Big screen classics

Le Doulos

+ pre-recorded intro by Professor Ginette Vincendeau, King’s College London

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
109min
Digital
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.

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