peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 02 10 BobLeFlambeur

Bob le flambeur (1956)

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The first of Melville's features and of course inevitable after Le Doulos. It's another black-and-white noir set amongst the contemporary gambling dens of Montmartre. The heist this time involves the Casino Barrière in Deauville which Google suggests is about 200km away.

Roger Duschesne has the classic dial, presence and gambling compulsion to lead. He drives a massive yank tank convertible (a Packard I read) and keeps the police at a comfortable distance while notionally schooling his protege Daniel Cauchy with help from friends and enemies in the demimonde. One of Bob's opsec axioms is that women are never to be trusted (excepting Simone Paris's barmaid) but street walking Isabelle Corey's foxy nonchalance puts the lie to that. The bulk of it is agreeable and somewhat workmanlike until things unwind in a satisfying final movement.

Roger Ebert: four stars as a "great movie" in 2003. The scene where the high-tech safe cracking is intercut with a panting German Shepherd was endearingly weird. Vincent Canby made it a Critic's Pick in 1981.