Tuesday 6 October 2020

Cinema Reborn - Jean Pierre Melville on his 'comedy of manners' BOB LE FLAMBEUR (France, 1956) - Screening at the Ritz Cinemas Randwick Sunday 11 October at 4.00 pm

The quotes below are taken from Melville by Rui Nogueira, published by Secker and Warburg in association with the British Film Institute, 1971. The screening will be introduced by award-winning Australian director Bruce Beresford. Advance Booking Tickets to this new digital restoration


"I had written Bob Le Flambeur  in 1950, five years before I filmed it. From my memories of of a world I had known pretty well, I wanted to paint as truthful a picture as possible of the pre-war French  milieu   (the criminal underworld).


"My original intention was to make a serious film, but after I had seen Huston’s masterpiece The Asphalt Jungle,  I realised I could no longer deal, either dramatically or tragically, with the preparation and execution of a robbery. So I decided to reshape my scenario completely and turn it into a light-hearted film. Bob Le Flambeur  is not a pure policier but a comedy of manners.


Montmartre at dawn,  Bob Le Flambeur

I wasn’t well known, I had no stars. The fact I was able to get a distributor and a guarantee was undoubtedly due to having my friend Auguste Le Breton’s name on the credits (as writer). He was a top star that year because he had just had a huge success with Rififi  and Razzia sur le Chnouf which were packing the audiences in. So I asked Auguste to do the adaptation and dialogue.

Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Bob Le Flambeur

 During my childhood, this part of Paris was an extraordinarily wild spot. It was called ‘the maquis’ because where all you can see now is houses there was once real virgin forest…It was a ‘casbah’ where no policeman ever dared set foot and where guys used to hide out when the police were after them…. There was a great difference between the pre-war and the post-war milieu.  It is one of the things behind Bob’s nostalgia. 


The German Occupation changed everything.  Before the war the milieu was one thing and the police another. Then with the Occupation you suddenly had the German Gestapo and the French Gestapo, the latter being composed of French policemen and crooks. There were as many police as crooks. 

Jean-Pierre Melville


No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.