Every film from Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" essays.
Honour Among Thieves
An aging, world-weary gangster is double-crossed and forced out of retirement when his best friend is kidnapped and their stash of eight stolen gold bars demanded as ransom.
Jean Gabin might be the shit as Max, and Touchez pas au grisbi certainly have a reputation among those who wandered the finer circles of cinephilia (which also resulted in its inclusion in the latest Sight & Sound-list from 2012), but to me it's more than anything a reminder I need to get around revisiting Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le flambeur--which was released two years later (and didn't make that '12 S&S-list).
I've had a handful of Jacques Becker movies for a while, but haven't gotten around to any of them until now. Le trou is certainly high on my to-do list, but it didn't exactly jump higher with this experience. Becker haven't Melville's flair, and directs this movie with a very…
So cool...So French...So Gabin...
Touchez Pas Au Grisbi, Don't Touch the Loot, or Grisbi for short(Honour Among Theives was the UK title, not sure why it's listed here). Directed by Jacques Becker, who directed Le Trou and also Casque d'or, which I'm queuing up ASAP. Becker was an assistant to director Jean Renoir during the 30s, and it seems he picked up some great tips, like casting Jean Gabin. But that's not all, because Becker can direct, and Grisbi is another French gangster flick masterpiece.
The film is built on interesting characters and a great story. Everything flows so well, the story, the direction, the plot. Gabin can, and he does, carry a film with his charm, but he has…
Heist FIlms: August 2014
There's a scene in Touchez Pas au Grisbi where ageing gangsters Max and Riton (Jean Gabin and René Dary) eat some cheese and crackers, drink champagne, and then put on their pajamas, brush their teeth and go to bed. There's a palpable sense of impending violence, but Max is determined to stay classy until the bitter end.
There are a number of heist films where the big job is pulled off early on, and more time is spent telling the story of the aftermath. In Touchez Pas au Grisbi the robbery has already occurred before the titles roll. It was to be the big retirement score for Max, who's fully aware he's been too old for…
-"You leaving me here? How am I gonna get back?"
-"Try hunting snails, daddy-o."
Touchez Pas au Grisbi stars Jean Gabin as Max, an aging French gangster who wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his days relaxing and spending his hard earned loot. When Max's best friend Riton gets into a jam, Max must put his life of ease on hold for a while and get back into the gangster game. Also staring French royalty like Jeanne Moreau and Lino Ventura, Touchez Pas au Grisbi is yet another strong film directed by the great French director Jacques Becker.
After seeing Jacques Becker's French masterpiece Le Trou less than a month ago, and being blown away by the…
Le Trou being one of the best jailbreak films I have ever seen, my expectation was quite high going into this. And the maker does not disappoint, again carving out a crime thriller with an excellent sense of proportion. The characters are just correct, the casting fits hand-in-glove, and the story is smart, tense and redeeming. The relationships that ebb and flow between characters form the essence of this film – creating quite a unique gangster film, I would say. The B&W job is sparkling, the storytelling is great but I cannot stress enough how much the characters own this film. Jean Gabin is the smoothest as Max – ably supported by all others – and the conclusion is well worth waiting for. Surely a great film!
It's pretty much a cliche that the "one last job" of a thief, a hitman, a criminal, what-not will almost always go wrong. Well, in this one, it's what comes AFTER the "one last job". A professional thief hoping to retire pulls a successful "one last job" but complications post-heist ensue. The film is a slow-burn, especially for a crime thriller but it pays off very much in the end. It's not quite as great as "The Hole" (the only other Jacques Becker film I've seen) and other French crime thrillers which I've seen of its era but it's still a very solid outing.
I discovered Jacque Becker's 1954 movie thanks to Roger Ebert. It is the subject of an essay in his "little" (his own word) e-book "27 Movies From The Dark Side," part of his mighty (my word) "Ebert's Essentials" series.
"Touchez Pas au Grisbi" combines two of Ebert's favorite things.
His favorite genre was the film noir, and the world cinema he admired most was, perhaps, the French.
Alighting on the heart of the matter, Ebert quotes Francois Truffaut in his essay: "The real subjects of Grisbi are aging and friendship."
This picture is a pleasure. Thank you for one more discovery, Mr. Ebert, even if it is just the latest entry on a very long list, with, I'm sure, many…
Jean Gabin's Max bleeds class in this stylish crime film.
Even in moments of extreme danger, Max's demeanor remains cool. The polished set design (even back alleys and rural roads seem clean) and lavish compositions match his assured sense of style. Visual flourishes that break up the classy world of these gangsters, such as handheld and bird's eye view shots, are mostly devoted to the chaos and intimidation apparent in those who would try to harm Max. As his enemies chase him, he calmly fires shots in the air and watches them scatter. Even his internal monologues in the face of betrayal, delivered in patient voiceover, sound unshaken.
There is an undeniable attraction to this confidence, but also a lack of humanity in Max that makes his tale less moving than many others of the genre or of the great actor's career. Still, few such minor complaints can't truly overshadow the film's thrilling penultimate sequence.
Gangster/Heist movie except the entire movie takes place after the heist has taken place, Reservoir Dogs style. After the two main characters make the biggest score of their lives, some of their cohorts find out and make a run at their loot by kidnapping one of the key players. Becker has a very straight-forward no frills approach to the movie and it works well and Jean Gabin is really solid as the weathered gangster contemplating retirement but forced to go on with his old ways.
An aging, seasoned gangster must deal with the fallout from his final job. The "one last job" trope is one of my least favorite tropes. It's too easy, but Jacques Becker focuses on what happens AFTER the "one last job," and that's one reason I find "Touchez pas au grisbi" such a compelling picture. Of course, nobody could play the role as well as Jean Gabin, an actor I've come to adore entirely. His effortless charm and longing looks that beg for youth and simplicity really illustrate a tragic character's motives and reasonings. A film I like quite a bit that could have been elevated by a better supporting cast.
Pretty cool gangster flick.
Ο Jean Gabin είναι ο στυλάτος τύπος του υποκόσμου που μόλις έχει κάνει μια μεγάλη μπάζα,κάτι που τον βάζει στο στόχαστρο των αντιπάλων του, που με αρχηγό τους τον Lino Ventura προσπαθούν να του την αρπάξουν.Γαλλικό νουάρ,άνευρο μέχρι τη μέση,κλιμακώνει καλά την ένταση από εκεί και μετά,έχει έναν σούπερ cool και επιβλητικό Gabin,όμορφες γυναίκες,τη Jeanne Moraeu σε ολιγόλεπτη εμφάνιση σε νεαρότατη ηλικία και ωραίες μούρες στους β ρόλους.
This is a man's world, violent, cruel and disappointing in the end. No doubt that the most romantic movies in cinema history belong to the gangster genre.
Un capolavoro noir del cinema francese con un laconico ma efficacissimo Jean Gabin. Criminali sempre eleganti, impeccabili nelle loro azioni, nel senso dell'onore e dell'amicizia. Femme fatale, tradimenti, inseguimenti, sparatorie, ci sono tutti i topoi del genere. In più un forte senso di disillusione, quasi esistenzialista, che spesso manca in analoghi film anglofoni e che dona un tocco crepuscolare alla pellicola (fotografata in uno straordinario bianco e nero). Asciutta e lineare, ma non per questo banale, la regia di Becker.
I love French cinema, but I hadn’t seen any films directed by Jacques Becker, and I wish I’d been able to watch them sooner. In Touchez Pas au Grisbi we see a gangster at the end of his career, who has done one last job and is ready to wrap things up. But things aren’t that simple for Max. I was constantly surprised by this film in the understated way that the story unfolds. It’s a different type of gangster film very strongly built around the characters. It’s cheeky and funny and didn’t work within the restrictive censorship that the American gangster films and films noir skirted around. This film constantly kept me off guard as violence was always lurking under the surface, but it was never exploitative or gratuitous. A wonderful film with great characters.
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 190/768 (25%)…