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Le Doulos (The Criterion Collection)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Serge Reggiani, Jean Desailly, Fabienne Dali, Michel Piccoli
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Format: NTSC, Black & White, Anamorphic, Digital Sound, Mono
  • Language: Unknown (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
  • Run Time: 109 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001CW7ZSA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,270 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Le Doulos (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
  • Video interviews with directors Volker Schlondorff 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
  • A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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

Review

Brutal and brilliant...underscores why the French put the name to film noir. --Manohla Dargis, NEW YORK TIMES

The great Jean-Pierre Melville's most influential film...A masterful blend of economy and style. --Andrew O Hehir, SALON

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
It should be added, however, that the others are no less impressing.
Ron Rood
With enough twists and turns to keep you guessing till the very end, `Le Doulos' does everything it needs to in order to hook you and keep you hooked.
Andrew Ellington
Betrayal, double crosses, honesty and surreptitious ambitions will be nestled under all those dark personages.
Hiram Gomez Pardo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Cool, collected and oh so sheik, `Le Doulos' reminds me a lot of Melville's later triumph `Le Samourai'. Both films are just dripping with attitude and suave entitlement and both films delve into the gritty life of a criminal. This time around, the trench coats and jazz music follow a group of thieves as they deal with a supposed informant. With enough twists and turns to keep you guessing till the very end, `Le Doulos' does everything it needs to in order to hook you and keep you hooked.

In `Le Doulos', Jean-Pierre Melville introduces us to Silien, a shady character of sorts who may or may not be a police informant ratting out his friend, the recently released Maurice Faugel. As Maurice finds his latest job botched at the hands of the police he begins to wonder just who his real friends are, and when he finds himself behind bars it seems all too obvious who is behind it all; but is it really all that simple?

No.

I raved `Le Samourai' and I will continue to do so. It is one of the greatest film noirs I've ever seen, and it continues to impress me every time I sit through it. `Le Doulos' is right up there for me; a sublime example of a director and a group of actors taking a mood and carrying it through to completion. Everything about this film is perfectly designed to embellish the mood Melville was attempting to convey. This film is dripping with style, yet it doesn't rest easy on that said style; it actually backs it up with substance. The plot is thick and intricate and the acting is superb. Jean-Paul Belmondo is stellar as Silien, possessing the same coolness that Alain Delon strutted around with in `Le Samourai'.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ron Rood on February 5, 2010
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is probably one of the lesser known (or watched) pieces from perfectionist film maker Jean-Pierre Melville, who is perhaps most known as the creator of Le Samurai and Un Flic, both starring Alain Delon. Le Doulos has Jean-Paul Belmondo, who presumably was one of the most famous French actors at the time. It should be added, however, that the others are no less impressing. The story line tends to be a bit complex every now and then, not the least because of the many characters figuring in it and their subtle and many-faced interrelations. So I hasten to say that this should be interpreted as a compliment rather than as a point of criticism. Le Doulos is a fascinating and absorbing movie experience from the first moment on. Definitely worth watching at least twice. As we expect from Criterion, the movie is delivered in excellent quality including a number of interesting extras such as archival interviews with the director and main star.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on October 7, 2008
Format: DVD
1949 La Silence de la Mer
1950 Les Enfants Terribles (Criterion) *****
1953 Quand tu liras cetta lettre
1956 Bob le Flambeur (Criterion) *****
1959 Deux Hommes dans Manhattan
1961 Leon Morin
1962 Le Doulos (Criterion) ***
1963 Aime de Ferchaux
1966 Le Deuxieme Souffle (Criterion) *****
1967 Le Samourai (Criterion) *****
1969 Army of Shadows (Criterion) *****
1970 Le Cercle Rouge (Criterion) *****
1972 Un Flic ****

Jean-Pierre Melville has made some noir masterpieces. I would not call this a masterpiece (I've rated the Melville films that I have seen above, the ones without stars are ones I haven't yet seen) but Melville and film noir fans will find enough here (Melville's stoic tough guys in trenchcoats and hats, the self-conscious homages to the American cinema of the 1930's, and the cold as nails world view accented by a cool jazz score) to keep them glued to the screen for 1 hr and 49 minutes.

The plot: Maurice Faugel (Serge Reggiani) is a thief whose fresh out of jail. One of the old gang, Gilbert Varnove, is helping Maurice out until he gets back on his feet, but Maurice doesn't know who he can trust anymore. He suspects that someone set him up years ago, and he suspects that that someone might just be Gilbert Varnove. Additionally, for some inexplicable reason, Maurice has befriended a new kid named Mr. Silien (a fresh faced Jean-Paul Belmondo). Though it is never explained where or how they met the two seem to have some unspoken bond that exists only in noirs and westerns between old outlaws and new. Since everyone knows that Silien has "friends" on both sides of the law, the old gang doesn't really trust the new guy and Maurice agrees to keep Silien out of the loop on the upcoming heist.
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Format: DVD
To dramatize gangsters because of some fictitious "code"...to romanticize them by dressing them in trench coats with the collars pulled up and Borsalinos on their heads...is not just naive, it's downright silly. One wonders what Melville, with Cagney and Raft in his system, would have done with some modern thugs like Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, Peter "Rabbit" Calabrese or Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik. These hefty slobs would look ludicrous in fedoras, and their "code" included back shooting each other.

Melville's fascination with idealized and rigidly unreachable gangsters comes across almost as weird as Hitchcock's fascination with blond ice queens who can be humiliated. We're talking fetish, and if Melville and Hitchcock weren't such masterful moviemakers they'd probably be discussed in psychology textbooks and not in articles by film historians. But Melville and Hitchcock are masterful directors, and even their failures are interesting. Melville's Le Doulos is by no means a failure. It's a story of betrayal and double crosses and then more double crosses, some real, and some by tough men who make wrong assumptions. There's a sizable body count among those who wear trench coats and Borsalinos. The movie has that gritty, depressing, shadowed look of great noirs. If you're into masterful craftsmanship, Le Doulos is hard to beat.

Le Doulos tells us about Maurice Faugel (Serge Reggiani), a tired gangster just out of prison who knows someone informed on him. He kills the man, but did he get the right man? He plans a burglary, using his girl to check the place out and a friend, Silien (Jean-Paul Belmondo), to loan him the safe-cracking equipment. Bad luck again; the cops show up, one gets killed and Faugel gets a bullet in his shoulder.
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