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Touchez Pas au Grisbi (The Criterion Collection)

4.9 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Jean Gabin is at his most wearily romantic as aging gangster Max le Menteur in the Jacques Becker gem Touchez pas au grisbi (Hands Off the Loot!). Having pulled off the heist of a lifetime, Max looks forward to spending his remaining days relaxing with his beautiful young girlfriend. But when Riton (René Dary), Max's hapless partner and best friend, lets word of the loot slip to loose-lipped, two-timing Josy (Jeanne Moreau), Max is reluctantly drawn back into the underworld. A touchstone of the gangster-film genre, Touchez pas au grisbi is also pure Becker—understated, elegant, evocative.

Special Features

  • Video interviews with actors Lino Ventura and Daniel Cauchy and composer Jean Wiener
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New essays by critics Geoffrey O'Brien and Philip Kemp

Product Details

  • Actors: Jean Gabin, René Dary, Dora Doll, Vittorio Sanipoli, Marilyn Buferd
  • Directors: Jacques Becker
  • Writers: Jacques Becker, Albert Simonin, Maurice Griffe
  • Producers: Robert Dorfmann
  • Format: Black & White, Closed-captioned, Full Screen, Special Edition, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: January 18, 2005
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0006HC0I2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #72,926 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Touchez Pas au Grisbi (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
If there is one scene that explains the enduring appeal of 'Touchez Pas Au Grisbi' (basically 'don't touch the loot'), it is this: Max (Jean Gabin at his most Mitchum-esque), an aging hood who has pulled off a massive airport robbery and plans to retire quietly to the country, sits in his apartment one night with his old friend, the somewhat lunk-headed Riton (Rene Dary). Riton's girlfriend (Jeanne Moreau) has left him for a young gangster, Angelo (Lino Ventura in a sensational debut), whom she has informed of the job, and who is trying every means possible to snatch the gold.
So this scene is of crucial generic urgency, with rippling consequences for the development of the plot. What Becker films is entirely without urgency or consequence. In complete silence, he follows the middle-aged men as they enter the apartment, sit down, prepare a light supper, eat and talk; Max then gets up, takes out mattresses and pillows for his friend's bed like a good chambermaid, undresses in the bathroom, brushes his teeth, Riton likewise; then they both go to bed. This beautifully understated, intimate and domestic scene does not replace the crime genre, but co-exists in paralell with it, showing what is at stake.
This split defines the movie, from the conflict between older and younger characters (and men and women); between Max's affable respectability and his latent sadism; between bright interiors of oppressive theatrical artifice and dark outdoor locations; between static scenes where nothing much happens and jolting bursts of brutal violence and action. You even find it in the brilliant closing car chase, as thrilling location work intercuts with Hitchcock-style back projection.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Like a fine wine, TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI has aged wonderfully. Under the expert and loving hands of the folks at Criterion, we have an absolutely pristine print of this understated and refined French gangster movie. Watching the Criterion DVD is to fall completely into the film, as the restored black and white images are simply glorious.

This movie is not like today's heavy-handed violent gangster movies, but a more elegant and sophisticated presentation that focuses on character development and its themes of loyalty, betrayal, and an adherence to a moral code. Jean Gabin, who plays the urbane and respected criminal Max, is the soul of this movie, presenting Max as charming, stoic, and ruthless. Great detail is given to ordinary tasks, like the serving of a meal, brushing of one's teeth, etc., but the effect, instead of arty, goes to the development of the characters and the portrayal of them as regular folks.

Lest you believe this is a slow talky picture, there are moments of explosive violence that will send a chill through you. Suspense is created through the most effective of methods: by what you don't see and what is filled in by one's own imagination. As the tension mounts in the movie, you will be glued to the screen gripping the arms of your chair with withering anticipation. They don't make 'em like this anymore, neither here nor in Europe. This movie is a fine example of both French cinema before the New Wave, and of the gangster genre.

In any language, TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI means film excellence, especially after the careful, painstaking restoration by Criterion Studios.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Class is often confused with style and fashion in the regards to how one dresses. In our contemporary society this confusion is frequently expressed through flamboyance, which is usually the result of how money talks. However, this vain perception of class has nothing to do with one's self conduct. Refinement, sophistication, and class are qualities that should be attached with characteristics such as trust, confidence, and mutual respect. These qualities are what define a gentleman. When people see a true gentleman they only see the exterior, and it is this exterior that money buys.

The days of gentlemen criminals are long gone. Films such as Scarface (1983), New Jack City (1991), or any of Takashi Miike's violent gangster illustrations depict the new style of gangsters that contemporary society is facing where disloyal and ill-mannered thugs roll in the direction of dough. These films visualize the frightening power money has on people. This could be seen up close in a grotesque manner in the brilliant Maria Full of Grace (2004) where humans are being regarded as pack mules. Touchez Pas Au Grisbi, which was shot over a half century ago, depicts the coming of this new criminal element.

Nostalgia swallows Jacques Becker's crime story about the aging criminal and gentleman Max (Jean Gabin). The story takes place in Paris where Max lives life with a women half his age while spending untold numbers of nights desiring the same meaningless affection from the women seeking their way into men's wallets. The many visits to the night clubs have led Max to discover that he has grown old, and many of the people around him are older. The life he once desired is no longer as appealing, as he decides that he wants to return home early.
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