Le Cercle Rouge (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
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The version I saw is a newly restored, uncut version of Le Cercle Rouge from Rialto Pictures, sponsored by Melville fan John Woo, and it's touring select cities in the United States in 2003. It is far superior to the edited, dubbed version which has been the only version available in the States until now. Let's hope this uncut version makes it to DVD soon to reach a wider audience.
A criminal named Vogel (Gian Maria Volonte before his spaghetti western heyday) is being escorted by a policeman named Mattei(Andre Bouvril). Vogel escapes during a train ride. Meanwhile, a thief named Corey (French movie idol Alain Delon, as impeccably groomed as ever) who spent five years in prison and never ratted on his boss is finally released. A corrupt cop fills him in on a potential heist. Corey wishes to resist, but cannot. He cannot change his nature, or his code. Vogel and Corey cross paths, as foretold by the made-up Buddhist quote that opens the movie which says that certain men are destined to meet in the red circle. They team up for the heist while the policeman stalks them.
Many words are used to describe Melville movies, and all are accurate to some degree. Film noir: no doubt Le Cercle Rouge has the tragic inevitability and stern view of human nature characteristic of film noir. Existentialist: Melville's heroes make their own choices and accept responsibility for their natures.Read more ›
and fatalistic tendencies of his colleagues Marcel Carne (Jour Se
Leve, 1939) and Henri-Georges Clouzot (Quai des Orfevres, 1947).
Yet Melville's ethos is one which, unlike theirs, often delineates character almost entirely through action and gesture.
This makes for compelling viewing, particularly in the case of Melville's late, exquisitely crafted thrillers "Le Samourai" (1967), "Un Flic" (1971), and of course "Le Cercle Rouge" (1970).
A picture of this quality deserves the success it had in limited theatrical runs during the Stateside reissue this past Spring;
Criterion has done a marvellous job with it. I can only encourage anyone with a taste for the sheer visceral pull of
a great film to spend two evenings with the disc: one with
the picture itself, and another to view the special features
on the second disc, many of which are documentary materials that
give a wonderful glimpse of the modest, self-effacing director's
M.O. Another winner from Criterion, which I would give ten stars if I could. Let's hope for "Le Samourai" next!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is from French director Jean-Pierre Melville (‘Le Samourai’ and ‘The Army of Shadows’) and he is rightly seen as a major contributor to France’s film history. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Tommy Dooley
One of the finest French Noir films of all time, if not THE finest. Every scene oozes cool and style.Published 8 months ago by Matthew J. Gibson
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