Sunday, October 12, 2008


I recently watched the masterpiece that is Rififi

An absolute gem. I loved it. Much has been written about this film. It is one of the most famous French Film Noirs. Directed by Jules Dassin, the American Director of other such Noir classics as Brute Force:

The Naked City:

Thieves' Highway:

and Night and the City:


Dassin was one of the black listed Hollywood directors of the fifties. He was exiled from Hollywood and moved to Europe and directed several films there. After five years of unemployment he was offered the chance to direct Rififi. Apparently it was not a film he wanted to do, he was not a fan of the book, but being in a bad situation and feeling somewhat taken advantage of he conceded to make the film. What came was one of the best Heist movies ever made.

The heist it's self is the centre piece of the movie and one of the most famous heist sequences ever committed to film. It's easy to see why. It's just incredible. Taught and tense. Beautifully thought out, brilliantly paced and the performances through out are outstanding. Not a word spoken nor music for 30 minutes and you're on the edge of you seat.

The film has a brilliant hard edge to it. It feels more raw then a lot of the hollywood film of the same period, it has an independent feel to it and so feels more more free then a lot of the studio pictures of the time.

It is a beautifully shot film, showing a misty grey Paris, with streets fading into fog in the distance. Dark and dramatic images by the legendary cinematographer Phillipe Agostini. Matched perfectly by the performance by lead actor Jean Servais. 

I can't recommend this film highly enough. Go buy it today.

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