Archive of films Bob le flambeur / Bob le flambeur
Bob lives as a reformed con man. Nevertheless, he is constantly under the sway of an insatiable desire to gamble. And after falling in love he has no choice but to accept an offer to rob a casino. Melville’s first in-depth study of the criminal mentality is also his entry into the world of commercial moviemaking.
Bob is a symbol of the nostalgic atmosphere that crime films returned to in the 1960s and 1970s. Jean-Pierre Melville wrote an original screenplay that revealed a desire he never abandoned: to observe the lives of people suffering from the panic-inducing threat of betrayal. The story of gambler Bob, who not only risks his money but puts his own life on the line, is set against a nostalgic backdrop of the Paris the director knew as a boy. All the more, then, did he concentrate on a detailed depiction of the milieu where conmen and gangsters keep company with a host of underworld characters. Although he originally wanted to present an image of the prewar world, after seeing The Asphalt Jungle (1950, dir. John Huston) the director rewrote the script as a comedy of manners. The film also evokes a life lived underground, which the director knew from working with the resistance. For both resistance fighters and gangsters, betrayal is synonymous with death. And falling in love means risking betrayal or even a death sentence. The movie, which focuses on the relationship between a cop and a crook with a passion for gambling, stylistically expresses admiration for an earlier French film, Confessions of a Cheat (1936, dir. Sacha Guitry). Although at the time of its creation Melville was part of the production and distribution structure, the picture lacks nothing of his distinctive trademark style. Bob le flambeur reveals the first unmistakable signs of the future auteur’s formally sophisticated and philosophical genre movies.
About the film
Black & white, 35 mm
|Tribute to Jean-Pierre Melville
|Jean-Pierre Melville, Auguste Le Breton
|Dir. of Photography:
|Eddie Barclay, Jo Boyer
|Jean-Pierre Melville, Serge Silberman
|Organisation Générale Cinématographique
|Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy, André Garet
|Tamasa Distribution, Institut français