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Le Cercle Rouge - The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] (Version française)

Alain Delon , André Bourvil , Jean-Pierre Melville    Unrated   Blu-ray
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 99.99
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Le Cercle Rouge - The Criterion Collection [Blu-ray] (Version française) + Leon Morin, Priest (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (Version française) [Import] + Criterion Collection: Army of Shadows [Blu-ray] (Version française) [Import]
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Alain Delon (The Leopard, Le samouraï) plays a master thief, fresh out of prison, who crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic ex-cop (The Wages of Fear’s Yves Montand). The unlikely trio plot a heist, against impossible odds, and then a relentless inspector and their own pasts seal their fates. Le cercle rouge, from Jean-Pierre Melville (Le samouraï, Army of Shadows), combines honorable antiheroes, coolly atmospheric cinematography, and breathtaking set pieces to create a masterpiece of crime cinema.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL EDITION FEATURES • Restored, complete, uncut version, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack • Excerpts from Cinéastes de notre temps: “Jean-Pierre Melville” • Video interviews with assistant director Bernard Stora and Rui Nogueria, the author of Melville on Melville • Thirty minutes of rare on-set and archival footage, featuring interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville and stars Alain Delon, Yves Montand, and André Bourvil • Original theatrical trailer and 2003 Rialto Pictures rerelease trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film critics Michael Sragow and Chris Fujiwara, excerpts from Melville on Melville, a reprinted interview with composer Eric Demarsan, and an appreciation from director John Woo


Crime cinema has never been so meticulously and coolly executed. Taciturn thief Alain Delon (intense and dapper in trenchcoat and fedora) and escaped prisoner Gian Maria Volonte cross paths as if by fate, bound by saving each other's life, and join with disgraced ex-cop Yves Montand for their next job: a daring jewel robbery. Le Cercle Rouge is the ultimate expression of the romantic doom that Jean-Pierre Melville established in his masterpieces Bob Le Flambeur and Le Samourai. The centerpiece heist, a wordless 20-minute sequence with masked men communicating in codified gestures, is a tour de force of cinematic efficiency that tops even Rififi in its celebration of criminal skill and nerve. Melville's cool detachment doesn't allow us to really warm up to these uncompromising pros, but his cinematic precision is spellbinding and his unforgiving world of loyalty, professionalism, sacrifice, and codes of honor is an irresistible underworld fantasy.

The Criterion DVD restores the film, which was originally cut by 40 minutes for its American release, to its full-length director's cut. Additionally, it features new interviews with Melville's assistant director Bernard Stora and friend and expert Rui Nogueira, rare archival interviews with the director and his cast, and a new introduction by filmmaker and Melville fan John Woo among its wealth of supplements. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Cinematic Bliss!!! March 7 2004
I saw this film last weekend as part of a local french film festival. I had heard great things of it and given my pention for noir I knew I would like it. However, sitting here a week later I'm just now realising how much I loved it. What can you say about film when it penetrates your dreams both of day and nocturnal. What superlatives can be used to describe a film that gets you even while doing the most mundane things like getting bagels at the local supermarket for Sunday brunch. I say, "It is pure cinematic bliss!!!" Albeit I'm an unabashed francophile and I was raised on great noir and mystery flix (in elementary school my favourite filmmaker was Hitchcock). But I digress... The point is SEE THIS FILM... NOW!!!, Rent it or Buy it but nonetheless SEE THIS FILM NOW!!! Stop what you are doing and see one of the best films you will ever see. Melville is ART... ART is Melville
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The premise is simple: a man named Corey (Alain Delon) is released from prison but is unable to avoid his randez-vous with destiny. True, this had been tried before Melville made The Red Circle. However, great photography should grab you within minutes: cool, dissolved hues framed by a skilled illusionist. The scene in the muddy field registers as one of the best of noir cinema: Vogel (Gian Maria Volonte), an upredictable and fearless fugitive meets the stark, taciturn Corey. Only indispensable dialogue here, a gesture with a toss of pack of cigarettes and the sublime theme composed by Eric De Marsan - the circle is now half-drawn and this movie genre has never since been the same. We never quite see a fork in the road for any of these guys: Corey, Vogel or Jansen, a cop-turned-gangster played by Yves Montand. All three, in spite of their efficiency, move closer and closer to an inevitably tragic end. Thus sets a feeling of temporariness. Whether it's a few thousand franks, a life of a goon in pursuit, or a near-encounter with a lost beautiful woman - it is an imprint as lasting as a puff of smoke from a Galoise. Andre Bourvil created a most convincing portrait of a veteran policeman, whose final coming to the table is as assured as that of Bergmanesque Grim Reaper. Watch the game unfold, while also enjoing the incredible piano arpeggios, brass sections, and a bunch of fantastic supporting-role actors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Jean-Pierre Melville, in many ways, shares some of the brooding
and fatalistic tendencies of his colleagues Marcel Carne (Jour Se
Leve, 1939) and Henri-Georges Clouzot (Quai des Orfevres, 1947).
Yet Melville's ethos is one which, unlike theirs, often delineates character almost entirely through action and gesture.
This makes for compelling viewing, particularly in the case of Melville's late, exquisitely crafted thrillers "Le Samourai" (1967), "Un Flic" (1971), and of course "Le Cercle Rouge" (1970).
A picture of this quality deserves the success it had in limited theatrical runs during the Stateside reissue this past Spring;
Criterion has done a marvellous job with it. I can only encourage anyone with a taste for the sheer visceral pull of
a great film to spend two evenings with the disc: one with
the picture itself, and another to view the special features
on the second disc, many of which are documentary materials that
give a wonderful glimpse of the modest, self-effacing director's
M.O. Another winner from Criterion, which I would give ten stars if I could. Let's hope for "Le Samourai" next!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How the game is played Nov. 10 2003
Melville created a cold-hearted masterpiece with the Red Circle. There is little sympathy felt for any of the characters. Rather, this is a dark meditation on human corruption - all the characters locked in an ultimately futile game. The brilliance of this movie is Melville's portrayal of how the game is played. Alain Delon and Gian Maria Volonte play criminals who possess a surreal ability to anticipate their opponent's next move. Andre Bourvil, the dispassionate inspector, is locked in the same chess match. So for those that thrill at the chase - this movie comes recommended. And this newly restored and uncut version is the perfect showcase for this detached work of art. Melville creates the mood of a winter train-ride through the French countryside impeccably, and conveys the stifling atmosphere at police headquarters with equal skill. Yet the detechment of the film also creates a problem, which I think is the biggest drawback: no emotional context is given for these men (there are almost no women present in the entire film). So even though the film is a meditation on the human condition, it really doesnt look into the characters experiences. But if you're looking for a terse, rugged crime film you can't do better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow....just wow. April 2 2004
THIS, my friends, is what hooked me onto french cinema. Like the vast majority of the films from that era, the direction is gritty and uncouth. The "artsy" appeal of french new wave is what keeps me hooked. But enough with the genre itself! That fateful summer night in Boston, Alain Delon came ranked amongst my favourite actours. In a somewhat sardonic way, he's rather debonaire as Corey. Despite having to glue my eyes to the subtitles throughout the entire picture [high school french doesn't get you far], I appreciated every performance. Melville has done his share to become one of my favourite filmmakers, his style has become recognizable with each I watch. The tale is, although simple, one of my favourite in my film collection. And for such this is, I'm enthralled to the edge of my seat as each second ticks on.
And yes...this, as stated before, epitomizes cool. Scared of the "artsy" flicks? My own mother liked this film.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars i love it
i love it , i love it, i love it, i love it, i love it, i love it, i love it.
i love it , i love it, i love it, i love it, i love it, i love it, i love it. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest achievemenst of Melville!
Tauting , provocative and sugestive thriller ; this monumental work still hasn't received the important place it deserves widely. Read more
Published on June 30 2004 by Hiram Gomez Pardo
5.0 out of 5 stars remember the force Luke
"When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever their diverging paths, they will inevitably come together in the red circle."
Its just a title relax/
Published on May 9 2004 by John D. Hernandez Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars BUDDHIST NOIR?
"When men, even unknowingly, are to meet one day, whatever their diverging paths, they will inevitably come together in the red circle. Read more
Published on Nov. 21 2003 by Robin Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville's cosmology
The cold, slow-paced and existential treatment of this crime story comes from a different world, Melville's world, where darkness is pure enlightment.
Published on Sept. 23 2003 by ilyushin
5.0 out of 5 stars riviting
Riviting movie I was first made aware by 1/2 pg reviews in the n y times around jan 03 during its re release.. Read more
Published on Sept. 17 2003 by barry horwitz
4.0 out of 5 stars the passengers
Melville's films are all noted for their lack of dialogue. In fact one of his early films was called Silence of the Sea. Read more
Published on Aug. 18 2003 by Doug Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Melville is the king of cool
Every review of Le Cercle Rouge uses the word cool because Melville's movies epitomize cool. This is a world of policeman and thieves, all dressed to the nines, all possessing... Read more
Published on June 23 2003 by Eugene Wei
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