Jean-Pierre MelvilleFrance109 minutes1962B&WFrench
Described by its director Jean-Pierre Melville as "a nocturnal western in the city," the impossibly cool Le Doulos is a pure expression of the French crime-cinema master's style and ethos, as well as his most fulsome tribute to American cinema. Serge Reggiani plays a recently released ex-con plotting a high-stakes jewel robbery, while Jean-Paul Belmondo plays his accomplice, a petty thief who may or may not be a "finger man" (stool pigeon) plotting to turn his pal over to the police. (The actor didn't know whether or not his character was actually an informer until he saw the final cut of the film.) Full of bravura sequences (the most famous being a take that Melville boasted ran to ten minutes), Le Doulos offers a surfeit of style, and Belmondo at his best. "Terrific performances, and equally terrific camerawork ... conjure a rivetingly treacherous, twilit world" (Tom Milne).