The cable car leads us down from the 'heaven' of the Sacré Coeur in Montmartre to the 'hell' of Pigalle, and as the neon is extinguished for another dawn, a weary Bob the Gambler treads his way home from the tables. Melville's 'love letter to Paris' is shot, like all good city films, between the hours of dusk and dawn, and is a loving recreation of all that is wonderful about the dark American city thrillers of the '30s and '40s. What doubles the pleasure, however, is that in spite of the heist, the double-crosses and the sudden death, it is still remarkably light in tone: an underworld comedy of manners. The courtly Monsieur Bob may wear a trenchcoat and fedora, but he rescues young ladies adrift in the milieu, remains loyal to his friend l'inspecteur, and gives the impression of wanting to rob the casino, not to assuage his gambling fever, but simply so that he can perform a robbery in dinner jacket. A wonderful movie with all the formal beauty, finesse and treacherous allure of green baize. CPea.