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Classe Tous Risques (The Criterion Collection)

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

For the sake of his family, a criminal on the lam gives himself up.

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Claude Sautet's neo-realist Classe Tous Risques (loosely translated as "all-risk insurance") deserves the kind of acclaim accorded classic American noirs, like They Live by Night. As with Nicholas Ray before him, the Frenchman behind the exquisitely restrained chamber pieces Un Coeur en Hiver and Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud combines genre tropes with tenderness. It's a tricky balance, and far too many filmmakers succumb to pathos when making the attempt. Milan-based gangster Abel Davos (former wrestler Lino Ventura, Jean-Pierre Melville's Army of Shadows) won't hesitate to plug a foe, but dotes on his two sons, wife Therese (Simone France), and partner Raymond (Stan Krol). When a robbery goes bad, however, several of those nearest and dearest to Davos lose their lives. In swoops ex-boxer Eric Stark (Jean-Paul Belmondo, just off Breathless) who helps him escape to Paris--by ambulance. Damsel-in-distress Liliane (8 1/2's Sandra Milo) joins the duo on their dangerous journey. Round Midnight's Bertrand Tavernier describes the matter-of-fact ending as "abrupt, unsentimental, and poignant." Written by ex-con José Giovanni (Le Trou) and shot by Ghislain Cloquet (Mouchette), Sautet's first feature, after assisting Georges Franju and Jacques Becker, got lost amidst the French New Wave. It may not surpass Melville for cool, but rivals him in the hood-with-heart department (and Melville greatly admired the film). Supplements include the French and US trailers, interviews with Giovanni and Tavernier from the 2000 documentary Claude Sautet ou la Magie Invisible, and comments from Ventura, circa 1959-1987 about the movie and his career. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Excerpts from "Claude Sautet ou La magie invisible" a documentary on the director by writers N.T. Binh and Dominique Rabourdin
  • Original French and U.S. release trailers
  • New essays by director Betrand Tavernier and Binh
  • Archival interview footage featuring actor Lino Ventura discussing his career

Product Details

  • Actors: Lino Ventura, Sandra Milo, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Michel Ardan, Marcel Dalio
  • Directors: Claude Sautet
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 17, 2008
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016B6ZEC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,132 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Classe Tous Risques (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. O. DeRiemer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 15, 2008
Format: DVD
Classe Tous Risques (The Big Risk) is a French gangster movie that doesn't try for style. That's why it has style. Because the movie is so underplayed and so matter-of-fact, it becomes more and more involving. And because Abel Davos is played by Lino Ventura, we wind up emotionally invested in this taciturn, tough killer who loves his wife and kids, has an encounter with customs agents on the shore near Nice at night that neither he nor we expect, and who proves just as willing to shoot a cop or a betrayer with as little emotion as flicking off a bit of lint. We first meet Davos in Italy with his wife and their two small boys, one about 9 and one 4.

"This man was Abel Davos, sentenced to death in absentia," we're told. "On the run for years, he had watched his resources dwindle, even as his anxiety kept him on the move. With the Italian police closing in each day, France was again his best bet. Maybe he'd been forgotten."

Davos was a top gangster in Paris who took care of his friends. That was several years ago. A heist to give him money to return to France goes very wrong. Now he's hiding out with his two kids. He calls his friends in Paris to help him out. He and his kids need to get from Nice to Paris but the police are hunting him and they've set up roadblocks. For Davos' two best friends, time has passed and they've moved on. They don't want to put themselves at risk, and for what? Obligation gives may to caution. So they hire a young thief, Eric Stark (Jean-Paul Belmondo), to pick up Davos and the children in an ambulance, then to drive to Paris with Davos heavily bandaged and the children hidden.
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Format: DVD
Claude Sautet was a promient French director.And as a proof of this fact, this film says it all.

A criminal on the run (Abel Davos) finds going home after a decade is harder than he expects. Davos (Lino Ventura) is wanted for murder in France, and has been living underground in Italy for ten years. Since then, Abel has married Therese (Simone France) and fathered two sons, and once he's decided it's time to come home. Abel has planed a well zealous scheme in which he'll steal a fortune to finance his journey and head home with Therese and the boys, but the fate paves its way and ruins what it was planned, so when he arrives in Paris without his wife and running from the law with two kids in tow. An underworld boss who owes Abel some favors helps him put together a plan to travel across France in an ambulance to avoid suspicion, and recruits a headstrong young gangster, Eric (Jean-Paul Belmondo), to serve as Abel's driver and right-hand-man. En route, Abel tries to settle some old score with criminal associates who betrayed him.

As you may expect, the presence on stage of two remarkable first-rate actors like Lino Ventura and the rising star by then - Jean Paul Belmondo - ignite the screen in this tragic Noir in which nothing is going right and where all the odds are against him. Every step he makes seems to be hovered by a tragic spell and so he decides to take a personal revenge to end with his supposed friends. Stark helps him but it's obvious he feels for Davos a strange fascination and visible admiration by his cold-blooded behavior. Nevertheless the fatal game began and nothing will stop it.

Based on a novel by Jose Giovanni, Classe Tous Risques was the first feature film from Sautet, who previously worked as an assistant director for some of France's most prestigious filmmakers.
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Claude Sautet is not one of the most prolific French film directors but he stands among the best. This is his debut film but seemed
to be made by a mature hand. A very good and well-mounted black and white crime story with the rock-like Lino Ventura supported by the charming and under-playing Jean-Paul Belmondo about criminals who do not hesitate to pull the triggers yet a human at heart among families and friends. It is about friendship, loyalty, betrayal, tragedy and crime rarely rewards with an abrupt and befitting ending. A fine film still stands solid after over 50 years.
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I like this film so very much to consider it the best crime movie I have ever seen--a real masterpiece! Lino Ventura's performace is par excellence, with the supporting role smartly played by the young, handsome newcomer, Jean-Paul Belmondo; the rest of the cast--truly
wonderful--thanks to the very talented director, Monsieur Sautet. Highly
recommended!
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A well filmed sequence of interesting events, but lacking a hook, or characters in whom I felt invested, or sufficient narrative drive for me to really call it a story.
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