Touchez Pas au Grisbi


Director: Jacques Becker
Year: 1954
Rating: 8.0
Country: France

Jean Gabin as Max is a world weary gangster who shows every year like a 100 year of tree that has been through too many storms. He has done one last job that is big enough to get him out for good, but some others want to take it off him. This is one of the classic French crime films of the 1950's along with Rififi, Bob Le Flambeur and Ascenseur pour l'echafaud. Like most of these crime films from France in the 50's and 60's the drama, character, male bonding and the gangster milieu counts for more than any action. Even Melville who so influenced John Woo keeps violence to a minimum. Director Becker takes the viewer into the streets and cafes of Paris in slow seductive detail.

Look for Jeanne Moreau as Josie in one of her early roles (I didn't even recognize her till late in the film) and for the stunning Marily Buferd as Betty who was from America. But of course Gabin, who was still hugely popular in France after he reached middle age, holds the film together with his calm fatalistic performance.