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Melville's Le Cercle Rouge

This EW review’s a few months old, but I’d like to share it for most of you film-enthusiasts out there:

"Modern movies gangsters wouldn’t know how to pull a trigger without him. And the toughsters favored by Quentin Tarantino or the techno-fetishists fancied by the Wachowski brothers would be nowhere, unplugged, without the films of Jean-Pierre Melville to guide them. “The coolest, most stylish auteur of his time,” is how acolyte John Woo described the late filmmaker (he died in 1973 at the age of 55), whose 13 films include Bob le Flambeur (1955) and Le Samourai (1967).

Now Woo-the director of the 1989 Hong Kong gangster classic The Killer-Is billed as the presenter of a new, uncut, beautifully restored version of Melville’s 33-year old French Gangster classic, Le Cercle Rouge

And within le cercle-a pseudo-mystical notion of men cinched together by a penchant to go bad-Melville creates a world of lonely cats and mice, cops and robbers whose destinies are bound up in a jewel heist that takes place in gorgeously choreographed silence.

Melville muse Alain Delon, the essence of cool in his trenchcoat and snap-brim hat, is a brooding ex-con; Gian Maria Volonte is a prison escapee with the law nipping at his heels; and Yves Montand is a retired cop hounded by a trippy case of alcoholic delirium. Paris has never looked so inky, or nightclub ladies so aloof.
Le Cercle Rouge is the antidote to every square tough-guy cape you’ve ever seen, and the inspiration for many great ones.

It was re-released in a few arthouse theaters a while back, so that means that a DVD should be on the way soon.

I have to say that I’ve been real slow to embrace French Cinema, but this one really sounds like it’s up my alley. And the French New Wave is basically the last genre that I’ve yet to cover and LE CERCLE ROUGE certainly sounds like the place to start.

Plus the enthusiasm that Tarantino shared about Melville on the Res-Dogs “tributes & dedications” feature is further proof that the magic that Melville created with his films is still there and should warrant a viewing.

Plus It’s a special treat to see Spaghetti Western legend, Gian Maria Volante in a diffrent light!

Has anybody here ever seen a Melville flick?

[quote] Has anybody here ever seen a Melville flick? [/quote]

Yep, Right now I have Bob La Flambeur (Criterion) DVD, Le Samourai (VHS) and Le Doulos (VHS).

These are 3 of the coolest crime films I’ve ever seen in my life. If you think QTs characters are cool, wait till you see these films. The best way to describe the films to those who havent seen them is, just imagine black n white American gangster films like White Heat or Public Enemy set in a French, laid back world. The atmospheres are different and the characters are just the definition of cool. If the American gangsters are mad dogs, the French gangsters are sly cats.

All film geeks should seek out the roots of modern film and the French New Wave is certainly a major part of cinema history. While your looking check out films by: Godard, Truffaut, Chabrol and Rohmer.

Thanks for posting this. I’m seeing this restored print on the big screen next weekend for “Le Cercle Rouge.”… I was also lucky enough to see “Bob La Flambeur” up on the big screen twice when it was touring the theaters awhile back.

Another great crime movie which QT had mentioned a lot and Criterion finally released is the heist flick "Rififi"

Its by Jules Dassin and pretty much is the heist movie very much ahead of its time and a very imitated movie.

As for French New Wave Bande for QT fans you might want to start first with “Bande àpart” aka “Band of Outsiders”… after all QT named his production company after this movie "A Band Apart"

Also note there is a restored print of Paul Wendkos 1957 movie “The Burglar” making the rounds at movie theaters of late (a dvd release sometime later this year I think) which is a very cool movie that seemed to inspire a lot of the French New Wave directors, especially in movies like Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player.” I really enjoyed the movie “The Burglar” very quirky movie w/ editing and cinematography that will be hard to forget.

Cirterion is also releasing some movies from French New Wave director Alain Resnais here soon: “Night and Fog” and "Hiroshima Mon Amour"

And for another great crime flick Sergio Leone’s epic movie “Once Upon a Time in America” is finally getting a release (special edition) on dvd this Tuesday, June 10. I’ve held the laserdisc of this movie forever and at nearly 4 hrs its a movie you have to lock the doors and turn off the phones and computer and immerse yourself in. Note QT has said this is his favorite Leone movie.

Coming in October:

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Sooo…Did anyone got their copy yet? This was supposed to arrive in stores Oct. 10th but then the date got postponed. I dont what the new date was, but Amazon already has it available:

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Haven’t been able to find it in stores yet. Damnit! I’m feenin’ to see this!!

In other “French New Wave Gangster” news, for anyone who has the Sundance Channel, Godard’s Band of Outsiders (Bande àpart) will air this week. Don’t know which day yet, but I’ll look.

can you fill me in on Melville a little?

I’ve only seen ‘Bob Le Flambeur’ which has that cool (in the jazz sense of the word) sixties feel that a lot of French films from the 1960s have (‘Orphee’, ‘Au Hasard Balthazar’ and ‘Alphaville’ for example). On the DVD cover (BFI) of ‘Le Cercle Rouge’ there is a good quote from Tarantino which reads, “Jean Pierre-Melville is to the crime film what Sergio Leone is to the western.”

Take the American pot-boiler detective, gangster and general crime films from the thirties and forties, add a bit of garlic and you get something like ‘Bob Le Flambeur’ or ‘Alphaville’.

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A science fiction film noir.[/size]