In Paris circa 1900, rakish Georges Randal (Jean Paul Belmondo) is brought up by his rich and egoistic uncle , who robs his inheritance . Georges hopes to marry his cousin Charlotte (Geneviève Bujold) , but his uncle manages himself for her to marry a wealthy neighbour. As an act of vengeance, Georges steals the family jewels. Subsequently , he becomes an expert thief , enjoying the experience so much that he join forces with another swindler , a cunning priest : abbé Félix La Margelle (Julien Guiomar) . He unites other fellow thieves and all of them robbing the bourgeois people and making off with their women . While he meets and falls in love for a great number of beautiful girls : Geneviève Bujold ,Marie Dubois , Françoise Fabian , Marlène Jobert , Bernadette Lafont . The light touch of the masters! Malle makes ... Belmondo takes.
This was a decent and brilliant Louis Malle film, but neither extraordinary , nor notable , but an acceptable and passable picture . Set in the turn of the century , being a very well designed period piece which is filled with subtle characterizations , intrigue , drama , action , and brief bits of humor and irony . These elements are efficiently and compellingly blended by Luis Malle , a director during the¨Nouvelle Vague, New Wave" of 1950s and 1960s , though technically not considered a Nouvelle Vague auteur . Including a splendid protagonist , Belmondo , who along the way gets flirty with a great deal of wonderful and popular French actresses . Cast is frankly well as Jean Paul Belmondo who gives a sympathetic and enjoyable acting , as usual , as a spoiled young who embarks upon a life-time of burglary . Belmondo was at the peak of his international fame , by the time he played his best titles as Pierrot le Fou , Weekend at Dunkirk , Tender Scoundrel , Chinese Adventures in China , Oh ¡ , Backfire, Mississippi Mermaid , among others . Support cast is pretty good , such as : Marie Dubois , Françoise Fabian , Bernadette Lafont , Marlene Jobert and brief appeaarances and cameos from Charles Denner , Anne Vernon , Jean-Luc Bideau and Louis Malle himself as a figurant .
The film displays an engrossing and adequate cinematography by prestigious camera operator Henry Decae . As well as an evocative and atmospheric musical score .The motion picture was professionally directed by Louis Malle , but in fits and starts . Malle is considered to be one of the best French filmmakers . His résumé showed that he had worked as an assistant to filmmaker Robert Bresson when Malle was hired by underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau to be a photographer on the Calypso. Cousteau soon promoted him to be co-director of "The Silent World"(1956) . Years later, Cousteau called Malle the best underwater cameraman he ever had . His first film was the intriguing story ¨Lift to the Scaffold¨(58) . Malle's second film, ¨Les amants ¨or "The Lovers"(1958) , starring Jeanne Moreau broke taboos against on screen eroticism. In 1968 the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the obscenity conviction of an Ohio theater that had exhibited "Les Amants." He also made films on the other side of the Atlantic, starting with Pretty Baby (1978), the film that made Brooke Shields an international superstar. The actress who played a supporting role in that film was given a starring role in Malle's next American film, Atlantic City (1980) , that promising actress was Susan Sarandon. In one of his later French films, Au revoir les enfants (1987), Malle was able to find catharsis for an experience that had haunted him since the German occupation of France in World War II. At age 12, he was sent to a Catholic boarding school near Paris that was a refuge for several Jewish students, one of them was Malle's rival for academic honors and his friend . After that , he made ¨Milou en mai¨and ¨Damage¨ with two international actors Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche .In his final film, Vania in 42 Street (1994), Malle again penetrated the veil between life and art as theater people rehearse Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya." In that film, Malle worked again with theater director Andre Gregory and actor-playwright Wallace Shawn . Malle was married to Candice Bergen, and he succumbed to lymphoma in 1995. Rating : 6/10 . Well worth seeing .
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