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Monday, December 23, 2013

Le Casse (aka The Burglars) (1971)

Set in Greece, a master thief (Jean Paul Belmondo) and his three accomplices (Renato Salvatori, Robert Hossein, Nicole Calfan) rob a wealthy millionaire (Jose Luis De Villalonga, BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S) of a million dollars in emeralds. But a corrupt policeman (Omar Sharif) decides he wants the emeralds too. Based on the David Goodis novel which was previously filmed in 1957, this French/Italian production directed by Henri Verneuil (THE SICILIAN CLAN) was shot in French and English. I watched the English language version which is about 10 minutes shorter than the French language cut. The film is memorable for two things: a spectacular car chase that seems to go on forever and is the longest one I've ever seen and Belmondo doing his own stunts. Most notably a dazzling fall down a steep embankment without a cut so when he gets up, you can clearly see it was Belmondo who took the fall. The film differs from its 1957 American counterpart in that there is lots of humor sprinkled through out the film whereas the 1957 film was a pretty somber noir. The Greek locations are handsomely shot by Claude Renoir and there's a spiffy score by Ennio Morricone. With Dyan Cannon, whose distinctive laugh is lost in the French version since she's dubbed.

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