IMDb wrote: Samouraï, Le (1967)
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Genre: Thriller / Crime / Drama
Runtime: 105 min / USA:101 min
Country: France / Italy
Color: Color (Eastmancolor)
Certification: Singapore:PG / Australia:PG / Finland:K-16 / Norway:16 / Sweden:15 / UK:PG / USA:PG / West Germany:16
- Alain Delon ....... Jef Costello
- François Périer ....... The Superintendant
- Nathalie Delon ....... Jane Lagrange
- Cathy Rosier ....... Valérie, la pianiste (as Caty Rosier)
- Jacques Leroy ....... Gunman
- Michel Boisrond ....... Wiener
- Robert Favart ....... Barkeeper
- Jean-Pierre Posier ....... Olivier Rey
- Catherine Jourdan ....... Hatcheck Girl
- Roger Fradet ....... 1st inspector
- Carlo Nell ....... 2nd inspector
- Robert Rondo ....... 3d inspector
- André Salgues ....... Garage keeper
- André Thorent ....... Policeman/cab driver
- Jacques Deschamps ....... Policeman
In The Godson, Alain Delon plays Jef Costello, a cold blooded hittman who works alone.
Very meticulous he organizes his contracts not forgetting any potential failure inclyding the possibility to be arrested. If he get caught by the Police, he would have anyway organized an alibi which can be verified from multiple sources, keeping his law case empty.
The movie begins with the execution of a contract by Jeff who kills the tenant of a jazz-bar. On his way out he crosses the way of a pianist (Cathy Rosier) who, left alive, could identify him.
Jef is caught among many suspects as the Superintendant of the Police (François Périer) orders a giant confrontation with about 400 suspectsand the half-dozen witnesses.
While Jef is identified by one of the witnesses, the pianist who is the more valuable witness, faint to not recognize him. During these sequences of confrontation with the witnesses, the superintendant himself is impressed by Jef's charisma while he blowdowns them with the cold eyes of a predator, making them confused and uncertain. That's not for nothing that his employers compare Jef to a wolf.
Along with his predator's charisma, Jef's so perfect alibi alarms the Superintendant's instinct. He is sure of Jef's culpability and focuses on him with all meanings at his disposal.
On the other hand, while he sees it as a part of a well balanced equation, Jef's employers who seen in this arrestation a risk for their security, decide to get rid of him.
Now Jef finds himself in a real struggle for his survival, hunted by both the Police and the mob... The only way to get out of this deadend is to find his employers first while not giving the Police any reason to arrest him for good.
The remaining problem is that Jef has been contacted by an intermediary. If he has no idea about his victim, he also has no idea about the ones who wanted him dead...
Jef also wonders why the pianist hasn't recognized him at the poilce-station and sees there a potential track to his employers...
The Godson is the first reunion between Jean-Pierre Melville and Alain Delon. The two of them should have worked earlier as Melville had already offered Delon a role in Main Pleine, a project which has never started for reasons of rights. Then Alain Delon had refused the role of Gerbier in Army of Shadows.
Finally Alain Delon is convinced by The Godson's script after the 7 first minutes of reading by Jean-Pierre Melville. The reason why ? After seven minutes of reading there has not been a single dialog and it doesn't seem one is coming !
Le Samouraï really marks the birth of which will be called in cinema encyclopedies as "the melvinian style". Very influenced by the american cinema, Jean-Pierre Melville now manages to get free of his masters and to create his own style. He pushes the limits of the "film noir" genre, taking what he wants in the different kinds of movies from "policeman-cop" classics to chambarra.
If the movie starts with a quote from the bushido code, Jean-Pierre Melville quickly gets rid of this influence as only the "lonely wolf" aspect seem to interrest him (he'll go back to this code in the movie later for other small parts). Alain Delon is very trustable in this role of hunted and injurried wolf with his amazing quiet charisma underlined by silent scenes (there are indeed very few dialogs in the movie) and close-up on the characters' eyes from which we see so much of the characters' feelings and fears.
Once more The Godson is a great great movie from Jean-Pierre Melville.
It deserves clearly a 5/6 from me and indeed it's funny to see how influent this movie seems to have become on many directors as you're surprised to recognize so much scenes which have been "borrowed" by them
Jean-Pierre Melville will develop his style in the future but, the basis is in The Godson.
For those who might be interrested I'll add that like for The Red Circle, the best dvd editions of The Godson / Le Samouraï is not the french one but the Criterion edition released in US At least the french edition of René Chateau is still correct and has english subtitles (which is sadely enough rare to be underlined).
Another movie to see if you have missed it till now!
Now if someone could explain me the international title ... why not The Samouraï ??