Charles (Jean Gabin), a sixtyish career criminal fresh out of jail, rejects his wife's plan for a quiet life of bourgeois respectability. He enlists a former cellmate, Francis (Alain Delon)...
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Charles (Jean Gabin), a sixtyish career criminal fresh out of jail, rejects his wife's plan for a quiet life of bourgeois respectability. He enlists a former cellmate, Francis (Alain Delon), to assist him in pulling off one final score, a carefully planned assault on the vault of a Cannes casino. Bad luck and Francis's lack of professionalism set the caper maddeningly askew, and the stolen cash resurfaces in an unexpected manner. Written by
Michael Krugman <email@example.com>
Excellent entertainment throughout, with a delicious climax
Melodie En Sous-Sol (aka Any Number Can Win) is an enjoyable little caper, but the big trouble is that Time has not been very kind to it. It starts out with puzzled and chunky old Jean Gabin wandering through some then fashionable 1960's modern style streets and buildings accompanied by some brash and hip modern jazz music. And then the olde plot starts: man out of jail goes home and almost immediately tells his wife he's planning One Last Big Job involving the stealing of "about a billion" francs. This turns out to be a meticulously planned op, of the type Mission Impossible did so much better a few years later, and that (and Topkapi etc) was a team affair - however this was planned by Gabin even though Alain Delon seemed to have the lion's share of the work to do.
I bet all those cool swingers of the '60's never would have thought they and their music would date faster than those elegant artistes of the 30's! Favourite bits: Delon's long solo bit bringing the caper to fruition; the predatory Countess Doublianoff calling him no gentleman after he peremptorily dismissed her; the cops strolling by and describing the bags they were looking for - I wanted Delon to mutter something as did Peter Lorre in Arsenic And Old Lace when he thought he was going to be discovered; Gabin's expressionless expression.
Even though you may have seen it all before in films made since this one it was shot in a nice black and white with good acting and good production which holds the attention well - and it's all worthwhile anyway when you get to the delicious last 5 minutes when Delon's and Gabin's feelings were definitely too deep for words!
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