Big screen classics

Le Doulos

Questions of friendship and loyalty, deceit and betrayal lie at the dark heart of Melville’s labyrinthine thriller.

Image from Le Doulos

France-Italy 1962
Dir Jean-Pierre Melville
With Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, Jean Desailly, Michel Piccoli
English subtitles
Certificate 12A

A study in honour and dishonour among thieves, Melville’s affectionate, tortuous tribute to classic Hollywood crime films centres on Belmondo’s ambiguous character, friend to both a cop and a burglar (Reggiani) recently out of jail and trying to re-establish himself in the underworld. It grips like a vice throughout; critic Tom Milne dubbed it film gris, evoking the murky ambiguity of everything we see and hear.

The screening on Wed 30 Jun will feature a pre-recorded intro by Professor Ginette Vincendeau, King’s College London.