Jean Pierre-Melville’s Bob le Flambeurwas both a nostalgic tribute to American film noirs that were nearing the end of their classic era, and an early trendsetter (or pioneer) for the Nouvelle Vague movement that was about to begin. Thus it managed to be the perfect bridge between the doom and fatalism typified by the former, and the kind of style and iconoclasm brought in by the latter. The film has at its centre the eponymous Bob the Gambler (played with imperious panache by Roger Duchesne), a compulsive down-on-his-luck gambler of aristocratic lineage and who lives within a strictly defined moral code, who decides to earn some quick buck by robbing a huge casino. He gets hold of the perfect crew and devises the perfect plan, only to go haywire thanks to human frailties and bad luck. But a sudden resurgence of fortune and some quick banter later, we are provided a delicious and memorable finale in keeping with the kind of charm, style and swagger of our protagonist. The film, shot in glorious black-and-whites, boasts of a very fine cast, especially Isabel Corey who plays a coquettish nymphet whose age (she was barely 16 then!) belied her wholesome body and precocious sexuality. The light-hearted and immensely enjoyable caper was also a celebration of Montmarte and the sinful night life of Paris.
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville Genre: Crime Thriller/Post-Noir/Gangster Movie/Caper Language: French Country: France