Father Noir

Here's an opportunity to check out the French film that spawned the famous genre

The bulky, careworn Duchesne delivers an entirely believable performance as the world-weary Bob. His boxy, middle-age frame and his purposeful, rolling gait suggest a man who is in no hurry to rush through life. Guy Decomble as Bob's friend/opponent, inspector Ledru; Isabelle Corey as Anne; and Daniel Cauchy as Bob's protégé Paolo are all solid, grounded portraits. Melville was no sentimentalist, but he took care to give credibility and dimension to even his smallest roles. For example, the story turns at one point on the relationship between one of the gang members and his ambitious, unhappy wife (well played by Claude Cerval and Colette Fleury, respectively). Their few scenes together are given as much attention as those of the main characters, adding another layer of meaning and texture to an already rich narrative.

Bob le Flambeur is almost a half-century old, but it holds up nicely. And the chance to see it on the big screen doesn't come around often. It's a chance you might like to take.

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