Le Cercle Rouge

( 4 )

Overview

Part of the genius of Jean-Pierre Melville was that he was able to take the formal elements of the crime film and put a thoroughly individual stamp on them -- his best films take the stuff of a thousand grade-B thrillers and invest them with a singular intelligence and quiet cool. On the surface, Le Cercle Rouge concerns two criminals thrown into a slightly uneasy alliance with a corrupt and alcoholic ex-cop to pull off a heist, but in Melville's hands this becomes a story about kindred spirits brought together ...
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Overview

Part of the genius of Jean-Pierre Melville was that he was able to take the formal elements of the crime film and put a thoroughly individual stamp on them -- his best films take the stuff of a thousand grade-B thrillers and invest them with a singular intelligence and quiet cool. On the surface, Le Cercle Rouge concerns two criminals thrown into a slightly uneasy alliance with a corrupt and alcoholic ex-cop to pull off a heist, but in Melville's hands this becomes a story about kindred spirits brought together through chance and unforeseen circumstance; their lives on the other side of the law have as much to do with their own personal sense of ethics and honor as those of the lawmen who struggle to track them down. Melville's clean, elegant framing of shots and his appreciation of the value of silence gives this picture a spare but satisfying feel quite different from most European crime films, and the subtle but sharply etched performances of Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonté, and Yves Montand are the ideal embodiment of Melville's notion that less is more. In 1970, Le Cercle Rouge received a spotty release in the United States in a version cut by some 40 minutes; the uncut print finally received a belated American release in 2002, and in its pristine form, Le Cercle Rouge reveals itself as a film whose subtle touch only adds to the tension and suspense it generates -- a valuable lesson for filmmakers who believe that the function of genre filmmaking is to slap the viewer about the face and neck.
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Special Features

Restored uncut version, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack ; Excerpts from Cinéastes de norte temps: "Jean-Pierre Melville"; Video interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueira, the author of Melville on Melville; Thirty minutes of rare on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil ; Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
Part of the genius of Jean-Pierre Melville was that he was able to take the formal elements of the crime film and put a thoroughly individual stamp on them -- his best films take the stuff of a thousand grade-B thrillers and invest them with a singular intelligence and quiet cool. On the surface, Le Cercle Rouge concerns two criminals thrown into a slightly uneasy alliance with a corrupt and alcoholic ex-cop to pull off a heist, but in Melville's hands this becomes a story about kindred spirits brought together through chance and unforeseen circumstance; their lives on the other side of the law have as much to do with their own personal sense of ethics and honor as those of the lawmen who struggle to track them down. Melville's clean, elegant framing of shots and his appreciation of the value of silence gives this picture a spare but satisfying feel quite different from most European crime films, and the subtle but sharply etched performances of Alain Delon, Gian Maria Volonté, and Yves Montand are the ideal embodiment of Melville's notion that less is more. In 1970, Le Cercle Rouge received a spotty release in the United States in a version cut by some 40 minutes; the uncut print finally received a belated American release in 2002, and in its pristine form, Le Cercle Rouge reveals itself as a film whose subtle touch only adds to the tension and suspense it generates -- a valuable lesson for filmmakers who believe that the function of genre filmmaking is to slap the viewer about the face and neck.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/12/2011
  • UPC: 715515070119
  • Original Release: 1970
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: A
  • Time: 2:20:00
  • Format: Blu-ray

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Alain Delon Corey
Bourvil Mattei
Gian Maria Volonté Vogel
Yves Montand Jansen
François Perier Santi
Paul Crauchet The fence
Paul Amiot Chief of Internal Affairs
Yves Arcanal Examining magistrate
René Berthier Police chief
Jean-Marc Boris Santi's son
Jean Champion Guard
Yvan Chiffre Policeman
Pierre Collet The prison guard
André Ekyan Rico
Robert Favart Salesperson at Mauboissin's
Roger Fradet Policeman
Jean Franval Le tenancier d'hotel
Jean Pignol L'employe du greffe
Robert Rondo Policeman
Technical Credits
Jean-Pierre Melville Director, Screenwriter
Eric De Marsan Score Composer
Henri Decaë Cinematographer
Robert Dorfmann Producer
Marie-Sophie Dubus Editor
Théo Meurisse Art Director
Jean Nény Sound/Sound Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic Melville, Classic Noir, Classic Cinema

    I just saw this film yesterday as part of a local French Film Festival and I must say that it is Cinema at it's finest. In an era when heist film means either ridiculus buddy pic or action packed shoot em up chase film this is a breath of fresh air. If you are a fan of film's like 'hana bi' by Beat Takeshi you must see this film just to see where Beat copped is style of elegant violence from... or if you are a fan of Tarantino or John Woo you must see this because the both count Melville as one of their biggest influences for his ethos of Honour Amongst Thieves. If you are a fan of Noir You MUST SEE THIS just for the fact that Melville is one of the genre's best. Lastly if you are a fan of cinema you must see this so as to witness what film is actually capable of. In Short... Buy This Now if you have any l'adore pour film, le cinemateque et la vie.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews