Le cercle rouge
(The Red Circle)
Alain Delon, Yves Montand, André Bourvil, Gian-Maria Volonté,
Alain Delon, a highline thief who lives in studied elegance when he’s not languishing in jail, plans an elaborate jewelry-store heist with two cohorts picked up almost at random: an escaped convict (Gian-Maria Volonté) and an alcoholic lapsed lawman rescued from a lost weekend (a great role for Yves Montand). The popular French actor André Bourvil is superbly cast against type as the nemesis cop, Matteï, a straight guy who lives alone with cats (Melville’s). We learn his routine; he’s a male Jeanne Dielman and can twist the knife when needed. Twisting Matteï’s handle is the police commissioner who learned his lessons well from the Gestapo: everyone’s guilty. Typical of Melville, the exciting moments in this caper are not the violent ones; the thrill is in the camerawork by Henri Decaë, with its gaze of surveillance and fraternity. Long live the guilty.