Wednesday, November 21, 2007

From Fred Blosser - John Trinian


You commented on John Trinian a few weeks ago. By coincidence, I rummaged through my DVD library a couple of days ago and plucked out a 2000 Image Entertainment edition of Henri Verneuil's 1963 French heist movie "Any Number Can Win" ("Melodie en sous-sol"), and noticed that it was based on a Trinian novel, "The Big Grab." Not having read the Trinian, I don't know how closely the movie followed the book, but it's a good flick, Jean Gabin as a tough old ex-convict and Alain Delon as the younger troublemaker whom he enlists in a plan to rob a casino.

As usual with the French crime movies from that era, there is little violence (wouldn't even show up on today's Richter Scale of Blow It Up Real Good), but plenty of cool ambience. The interplay between Gabin's methodical old pro and Delon's hothead is a pleasure to watch, and the plot drives straight ahead, toward the inevitable stinger of an ending, with nary an ounce of fat.

I'm waiting for the retro interest in the '50s style of the Rat Pack to spill over to a revival of Gallic crime films. Luckily, there are a fair amount of titles on DVD or still available in VHS -- "Rififi," "Le Circle Rouge," "Bob Le Flambeur," "Touchez pas au Grisbi," "Le Samourai," and "Le Doulos." Verneuil's "The Sicilian Clan" from 1969, also with Gabin and Delon (a moderately successful release in the U.S.) is available on DVD from the U.K. and runs occasionally on the Fox Movie Channel, I'm told. I've found another Gabin, "Rififi in Panama," on DVD from France. One that I keep waiting for -- with no luck so far -- is "Riff Raff Girls" ("Rififi Chez les Femmes") from that long-ago year of 1959.

A happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


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