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Touchez Pas au Grisbi (Criterion Collection) (1954)

Cast: Jean Gabin, René Dary, Paul Frankeur, more...
Director: Jacques Becker
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Classics, Foreign, France, Manhunt, Capers, Gangsters, Quest, Manhunt, Manhunt, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 96 min.
Languages: French
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

This strangely-christened French film noir was released in the US as Grisbi. Jean Gabin stars as a racketeer known by the Runyonesque nickname of Max the Liar. Seeking out the finer things in life, Max intends to pull one last job and retire. After stealing a fortune in gold, our "hero" is faced with a crisis of conscience when his best friend (Rene Dary) is kidnapped and held for a huge ransom. Somehow, Max manages to turn the tables on the abductors, but his dreams of a life of ease explode in his face. Up-and-coming leading lady Jeanne Moreau plays a pivotal role as the femme fatale who leads Dary into the hands of his kidnappers. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

When gangsters had class... by MMeldola February 17, 2005 - 11:55 AM PST
6 out of 6 members found this review helpful
Touchez pas au Grisbi is not a heist picture. The film is more a character study than a caper; Gabin, Moreau, and Ventura are in a cast of well developed characters. Jean Gabin plays the "seen it all, done it all" gangster to a tee. He does not really have one last heist planned. In fact, he is ready to kick back and enjoy his last score. In his chain of "thieves", a weak link spoils his plans. Gabin's character acts honorably at a high cost.

Touchez Pas au Grisbi is on a par with the great gangster cinema of Jean-Pierre Melville. Both directors were great craftsmen. While it is true that the French gangster movie could evoke nostalgia for the subtleties and style of an era
that seems unreal today, don't let that stop you from seeing this wonderfully entertaining film. The nightclub scenes are a kick and the climax is a white- knuckler. Lastly, the subtitles are very legible, which is not always the case.

A Classy French Crime Classic by talltale January 21, 2005 - 9:25 PM PST
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful
I'd heard about TOUCHEZ PAS AU GRISBI from my French teachers back in college (whew: 45 years ago) and finally caught up with this REALLY smashing (in quite the cultivated, classy manner) crime film. Anyone interested in why Jean Gabin was a major international star and Jeanne Moreau became one, well, take a look at TPAG. If it has dated at all (a bit in the twists and turns of the plot, perhaps), it more than makes up for this with its terrific sense of time and place-- Paris in the 50s, when even criminals could be gentlemen--and the blacks, whites and sensational grays of the fine cinematography, which remain unmatched. The Criterion folk have again produced a nearly perfect new DVD transfer. Keep it up, guys/gals!

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.49)
80 Votes
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A List of Good Movies
European noir and neo-noir
European, non-English language films that might be classified as noir.

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