THE SICILIAN CLAN
LE CLAN DES SICILIENS
1969, 20th Century Fox, 118 min, France/Italy, Dir: Henri Verneuil

Expatriate Sicilian mobster Jean Gabin and his family shelter homicidal, lone-wolf jewel thief Alain Delon after his daring escape from a prison van. Delon proposes a multimillion-dollar jewel heist to Gabin that is fraught with danger, but the semi-retired patriarch signs on when he decides it will allow him to retire to Sicily all the faster. But no one counts on dogged police inspector Lino Ventura (CLASSE TOUS RISQUES, SECOND BREATH) on Delon’s trail. Ventura is extra-surly from trying to kick cigarettes and channels all his frustrations into nabbing Delon and his accomplices. Ennio Morricone provides another memorable score.


MELODIE EN SOUS-SOL
ANY NUMBER CAN WIN
1962, Janus Films, 117 min, France/Italy, Dir: Henri Verneuil

Hotheaded punk Alain Delon hooks up with smooth career criminal Jean Gabin to knock over a gambling casino in Cannes with a cool billion francs in the vault. The tense scenes of Delon creeping like a cat through the casino’s ventilation system are almost as good as those in RIFIFI - and Gabin brings a beautifully weary finesse to his role as the mastermind of the heist.


PORT DU DESIR
HOUSE ON THE WATERFRONT
1955, Pathé, 94 min, France, Dir: Edmond T. Gréville

A sea captain turned salvage expert (Gabin) finds himself involved in an ever-darkening missing persons case that leads to the Marseille mob after a young woman (Andrée Debar) asks for his help in locating her sister. Director Gréville gives us fabulously seedy barroom interiors, dockside intrigue and riveting underwater sequences in what might be the first example of “film soleil” - a movie with all the sordid attributes of noir, but shot (mostly) in bright sunlight. With tragic ’50s heartthrob Henri Vidal as the reluctant diver who falls in love with Debar. A unique entry in Gabin's illustrious career!


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