Apr 25, 2012

All the Reasons Bob le Flambeur is one of the greatest motion pictures ever.

First, as much as I love David Thomson, pay no attention to his argument that the ending is weak. He is wrong.  Totally, unbelievably wrong.  It is a blind spot, or some weird idiosyncratic thing because the end of Bob le Flambeur is one of the greatest ends to a film in cinema history, full stop.

Here are many other reasons Bob le Flambeur is so good:

1) Isabelle Corey, need I say more?
2) The amazing sets Melville had built in his own personal studio in Paris.  It is v obvious that certain sets of nightclubs and bars are right next to each other, back to back in this film.  The gold leaf, fleur-de-lis "movable Hitchcock" walls are movie gold for me.  They tell us, We are watching a film.  This is not real life.  A mystery.  A dream.  In the best sort of way.
3) The stunning jazz soundtrack which is fifty years ahead of its time, in that in drifts in and out, and changes, not from scene to scene, but whenever it is appropriate to tell the story.
4) That everyone in Paris calls our protagonist, "Bob."
5) All the amazing shots of Montmartre in the fifties.
6) The "pop" of Champagne dialogue our male ingenue uses to seduce Isabelle Corey.
7) That Bob le Flambeur sets up all the other great "Last Heist" motion pictures.
8) That just a tiny second of nudity (Ms Corey's breasts) was nearly worth the twenty years we had suffered since the Code.
9) That fun could be had at the cinema again.
10) That I love that the nouvelle vague kids that had loved Melville before (Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol) all eventually ended up despising him because his films were box-office smashes, while theirs suffered at the gate.  TOUGH!

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