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A Legitimate Defense (1958)

En légitime défense (original title)
Pierre Lambert buys a bar in Pigalle and accepts to pay "protection money" to "Bébert le Caïd", a brutal gangster. Over time, Bébert raises his fare and, realizing Pierrot is reluctant to ... See full summary »


André Berthomieu


André Berthomieu (story) (as Berthomieu), Frédéric Dard (dialogue)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernard Blier ... L'inspecteur Gustave Martinet
Pierre Mondy ... Petit Bob
Maria Mauban Maria Mauban ... Dora
Philippe Nicaud Philippe Nicaud ... Pierre 'Pierrot' Lambert
Monique Tanguy Monique Tanguy ... Ginette
Daniel Cauchy ... Dédé
Rosy Varte Rosy Varte ... Rita
Robert Dalban ... Albert dit 'Bébert le Caïd'
Paul Bonifas Paul Bonifas ... Le président de la cour
Léonce Corne Léonce Corne ... Baudin
François Darbon François Darbon ... L'avocat général
Jean Lara Jean Lara ... L'avocat de Pierrot
Gisèle Robert Gisèle Robert ... Marcelle
Mona Dol Mona Dol ... La mère de Dora / Adrienne
Georges Hubert Georges Hubert ... Le commissaire de police


Pierre Lambert buys a bar in Pigalle and accepts to pay "protection money" to "Bébert le Caïd", a brutal gangster. Over time, Bébert raises his fare and, realizing Pierrot is reluctant to pay more, starts persecuting him. In the midst of an altercation with Bébert, Pierre kills him in self-defense. In a panic he goes to see Gustave Martinet, a police inspector, who has been his best friend since Pierre saved his life during the war. Gustaves advises him to turn himself over to the police, which he does. At the trial Pierre is acquitted but the mob does not forgive so easily... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

pigalle | legitimate defense | See All (2) »









Release Date:

11 June 1958 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

A Legitimate Defense See more »

Filming Locations:

Pigalle, Paris 9, Paris, France

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


The role of Dora was signed by Barbara Laage and she did work on the film for a few days but she was hospitalized for a surgical operation and replaced by Maria Mauban. See more »

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User Reviews

Witnesses for the defense
14 December 2012 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

The best of this entertaining thriller is the depiction of the restaurant in Pigalle with its clientèle:the hookers,a couple of gays,"artists" ;the subject of racketeering ,on the other hand ,is hackneyed,being anyway one of the main themes of these black and white Films Noirs of the late fifties/early sixties.The most interesting element is the strong friendship between a cop (Blier) and the restaurant's owner (Philippe Nicaud ,who,unlike his co-star ,is almost completely forgotten today).They were brothers in arms in WW2 and the restaurateur saved the detective's life then.

This male camaraderie is to suffer great hardships when Nicaud is involved in a murder (in self-defence);the trial is a great moment of fun: the judge tells one of the witnesses (a whore) that her language is refined :"I was a former teacher!"she replies .But even if the defendant is acquitted ,will he escape unscathed for all that?

Pierre Mondy is excellent as the villain;and as the former user has already pointed it out,the final scene in a garage is solid film noir.

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