kjrwe

favourite classic French thrillers/noirs

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Of the ones that really made an impression on me, here are my faves:

 

1. The Seventh Juror (1960s): a fairly recent discovery. I can watch this one over and over again. The final minute of this movie really floored me, but the movie offers a lot more than just a surprise ending. Very highly recommended.

 

2. Elevator to the Gallows (1950s): very good noir, with a touch of dark comedy to it. I've seen this several times over the past 10 years or so.

 

3. Rififi (1950s): an excellent gangster-heist movie which reminds me a bit of The Asphalt Jungle.

 

4. The Murder Lives at Number 21 (1940s): the mystery itself is good, but the film is a bit spoiled with excessive annoying humor.

 

5. Diaboliques (1950s): perhaps relies a bit too much on the ending (which is a tad predictable). I remember having my suspicions the first time I saw this. More could have been done to show the horrors the kids endured at the school. Still a good thriller.

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Good choices. Here are three more:

 

Pépé le Moko (1937): Jean Gabin plays a gangster in the Casbah of Algiers, where he's safe from the French police. They use a woman to lure him out of his refuge. This was remade as Algiers with Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr.

 

Hôtel du Nord (1938): Crime film set in a hotel in a poor Parisian neighbourhood, with hundreds of extras and comical supporting roles by Arletty and Bertrand Blier.

 

Thérèse Raquin (1953): Adaptation of Emile Zola's novel about an adulterous relationship and a murder, with Raf Vallone and Simone Signoret.

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FRANCE

 

Napoleon (27) Abel Gance

La Chienne (31) Jean Renoir

Grand Illusion (37) Jean Renoir

The Children of Paradise (45) Marcel Carne

Casque d’or (52) Jacqques Becker

The Earrings of Madame De... (53) Max Ophuls

The Wages of Fear (53) H.G. Clouzot

Lola Montes (55) Max Ophuls

Night and Fog (55) Alain Resnais - short

Rififi (55) Jules Dassin

Mon Oncle (58) Jacques Tati

The Four Hundred Blows (59) Francois Truffaut

Eyes Without a Face (60) Georges Franju

Jules and Jim (62) Francois Truffaut

Contempt (63) Jean-Luc Godard

Belle De Jour (67) Luis Bunuel

Le Samouri (67) Jean-Pierre Melville

The Sorrow and the Pity (71) Marcel Ophuls

Last Tango In Paris (72) Bernardo Bertolucci

State of Siege (72) Costa-Gavras

Day For Night (73) Francois Truffaut

The Story of Adele H. (75) Francois Truffaut

Providence (77) Alain Resnais

La Cage Aux Folles (78) Edourd Molinaro

Mon Oncle d’Amerique (80) Alain Resnais

Coup de Torchon (81) Bernard Tavernier

Jean De Florette (86) Claude Berri

Manon of the Spring (86) Claude Berri

The Bear (88) Jean-Jacques Annaud

Cyrano de Bergerac (90) Jean-Paul Rappeneau

Les Amants du Pont Neuf (91) Leos Carax

Le Colonel Chabert (94) Yves Angelo

Kabloonak (94) Claude Mossot (co-production with Canada)

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2009) Julian Schnabel

The Salt of the Earth (2014) Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado

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Thanks for the replies!

 

I should have mentioned The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, even though it's not a noir nor a thriller. It's one of the best films of the past 30 or so years!

 

I forgot to mention the 1930 film The Mystery of the Yellow Room. Very nice atmospheric whodunit.

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here's a list of french crime flicks which came to a festival near me, some years ago. I didnt see all of 'em; but the few I saw were smashing....

 

ARMY OF SHADOWS
BREATHLESS
CLASSE TOUS RISQUES
GRAND ILLUSION
ILLUSTRIOUS CORPSES
LA BANDERA
LA BÊTE HUMAINE
LA HORSE
LA TRAVERSÉE DE PARIS
LE DEUXIÈME SOUFFLE
LE DOULOS
LE JOUR SE LÈVE
LE MAGNIFIQUE
L’ARME À GAUCHE
MISSISSIPPI MERMAID
MODERATO CANTABILE
MONSIEUR GANGSTER
MOONTIDE
MÉLODIE EN SOUS-SOL
PIERROT LE FOU
PORT OF SHADOWS
PÉPÉ LE MOKO
STAVISKY
THAT MAN FROM RIO
THE BURGLARS
THE IMPOSTOR
THE LOWER DEPTHS
THE NIGHT CALLER
THE SICILIAN CLAN
THE VALACHI PAPERS
TOUCHEZ-PAS AU GRISBI
TWO MEN IN TOWN

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François Margolin's the Art Dealer is a good French thriller about a woman trying to uncover what happened to her family's paintings.

L'Antiquaire_poster.jpg

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p.s. in terms of 'moderns'; I caught lengthy parts of "La Femme Nikita" once, and found some scenes well-done; but overall I hated the style of that movie. There was some sensibility lacking.

One I preferred far more was called, "Diva". Its a romantic thriller with more believable characters; less over-the-top action. The city of Paris plays a big part in the story. The plot moves along by 'random mishap' but its still credible. It has an "opera-music" motif.

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Some additional French film noir not to be missed:

Julien Duvivier continues to grow in my estimation. A great director. Panique was a big hit at the TCM festival a couple of years ago, a very dark film that also deals with the issue of French anti-semitism. Michel Simon gives a tremendous performance in the lead role. Voici le temps des assasins is a Jean Gabin film not to be missed. There's more than one dangerous female in this film.

Another Gabin film to seek out is La verite sur Bebe Donge. The French class system or romantic love, which is the more treacherous and insane?

Dedee d'Anvers features a great performance by Simone Signoret. Hollywood couldn't have gotten away with this ending.

 

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