Un flic (A Cop/Dirty Money)

Un flic (A Cop/Dirty Money). I love seeing older movies like this and realize I’m seeing some of the early DNA for later films. Like the camera that circles the group as they plan/explain the upcoming heist. The helicopter+locomotive scene was surely an inspiration for Mission Impossible. And the ending, where the camera holds on Delon’s face as he drives? You see the same thing echoed at the close of Michael Clayton. You’re invited to linger on the protagonist and speculate about how they feel about the whole ordeal. Oh, and I love Delon’s (anti-)hero here. He’s not traditionally noble. Like how he handles the love triangle. Or the part where, instead of trying to prevent a suicide and collar a live suspect, he closes the door? Woah! And about those criminals: like I mentioned when I watched Thief, there’s something about seeing middle-aged guys doing heists that’s kind of refreshing. And the one guy hiding the moonlighting from his wife! He’s like, “The job interview went okay. Long day!” Ha! This movie also has: 1. Catherine Deneuve (not enough, but hey). 2. A character nicknamed Matthew Suitcase. 3. A transvestite informer (/love interest?). Looks great, sounds great. Great movie. Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samouraï is also very good. I also love Alain Delon in Plein Soleil/Purple Noon.

Le Samouraï

Le Samouraï. When I came across this I was thinking something along the lines of “Alain Delon as assassin ≈ Cary Grant as Treadstone asset”. Count me in. Four minutes into the movie we get a bit of pulsing ostinato organ riff and somehow I knew I’d love it. (There’s also some great diegetic jazz later in the film.) Early on, Delon goes out to do a job BUT he screws up pretty big. He gets arrested, we get a long, fascinating ensemble interrogation scene (François Périer is great) and the rest of the movie unfolds in a taut but not frenzied way. Great movie. David Thomson’s Criterion essay.

Plein Soleil (Purple Noon)

Plein Soleil (Purple Noon). This movie is wonderful. From 1960, it was the first adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 book, The Talented Mr. Ripley. I really liked the 1999 version with Damon, Law, Paltrow, etc., and I’d say this one is even a smidge better. Compared to what I remember of the newer one, it seemed like there were fewer vignettes–the thread of the story spools out a bit more naturally. There’s a bit less prologue and a bit more watching the anti-hero trying to save his own ass. Fascinating stuff. In addition, some camerawork that winks its eye at the viewer, some of the best fashion on film and an excellent, unobtrusive soundtrack from Nino Rota. Recommended.