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Le Trou (1960)

Le trou (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 14 February 1997 (USA)
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In prison four long-sentence inmates planning an elaborate escape cautiously induct a new inmate to join in their scheme which leads to distrust and uncertainty.

Director:

Jacques Becker

Writers:

José Giovanni (novel), Jacques Becker (adaptation) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Michel Constantin ... Geo Cassine
Jean Keraudy ... Roland Darban
Philippe Leroy ... Manu Borelli
Raymond Meunier Raymond Meunier ... Vossellin / Monseigneur
Marc Michel ... Claude Gaspard (as Mark Michel)
Jean-Paul Coquelin Jean-Paul Coquelin ... Le lieutenant Grinval (as J. Paul Coquelin)
André Bervil André Bervil ... Le directeur de la prison
Eddy Rasimi Eddy Rasimi ... Bouboule
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Storyline

Just as four cell-mates are about to launch their elaborate escape from a tiny cell, a detainee from a cell-block under repair is transferred in. The four all face certain conviction and long sentences. Does the young new jail-mate have the same incentive and if so, can they trust him? Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

14 February 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Trou See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,134, 7 July 2017, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$33,187, 14 September 2017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmsonor,Play Art,Titanus See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1984 restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film has no opening credits. See more »

Goofs

In the sewer when Roland Darban is sketching the prison plan, the dirt on the ground is totally flattened while it was a passageway and there should have been some footprints. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
self: [wiping grease off hands] Hello. My friend Jacques Becker recreated a true story in all its detail. My story. It took place in 1947 at the Sante prison.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in (500) Days of Summer (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The emotional swan's song of a great artist
20 January 2004 | by pzanardoSee all my reviews

Probably, to really get "Le Trou", this splendid, intense movie, you have to be conscious that the great Jacques Becker was dying during the making of the film. A quiet stoicism permeates this work of art. The story is supposed to be very sad, but it isn't. The guys on the screen are too tough, by no means apt to mourn their dire destiny or, metaphorically, to ask for the viewer's sympathy.

We have the true story of the hole dug by a bunch of in-mates to escape from a jail in Paris. The screenplay is taken from a novel of the distinguished writer and film-maker Jose' Giovanni, himself formerly a convict. Becker chooses to tell the story in the simplest, neatest possible way. No music at all, an essential, dry, sharp yet powerful dialog. The in-mates do their job, to try to escape. The director avoids the annoying cliché, typical of the American jail-movies, of showing the wardens as sadistic torturers. They are tough and strict, they don't like but they feel no hate for the prisoners. The wardens just do their job, that's all. In fact, there are no really despicable characters in the film. At his last appointment with the art of cinema, Becker seems to accept and forgive all human beings.

A brilliant idea is to show how the guys turn common objects and waste iron into the tools needed for the escape (a key, a lamp, a pick, a sand-glass). The little periscope made with a tooth-brush gives raise to a shocking scene, few seconds of great cinema. We follow the in-mates' apparently endless, exhausting labor of digging and sewing. That should be rather boring for the viewer, but it isn't. How comes there's not a single moment of bore in the film? That's the privilege of Art.

The work of the camera and the black and white photography are sensational, and convey the intense emotions of the characters. The psychological study is made in such an understated way that you may overlook it at a first view. But, after seeing the movie a second time, and knowing the development of the story, you fully appreciate how the psychology of the characters is treated, with accuracy and depth. The actors make an excellent job. This is stunning, thinking that "Le Trou" was the first movie for Philippe Leroy and Michel Constantin, later prominent actors of French cinema. And Jean Keraudy wasn't a professional actor, he was one of the in-mates that actually dug the hole fourteen years earlier! (at least, this is stated by himself at the beginning of the movie, and is testified in several books on French cinema)

Are there deep messages in the film? Two wardens bring a fly to feed a spider. There is the spider, a patent symbol of death, ghastly in its immobility. Two prisoners are peeping and wondering: what the hell are the wardens doing? Got no idea. And who cares, after all? Maybe that is Becker's dry, ironic message. Don't be too deep. Fight against bad luck, be stoic and brave. Who cares, after all?

My opinion is that the artist Becker, displaying the same toughness of the guys on the screen, just fought to leave us a major work of art. Our task of viewers is to enjoy and love it. "Le Trou" is an unforgettable film, which honors the art of cinema.


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