Bond super villain Gert Fröbe in an international smuggling thriller: “Rififi in Paris” is gangster cinema with style and esprit. Now the film is finally available in German home cinemas.
+++ Opinion +++
A size of US gangster cinema, one of the most popular character actors in France and one of the best Bond villains in a smuggling thriller that leads through Paris and beyond in atmospheric images: these ingredients should make “Rififi in Paris” a popular genre tip. Instead, he is often unknown even to fans of gangster cinema. The fact that it wasn’t even available on DVD until recently may have contributed to the stylish gangster stuff being forgotten.
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The labels television jewels however, finally provided a remedy: “Rififi in Paris” has recently been available in Germany on DVD and Blu-ray – a home cinema insider tip for everyone who loves European crook antics or wants to see more of “Goldfinger” villain Gert Fröbe.
This is “Rififi in Paris”
Nightclub owner Paul Berger (Jean Gabin) has a second mainstay: under the nickname Diamanten-Paul, he is involved in international smuggling. That now makes him the target of a Chicago crime syndicate. Paul’s accomplice, the antique dealer Walter (Gert Fröbe), and his wife Irène (Nadja Tiller) are affected. Paul decides to hit back with all his might – unaware that he is under investigation to make matters worse…
Unfortunately, not only the film itself has largely fallen into oblivion – even the meaning of its title is likely to raise question marks these days. So: Rififi is not the name of a character that we kept from you in the plot information, but French slang that emerged in the 1950s. Through the film “Rififi” and a series of imitators of varying degrees of success, it also temporarily spilled over into German usage.
“Rififi” commonly describes a crime that is as sophisticated as it is carried out in complete secrecy – would also apply to many heist movies in the style of “Ocean’s Eleven”. Honestly, Rififi in Paris doesn’t have the luxurious glamor of George Clooney’s gang posse, and yes, the Ocean crew are a good tad more resourceful in configuring their moves. But what is very sophisticated is the direction and camera work of this 60s gem:
Director Denys de La Patellière further breaks the previously established imagery with the ongoing, villainous chaos of the story, the events are therefore increasingly captured with esprit. But right from the start, the strong colors exude great charm (both in the filigreely decorated interior scenes and in the exterior scenes).
and not only Fröbe is raw and charismatic in his role, also the US gangster film legend George Raft radiates entertaining menace as an antagonist. Leading actor Jean Gabin, who was one of France’s top stars for decades, creates the protagonist in a nuanced way – and thus raises the exciting question of how much gentlemanly and how much nefarious his gangster figure is.
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