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... See full summary »
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 is simply perfect as this noir hero, too professional to rebel against the absurdity of his job. But why would they have him wear a small hat? The big broad-shouldered, former pro wrestler, Lino Ventura in brown-over-black 1970 style (remember Shaft?), OK, but who wears a hat in 1970? It makes him look like Inspector Clouseau. In the book Francis X. Kerrigan wears a dust jacket, OK this is the overused private coat, but keep it simple, in tune and in genre.
Fortunately the story is good, it's a sharp and clean police procedural and it shows that José Giovanni loved it. He loved that it displayed a stubborn officer walking his beat in the midst of general hostility against police. It was really fashionable to criticise the police around 1969 and Giovanni is happy to drive the point home more than once, most prominently in Paul Crauchet's monologue, but generally in the absurdity of Lino Ventura's assignments. Subtlety is definitely not Giovanni's forte but here it blends well with the simple police procedural.
All in all this could have been a tremendous modern noir with a better director (Melville, Sautet). The result doesn't show important directorial choices. Camera work and editing are average, and sound editing is poor while François de Roubaix's score would have been sufficient to carry most of the images. In the end you will feel as if the movie simply vanishes from your memory while you were really rooting for Ventura and Joubert minutes before.
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