Review: 'Rififi In Paris' a Misbegotten Snore

by Frank J. Avella

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Wednesday September 22, 2021

Denys de la Patelliere's "Rififi in Paris" was obviously made to capitalize on the popularity of the James Bond franchise, as well as the French oSS 117 films. Based on the novel by popular author Auguste Le Breton, and starring icon Jean Gabin, the film's genre certainly had the right cachet; alas, the result is mostly a confusing bore.

The film begins intriguingly enough, with a poor shmo having been shaken down by a lovely escort (Mireille Darc) who involves him in a shady deal, but it turns out the schmo is Mike Coppolano (Claudio Brook), a journalist involved in a sting operation who is trying to entrap a nasty gold smuggler (Gabin). The narrative gets confusing and seriously dull from there, with only the ridiculously bombastic score blaring to wake the viewer up and let us know that something exciting is about to happen. It never does; even the literally explosive ending happens offscreen!

Apparently, the movie was in trouble during filming, and obviously it could not be salvaged in the editing room.

Brook is handsome enough, but isn't allowed to develop any charisma. The plot keeps hoisting him offscreen as new characters are introduced (who then seem to disappear or are killed off).

The sets and costumes are made to look expensive, but they feel second-rate; the locales also reek of low budget.

George Raft appears as a mafioso, and is so obviously dubbed it's off-putting to watch.

Gabin does his best, but even he can't salvage this mess.

FYI: The film has no connection with Jules Dassin's classic, "Rififi."

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray presents the film in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (1080p transfer) and, for the most part, looks good, but has occasional fuzziness, especially on the sides. Audio is clear.

A spirited audio commentary is provided by filmmaker/historian Daniel Kremer and his cinematographer Aaron Hollander, who refer to the movie as a "nifty little crime flick." They let us know that the U.S. version was shortened by 12 minutes (by Paramount) upon its release.

Blu-ray Extras Include:

  • New Audio Commentary by Filmmaker/Historian Daniel Kremer and Cinematographer Aaron Hollander
  • Trailers

    "Rififi in Paris" is currently available on Blu-ray.

    Frank J. Avella is a film and theatre journalist and is thrilled to be writing for EDGE. He also contributes to Awards Daily and is the GALECA East Coast Rep. Frank is a recipient of a 2019 International Writers Retreat Residency at Arte Studio Ginestrelle (Assisi, Italy), a 2018 Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship, a 2016 Helene Wurlitzer Residency Grant and a 2015 NJ State Arts Council Fellowship Award. He is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright (CONSENT, LURED, SCREW THE COW, FIG JAM, VATICAN FALLS) and a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.