Critic Reviews



Based on 12 critic reviews provided by
A consummate entertainment rich with the romantic atmosphere of Paris in the 1950s. Coming at a turning point in French cinematic history, it drew upon several major talents - director Louis Malle, star Jeanne Moreau, cinematographer Henri Decaë, musician Miles Davis - and achieved near-legendary results with all of them.
As French crime thrillers go, this is about as good as it gets.
A plan for a perfect murder goes wildly wrong in this 1958 melodrama by one of France's great filmmakers.
A suspenseful, elegant entertainment.
Portland Oregonian
Malle, only 25 when the film was released, bounces confidently among several threads -- classic French policier, juvenile delinquent film, doomy tale of tragic love, clock-ticking thriller.
A tightly structured thriller with a brilliantly moody performance by Jeanne Moreau, and depending on your point of view, it's either one of the few genuine French noir films or an early entry in the New Wave.
It's precisely Malle's omnivorous appetite that makes his first feature, adapted from a policier, so delectable, one stuffed with many sumptuous sights and sounds.
These 1950s French noirs abandon the formality of traditional crime films, the almost ritualistic obedience to formula, and show crazy stuff happening to people who seem to be making up their lives as they go along.
It's no masterpiece, but it's slick and tense, and the camerawork has something of the in-the-moment, on-the-ground immediacy of the French New Wave films.
The film's look makes a divine accessory for its music, which Miles Davis composed. There's not even 20 minutes of it in the film, yet it still defines the atmosphere, transforming a crime yarn into a bebop noir.

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