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Max, an old gangster, and his buddy Riton have got away with 50-million francs in gold bars, who think they ought to retire now. But Riton's girl-friend is tired of him, and has a new protector, Angelo, who is the boss of a rival gang. Through her, Angelo learns about his rival's "grisbi" (loot) and plots to get it. So he kidnaps Max's partner. Max asks some of his friends for help but then gets the message he can exchange the money for his partner. Written by
Stephan Eichenberg <email@example.com>
When the submachine guns are removed from the wine box, they are Sten Submachine guns. When they are removed from the car after the ambush they are Sten Guns. When they are finally shot at the retreating gangsters, they have become two different models of Thompson Submachine guns, an early civilian model of a Thompson and a military model (M1 or M1A1) of a Thompson. See more »
[after being thrown out of the car]
You leaving me here? How am I gonna get back?
Try hunting snails, Daddy-o.
See more »
It would be nonsense to give an order of merit to the three cinematic masterpieces by director Jacques Becker. However, personally I love "Touchez pas au grisbi" even more than "Casque d'or" or "Le Trou". In "Touchez pas au grisbi" we find all we can ask from a Becker's film: splendid black-and-white cinematography, evocative, romantic atmosphere, brilliant script, stunning excellence of the actors' job. But here we get more: a tough, perfectly written gangster-story, swift pace and action blended with an outstanding psychological design.
The movie is mainly a story of friendship and honor. We have two old pals, two aged gangsters close to retire: Max (Jean Gabin), smart and clever, well aware that their best years are over, and Riton (Rene Dary), naive and rash, unable to accept the end of their youth, even dumb if you want, but extremely brave and devoted to his friend. Max is constantly grumbling against Riton and the troubles he causes. He scorns Riton's courage... brains and good sense, that's the important thing... But when it's the time for action, we see how deep and touching their friendship is, how ready they are to sacrifice themselves for each other. In other words, there are circumstances when only courage and honor count...
According to his usual style, Becker describes the world of criminals as a weird parallel of the world of "decent people". To be a gangster appears a job like another: a day at the office. See Max's poise and professional way, when he negotiates the value of the "grisbi" (the swag) with the receiver. And when Max is going to face a last-blood gang-war, he quietly leaves a large sum of money to a trusted bar-maid, in case of need "... to tip somebody (i.e. police or judges)... to fix possible problems... you know better..."
Inside a story narrated in the most understated way, Becker inserts unexpected explosions of violence. Take the owner of the Night Club, another old pal of Max's and Riton's. Poised, always silent, short, fat, with thick glasses, he seems the less harmful person. Yet, suddenly, and without a single word of comment, he starts to brutally beat a thug from a rival gang. And, with the machine-gun, he shows himself even tougher than Max and Riton.
Of course, the movie also offers a Gabin's trade-mark scene, when he slaps everybody, men and women as well. Great stuff: toughness mixed with sense of humour. Gabin's performance is at the highest level reached in a glorious career.
What else to add? "Touchez pas au grisbi" is a fantastic masterpiece. Moreover, I guess that this film is good for all tastes , which probably can't be said for other Becker's cinematic gems.
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