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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Cartouche (1962)

In 18th century France, a thief (Jean Paul Belmondo) joins the Army to escape the vengeance of the head (Marcel Dalio) of a gang of thieves. But along with two other soldiers (Jean Rochefort, Jess Hahn), they rob a military payroll and return to take over the gang of thieves. Directed by Philippe De Broca (KING OF HEARTS), this breezy swashbuckler is fitfully amusing until its bittersweet ending. It's the kind of romp that Richard Lester would later perfect with his THREE MUSKETEERS movies in the 1970s. This one is charming though it threatens to wear out its welcome at any moment. It could have lost about 10 to 15 minutes. But this was a massive hit in France so what do I know? De Broca clearly has an affection for the genre and the production values are top notch. Belmondo is no Errol Flynn or Tyrone Power in the swashbuckling department but he acquits himself nicely. Claudia Cardinale as an earthy wench and the ravishing Odile Versois as an elegant aristocrat provide the opposite ends of female pulchritude. The lovely underscore is by Georges Delerue. With Philippe Lemaire and Jacques Balutin. 

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