Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bob le flambeur (1956)

Bob le flambeur (=Bob the gambler) is Jean-Pierre Melville's first gangster film. No big actor in this because at that time he couldn't afford one. When I first watched this, I was so impressed with the opening scene, where the director took time to explain about the district of Montmartre in Paris. "Montmartre is both heaven (Basilica of the Sacré Cœur is shown. The next frame shows a bus, shot from behind railings. The music is cleverly arranged that I think the bus is descending) and hell (the nightclubs are chosen to describe hell)."

In this movie, the usual elements in Melville movies are available: gangsters, police, an informant, betrayal, detailed plans made before the big robbery, characters dressed in trench-coats and fedoras... except that in the end there is no robbery because Bob wins so much in the casino that he forgets the time. The ending scene, the conversation between Bob and the police, is funny. They are talking about how a good lawyer perhaps can negotiate well, so that Bob can spend less time in jail. "With a better lawyer, you could be acquitted," said the police, to whom Bob replied, "With a really top lawyer, I could sue for damages."

No comments: