Lucky Jo ★★★

Man with a hat
Finally paid his dues.
But left with nothing to invest.
Dog gone afternoon
Comedia del film noir.

A brief word on Michel Deville, who I was introduced to by Dan Sallitt. Deville began making films just around the time of the explosion of the French New Wave, and he was very much part of the system and hated by Cahiers and the gang. But he’s been praised by people like David Thompson is apparently a big fan, and now Dan is, so I gave the two films he invited me to watch a spin. This is one of eleven films that Deville worked on with Nina Companéez, who was both his co-writer and his editor. Dan has a piece on the two here.

This is the better of the two we watcged, a sort of comedic take on the French gangster picture, with Eddie Constantine as a recently out of prison gangster whose closed off by all his friends when he wants to get back in the business. There’s a certain economy of shooting that reminds me of Hawks (an early shot during a heist manages three planes of action to convey narrative), and the fight sights are all really well staged – Like Allan Dwan, Deville emphasizes wider shots and more awkward brawling, but there’s a sense of choreography that really makes you feel each punch actually hurts. Not much to say on the narrative, except it’s quite light and has a amusing ending.

I also watched this, an episode of Justified, and Coogan's Bluff all in a 24 hour period, and all having running jokes about men in hats.