Ex-gangster Fernand (Lino Ventura) receives a call from a dying friend, a mob boss nicknamed "The Mexican". The doomed mobster talks Fernand into taking care of some criminal business and ... See full summary »
In a vacation camp somewhere in the French country, 1960. Marc et Philippe are two of the counsellors. Marc is very virile, while Philippe is more reserved. A night, Marc surprises Philippe... See full summary »
Beauvoir, lonely, aging private detective, is put on the bloody track of beautiful Catherine Leiris who kills and robs her rich husband(s) on their wedding night. Although he never ... See full summary »
Rocco and his female accomplice, Angèle hijack a truck from a trucking company in the Saharan desert. The head of the trucking company, Castigliano hires Rocco's friend, Hervé and a newly ... 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... 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 ... See full summary »
Hector Valentin (Bourvil) returns to France from Canada when he inherits a small sawmill. He has difficulties restarting the run-down operation which has inefficient workers and is hampered... See full synopsis »
Who is Anton Haliakov, who has just been abducted by the M.I.5 in London? A Soviet scientist apparently. But sixteen years before the man had another identity, Clément Tibère, and another ... See full summary »
Jacques Cournot, a freelance skipper, is hired by Mr Hendrix in Santo Domingo, first of all to advise him regarding the acquisition of a sailing boat. After a thorough inspection of a ... See full summary »
Elizabeth and her daughter Cecile spend their holidays at a lakeside resort in the French mountains. Elizabeth falls in love with a strange Italian, Giovanni, while young Cecile is courted ... See full summary »
When political thugs murder an opponent's volunteer and also kill a cop, chief inspector Verjeat believes the politician who hired them is as guilty as the murderous goon. Verjeat's pursuit... See full summary »
Inspector Gallien is investigating the rape and murder of two little girls. The only suspect is attorney Jerome Martinaud, but the evidence against him is circumstantial. As the city celebrates New Year's Eve, Gallien calls Martinaud to his office and interrogates him for hour after hour while Martinaud continues to maintain his innocence. We learn all about the evidence; we meet Martinaud's wife and learn all about the rift between the two; but will we, and Gallien, finally learn whether Martinaud is guilty? Written by
Nothing revolutionary here; just impeccably elegant, restrained cinema.
GARDE A VUE is confined almost exclusively to a drab police station, and mostly to one interrogation room, but director Claude Miller (who made the wonderful film THIS SWEET SICKNESS, among others) intercalates spare glimpses of exterior tableaux as minimalist locale scenography. Miller's restraint, especially early on, is breathtaking, and his exquisite handling of the consequently-pivotal interior mise-en-scene makes for captivating viewing.
Lino Ventura is superb as usual, succeeding to legitimize a character that, on paper, is cliche: the laconic, hard-nosed, world-weary homicide detective. Ventura lives the role, making it completely believable, even though the script allows us little access to his inner workings; the film ends at the very moment it appears he will be forced to confront his failure for the first time.
Michel Serrault is equal to the task as the suspected child-killer who shrewdly spars with the single-minded flic. The exchanges between the two are more-often-than-not pregnant with tension and the aura of a constantly metamorphosing playing field for a battle of wits. Serrault's character is by turns deplorably haughty and cunning, and pitiable; then later....
The "message" of GARDE A VUE, if one were to search for one, is a condemnation of police methodology and the kind of pressures that make a cop over-zealous to, if necessary, close cases at the expense of justice. For most of its length though the film shines as nothing more than an exemplar of how to turn a potentially soporific set-bound scenario into a suspenseful drama of the utmost cinematic economy.
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