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 Post subject: 150 Bob le Flambeur
PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2004 3:45 pm 
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Bob le Flambeur

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Suffused with wry humor, Jean-Pierre Melville's Bob le Flambeur melds the toughness of American gangster films with Gallic sophistication to lay the roadmap for the French New Wave. As the neon is extinguished for another dawn, an aging gambler navigates the treacherous world of pimps, moneymen, and naïve associates while plotting one last score—the heist of the Deauville casino. This underworld comedy of manners possesses all the formal beauty, finesse and treacherous allure of green baize.

Special Features

-New digital transfer
-Video interview with Daniel Cauchy (“Paulo”)
-Radio interview with Jean-Pierre Melville
-Theatrical trailer
-New and improved English subtitle translation
-Optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:01 am 
Coppola Killer (give us Napoleon!)
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Gringo Tex wrote:
I just watched this for the first time. Isabelle Corey is mindblowing. What a sexpot. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it in the cinema before. She's certainly not acting... she's not even performing- she dominates with presence alone.

Like all Melville's films, this one has some wonderful ambience and set pieces, but the guy doesnt have a clue how to string a narrative along.

What's the card game that Bob plays

[Reveal] Spoiler:
in the final sequence, when he wins all that money? How does the game work?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 12:32 am 
script girl
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Dude, why'd you have to ruin the ending?


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 4:26 am 
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he didn't totally ruin the ending.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 7:31 am 

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Theodore R. Stockton wrote:
Dude, why'd you have to ruin the ending?

Theodore, the description of the section of the forum dedicated to specific CC releases clearly indicates that the threads WILL contain spoilers-- thus, posters here actually don't even need to use the tags. If you don't want to read spoilers, it's best to avoid these threads.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 06, 2005 11:14 am 
Coppola Killer (give us Napoleon!)
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I did it as I was supposed to but it didn't work. Go figure. Anyway, I'm sure Theodore was kidding.

So what's that game Bob plays during his incredible winning streak at the end of the film?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:10 pm 
The game is called Chemin De Fer. It is the French version of Baccarat. Rules

Baccarat is the big money game in Las Vegas. While years ago it was played out in the open, like Craps now it is more common for the game to be played in a private room off of the main casino area.

As it is played for big money, the house typically takes 4-5 percent of the "banks" winnings only (the player with the shoe, the large box containing 6-8 decks of cards) - making the odds attractive and the game exciting. Exciting because (in essence) you play against other players versus the more impersonal "house."

Baccarat is used in Casino Royale as Bond needed not to beat the casino but to bankrupt Le Chiffre (Orson Welles). It also has been used in some other Bond films including (but not limited to) Dr. No, Thunderball and Goldeneye. In fact in Dr. No, baccarat is played when we first see Sean Connery for the first time as Bond on film and the first time we hear the famous line "Bond, James Bond."

Back on subject, Bo Le Flambeur is a terrific film that has influenced many directors. It is much more than just a French gangster/honor amoung thieves film.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 3:35 pm 
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This was from the thread in New Films about the proposed remake of Rififi. I thought I would continue the discussion here rather than cluttering up that thread:

colinr0380 wrote:
Antoine Doinel wrote:
Considering that article is now nearly a year old, and this idea has been knocking around for a while, I would imagine the project is (thankfully) stuck in development hell.

That said, I initially thought the idea of remaking Bob Le Flambeur was sacrilege but I found Neil Jordan's adaptation to be pretty damn good.

Is that The Good Thief with Nick Nolte? I've not seen it before but it is getting its first UK showing Friday night (at 2 a.m.!) I thought I might stay up late and watch it!

Having stayed up to watch The Good Thief last night I have to agree with Antoine Doinel. I enjoyed the film a lot and the alterations worked well to play with our expectations, with the safe robbery plot seemingly abandoned then obliquely reintroduced before becoming a major part of the plot again. I liked the way that the remake played with the ironies of the original, but used them in creating less of a despairing and bleak outcome. I quite liked the way the characters are softened a little and given some hope, for example the creation of the real and dummy heists help the character of Anne to not seem as stupid and manipulative as she does in Bob Le Flambeur, even though it is circumstances rather than intention that prevent her from totally ruining everything.

I still feel that Bob Le Flambeur is the better of the two films as a couple of 'comedy' moments and the Philip/Philippa character in The Good Thief aren't very good (and have made me a little worried about what Breakfast on Pluto will be like!), and while I thought the introduction of drugs was a nice idea the cold turkey sequence got me thinking a little of French Connection II, perhaps intentionally. I guess I felt that the addition of drugs isn't exactly an original one since many films have dealt with this subject. Luckily it isn't dwelt upon too much, just enough to suggest Bob's money has gone as much on this as on gambling. Drug use comes up again with Anne and is used well to suggest a reason why she blabs about the heist, so while I felt the drug theme to be a little hackneyed it seemed that the few moments it was used were well integrated into the plot. It also felt as if the filmmakers were aware of its overuse or weren't interested in getting into all the issues that drugs raise and sensibly used it very little.


Last edited by colinr0380 on Wed Sep 06, 2006 12:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 26, 2006 8:29 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 12:43 am
I saw the good thief a LONG time ago when it was released on dvd in canada. I can remember liking it, but I can't remember the story very well and I've never seen the original. I'll have to check it out again sometime.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:43 pm 
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I've watched Bob Le Flambeur again while The Good Thief was fresh in my mind, and I would still say that Bob Le Flambeur is the better of the two, though at least The Good Thief isn't a horrible remake and even intelligently develops some of the original's ideas.

I still prefer Bob Le Flambeur for its comparatively uncluttered plot - now I've rewatched Bob I'm not exactly certain why the character of the pimp was split in The Good Thief between a pimp and a illegal Turkish immigrant petty thief - it seems unnecessary and maybe a little racist (are pimps meant to be seen as more sympathetic characters than immigrants? Or is it because they have their own defined role in criminal society whereas an immigrant has no fixed position and is therefore treated with contempt by both criminal and cop? I know there was some controversy about representations of race, criminality and the police in other French films such as Tavernier's L.627, so perhaps it is a nod to the changed culture from the 50s). It just seemed to clutter the remake's plot with an extra character (and social issue) for no real reason.

The other aspect where I think Bob Le Flambeur has the edge is in the character of the bar owner Yvonne. She gets a lot of time in Bob Le Flambeur, in the background of the scenes set in her bar and then the wonderful scene with the policeman near the end. She is only in one scene in The Good Thief where she expresses concern for Bob, but while it is a nice touch it is too obviously there just to reference Bob Le Flambeur, not to show her as an individual character.

However, The Good Thief is well worth watching. It did feel that it was made by someone who knew and respected the original and it makes a number of interesting changes and updates.

I'd also like to say how much I liked the extras on the Bob Le Flambeur disc, especially the radio interview by Gideon Bachmann. Beyond the discussion with Melville of his films it was a pleasure to hear a relaxed conversation in English and French, with the occasions Bachmann repeated a question in French for Melville giving me a chance to practice my (poor) language skills!


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 11:53 pm 
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Was I the only one disappointed by this? I liked Le Doulos and Un Flic just fine, but I found Bob dull and rambling. Duchesne's performance was fine, but his unerring nobility (well, maybe not at the end...) made him possibly the most unbelievably well-mannered and eminent gambler in history. Perhaps that's supposed to be the charm of the film, and there were moments that were just that, but it was so light and fluffy it was instantly forgettable. I also found Paolo to be an irritatingly stupid character, an incredible sucker with incredible arrogance. The actor just didn't sell it for me.

I can understand why people like this movie, but it just felt way too satisfied with itself for me to enjoy. Is there a certain intent Melville had for this film that would help me enjoy it better? Did I look at the characters in a flawed light? Am I just a simpleton?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:15 am 
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Maybe you weren't in the right frame of mind to enjoy it...I know sometimes I don't get what everyone else likes about certain films the first time I see them. For me, La Dolce Vita was just absolutely excruciating to endure the first time I saw it...I was in my early 30's at the time, so I didn't have the excuse of being too young for it, I just didn't enjoy it. At all.

Then, with the advent of the DVD revolution, I saw it again (Koch-Lorber edition, but not the one in the ugly foil encrusted casing), and found parts of it tolerable, if not enjoyable. Another couple of years passed, and my wife bought it for herself, and we watched it again, and it was like a light went on in my head...I finally got it! I was watching a great movie! This Fellini guy might have a future in film, if he ever decides to make another.

So maybe give it another chance a few months down the road...maybe you'll see it with fresh eyes. Or maybe you'll still find it as dull as you did the first time, but then you'll know it was the movie and not you. And for the record, I like Bob Le Flambeur quite a lot.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:15 pm 
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I really did want to like this film. I'm not a gigantic fan of Melville, but I do relish a couple of the films of his I've seen. Something about Bob just bothered me though. The cool detachment of it all made the whole thing a muted experience for me, as the Melville films I've seen manage to actually have a certain pathos to me. As a character, Bob's mixture of pragmatism, daring, and sense of irony seemed both unbelievable in light of his seeming attitude towards the world (what is life without a few crooks?, or something to that effect). In short, I just didn't buy Bob the film or the person.

Can someone explain what they liked about this film? Was it the admittedly impressive atmosphere that managed to keep them entertained?


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 12:48 pm 
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HypnoHelioStaticStasis wrote:
Can someone explain what they liked about this film? Was it the admittedly impressive atmosphere that managed to keep them entertained?

I liked the atmosphere but also the plotting. The professionalism of Bob that looked as if it was going to be undermined by his gang or his protege, or more accurately his protege's girlfriend. Yet the damning (and ironic) act comes from Bob himself continuing to gamble and win at the table. Those Melville films that I've seen so far seem to have this common theme of external acts being important but the final actions come about from the main character's responses and interpretations of that outside action, or to put it another way the outside action allows them to have an opportunity to destroy themselves rather than being the only factor in our main character's downfall.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:41 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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It is a bit of a lightweight flick, perhaps the damage was done by going in and expecting a heavy film? It's got a slight charm that coasts it along, and it's fun to see where PTA got most of his ideas for Hard Eight. I wouldn't worry about it if you don't like it though-- you can't like every movie!


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:05 pm 

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Lightweight, yes. But I love it for the style. Bob is a very cool character.
And the night and early morning shots have a wonderful ambience.
And Isabelle Cory exudes raw sex appeal. Luck and irony seem to function similarly to that in films by Jacques Demy. The only real drawback-extremely poor staging of the violence.

Panda


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:13 pm 
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Panda wrote:
Luck and irony seem to function similarly to that in films by Jacques Demy.

It's funny that you mention that. Whenever I think of this film, I then think of Demy's Bay of Angels - and watch it subsequently!
HypnoHelioStaticStasis, I direct you to this film if you're so inclined because it's got more of the charm and weariness you may want from your gamblers.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 11:20 am 
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The latest Out Of The Past podcast tackles Bob Le Flambeur.


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 Post subject: Re: 150 Bob le Flambeur
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:13 pm 
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Caught "Bob le flambeur" on Sundance Channel recently (it's on heavy rotation along with "Army of Shadows"). The more Melville movies I'm exposed to the more I realize the man was a one-man French New Wave (the same way Varda was a one-woman French movie force) years before Truffaut and Godard made their mark. Equal parts heist movie, character study and an homage to the American noir/gangster movies he loved so much, Melville infuses "Bob le flambeur" with a playfulness (loved the 'this is how Bob visualized it' fantasy sequence) and eye for detail that effectively masks what a low-budget production it actually is. The heist plot and 'twist' ending have been watered-down by hundreds of movies/TV shows ripping it off for decades, but "Bob le flambeur's" performances remain excellent and memorable to this day. Roger Duchesne (who looks like the elder Robert Blake but sane) is the picture of cool and suave class even as his gambling habit gets the better of him. Guy Decomble, Simone Paris, Isabelle Corey (who puts the 'sex' in sexy! ) and many other supporting performers are the real gems that keep "Bob le flambeur" a timeless capsule of French cinema 'cool.'


Last edited by dad1153 on Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 150 Bob le Flambeur
PostPosted: Fri Jun 11, 2010 7:24 pm 
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Out of Print as of June 30, 2010.


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 Post subject: Re: 150 Bob le Flambeur
PostPosted: Mon Jul 12, 2010 2:46 pm 
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Jason, the gentleman cartoonist, blogs about Bob.


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 Post subject: Re: 150 Bob le Flambeur
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:17 pm 
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I need some help from those who've seen this.

I got a copy of the film on DVD from my library system and at one point it skipped about 3 or 4 minutes.

What happens between when Bob tells Paolo about Anne and Marc sleeping together and Marc getting shot? How did the police know that Bob was going to rob the casino?


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 Post subject: Re: 150 Bob le Flambeur
PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 4:46 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
The woman rats them out. Never tell dames about heists. Film Noir Rule #1


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