When Jules Dassin sent Jean Servais and his gang into a Rue de Rivoli jewellery store, little did he know that he was giving birth to that ever-popular subgenre, the caper movie.
However, no one since has matched the tension and cinematic mastery of the near 30-minute robbery sequence here, which is executed in the minutest detail and without resort to dialogue or ambient score.
The change of pace, as rival mobster Marcel Lupovici moves in for an undeserved cut, is also neatly accomplished. But there’s precious little happening beneath the dazzling surface.
Incidentally, that’s Dassin playing César, under the pseudonym Perlo Vita.
Tony le Stephanois
Jo le Suedois
Perlo Vita (Jules Dassin)