Rififi

Rififi

4.5 4
Director: Jules Dassin

Cast: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel

     
 

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Jules Dassin -- in his second European film after being driven out of the United States during the years of the house Un-American Activities Committee hearings -- directed this landmark caper film about the planning and execution of a nighttime robbery at a swanky English jewelry shop in the Rue de Rivoli. The story concerns a collection of thieves who band together… See more details below

Overview

Jules Dassin -- in his second European film after being driven out of the United States during the years of the house Un-American Activities Committee hearings -- directed this landmark caper film about the planning and execution of a nighttime robbery at a swanky English jewelry shop in the Rue de Rivoli. The story concerns a collection of thieves who band together to commit a seemingly impossible robbery. The gang consists of a tough, straight-talker named Tony Stephanois (Jean Servais); a young man under Tony's tutelage named Jo (Carl Mohner; a happy-go-lucky Italian by the name of Mario Farrati (Robert Manuel); and a safecracker named Cesar (the director Jules Dassin under the pseudonym of Perlo Vita) who likes to jiggle the combinations of women in his off hours. The set piece of the film is an intricate 28-minute sequence that depicts the robbery in detail -- all filmed silently without dialogue or music. After the success of the robbery, the gang barely has time to celebrate when a rival gangster, Pierre Gruuter (Marcel Lupovici), decides that he wants a cut of the take. When Tony's gang refuses to cooperate, Pierre kidnaps Jo's son, and the gang has to get tough with their nemesis.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
The plot is brutally simple: Four ex-cons; a jewelry store heist; fatal results. A critical and commercial smash in France upon its release in 1955, it set enduring standards for heist films, inspiring copies and parodies alike. (Two of the best: the hysterical Big Deal on Madonna Street and director Jules Dassin's own Topkapi, which also includes a breathtaking, 30-minute break-in sequence sans music or dialogue.) Yet, until it was restored in 2000, Rififi -- with its doomed ragtag antihero archetypes and technical bravura -- was almost lost. Dassin was no stranger to noir standards, having minted some of them himself Stateside in The Naked City and Brute Force. By the early 1950s, though, he found himself in the cross hairs of the House Un-American Activities Committee, blacklisted because of his refusal to name names, and exiled to Europe. The price of squealing resonates throughout Rififi. In the opening scene, Tony the Stéphanois (a note-perfect, saggy faced Jean Servais) has just served a debilitating 5-year prison sentence, taking the fall for his younger partner, Jo the Swede. In the meantime, an old accomplice, Mario (Robert Manuel) hatches a scheme to knock off an upper crust Parisian jeweler, and drawing in Jo, Tony and an ace safecracker, Cesar the Milanese (Dassin, speaking Italian and acting under the pseudonym "Perlo Vita"). The heist is coolly efficient; but a rival gangster wants in after the fact. The DVD special features include a video interview with Dassin, who shares a delightful and frightening anecdote about his meeting with the author of the novel, Auguste Le Breton, among other insights. Among other DVD highlights, the lavish production drawings of Rififi's naturalistic sets afford a fascinating soupcon of irony.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The pinnacle of heist movies, blacklistee Jules Dassin's Du Rififi Chez Les Hommes (1955) is not only one of the best French noirs, but one of the top movies in the genre. Crafting an archetypal noir story about how human weakness can sabotage the best-laid plans, Dassin masterfully emphasizes the skill and nerve-shredding delicacy that it takes for the central band of thieves to execute those intricate plans (without making a sound) in the classic half-hour heist sequence. The air of seediness and inevitable doom that lingers over the proceedings -- shot on location in Paris -- adds an existential weight to the suspense, turning Rififi into more than just a caper. Though Rififi's all-too-clear primer on how to rob a jewelry store and its then-excessive violence and decadence got the film in trouble in some countries, Rififi became an oft-imitated international hit and Cannes prizewinner for Dassin's direction. Barely seen in the U.S. since its original release, Rififi was restored to its full 35 mm visual glory in 2000, complete with new, more explicit subtitles (done in collaboration with Dassin) and a translation of the title song. The restoration received a special citation from the New York Film Critics Circle.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/24/2001
UPC:
0037429155530
Original Release:
1955
Rating:
NR
Source:
Homevision

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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jean Servais Tony le Stephanois
Carl Möhner Jo Le Suedois
Robert Manuel Mario
Magali Noël Viviane
Perlo Vita Cesar
Marie Sabouret Mado
Marcel Lupovici Pierre Grutter
Robert Hossein Remi Grutter
Pierre Grasset Louis Grutter
Dominique Maurin Tonio
Claude Sylvain Ida
Janine Darcey Louise

Technical Credits
Jules Dassin Director,Screenwriter
Philippe Agostini Cinematographer
Georges Auric Score Composer
Auguste Le Breton Screenwriter
Auguste Capelier Art Director
Roger Dwyre Editor
Philippe Gerard Songwriter
Jacques Laure Songwriter
Alexandre Trauner Art Director
René G. Vuattoux Producer
René Wheeler Screenwriter

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