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The Red Circle (1970)
"Le cercle rouge" (original title)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 11,999 users   Metascore: 91/100
Reviews: 45 user | 70 critic | 19 from Metacritic.com

After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Bourvil ...
Le Commissaire Mattei (as André Bourvil)
...
Vogel (as Gian-Maria Volonte)
...
...
Le Receleur
Paul Amiot ...
Pierre Collet ...
Le Gardien de prison
André Ekyan ...
Rico
Jean-Pierre Posier ...
L'assistant de Mattei
François Périer ...
Santi (as François Perier)
Yves Arcanel ...
Le juge d'instruction
René Berthier ...
Le directeur de la P.J.
Jean-Marc Boris ...
Le fils Santi
Jean Champion ...
Le garde-barrière
Yvan Chiffre ...
Un policier
Edit

Storyline

Corey is a cool, aristocratic thief, released from prison on the same day that Vogel, a murderer, escapes from the custody of the patient Mattei, a cat-loving police superintendent. Corey robs Rico, his mob boss, then enlists Vogel and an ex-police sharpshooter, Jansen, in a jewel heist. While Corey is harried by the vengeful Rico, Mattei pressures Santi, a nightclub owner and pimp, to help him trap the thieves. Over all hangs the judgment of the police directeur, that every man is guilty. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Red Circle is a powerful in-depth study of the French Underworld See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1970 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Le Cercle Rouge  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,843 (USA) (10 January 2003)

Gross:

$372,229 (USA) (12 September 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jean-Pierre Melville said he originally wrote a version of the jewel heist scene in 1950, but after The Asphalt Jungle (1950) (and, later, Rififi (1955)) came out, he shelved the idea until 1970. See more »

Goofs

There's a cut as Commissaire Mattei turns on the lamp in his apartment. The cat beside the green chair disappears and the cat in it switches from facing sideways to facing the camera. See more »

Quotes

Vogel: Between shooting two men six feet away and hitting a target at 100 feet there's a certain difference. It's the difference between an amateur and a professional. And, despite all appearances, I'm not professional.
See more »

Connections

References The Lost Weekend (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Here in THE RED CIRCLE... Melville goes it alone
23 June 2005 | by See all my reviews

First let me say I'm a fan of Melville. His compositions of a frame, his use of silence, his held shots, but THE RED CIRCLE is not one of Melville's better films.

Melville was always a minimalist, he was never a director who had much to say, 60% of his films were always... silence. So a 100 minute movie for Melville, was really only 40 mins of movie with 60 mins of style. His best movies, Le Doulous and Le Samourai, stay right around this 100 minute mark, coming in at 108 and 105 minutes respectfully. And at that length, they take Melville's minimalism and style as far as it can go, without slumping into tedium or filler.

At a 140 minutes Red Circle, falls headlong into tedium and filler. It is Melville's emptiest movie, with his customary 40 mins of story now horrifically stretched into two hours and 20 minutes. There's a lot to like in pieces about this movie; the train break, the trunk scene, but they are few and far between.

Two nearly identical long scenes of the inspector feeding his cats, the laughably ineffective hallucination scene, and the robbery itself, unlike his earlier works... are flawed uses of silences. Melville, perhaps believing his own hype, takes it too far, they are tedious, tedious scenes.

He tries to outdo Asphalt Jungle and Rififi and he fails miserably. And even edited down substantially the movie would still fail, because the 40mins of story that Le Doulos and Samourai had... were brilliant, RED CIRCLE is not. While Melville did the script for all three of these films, the first two were sourced from acclaimed novels of the time.

Here in RED CIRCLE Melville goes it alone, making up his own story, and it shows, in a confused and muddled film that ends as poorly and as unconvincingly as any film in recent memory.

All in all, not Melville's finest hour. So have to side here with Bluesdoctor, Bornjaded, Mike, and Steve and give this one a fail.

** out of ****.


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