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Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)
"Le deuxième souffle" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  1 November 1966 (France)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 2,797 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 »

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(novel), (dialogue), 2 more credits »
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Title: Le Deuxieme Souffle (1966)

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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:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mel Ferrer was hired to play Orloff. On the first days of shooting, he had an argument with director Jean-Pierre Melville and decided to quit. Melville thought that Ferrer was not the right actor for this character, anyway, and after Ferrer left he called 'Pierre Zimmer' (qav) to replace him. See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
Not one of Melville's best, but not without its moments
14 August 2010 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Jean-Pierre Melville's adaptation of José Giovanni's Deuxieme Soufflé is a classic example of a good story badly told. Running two-and-a-half hours and feeling even longer at times, this story of Lino Ventura's escaped convict getting disastrously mixed up in the proverbial one last job to set him up with enough money to escape to Sicily is not exactly a model of narrative economy as the exposition heavy first two hours are filled with characters speculating at length on scenes we've just seen without ever shining any new light on them. Initially this works surprisingly well as Paul Meurisse's casually brilliant been-there, done-that cop, the real star of the show, explains exactly the story various witnesses will tell at a crime scene for them to save the trouble of interrogating them, but increasingly it just becomes repetitive and slows the picture down to a surprisingly dull crawl. It's not until the last quarter that the film finally threatens to kick start into life as Ventura is tricked into revealing the identity of one of his cohorts and tries desperately to prove that he's no stoolpigeon with both the cops and the gang after his blood. His obsession proving that he's not a collaborator certainly may have had some wartime resonance for a French audience, but more up to date references were left on the cutting from floor thanks to the notorious French censor cuts that saw a police torture scene cut to almost incomprehensibility to remove shots of a suspect being force fed water, a favorite torture technique of the French paratroops and police in Algeria.

That the film's most notorious scene isn't actually in the picture any more is telling for a film that plays better in the memory than while you're actually watching it. While there are occasional hints of Melville's better pictures - those omnipresent trenchcoats and hats, the opening prison break played out in silence, a railway station shot anticipating one in L'Armee des Ombres - it's a distinctly minor film padded out to an epic length it never justifies. There are the odd moments that intrigue, such as one character rehearsing the ways a meeting can go wrong to know where to stash hidden weapons only for one of the hoods he's meeting to do exactly the same thing, but they rarely pay off, while the characters on the wrong side of the law are never quite iconic enough to carry the film over the rough patches. Only Pierre Zimmer's Orloff is particularly admirable, but he's more a facilitator than a protagonist, accurately described by one character, as "all style, no action." While the line might seem a suitable description for Melville, the film isn't that stylish either: with no Henri Decae or Nicholas Hayer behind the lens this time (Marcel Combes was the cinematographer) it often looks no better than the average French polar of the era. It's the kind of film that could certainly benefit from a good remake with a tighter script.


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