Written by: John White on January 26th, 2006
Original Video Release Date: France/Italy, 1968
Director: Jean Herman
Writers: Jean Herman and Sébastien Japrisot
Cast: Alain Delon, Charles Bronson, Olga Georges-Picot, Brigitte Fossey, Bernard Fresson
DVD released: June 20, 2005
Approximate running time: 115 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
DVD Release: VCI/Cinema Club
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL
Retail Price: £9.99
“Yeah” – opening words of the film.
Dino and Franz have just come back from the war in Algeria, Dino was a doctor and Franz a soldier. Dino wants to get away from the war and turns down an offer from Franz to go as mercenaries to another war. Instead he meets the girlfriend of a colleague who has died and agrees to work with her on a safe cracking job with a difference – he is putting stuff back into the safe! Mid job he is interrupted by Franz who has followed him and has assumed that he is knocking the payroll off. Dino only has half the combination so he is using the Christmas holiday to go through the 10000 possibilities taking care to avoid the guards twice daily checks. Unable to fight Franz, Dino agrees to work together. When they succeed in opening the safe they have a surprise in store.
This is a wonderful sixties Euro-Crime piece with Bronson and Delon as men who don’t really like one another but keep a code of brotherhood once they are in danger of being caught – their first dealings with one another begin and end with a fist in the face. The film is well paced and great to look at with some very innovative scenes such as Bronson’s scam using a prostitute on a turntable with rich fools paying for her to strip. The heart of the film is an excellent script with some novel situations.
At one point Bronson and Delon become entombed in the safe room and the relationship between them deepens as they fight to escape. It is at this point that they realise they can trust each other to protect the other and the rest of the film’s double crosses and twists are free to come. So the wonderful script mixes up heist, femme fatale, prison drama and odd couple themes, and does all of these very well.
In short, a great odd couple heist movie with an excellent score and terrific script.
“Yeah” – closing word of the film.
The VCI disc is an absolute bare bones affair with the feature and scene access only. The film is presented well with an excellent transfer from a very good print, the overscan box is the biggest I have seen on any release. the film is presented in 16:9 and anamorphically.
The audio is merely the English dub with Bronson and Delon dubbing themselves, it is very acceptable and allows the wonderful score to shine without any distortion or pops.
This is a terrific movie and a barebones disc. The only other English Language version I know of is a pan and scan OOP Canadian disc. That makes your choice clear – if you like a bit of machismo with your French chic, buy this.