Sunday 4 October 2020

Melville at the Ritz – BOB LE FLAMBEUR (1956) – Introduced by Bruce Beresford – Sunday 11 October at 4.00 pm

Tickets for BOB LE FLAMBEUR Click here for the Ritz Website

The Jean-Pierre Melville season at the Ritz Cinemas Randwick got off to a flying start yesterday with not one but two screenings of his classic 1970 heist thriller LE CERCLE ROUGE. Thanks to all those who came out to be enthralled by the fine digitally restored copy supplied by StudioCanal that went up on the screen.


Next up on Sunday 11 October at 4.00 pm is Melville’s foray into the dark mood of post-war Paris BOB LE FLAMBEUR, made in 1956 and once again featuring a trench-coated denizen of the seamy side, Bob, the compulsive gambler.


Australian film producer (NEWSFRONT, SPOTSWOOD, LONG WEEEKEND, STARSTRUCK and many more) Richard Brennan has long been a Melville fan and BOB LE FLAMBEUR is among his favourites. Richard writes:


I have seen ‘Bob Le Flambeur”  many times and never fail to enjoy it. The film was shot in late 1955 and released in 1956 behind the successful distribution of Becker’s “Touchez Pas au Grisbi” (1954) and Dassin’s “Rififi” (1955). Melville was hoping for a wide audience and to this end he secured the participation of screenwriter Auguste Le Breton whose previous successes in the crime genre included” Rififi”  and “Razzia” (1955).


Like “Grisbi” and “Rififi” the film centres around the planning and execution of a robbery but “Bob Le Flambeur” is a far more lighthearted film than either. The titular Bob is a gentlemanly figure by comparison with the lowlifes who inhabit “Rififi” and its major predecessor “The Asphalt Jungle”. His interactions with a 16 year old girl whom he befriends and his protegé Paulo who is a bit of a loose cannon are unpredictable and satisfying. The story telling is free and easy and the locations are exhilarating. Best of all the ending is wonderful.

Roger Duchesne as Bob

The introduction for BOB LE FLAMBEUR will be given by award-winning Australian director Bruce Beresford, himself no stranger to films about crime and criminals. Bruce’s MONEY MOVERS probably remains as the standout Australian heist movie (and is a film crying out for a full-scale digital restoration).

…and there is high praise all round for this diverting example of classic French cinema.


David Thomson

This is Jean-Pierre Melville making one of the pictures that inspired the New Wave…The atmosphere of Pigalle at dawn is matchless, and this love of the city helps explain what keeps Bob floating.


…and finally a word from Paris-based writer and cinephile John Baxter

Asked his aim in life, Melville said “To become immortal – then to die.” With BOB LE FLAMBEUR his wish was granted.

To Book Tickets to this once only screening on the big screen in the Ritz's magnificent art deco Cinema One

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