Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Ho! (1968)

Like Les Aventuriers which was out the previous year, Ho! was also based on José Giovanni novel. This movie by Robert Enrico looks nice (the colour and costumes, especially), and there is a scene by a lake which I like very much. Below is a still which I think very appropriate because we can see the main character and his nickname, also the title of the movie.

Jean-Paul Belmondo plays François Holin, whom his friends call 'Ho'. An ex-racer who is out of job after an accident, François joins a gang of robbers led by Canter (Sydney Chaplin) who soon dies by his own weapon. This is not the only blunder, because François later is caught when stealing a car and sent to jail (after being attacked by the mob). There is a good little detail when the witnesses cannot confirm François as the driver in the previous robbery because of the way he tosses the cigarette. He escapes from jail by disguising as a cell-mate who should be out that day. This time, it's the guards who make the blunder since they let him go. His girfriend Bénédicte (Joanna Shimkus - much more beautiful here than in Les aventuriers), a famous model, finds out François's real job and breaks up with him.

The press exaggerates François's escape from jail. In the robberies, his role is only to drive and steal cars. He becomes a celebrity after the papers published his extraordinary escape as "The greatest escape of this century", calling him: Arsène Lupin + Al Capone = François Holin, public enemy no.1, man with nerves of steel, and that he has invented a new form of gangsterism. At this point, the narcissism can be clearly seen. François is so proud of himself that he fills up his room's wall with articles about himself. He contacts a journalist (Paul Crauchet) to write more articles about him and forms his own gang for a bank robbery. The police finally can trap François using his weakness: he is an avid tie-collector.

Alain Delon made a cameo here, as someone who is almost run down by Bénédicte's car after she picked up François from airport. It's not very clear, but I'm sure it's him.

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