Originally Goupi Mains Rogues, this was the first new French feature film to be shown in the US since the end of WW2-though "new" was a relative term, inasmuch as the film was completed in 1943. The scene is a remote, rustic inn, managed by a scruffy family of peasants known as the Goupis. Practicing their own special brand of larceny, the Goupis fancy themselves as Runyonesque rogues, going so far as to bestow colorful nicknames upon themselves. The official head of the band is "Red Hands", played by Fernand Ledoux, but even he is answerable to the Goupis' patriarch, a 106-year-old named "The Emperor" (Maurice Schulz). Nearly plotless, Goupi Mains Rogues offers an unforgettable cast of characters and an abundance of authentic Gallic atmosphere. Picked up for American distribution by MGM, the film inexplicably disappeared from view within a few months; director Jacques Becker later claimed that MGM destroyed all the prints so that the film wouldn't compete with the studio's American-made productions, though this hardly seems to be the case.
by Hal Erickson synopsis