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Mr. Klein

4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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(May 18, 2004)
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Editorial Reviews

Both a thriller and a Kafkaesque dissertation on identity, Joseph Losey's Mr. Klein stars Alain Delon (Le Samorai, Le Cercle rouge) as Robert Klein—a charming and unscrupulous art dealer in Nazi-occupied France. As Jews flee Paris, Klein exploits them, preying on their desperation by buying their valuables at a fraction of their worth...until he finds his name is shared by a Jewish criminal who is a member of the anti-Nazi resistance. Klein reports this to the authorities only to find he is uncontrollably sinking into the quicksand of mistaken identity. Co-starring Jeanne Moreau (La Femme Nikita), Mr. Klein is an award-winning suspense classic that studies the ever-changing relationship between victim and oppressor.

Special Features

  • Liner Notes by film critic and cinema studies professor Edwin Jahiel

Product Details

  • Actors: Alain Delon, Jeanne Moreau, Francine Bergé, Juliet Berto, Jean Bouise
  • Directors: Joseph Losey
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French (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
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Homevision
  • DVD Release Date: May 18, 2004
  • Run Time: 123 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001A67AQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,738 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Mr. Klein" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
For those who have seen all of Joseph Losey's significant films, MR. KLEIN is the greatest after THE SERVANT. Some even call MR. KLEIN Losey's finest achievement. It's telling of our fragmented film culture that such an accomplished work of art remains unknown, even to many serious film buffs. For years, we had to settle for an English-dubbed, panned & scanned VHS tape. But the greatness of MR. KLEIN showed through even that medium.
Now the film is available on a high-quality DVD from Home Vision (which manufactures Criterion DVDs). The transfer is very fine, with the broad color pallette ringing out. And the widescreen aspect of the film can be appreciated by many who have never seen it look so good.
MR. KLEIN is a work of which its director should have been proud. It's intelligent, intriguing, moving, funny, and beautiful. Like THE SERVANT, it has at its center an ambiguous hero by whom one is, at turns, repelled and attracted.
This may also be the greatest acting achievement of Alain Delon. The charismatic French actor's still-stunning good looks sometimes can distract from appreciating his genuine talent. Delon probably never gave a bad performance in any film. But MR. KLEIN provides him with a wide range and depth that he is more than capable of handling. It's mostly a quiet performance, with few outbursts. Delon is required to react, which he does brilliantly at several points, or to express the meaning of scene through posture and facial expression alone. One subtle example is the scene early on, where the mistress is on the bed in the background, wondering if she should get up. Delon is seated at his desk, half-listening to her trivialities. He has far more pressing issues on his mind.
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Format: DVD
...because it avoids facing the issue head-on, thus falling into cliche; I have not seen the DVD yet, so I can't vouch for quality, but Losey's film is Hitchcock meets Kafka meets film noir -- a riveting study of what happens when a Gentile who fleeces Jews in occupied Paris c.1943 is mistaken for a shadowy Jewish Resistance fugitive who happens to share his name; step-by-step, the "wrong" Mr. Klein gains every attribute of the Jew, shedding his safe and comfortable bourgeois identity, as he searches for the "real" Mr. Klein; the climax is shattering. By treating his material as an allegorical thriller, Losey paradoxically avoids sensationalizing the subject, ala "Schindler's List." Plus, it's Alain Delon's best performance.
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Joseph Losey entered college at Dartmouth at age 16, went on to be a successful stage director, and then headed off to Europe before McCarthy could summon him. He is known as an international director. And to this day he is greatly overlooked. Thank god for the release of MONSIEUR KLEIN.
This is a film made by a genius, assisted by geniuses. I still can't believe this film was made in 1976! The look of it is extraordinary, with brilliant cinematography by Gerry Fisher (who photographed 7 films for Losey), and art direction by Alexander Trauner. With a script by Franco Solinas, who also wrote the powerful THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS, MR KLEIN is a film that doesn't explain itself, or hit you over the head with a philosophy, or message. Delon is incredible, as he is in Losey's other, much less graceful ASSASSINATION OF TROTSKY, although Delon is striking, and you would be pressed to not look at him. His face is amazing in this film, as it captures the confusion, bewilderment of the character as he is stripped of his identity. This film is atmospheric and dreamy.
This is a must for any serious film enthusiast. THE SERVANT should be next, then ACCIDENT, THE GO-BETWEEN, and the rest of Losey's oeuvre. Great books on Losey are Conversations with Losey by Michel Ciment and Joseph Losey by David Caute. Incredibly insightful and informative.
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When the Nazis occupied France during WWII, part of the French population, rather than be imprisoned, tortured, or put to death, uneasily agreed to participate in the fascist hatred of the Jews that Nazism espoused. The depiction of this French anti-Semitism in Mr. Klein, set in 1942, is a telling one, involving a cunning French art dealer who takes maximum advantage of Jews fleeing Paris by offering only the bare minimum amounts for their works of art they want to sell to raise money to leave.

The dealer, Robert Klein, portrayed by Alain Delon, is arrogant, cocky, charming, and handsome--i.e., women fall for him at the drop of a hat, including the wife of a colleague (the colleague is played by Michel Lonsdale, one of the best, most underrated French actors around) who's now firmly entrenched in the ranks of the French anti-Semites. This is tellingly on display at a "theater amusement" put on for the benefit of the occupying Nazis in which a large-nosed Jewish man (an actor obviously wearing a mask) is seen stealing gold chains from the necks of various women. The "theater piece" is a cheap, tawdry affair that attracts those whose narrow minds gravitate to such drek. Klein is there with his girlfriend and at the same time that he wishes not to be seen as a Jew, he has absolutely no interest at all in being identified with these riff-raff.

The dilemma he finds himself in is that he is, in fact, being seen as a Jew; someone, he thinks, is setting him up for that since he receives in the mail a copy of a Jewish newspaper to which he never subscribed and in protesting to the police, a snowball effect occurs.

The trail of activity he initiates, attempting to prove his non-Jewishness only serves, Kafka-like, to dig the hole deeper.
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