Gustave Minda, better known as Gu, a dangerous gangster, escapes from jail. He goes to Paris to join Manouche and other friends, and get involved in a gangland killing. Before leaving the ... See full summary »
In a snowball fight between schoolboys the handsome Dargelos hits the chest of Paul, who drops unconscious to the ground. Paul has a deep affection for Dargelos, and later denies that there... See full summary »
Abel Davis is a criminal, hunted in Italy. The police are closing in, so he and his pal Raymond arrange to flee back to France with Abel's wife, Thérèse, and their two young sons. Abel and ... See full summary »
Gu, a famous gangster, has just escaped from jail. All french police is after him. Before leaving the country with Manouche, the woman he loves, Gu needs a final job to get some money. The job works, but a police's scheming makes Gu appear as a traitor to his own accomplices. Gu will do whatever it takes to clean his honor...
Burglar Maurice Faugel has just finished his sentence. He murders Gilbert Vanovre, a receiver, and steals the loot of a break-in. He is also preparing a house-breaking, and his friend ... See full summary »
Bob, a old gangster and gambler is almost broke, so he decides in spite of the warnings of a friend, a high official from the police, to rob a gambling casino in Dauville. Everything is ... See full summary »
Ex-gangster Fernand (Lino Ventura) receives a call from a dying friend, a mob boss nicknamed "The Mexican". The doomed mobster talks Fernand into taking care of some criminal business and ... See full summary »
Gustave Minda, better known as Gu, a dangerous gangster, escapes from jail. He goes to Paris to join Manouche and other friends, and get involved in a gangland killing. Before leaving the country with Manouche, Gu needs a final job to get some money. But that's not so simple when you have Inspector Blot tracking you, and have to deal with the consequences of the shooting in Paris... Written by
During the shooting of the scene in which Lino Ventura runs after the freight train that he tries to jump in, director Jean-Pierre Melville asked the train conductor to speed the train up, making it more difficult for Ventura to successfully make the jump, and Melville wanted to see the pain on his face as he tried harder to catch the train. When Ventura heard about this, long after the shooting, he was so angry about it that he had a huge row with Melville. The two never spoke again. They did make another film together, The Army of Shadows (1969), but only spoke to each other through assistants. See more »
I saw this at London's National Film Theatre last night and I must admit to being more than a little bit disappointed. This appears to mark the turning point where Melville lost all real interest in character (after the wonderful Le Doulos and the underrated L'Aine Des Ferchaux) and turned his attention to set piece robberies and shoot outs. The problem is, that this is still a long and wordy script, with an awful lot of very pointless talk, connecting up some visually excellent scenes. The highlight of the film, the hijack of an armoured car on a deserted mountain road, foreshadows the action techniques -shaky camerawork, fast cutting - used by Ridley Scott in Black Hawk Down, Gladiator and Hannibal; unfortunately it's over in seconds. There are other great scenes, but dramatically they lead nowhere. For example, one gangster scouts the site of an intended meeting, works out where he might be standing when there's trouble, and hides a gun nearby. When he leaves, an adversary comes into the room, goes through the same thought processes, and finds and removes the gun. But the scene never pays off, as the first gangster never ends up reaching for the missing weapon. Performance wise two people stand out - Paul Meurisse as the compassionate, intelligent and very, very funny Inspector Blot, and Pierre Zimmer as Orloff, the gangster who serves as the moral touchstone for his peers.
About three quarters of the way through the film turns from an escaped convict and heist movie into the story of a man trying to prove that he hasn't been a police informer/collaborator. As with a lot of Melville's gangster vs police movies (a big favourite with the French) you can't help feeling that he's really dealing with the issue of wartime resistance to the German occupation. To my mind, though, Melville seems more interested in shoring up the myth of resistance rather than dealing with the truth (as Louis Malle tried to in Lacombe, Lucien, resulting in his effective exile from France for the rest of his life).
The scene where Paul is interrogated by the police was apparently edited at the insistence of France's censors to remove the scenes of water being poured down his throat. What remains is a very obviously edited scene which doesn't work.
Anyway, not an awful movie, but a messy one. Can't help feeling that maybe Melville got interested in something else and couldn't be bothered to finish it properly.
Fell asleep twice.
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