Though he had forced his way into French film culture by working entirely outside his country's studio system in the 1940s and 1950s, by the 1960s director Jean-Pierre Melville was working with larger budgets and well-known actors such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of Le Doulos. An extension of Melville's fascination with the existential milieu of American gangster films, Le Doulos presents New Wave icon Belmondo as Silien, a man newly released from prison and by reputation a professional informer. A figure, then, of possible duplicity and ambiguity, Silien is the perfect Melvillian hero, difficult to read but propelled by internal forces manifested as direct action. Maintaining friendships with both cop and crook, Silien's notoriety as a "finger man" who informs on the latter is underscored when one acquaintance, a police inspector (Daniel Crohem), waits in ambush for another, a burglar (Serge Reggiani), to perform his next job. But did Silien actually rat out the fellow? Melville pushes the envelope of our perceptions by making it appear Silien did, and then goes through the tale again to reveal another story. A much darker film than his celebrated Bob le Flambeur, Le Doulos is an absorbing tale of a world that seems to exist between light and shadow. --Tom Keogh
The backstabbing criminals in the shadowy underworld of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le doulos have only one guiding principle: Lie or die. A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel (Serge Reggiani), just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. By the end of this brutal, twisty, and multilayered policier, who will be left to trust? Shot and edited with Melville's trademark cool and featuring masterfully stylized dialogue and performances, Le doulos (slang for an informant) is one of the filmmaker's most gripping crime dramas.
SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES: New, restored high-definition digital transfer Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris Video interviews with directors Volker Schlöndorff and Bertrand Tavernier, who served as assistant director and publicity agent, respectively, on the film Archival interviews with Melville and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani Original theatrical trailer New and improved subtitle translation PLUS: A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny
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