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.


PURPLE NOON
PLEIN SOLEIL
1960, Janus Films, 117 min, France/Italy, Dir: René Clément

Alain Delon was at his most impossibly beautiful when PURPLE NOON made him an instant star. He plays Tom Ripley, a duplicitous American charmer in Rome on a mission to bring his privileged, devil-may-care acquaintance Philippe Greenleaf (Maurice Ronet) back to the United States. What initially seems a carefree tale of friendship soon morphs into a thrilling saga of seduction, identity theft and murder. This ripe, colorful adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s vicious novel The Talented Mr. Ripley is crafted with a light touch that allows it to be at once suspenseful and erotic, and features some gorgeous location photography of coastal Italy.


ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS
ASCENSEUR POUR L’ECHAFAUD
1958, Rialto Pictures, 91 min, France, Dir: Louis Malle

“I knew I loved you, but I thought only of myself,” murmurs gorgeous Jeanne Moreau - after setting in motion a murderous plot involving her fat-cat husband, a young intelligence officer (Maurice Ronet) and some of the darkest twists and turns in French cinema. Made when Malle was only 25 years old, this film helped jump-start the French New Wave. The dazzling cinematography of Henri Decaë (who also shot THE 400 BLOWS) is enhanced by Miles Davis’ haunting jazz score.


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