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Le Samourai (Criterion Collection) (Version française)

5 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alain Delon, Nathalie Delon, François Périer, Cathy Rosier, Jacques Leroy
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Melville
  • Writers: Jean-Pierre Melville, Georges Pellegrin, Joan McLeod
  • Producers: Eugène Lépicier, Raymond Borderie
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: Nov. 1 2005
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AQKUG8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #15,571 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

In a career-defining performance, Alain Delon plays blue-eyed Jef Costello, a fedora- and trench-coat-wearing contract killer with samurai instincts. When Jef assassinates a nightclub owner, he finds himself confronted by a series of witnesses, who drop his perfect world into the hands of a persistent police investigator and Jef’s shadowy employer, both of whom are determined to put an end to the smooth criminal. A razor-sharp cocktail of 1940s American gangster cinema and 1960s French pop culture—with a liberal dose of Japanese lone-warrior mythology—maverick director Jean-Pierre Melville’s masterpiece Le samouraï defines cool.

Alain Delon is the coolest killer to hit the screen, a film noir loner for the modern era, in Jean-Pierre Melville's austere 1967 French crime classic. Delon's impassive hit man, Jef Costello, is the ultimate professional in an alienated world of glass and metal. On his latest contract, however, he lets a witness live--a charming jazz pianist, Valerie (Cathy Rosier), who neglects to identify him in the police lineup. When Costello survives an assassination attempt by his employers, he carefully plots his next moves as cops and criminals close in and he prepares for one last job. Melville meticulously details every move by Costello and the police in fascinating wordless sequences, from Costello's preparations for his first hit to the cops' exhaustive efforts to tail Jef as he lines up his last; and his measured pace creates an otherworldly ambiance, an uneasy calm on the verge of shattering. Costello remains a cipher, a zen killer whose façade begins to crack as the world seems to be collapsing in on him, exposing the wound-up psyche hidden behind his blank face. Melville rethinks film noir in modern terms, as an existential crime drama in soft, somber color and sleek images (courtesy of cinematographer extraordinaire Henri Decaë). Le Samouraï inspired two pseudo-remakes, Walter Hill's Driver and John Woo's Killer, but neither film comes close to the compelling austerity and meticulous detail of Melville's cult masterpiece. --Sean Axmaker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ruhi E. Tuzlak on May 9 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A real masterpiece! Mr. Melville managed very well to show and prove his exceptional talent in this 1967 production. Everything about this "film-noir" is outstanding: Great story line, remarkable casting, wonderful acting, superb cinematography... The events take place within a period of less then three days and the focus of the film is a highly narcissistic contract killer. His "cool" demeanor and his approach to his work very well depicted. The secondary characters of the story are also well-chosen and they do their parts nicely.

In addition, the "Special Features" of this Criterion print are invaluable; I think they desrve to be watched --after the film is viewed of course...
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By Haseeb on Nov. 7 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Jef Costello is a hired assasin who makes somewhat of a blunder on one of his jobs. He allows a witness to clearly see him and later gets arrested. For some strange reason, the person who clearly saw him leaving the scene of the crime refuses to identify him in a police line up. Jef also makes up an elaborate alibi to "prove" that he wasn't at the crime scene when the murder occured. After the police release him, things get a bit complicated because Jef has a weakness for a woman piano player and the people who hired him turn on him.
The main character makes this a very good film, but just doesn't come across as convincing as some of the other assasins I've seen on film.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Awesome job from the folks at Criterion Collection. Great analysis thrown in throughout the disc, elaborate special features. Totally worth your time!
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By A Customer on June 6 2004
Format: VHS Tape
Cool, austere and haunting - this is the real deal - a genuine French masterpiece.
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Glenn A. Buttkus on July 8 2004
Format: VHS Tape
This film has the indelible reputation of being a classic French film Noir; as being the inspiration for John Woo's THE KILLER, and Jim Jarmusch's GHOST DOG, and certainly influenced Jean Reno in THE PROFESSIONAL. It, in turn, was most certainly influenced by Alan Ladd's premiere role as "Raven" in THIS GUN FOR HIRE. Director Jean-Pierre Melville was a veteran of several French crime films. This one was easily his best. He died six years later. It was released in America in 1972 under the title, THE GODSON.
This is a very dark tale of a meticulous assassin living very secluded and alone in a rundown apartment house; inconspicuous, hiding in plain sight, a Spartan existance, a monk's simplicity and pure dedication to vocational choice. There is only one spark of life in the greyness of his domicile...a small bird in a dirty cage. This is a color film, but most of it is shot in deep shadows, and at night; all gray and black imagery. And in that sense, it does have a real Noir feel to it.
This film has been so well received, and is held in such high esteem, somehow I, as a first time viewer, expected more from it. The lexicon of assassin crime films is lengthy, so one longed to see something new, fresh, and original; something connected to samurai or yakuza roots. There was the establishment of a pervading sense of doom, of fatalistic events, as we watched Alain Delon as Jef Costello maneuvering himself into tragedy.
But for me, the primary weakness of this film was Delon himself. His matinee good looks, his Bogart-like raincoat, his smooth short brimmed fedora, his strained attempts at coolness...all seemed wrong, and off-center. I needed to see toughness, not the stiffness and effeminate posing. I needed to see Yves Montand or Gerard Depardieu as Costello.
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