IMDb > Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
Tirez sur le pianiste
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Shoot the Piano Player (1960) More at IMDbPro »Tirez sur le pianiste (original title)

Photos (See all 25 | slideshow) Videos
Shoot the Piano Player -- Clip: Montage

Overview

User Rating:
7.7/10   10,065 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 3% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
David Goodis (novel)
François Truffaut (adaptation) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Shoot the Piano Player on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
23 July 1962 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
Charlie Kohler is a piano player in a bar. The waitress Lena is in love with him. One of Charlie's brother... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
My favourite film. See more (52 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charles Aznavour ... Charlie Kohler / Edouard Saroyan
Marie Dubois ... Léna
Nicole Berger ... Thérèse Saroyan
Michèle Mercier ... Clarisse
Serge Davri ... Plyne
Claude Mansard ... Momo
Richard Kanayan ... Fido Saroyan (as Le jeune Richard Kanayan)
Albert Rémy ... Chico Saroyan
Jean-Jacques Aslanian ... Richard Saroyan
Daniel Boulanger ... Ernest
Claude Heymann ... Lars Schmeel
Alex Joffé ... Passerby
Boby Lapointe ... Le chanteur
Catherine Lutz ... Mammy
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Laure Paillette ... La mère (uncredited)
Alice Sapritch ... Concierge (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
François Truffaut 
 
Writing credits
David Goodis (novel "Down There")

François Truffaut (adaptation) (as F. Truffaut) and
Marcel Moussy (adaptation)

François Truffaut (dialogue)

Produced by
Pierre Braunberger .... producer
 
Original Music by
Georges Delerue 
 
Cinematography by
Raoul Coutard 
 
Film Editing by
Claudine Bouché 
Cécile Decugis 
 
Production Design by
Jacques Mély (uncredited)
 
Makeup Department
Jacqueline Pipard .... makeup artist (uncredited)
 
Production Management
Serge Komor .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Bober .... assistant director
Francis Cognany .... assistant director
Bjorn Johansen .... assistant director (as Björn Johansen)
 
Sound Department
Jacques Gallois .... sound
Jean Philippe .... assistant sound (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Claude Beausoleil .... camera operator (uncredited)
Raymond Cauchetier .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Jean-Louis Malige .... assistant camera (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Luce Deuss .... production secretary
Roger Fleytoux .... administrator
Suzanne Schiffman .... script girl
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Philips  record company: "Dialogue d'Amoureux"
  • Royalty  music published by
  • Tutti  music publisher: "Dialogue d'Amoureux"
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tirez sur le pianiste" - France (original title)
See more »
Runtime:
UK:80 min | USA:92 min | Finland:82 min (1963) | Argentina:85 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Black and White (Dyaliscope)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Finland:K-16 | France:U | Germany:12 (re-rating) | South Korea:15 | Sweden:15 (cut) | UK:X (original rating) | UK:12 (re-rating) (2001) | UK:15 (video rating) (1994) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:18 (original rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Although this was a hit with the critics, it bombed at the box office. Enough to make 'Francois Truffaut' forego his improvisational techniques and return to regular scripted drama.See more »
Goofs:
Crew or equipment visible: When Lena and Charlie walk home after work you can see the shadow of the camera on their coats.See more »
Quotes:
Charlie Kohler:When my love turns to hate, I'll wear a cap as I go.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)See more »
Soundtrack:
FramboiseSee more »

FAQ

Chicago Opening Happened When?
See more »
61 out of 71 people found the following review useful.
My favourite film., 26 June 2001
Author: Alice Liddel (-darragh@excite.com) from dublin, ireland

'Shoot the Pianist' opens with the insides of a playing piano, the inner machinations of a musical instrument. This image points to the film's ambiguity. it says that this film will similarly uncover the insides (heart, soul) of a man who gives nothing away on the surface. it will suggest that his insides are like the piano's insides, the the only way he can express what's buried inside of him is through piano-playing - this is what gives the film its emotional pull. but it also suggests that Charlie Koller's fatal emotional timidity has warped or deadened that soul, made it a mere mechanism, alive only in a technical sense. More objectively, it amounts to a manifesto for Truffaut's intentions with the film, the way he will turn the gangster genre inside out, a genre he confessed to not really liking.

Although Truffaut would go on to make self-conscious and superficial tributes to his hero (e.g. 'La Peau Douce', 'The Bride Wore Black'), 'Shoot the Pianist' is his most Hitchcockian film. Most obviously, it is a reworking of 'Vertigo', the story of a homme fatal (Koller - black widower?) who kills two women because he couldn't say the right thing, because he behaved like a man should, rather than the way he really feels. Lena is in effect a reincarnation of his dead wife, a woman who wants to reinstate his 'original' identity. Like Scottie Ferguson, Charlie is a man paralysed by memory, shellshocked by his experiences with an elusive love that could so easily have been his.

But, again like 'Vertigo', 'Pianist' is the study of masculine identity and its dissolution. When we first see Charlie he is literally in a scrapheap, getting dressed in front of a mirror. This mirror motif recurs throughout, and with it the question: who is Charlie Koller? The farmboy sibling of gangsters; the renowned pianist; the back-room tinkler; the father to his young brother; the man who desires but cannot ask, who keeps destructively pulling back? Throughout the real 'man' is deluged by different names, images (posters, paintings), stories etc. about himself: his own personality is divided by the talks he conducts with himself. Even the heartbreaking flashback sequence about his past is related to him by someone else. In the fear of losing his identity, of giving himself in union, Charlie loses everything.

But 'Pianist' is also reminiscent of early, British Hitchcock films like 'The 39 Steps' and 'Young and Innocent', in its playful irreverence with genre. David Thomson has said it was a film Laurence Sterne might have made, and, like 'Tristam Shandy', like those Hitchcock movies, the main genre narrative is frequently broken off by digressions and bits of business. The film plunges us in media res in the gangster genre, a man being chased in the obscurity. He bangs into a lamppost, and is helped by a passer-by. They start talking about marriage. This is emblematic of the film as a whole - a gangster film that keeps stopping to talk about love, women, family, music, the past etc. When the genre kicks in again - Chico (gangster name, yes, but Marx Brother too) rushes into his brother's bar, the tension is somewhat undermined by the comedy bar-room singer bouncing to the cymbals. When Charlie and Lena are kidnapped by the two hoods, a fraught situation turns into an hilarious banter about women and dirty old men. the most frightening sequence - the abduction of young Fido - provokes the funniest scene, where captor and captive debate the authenticity of the former's Japanese metal scarf.

But the film works the other way too, when the comic unexpectedly flashes into the tragic. In an early scene, Charlie agonises to himself about the proper etiquette to be used in handling Lena - this is a touching, sad scene, but full of the comedy of embarrassment. Suddenly, having dithered so long, Charlie realises she's gone. The scrunched pain on his face is devastating.

'Pianist' is my favourite film. For Charles Aznavour's performance, the embodiment of shy timidity leading to emotional paralysis, and my altar ego. For the Godardian style, mixing abrupt, immediate, hand-held location shooting, and natural sound excitement, with a grasp of mise-en-scene worthy of the great 1950s melodramatists (the framing, cutting characters off from one another, trapping them in their decor; or the elaborate, Ophulsian camerawork, such as the 'Le Plaisir' gliding outside the bar; the circular narrative that sees continuity tragically affirmed in the shape of the new waitress). 'Pianist' couldn't have been made without Melville's 'Bob le Flambeur', and its flippancy and humanising of genre, but the influence of this on Cassavetes, Penn, Scorcese etc. was immense, for its generosity to all its characters, showing, despite Eustache, that a good woman can be a maman and putain. For the comic chutzpah, the dazzling abduction scene, the triptych revealing the boss's betrayal, the clumsy murder, the wonderfully bumbling hoods, Fido's Hawksian little dance. For Truffaut's concern with time and decay and art. For the haunting scene with the cello girl. For the music, fulfilling Noel Coward's dictum about the potency of cheap music, giving this short, strange movie its generous soul, a film that so humanely departs from genre it makes the generic climax grotesque, a DW Griffith nightmare in blinding white.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (52 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Major themes isadork
Question about the song at the end. zygfryd666
Someone post something!!!!! What a damn good film!!! briankmello27
Third Man homage? BillyFisher
Simpsons Connection rspnov
The soundtrack? brett-shell
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
The Beat That My Heart Skipped Paris 36 Casque d'Or Touchez Pas au Grisbi Toto the Hero
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb France section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.