Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mort d'un pourri (1977)

I had wanted to watch this for a long time and when the time came, I was not disappointed. The movie was very good. The English title is "Death of A Corrupt Man", which I think the corrupt man in question is called Serrano, like the German title suggests (Der Fall Serrano); because there are many dead corrupt men in this.

The movie begins with a parliament member, Philippe Dubaye (Maurice Ronet), visits his best friend Xavier Mar├ęchal (Alain Delon) at 5 in the morning, and tells him that he killed Serrano last night. Serrano is a fellow deputy and a blackmailer. Xavier gives Philippe an alibi, but it doesn't save Philippe's life, because everybody knows Philippe is the killer and more important: he has taken Serrano's documents, proofs that important people are not clean. Philippe hides the documents in his mistress's apartment and tells Xavier to pick them up. Xavier does the job well, but returns to find that Philippe has been murdered. Now it's Xavier's turn to be in danger, especially after the death of Philippe's wife, because it's clear that the documents are in his possession. It's easy for Xavier to give them up to the police, but he wants one thing in return: the name of Philippe's murderer.

Directed by George Lautner, this thriller has a wonderful cast: Alain Delon, Maurice Ronet, Mireille Darc, St├ęphane Audran, Ornella Muti, Michel Aumont, Jean Bouise (his face reminds me of some police inspector drawn by Herge), Klaus Kinski. Stan Getz plays the theme song with saxophone. The music is composed by Philippe Sarde.

Casting Alain Delon and Maurice Ronet as the two best friends was a great idea. They played together in Plein Soleil, Lost Command and La Piscine (the photographs from 3 movies are displayed in Xav's living room) - so it helps the audience to understand why Xavier risks so many things for Philippe, including restraining himself not to sleep with Philippe's mistress. I have to say, though, that after Plein Soleil and La Piscine, I suspected at first that it was Xavier himself who killed Philippe.

I like the scene where cars falling from the truck onto Xav's car.

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