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Le Samouraï (1967)

Le samouraï (original title)
After professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alain Delon ... Jef Costello
François Périer ... Le Commissaire
Nathalie Delon ... Jane Lagrange
Cathy Rosier Cathy Rosier ... La pianiste (as Caty Rosier)
Jacques Leroy Jacques Leroy ... L'homme de la passerelle
Michel Boisrond Michel Boisrond ... Wiener
Robert Favart Robert Favart ... Le barman
Jean-Pierre Posier Jean-Pierre Posier ... Olivier Rey
Catherine Jourdan ... La jeune fille du vestiaire
Roger Fradet Roger Fradet ... 1er inspecteur
Carlo Nell Carlo Nell ... 2ème inspecteur
Robert Rondo Robert Rondo ... 3ème inspecteur
André Salgues André Salgues ... Le garagiste
André Thorent André Thorent ... Policier - chauffeur de taxi
Jacques Deschamps Jacques Deschamps ... Policier speaker
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Storyline

Hitman Jef Costello is a perfectionist who always carefully plans his murders and who never gets caught. One night however, after killing a night-club owner, he's seen by witnesses. His efforts to provide himself with an alibi fail and more and more he gets driven into a corner. Written by Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Things suddenly go badly for a successful French assassin See more »


Certificate:

GP | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

25 October 1967 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Le Samourai See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$39,481, 2 March 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$39,481, 2 March 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Rui Nogueira (author of the book "Melville on Melville" published in 1976), the caged bird shown as Jef Costello's pet in "Le Samourai" was the only casualty of the fire that destroyed Melville's studio in 1967. See more »

Goofs

When rounding up suspects the inspector refers to the population as 10 million. The 1968 population of Paris city proper was only 2.6 million. The population of the urban area was only 8.2 million. See more »

Quotes

Jane Lagrange: If I understand you right, I'll have no problems if I perjure myself. If I insist on telling the truth, then I can expect trouble. Am I right?
Superintendant: Not quite. Because the truth isn't what you say, it's what I say... despite the methods I am obliged to employ to get at it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"There is no solitude greater than a samurai's, unless perhaps it is that of a tiger in the jungle." - The Book of Bushido. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Il solitario (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Le Samouraï
Written and Performed by François de Roubaix Et Orchestre
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An amazing film....
5 January 2007 | by The_Naked_KissSee all my reviews

Jef Costello is a contract killer, a lone wolf living in Paris in 1967. He is vocally inert, a modern day samurai who emulates the intensity and devotion of an old school samurai. Costello finds himself arrested for a murder that he is guilty of. He is taken to a line-up and identified by a select few who saw him leave the scene of the crime. Amazingly he gets away with it, this might be the only niggling thing in the movie, you feel it is impossible for a man to come so close with the law and not get charged. Alas, he is a free man. The rest of the film focuses on the police trying to bring him down, to crack his alibis, to catch him in the act. The final scene I can not comment on without spoiling. Melville certainly delivers on his statement that he likes to leave the audience confused. However you interpret the ending is the true meaning to you. It may frustrate some, but personally I think it is the most well executed ending I have seen in a long time.

This film radiates that dark brooding look that only European movies portray well. The simplistic yet striking sets make streets and the most mundane objects look like works of art. The audacious use of pop culture in the form of art and artifacts adds to the overall tone of the film. The mash up of elements, the sassy colors of the 60's, the sophisticated noir qualities and the undercurrent of Japanese cinema makes this film so remarkable. It sounds as if it would clash violently, and it does, but it works. You feel very detached watching this movie, free to interpret it how you want; there is little dialog which I would like to see more in movies. It is so suggestive; this film caters to those who do not like condescending films that spell out what is going on, as if you are watching an episode of Sesame Street. This film is simply epic. One that I am going to insist upon watching monthly.

Further more, Criterion really know who to spoil connoisseurs of film. I recommend you invest in buying the criterion collection edition of Le Samourai. It comes with a 32 page booklet including excerpts from Melville on Melville and essays by David Thomson and filmmaker John Woo, as well as 6 interview clips with various actors from the film and an interview with Jean- Pierre Melville.


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