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Back from the pen, homme dur Jean Servais first belts around his ex-girlfriend Marie Sabouret, then rejoins copain Carl Möhner and cohort Robert Manuel, who’ve got a little jewel store smash-and-grab job lined up — but Servais wants the whole works. With the aid of freshly imported safecracker “César the Milanese” (director Dassin, billed as “Perlo Vita”), the resulting classic heist — a legendary 30-minute sequence with no dialogue or music — provided a usable blueprint for real-life professionals (causing outright bans in some countries) — but then, another of Sabouret’s ex-boyfriends wants a big cut. A world-wide smash, Rififi raised eyebrows for its excessive gunplay, décolletage, and dope use — all of which led to its condemnation by the American Legion of Decency. Blacklisted Hollywood exile Dassin turned a potboiler by milieu specialist Auguste Le Breton into an existential thriller that earned him Cannes’ Best Director prize and set the standard for screen robberies for decades to come — from his own Topkapi to Mission: Impossible — while “Rififi” was subsequently stolen for titles of non-related thrillers. Philippe Agostini’s all-weather location shooting provides an invaluable time capsule of Paris in the ‘50s, with the late Magali Noël warbling the title song.
Do you want to see a tough gangster picture? Do you want to see a crime film that makes the characters of Mickey Spillane seem like sissies and, at the same time, gives you the thrill of being an inside participant in a terrific Parisian robbery? Then go to see "Rififi," which opened at the Fine ...