Le Circle Rouge (1970)

Director: Jean-Pierre Meville

Starring: Alain Delon, Bourvil, Yves Montand

Another great French jewel heist film, this one a good 15 years after Rififi and following in its greatness. It’s The Defiant Ones meets Heat, when a murderer on the run hides in the trunk of a recently released convict’s getaway car. Both men are dangerous and mercilessly calculating, nothing to lose, they band together to pull off an ambitious jewel heist. The action is sudden and violent and the story is always tense.

Several scenes stand out, one a jarring introduction to an alcoholic marksman at the tail end of some horrific withdrawal induced hallucinations. Over and over, he is covered by waves of spiders, snakes, and rats, unable to scream, the actor is so terrified. The 30 minute heist scene, like Rififi, is without sound or dialogue, but just as tense and intriguing. Also notable are the fancy up-scale brothel dance numbers. The style and fashion are remarkably dramatic and memorable.

Other Notable Films by this Director: Le Samorai (1967)