The Red Circle

Melville's special achievement was to relocate the American gangster film in France, and to incorporate his own steely poetic and philosophical obsessions. He described this, his penultimate film, as a digest of the nineteen definitive underworld set-ups that could be found in John Huston's picture of doomed gangsters, The Asphalt Jungle. Darker, more abstract and desolate than his earlier work, this shows, set piece by set piece, the breakdown of the criminal codes under which Melville's characters had previously operated. Even in the butchered version distributed in Britain (dubbed and cut to 102 minutes) it's worth seeing: the mood remains, as does the film's central sequence, a superbly executed silent jewel robbery in the Place Vendôme.

Release details

Rated: PG
Duration: 150 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Screenwriter: Jean-Pierre Melville
Cast: Alain Delon
André Bourvil
Yves Montand
François Périer
Gian Maria Volonté
André Eykan
Pierre Collet
Paul Crauchet

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