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Touchez Pas au Grisbi
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…
-"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…
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…
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.
Heist films all go back to the early 1900s, with Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery (which I prefer over any Melies, Edison, or Lumiere film), and are within some American noirs in the 30s/40s, but are truly rotted back to three French films from the 50s: Jacques Becker's Touchez Pas au Grisbi, Jules Dassin's Rififi, and Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le Flambeur. All three are iconic (I REALLY NEED TO SEE RIFIFI NOW. RIGHT NOW.) and really birthed an entire genre. Whether its Tarantino, Nolan, Soderbergh, or Michael Mann, all modern directors with heist cinema in their oeuvre refer back to the trilogy. Even Kubrick at the time was influenced and ahead of the game, as always (sidenote: isn't…
'Hands Of The Loot' in English. Jean Gabin is a massive don. Excellent gangster movie, no tropes you have not seen since this film was made and a basic plot but so well executed with great performances all round. High recommend indeed.
Almost too cool.
Touchez Pas Au Grisbi
Worth Watching? Fans of the Film Noir/Gangster genres, yeah…
Story: An expert gangster must get his hands dirty after a clumsy partner suggests they have some valuable loot.
One Good Thing:
‘Paying Customers Only’
I’m not really a huge fan of most bars in real life. They are mostly about competition. Competing for space, noise, and attention. I just don’t really like them. But in movies, it seems characters always find the coolest bars or places to go to and conduct their business in. From the cantina in Star Wars to the way Harmonica has a shot of liquor on Frank’s dime in Once Upon A Time in the West. And what cooler place in all…
Holy smokes do I ever love this movie.
So different than most gangster films. It takes the age old premise of the gangster on the back end of his career deciding to make one more big score, then get out and spins it on it's head.
Jean Gabin is a cool 'daddy-o' gangster who, we come to find out, has actually done the last big haul successfully. 50 million in gold - the grisbi (aka the loot) is his and his tough, but kinda dumb partner, Riton. But as happens in this movies where the gangsters try to buy their love with young showgirls, Riton tries to act the big man and brags to his gangster moll -- who in…
Jacques Beckers Film aus dem Jahr 1954 ist ein Meilenstein und ein Klassiker des französischen Kinos: Das Debüt von Lino Ventura, das fulminante Comeback von Jean Gabin nach 16 mageren Jahren, eine sehr junge Jeanne Moreau - und die Geburtsstunde des modernen französischen Gangsterfilm. Becker hat mit diesem Film die Blaupause für die auf noch folgenden großen Gangsterfilme von Dassin, Melville und Sautet geliefert.
Becker ist ein Regisseur der ruhigen und genauen Beobachtung. Er verwendet viel Zeit, uns die Gangster bei ihren alltäglichen Verrichtungen zu zeigen: Jean Gabin bereitet ein Abendessen vor, Jean Gabin nimmt Kissen, Bettzeug und einen Schlafanzug aus dem Schrank, Jean Gabin putzt sich die Zähne. Die Folter-, Kampf- und Schießszenen laufen vollkommen ruhig und sachlich ab,…
Gabin is a machine.
A list of all films associated with the Criterion Collection, including laserdiscs, DVDs, Blu-rays, Essential Arthouse, Eclipse Series, Hulu Plus,…