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INFOBOX
Les Beaux Dimanches
Ma
urice Richard: Histoire d’un Canadien

Director

Jean-Claude Lord, Pauline Payette 

Screenplay

Luc Dionne  

 

Producers

Robert Guy Scully 

Budget

4.7 M

Locations

Montréal, Québec, Canada

Language

French

Cast

Roy Dupuis (Maurice Richard), Macha Grenon (Lucille Richard), Michel Forget (Onésime Richard), Pierrette Robitaille (Alice Richard)

Distributor

 

Genre

Biographic Documentary

Run Time

4 hours

Number of Episodes

 

First Aired

November 14th, 1999

 

 

This TV mini-series, a 4 hour compilation of archive footage and dramatic scenes, was first broadcast in October 1999.   It won the 2000 Gemeaux Award for Best Biographical Documentary, 6 months after Maurice Richard’s death at the age of 78.  It has since been tarnished, however, by association with the anti-corruption inquiry of the Gomery Commission (see below).

The Sponsorship Scandal 

Maurice Richard: Histoire d’un Canadien was financed by the $250 million Canadian federal Sponsorship Program, which was established in 1996 by Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government to promote national unity through sponsorship of various initiatives throughout Quebec. This justified widespread placement of Canadian flags and logos throughout the province, in an attempt to counter the efforts of the Parti Québécois government which was advocating separatism. 

It all went horribly wrong when Sheila Fraser, the federal auditor general, discovered widespread corruption involving misuse and misdirection of public funds and decidedly iffy practices involving advertising agencies who managed to pocket more than $100 million in commissions, from which point the programme became known as AdScam and was discontinued in 2004.  A public inquiry, conducted by Justice John Gomery, received testimonies from top officials, including even the two Prime Ministers serving during the period, Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.  By all accounts, the revelations were astonishing.  

Gomery was the one whose jaw would drop the most often when he heard about some of the shadiest deals. It was the judge who would seem most perplexed and most angry when witness' stories didn't make sense logically. And it was Gomery who compared one sponsorship financial transaction to money laundering.” 

The final report, which was published in February 2006, made several recommendations for changes in the civil service.  

Producer Robert Guy Scully, whose company Information Essentielle received a total of $11.5 million in sponsorship money, was one of the witnesses for the Gomery Commission. He testified that four advertising agencies who charged the government $353,000 in commissions for their role in Maurice Richard: Histoire d’un Canadien did no work on the series other than to transfer funding cheques to him.  He also claimed that civil servant Chuck Guité, who ran the sponsorship program, operated like a central banker. He said that when he went to Guité with his idea for a TV series about Maurice Richard, Guité, without a written agreement, immediately committed $7.5 million to the project. In the end, the government contributed more than $4.7 million for the series through the Public Works Department and two public corporations, Via Rail and Canada Post.  (Scully himself received a fee of $450,000 for producing the series, and this was subsequently topped up by a further $200,000.) 

Prior to his appearance at the hearing, Scully asked if he could make his testimony the centrepiece of a TV series he was doing on various “cultural scandals” in Canada.  He sounded out the commission on the possibility of installing brighter lights and a special microphone in the hearing room. He also wanted to know the positioning of TV news cameras that were already covering the hearings, so he could face the cameras when answering questions.  His request was not received favourably, and he was advised, “You seem to forget that your contribution to the work of the commission will be as a witness, not as producer of a show about the commission”. 

 


Screen Captions

 

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You can find these pictures (and much more) in a larger size, clicking HERE

 

The Premiere

maurice premiere 1 20130403 1420156334 


Don't forget to check a red carpet interview of Roy at the premiere. Visit our Video Gallery CLICKING HERE

Below you'll find a couple and a screencaps from it:

 

mauricetvpress 3 20130406 1281387404   mauricetvpress 5 20130406 1339020224

To view them in their original size, CLICK HERE.

 

 

TV Extract

 

 

 

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