or "pencil pushers" .This expression has become old -fashioned now;but the state employees are still considered "privilege people " because it means job security.

The director felt compelled to warn his 1937 audience that Georges Courteline (who wrote the book) was not against the state employees (he was one of 'em) as he was not against the army (he was a soldier ).

The pen pushers are looked upon as parasites ,people who make a lot of money by doing nothing ,or something which has nothing to do with the affairs of state;they cheat on their wives and husbands (oddly ,the pretty girl -Josette Day ,La Belle in Cocteau's movie- chooses a lover who is much less handsome than her young husband ),dream of promotions, spend the whole movie to find back a file which was lots among tons and tons of papers .And one of these men is writing a variety show for "les Folies Moutonnières " (litterally :the sheepish follies ;a spoof on "Les Folies Bergères " (shepherdesses follies) .

In spite of the very high rating ,I do not think it's a very good movie of the time(very stagy performances and directing) ,one of the best era (if not the best) of the whole French cinema . It is ,like "Les Gaietés De L'Escadron" (another Courteline 's novel about military service),an old -fashioned story .The second part is more enjoyable,because there is Arletty and when she appears ,she makes it all worthwhile

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