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Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Le Doulos" directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

Le Doulos movie poster
My son brought this home from college and we watched it last night. It's a French black & white crime film made in 1962. The title, we are informed, refers both to a type of hat and to a snitch: a police informer. (Google's language tools fail to translate the title.) From the beginning things are a little confused. The protagonist (Maurice) shoots and kills a man who is supposed to be his friend. Another man (Silien) who is supposed to be his friend, but is suspected of being a police informer, ties up and beats Maurice's girlfriend in order to get some information from her. This makes Silien look very guilty, from the gangster's point of view. But then he goes through a bunch of contortions that make you wonder just whose side he's on. At the end of the movie my son and I disagreed. Possibly he picked up something that implicated the girlfriend that I missed, or maybe Silien's explanation of all his activities towards the end of the movie really did make sense. I was sure he was rotten, so his explanation made no sense to me. Perhaps if he was true to his gang, it would make sense. Anyway, it's a French film so at the end everyone dies.

The gangsters drove a new Chevrolet Impala and a Ford Galaxy convertible. Enormous cars compared to the tiny Citroen 2CV's you see parked along the street. Ross tells me that the director was famous for wearing a cowboy hat and driving a big ol' Cadillac in Paris.


Anonymous said...

The Doulos,(slang word) ie the police informer, was the girl Silien hurted and killed... for that reason...
That explain the beginin of all manipulations you discover et the end.

Melvile's films are "men's film" where are boiled men are fightin police and hard fate and dark destiny.
And the Chevrolet seems to be a BelAir

Anonymous said...

hard boiled men...

Anonymous said...

that film needs to be watched two times to undestood all the subtilities

Chuck Pergiel said...

Gah! I hate to admit it, but you might be right about it being a Bel Air.