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Rififi in Tokyo (1963)

Rififi à Tokyo (original title)
Van Ekken, an old gangster, arrives in Tokyo to direct a bank hold-up, to get a very valuable diamond, so big it's named Titan. Riquet was to be his second-in-command, but a rival gang ... See full summary »

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(novel), (adaptation) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Karlheinz Böhm ...
Carl Mersen
...
Van Hekken
Barbara Lass ...
Françoise Merigne
Keiko Kishi ...
Asami
Michel Vitold ...
Merigne
...
Danny Riquet
Masao Oda ...
Kan
Dante Maggio
Hideaki Suzuki
Eijirô Yanagi ...
Ishimoto
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Storyline

Van Ekken, an old gangster, arrives in Tokyo to direct a bank hold-up, to get a very valuable diamond, so big it's named Titan. Riquet was to be his second-in-command, but a rival gang shoots him down before the big day. Marsen, Riquet's friend, substitutes for him. Françoise, the companion of another gang member, will compromise the attack to the vault, but eventually they get past that. Yet, not all the gangsters will make it out of the security vault - and Van Ekken, caught, and having lost face, will do as an old Samurai... Written by Artemis-9

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Genres:

Adventure | Crime | Drama

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Release Date:

29 March 1963 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Rififi in Tokyo  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Future husband and wife more than 17 years after the making of this film, 'Karlheinz Böhm' and Barbara Lass, then respectively married to actress Gudula Blau and movie maker Roman Polanski, met on the shooting of this film. See more »

Connections

Edited into Dusk to Dawn Drive-In Trash-o-Rama Show Vol. 9 (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
High-grade noir in all respects
17 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Charles Vanel gathers a cool-headed Karl Boehm and an unstable electronics expert, Michel Vitold, to rob a bank vault for a diamond. As in The Asphalt Jungle, things do not work out quite as planned.

The film makes really excellent use of outdoor Tokyo locations. Especially at the start and finish, the Japanese cinematographer takes us back to the best days of noir blacks and whites and shadows. At the start, we see the target building in detail. It is highly geometric, with rectangles. Very stalwart and formidable. But outside the vault in which the jewel is kept is a ceiling decor casting shadows like a web. In the heist itself, there is an excellent use of texture of the outer stone as the building is breached. In between, we get views of many aspects of Tokyo, both orderly (especially trains and fences) and disorderly, juxtaposed.

The acting is uniformly excellent. The script develops a subplot that involves Vitold's wife, Barbara Lass, whom he has brought along. (Boehm and Lass were married between 1963 and 1980.) Another subplot involves a Japanese gang that is interfering with Vanel's efforts all the way.

The movie has a tone of world-weariness, fatality, the last chance, neurosis, greed, and obsession, depending on the character and situation.

Director Jacques Deray has put it all together very nicely indeed. He went on to make many more thrillers and neo-noirs. The music of Georges Delerue is discreet and well complements the action. Attractive Keiko Kishi provides good support as well. She was Eiko in The Yakuza (1974), a movie likely to be more familiar to American audiences.


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