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 »
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, Army of Shadows (1969), but only spoke to each other through assistants. See more »
Jean-Pierre Melville and his long standing infatuation with Hollywood "Film Noir",which he was the most devoted follower of, in entire history of French cinema, produced the whole line of best French crime pictures ever. In this one, he's in absolute top form on this neatly constructed, no nonsense caper film. Building a story of old school criminals with sense of criminal honesty and honor, around 800 million heist, Melville, tells many stories, from human relations, betrayals and greed, to love and friendship that will go all the way.
The dialogs are great. Witty police inspector Comissaire Blot, beautifully portrayed by Paul Meurisse and Lino Ventura's Gustave "Gu" Minda,play the game of cat and mouse with no unnecessary talk, and no unnecessary action. Melville devoted a lot of attention to detail, and this film deservedly looks like a crime-action documentary, with no plot holes or "how the hell this or that could have happened" types of questions for the viewer, which is very important for mature audiences that appreciate classic films. I think that this may be the best film Melville made in the 60's, even better than "Army of Shadows" or the "Samourai",and was the last he made in his own studio that burned up during the production of "Samourai" in 1967, which may explain the possibilities he had, to devote time and attention to details. If you appreciate a good crime picture, be sure not to miss it.
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