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Second Breath (1966)
"Le deuxième souffle" (original title)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  1 November 1966 (France)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 2,616 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 26 critic

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 »

Writers:

(novel), (dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Paul Meurisse ...
Raymond Pellegrin ...
Christine Fabréga ...
Simone - dite 'Manouche' (as Christine Fabrega)
Marcel Bozzuffi ...
Jo Ricci (as Marcel Bozzufi)
Paul Frankeur ...
Denis Manuel ...
Antoine Ripa
Jean Négroni ...
L'homme (as Jean Negroni)
...
Pierre Zimmer ...
Pierre Grasset ...
Jacques Léonard ...
(as Jack Leonard)
Raymond Loyer ...
Jacques, le notaire
Régis Outin ...
(as Regis Outin)
Albert Michel ...
Edit

Storyline

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 Yepok

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 November 1966 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le Deuxieme Souffle  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Nel cuore della notte (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

 
not bad at all, actually very good and meticulously structured heist movie, but not great
12 November 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I had seen nearly everything that is readily available from Jean-Pierre Melville in the United States by the time I got to Le Deuxieme soufflé, which may be part of why I didn't respond overwhelmingly to it. After such challenging, methodical and precisely existential crime masterpieces as Le Samourai, Le Cercle Rouge, Bob le flambeur and the underrated Le Doulos, this one just seemed to not pack the same kind of punch that the others did. Again, this may be the fault on the viewer for seeing this last among his mostly thriller-oriented oeuvre, but perhaps it's also some of Melville's fault too; again and again, as the dedicated and ruthless auteur that he was (one of the great French directors I would argue), he kept coming back to men in trench-coats with grim expressions figuring out on both sides- criminal and detective- of how to plot the next move or, for the former, how to keep from the fatalism of the plot.

Which, for Melville, is something that comes second nature. The difference, perhaps, in this case is that the length (a whopping two and a half hours, longer than both The Red Circle and Army of Shadows) and the amount of details in the structure of the story (i.e. what happened on such and such a day made this happened could've been snipped, albeit I can't pinpoint to which) bog down some of the more successful aspects to the picture. Which is also to say that for all of its minor misgivings, Le Deuxieme soufflé (or, simply, The Second Breath) is near-classic Melville, with nail-bitingly tense suspense scenes like the opening escape from the prison and the latter heist sequence- somewhat more obvious and less coolly ambitious as Red Circle.

There's the amazing cinematography as well, a trademark of Melville and his crew to make things gritty but smooth in precision and style, and the performances from Paul Meurisse as the Detective (maybe my favorite performance of the picture just for the intelligence he imbues in the character), and Lino Ventura as one of the quintessential Melville anti-heroes, Gu, the convict who wants in on the big 200 million heist. And even as it could be Melville's most "talky" picture after Bob le flambeur (which is relative to how pleasantly light, or how seemingly sparse, his films are with dialog), when the characters speak it's to the point of with some quotable spunk to them.

There's an icy, unspoken angst in Melville's world of criminals, almost questioning but still true to the notion of the 'policier', where you'd want the criminals to get away with it if the detective wasn't so doggone determined all the time. It's another fine piece of film-making from the director, just not an all-time-top flick - more along the lines of Un flic. 8.5/10


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