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Police inspector Léonetti, a tough, efficient policeman, has been sent to a second-rate police station after being reprimanded. There he is given a partner, young and beautiful Jeanne Dumas. The duo are soon assigned a very difficult mission: to find a man whose evidence is instrumental in convicting a murderer. They start searching throughout Paris... Written by
Lino Ventura and Marlene Jobert team up to locate a witness
There sure have been some good and great French noirs and neo-noirs. They can be watched and re-watched, and they'll stay fresh. This one, from 1970, is at the start of the transition to neo-noirs, and it's very good, with a distinctly downbeat ending fitting the noir ambiance.
Lino Ventura is the battle-scarred police veteran who has been farmed out to a secondary unit, for strictly political reasons, after a sharp and influential lawyer attacked him in order to save his son. A pleasant surprise for me was the presence of Marlene Jobert as his newby partner, as I had seen her recently for the first time in "Le Secret" (1974) and was duly impressed by her acting, screen presence, and striking attractiveness in that film. And now again in this one.
The two of them are hunting for a witness whom police haven't been able to find for years, and they have but 5 days to do it. The story is a police procedural, showing in detail how they attempt to find the man. This provides built-in suspense and it's one of the now-standard noir plots. This kind of story provides ample opportunities to show the characters of the police pursuers, the denizens of Paris, and often the police politics. The emphasis in "Dernier domicile connu" (Last known address) is the contrast between the enthusiastic Jobert, who is willing to get involved with people, and the veteran who is more wary about the job he has been asked to do.
The movie shows that Jobert believes that police "protect" while Ventura knows that this is really not the case.
A good policier.
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