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 ...
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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 »
Bank robbery in small town ends with one of the robbers being wounded. The loot from the robbery is just an asset for the even more spectacular heist. Simon, gang leader and Paris night ... See full summary »
Bob, an 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 »
A French UN delegate has disappeared into thin air, sending reporter Moreau (Jean-Pierre Melville) and hard drinking photographer Delmas (Pierre Grasset) on an assignment to find him. Their only lead is a picture of three women.
1941 in a small town in Nazi occupied France. Against the will of its elderly male and his adult niece residents, the Nazis commandeer a house for one of their officers, Lt. Werner von ... 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 »
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
I'll start with a quote from Alphonse Boudard, regarding the tendency to make crime films like Greek tragedy: Melville wants to remake the Atreidae among criminals. He means that these stories of desperate men settling scores between themselves in the bloodiest fashion possible (I lost count of the corpses in this picture) can't carry the weight of classical tragedy. The excessive length of the film (Le Samourai clocks in at 100 minutes, Un flic at 94--these stories are not much less complicated than Deuxieme soufflé) means there must be scenes that drag on, until the dramatic effect is totally lost. The platinum heist seems to last forever, and it is meant to be the one big suspense moment.
The actors don't do well in general. Pierre Zimmer, playing Orloff, is given silly lines about what he has to do with Gu, if there's betrayal, but he comes off so stiff you want to fast-forward through his scenes. Lino Ventura plays well, has lots of charisma, but looks old--and his age is commented on by the younger thugs. Christine Fabrega is so terribly stiff and sculptural, you wonder how she was hired to play Manouche. It seems Simone Signoret was intended for the part, but dropped out--a great pity. Signoret would have delivered the vitality and strength that are so conspicuously lacking in Fabrega. There's only one stand-out performance: Paul Meurisse is so elegant and smart as Blot that the story takes off every time he comes into the frame. If you have seen Les Diaboliques, you'll know how good he is.
The camera work is mediocre; a washed-out b/w that looks more like television than Melville's great pictures of the 50's. Le deuxieme soufflé is one of the lower points in this man's output.
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