Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bob le Flambeur

The bureau chief enjoys noting what artifacts of American culture interest people in other countries. In the 1950s, the French found the rather unremarkable name, "Bob", très cool. Boris Vian has a very amusing song called, "Je suis snob", in which the snob says, "Je m'appelle Patrick, mais on dit Bob." (My name's Patrick, but they call me Bob.)

The Bob (Roger Duchesne) of Jean-Pierre Melville's "Bob le Flambeur" is also très cool. He's actually a very nice guy in spite of being a compulsive gambler, bank robber and ex-con. He lets Anne (Isabelle Corey), a young semi-pro prostitute, stay at his apartment and doesn't try to jump her bones, which confuses her. He mentors a young aspirant gangster, Paolo (Daniel Cauchy), who falls in love with Anne. He hangs out in Montmartre, the bureau chief's favorite Paris neighborhood.

Bob is enduring an extremely long period of bad luck and finally decides that he has to return to robbery to solve his problem. This film has a very satisfying ending which I won't ruin. It's shot in beautiful black and white with lots of Parisian locations. It's well cast and is a treat for fans of French gangster films. It's out on a Criterion DVD and is highly recommended.

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