Rififi (France 1955): America’s Loss France’s Gain

Rififi (France 1955)

Rififi has to be the greatest French film noir of the 50’s. The taught direction of Jules Dassin, working in France after his blacklisting by the HUAC, has Paris in deep focus in this classic heist gone wrong picture. An excellent cast and sexy night-club interlude culminating in the terrific final scenes of a car desperately careening through the streets of Paris, make an absorbing and sobering thriller. The whole action is underpinned by an evocative and hip jazz score.

The best line in the movie is given to a peripheral character, the wife of one of the hoods, whose young son is kidnapped by a rival gang, and in her anger and angst calmly confronts him with these words:

There are kids… millions of kids who have grown up poor. Like you.
How did it happen… What was the difference between you and them that you became a hood, a tough guy, and not them?
Know what I think Jo, they’re the tough guys, not you.

Rififi (France 1955)

Rififi (France 1955)

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