Bob Le Flambeur

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Overview

Jean Pierre Melville's witty and intelligent thriller gets a typically well-rounded presentation in this DVD edition from Criterion. Bob Le Flambeur has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono. The disc features the original French language soundtrack with optional English subtitles. In addition to the main feature, this edition also includes an on-camera interview with actor Daniel Cauchy, a vintage radio interview with ...
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Overview

Jean Pierre Melville's witty and intelligent thriller gets a typically well-rounded presentation in this DVD edition from Criterion. Bob Le Flambeur has been transferred to disc in its original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and the audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono. The disc features the original French language soundtrack with optional English subtitles. In addition to the main feature, this edition also includes an on-camera interview with actor Daniel Cauchy, a vintage radio interview with director Melville, a gallery of production stills, and the film's original theatrical trailer.
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Special Features

New digital transfer, with restored image and sound; Video interview with Daniel Cauchy ("Paulo"); Radio interview with Jean-Pierre Melville; Theatrical trailer; New and improved English subtitle translation
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tony Nigro
With exquisite style and attitude, genre auteur Jean-Pierre Melville prefigures the French New Wave movement with 1955's Bob le Flambeur. After losing the chance to film pulp novelist Auguste Le Breton's Rififi that pleasure went to Jules Dassin, Melville collaborated with the author on what would be both his first original screenplay and his first gangster film. Roger Duchesne stars as Bob Montagné, a high-rolling former hoodlum who used to own the Montmartre night. Unfortunately, these days his wealth lies mostly in style; poor Bob is near broke. While helping a tenderfoot crook, Paolo Daniel Cauchy, cut his teeth on crime, Bob sees a shot at redemption in a casino heist in Deauville. But, this being the genre it is, nothing really works out right. Displaying an amount of cool not yet associated with French cinema in the '50s, Duchesne owns this film from start to finish. Supporting-cast highlights include Isabelle Corey as an appealing and seemingly innocent social climber and Guy Decomble as the police inspector on Bob's back. Melville's approach to this noir is downbeat and beat-down -- black and white never seemed so dark and so light -- but, with liveliness to spare, the director also sets the stage for the rough-and-tumble Paris of the French New Wave, particularly Jean-Luc Godard's landmark Breathless. As payback for so deftly contributing to a revolution, Melville gets a deferential cameo in Godard's film.
All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
A rich character study and an excellent "big heist" film (made before such films were in vogue), Bob le Flambeur is a gem of a movie that borrows from and anticipates many other films. Its prior influences are obvious, namely the American film noir movies that Hollywood produced in the 1940s and '50s and that made a tremendous impact on French filmmakers. And Bob's location shooting, use of improvisation, reliance on character actors and/or actors with little experience and extensive (although, in Bob, certainly not exclusive) use of natural light would all be echoed in the French New Wave films that would emerge a few years later. Yet in spite of all this, Bob remains uniquely and excitingly its own. For one thing, while it's as serious and in some ways as existential as any noir, it's also somehow lighthearted. The code that Bob lives by may be self-destructive, but it's also gentlemanly, and one feels that Bob enjoys living by it and does so willingly. Indeed, Bob is a complex and finely drawn character, and engages the audience's interest throughout; as a matter of fact, all of the characters share this trait, if to a lesser degree, despite the fact that they are all essentially familiar types we've seen elsewhere. Credit both Jean-Pierre Melville and Auguste Le Breton's precise screenplay and the cast's spot-on performances. Roger Duchesne, in the title role, is spectacular, an anchor who is strong without being showy. Avuncular, vulnerable, rueful, sweet, firm, melancholy, hopeful, and determined -- all at the same time -- Duchesne's work here is a simply superb. Isabelle Corey is perhaps limited as an actress, but she has the presence that the role requires, and no one could be as engaging as Daniel Cauchy. Melville's direction is also impeccable; even the few false moves are still the right moves. He has remarkable control throughout, no small feat considering that the movie was filmed "patchwork" style -- a few days here and there -- over the course of two years, and Henri Decaë's cinematography is a beautiful triumph. Those who have never met Bob should immediately seek him out; it's no gamble that they will be well rewarded for the effort.
Village Voice - J. Hoberman
Bob Le Flambeur takes itself seriously, but as attitude thrillers go, it's exceedingly light on its feet. The movie is a superb riff with a boffo finale, a terrific, cynical punch line, and a crazy closing image of Bob's Plymouth on an empty beach.

Bob Le Flambeur takes itself seriously, but as attitude thrillers go, it's exceedingly light on its feet. The movie is a superb riff with a boffo finale, a terrific, cynical punch line, and a crazy closing image of Bob's Plymouth on an empty beach.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/16/2002
  • UPC: 037429165928
  • Original Release: 1955
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Presentation: Black & White / Dolby 5.1 / Mono
  • Sound: Dolby Digital, monaural
  • Language: Français
  • Time: 1:42:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Roger Duchesne Bob Montagne
Isabelle Corey Anne
Daniel Cauchy Paolo
Howard Vernon McKimmie
Guy Decomble Inspector
Claude Cerval Jean
René Havard
Gerard Buhr Marc
André Garet Roger
Simone Paris Yvonne
Technical Credits
Jean-Pierre Melville Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Monique Bonnot Editor
Jean Boyer Score Composer
Auguste Le Breton Screenwriter
Henri Decaë Cinematographer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. The Strange Tale... [:10]
2. "That Quieted Him Down" [6:00]
3. "Let Me Sleep" [2:01]
4. Bob le Galant [2:54]
5. Heads or Tails [3:48]
6. Pimp Turns Pigeon [3:44]
7. No. 36 [1:55]
8. Country Drive [4:42]
9. American Methods [1:02]
10. Prince of Orange, No. 8 [3:47]
11. Croupier [2:31]
12. The Big Payoff [2:21]
13. Nature Lovers [3:05]
14. To the Seashore... [3:14]
15. Money, Muscles & Maps [3:58]
16. Pillow Talk [4:19]
17. According to Plan [4:59]
18. "Locks Are Like Pretty Dames" [6:45]
19. Nightclub Hostess [3:13]
20. More Pillow Talk [3:23]
21. Complications [3:14]
22. Fruitless Search [8:58]
23. Deauville Casino, 1:30 A.M. [5:48]
24. 2:45 A.M.: The Private Rooms [4:33]
25. 5 A.M. Sharp [5:21]
26. End Credits [5:24]
27. Color Bars [1:09]
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Subtitles
      Subtitles: On
      Subtitles: Off
   Daniel Cauchy Interview
      Play
      Index
         "My Third & Seventh Film"
         Crazy for Cinema
         Femmes et Hommes
         Real Gangsters
         Honor Among Thieves
         Isabelle Corey
         The Theme of "Bob le Flambeur"
         How to Die
         "Bob" at the Box Office
         Ambiance
   Jean-Pierre Melville Radio Interview
      Play
   Theatrical Trailer
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Customer Reviews

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