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Un témoin dans la ville (1959)

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Industrialist Pierre Verdier kills his mistress Jeanne Ancelin by throwing her off a train. Her husband, Ancelin, decides to take revenge on his wife's murderer, who has been acquitted by ... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Franco Fabrizi ...
Lambert - le radio-taxi de nuit (as Franco Fabrizzi)
Jacques Berthier ...
Pierre Verdier
Daniel Ceccaldi ...
Le client du taxi italien
Robert Dalban ...
Raymond - un chauffeur de taxi
Jacques Jouanneau ...
Le loueur de voitures
Micheline Luccioni ...
Germaine - une radio taxi
Ginette Pigeon ...
Muriel - la prostituée
Janine Darcey ...
La propriétaire de l'hôtel
Françoise Brion ...
Jeanne Ancelin
Geneviève Cluny ...
La speakerine
Joëlle Janin ...
Une standardiste
Nicole Alexandra ...
Une standardiste
Claire Nicole ...
Une standardiste


Industrialist Pierre Verdier kills his mistress Jeanne Ancelin by throwing her off a train. Her husband, Ancelin, decides to take revenge on his wife's murderer, who has been acquitted by justice. He waits for him in his house and hangs him. He leaves the place unseen, at least this is what he thinks. But unfortunately for him, Lambert, a taxi driver has witnessed him. Ancelin has no option but to get rid of him... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


See all certifications »





Release Date:

6 May 1959 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Witness in the City  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

See  »

Did You Know?


French visa # 21311 delivered on 27-4-1959. See more »


Referenced in 'El Chicko' - der Verdacht (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

Lino Ventura descends into a desperate nightmare after his wife is murdered
26 August 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Witness in the City" is a true film noir, no question about it, and it's an excellent noir at that, a movie that marries its themes with the artistic images.

The plot begins with the murder of a woman (Lino Ventura's wife) and the subsequent freeing of the killer (Jacques Berthier) because of insufficient evidence, but the judge makes clear his belief in Berthier's guilt. Ventura takes his revenge on Berthier in a well-planned crime, but unexpectedly he is seen by a cab driver (Franco Fabrizi) whom Berthier had called, unknown to Ventura when he committed the crime. Ventura then begins to track this witness in the city, with a deadly aim. But not being a killer by nature, he doesn't commit to this second crime, which is of an innocent man, so easily. His own conscience is one of the many obstacles he encounters. Meanwhile the movie lets us in on the lives of Fabrizi, who is romancing a telephone operator (Sandra Milo), and the other taxi drivers. Their innocent playfulness contrasts starkly with the driven nature of Ventura and his tracking of Fabrizi. Much of this action is at night. Eventually, when Ventura's identity and plans become known, he becomes the one that is pursued. And what a pursuit that is, in magnificent night photography through the lamppost-lit streets of Paris.

Henri Decae deserves a special note of mention. Accompanying the movie is a jazz score, like that of "Elevator to the Gallows", done by the top professionals then in Paris, including Kenny Clarke, Kenny Dorham, Duke Jordan and Barney Wilen.

Much of Ventura's performance is wordless. He imbues his character with conflict and desperation. He becomes a wounded animal, but not one that's a pathological cold-blooded killer. The taxi drivers become hunters in pursuit of him, subject to the deadly and wily murderer making a desperate attempt to escape capture. His instinct for survival parries their instinct to protect their own. Instead of a jungle, we have city streets at night in which automobiles become weapons.

A tragedy is played out in which one evil leads to another evil. Ventura's wife's unfaithfulness was the seed followed by Berthier's extreme measure to rid himself of her by taking her life. Little did he realize that Ventura's love for her would entail avenging an unfaithful wife. The failure of the justice system plays a role in what is to transpire. From this love and hatred of Berthier springs another murder, that of Berthier, but the chain doesn't stop there.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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