Jean-Pierre Melville
Film Director

(1917-1973)

Dvds | Videos | Les Enfants Terribles | Jean Cocteau | Le Silence de la mer

French director, writer and actor

(Jean-Pierre Grumbach)
Paris 1917

    1946: Vingt-Quatre Heures de la Vie d'un Clown (s). 1947: Le Silence de la Mer. 1949: Les Enfants Terribles. 1952: Quand Tu Liras Lettre. 1955: Bob le Flambeur. 1958: Deux Hommes a Manhattan. 1961: Leon Morin, Pretre. 1962: Le Doulos. 1963: L'Aine des Ferchaux/Magnet of Doom. 1966: Le Deuxieme Souffle/The Second Breath. 1967: Le Samourai. 1969: L'Armee des Ombres/Shadow Army. 1970: Le Cercle Rouge. 1972: Un Flic/Dirty Money.

    As acknowledged by his appearance in Breathless (59, Jean-Luc Godard), Melville was an ancestor of the New Wave. Le Silence de la Mer was an heroic instance of the outsider making a film and renovating the medium as he did so. Bob le Flambeur was immensely influential in the way it recreated the ambiance of the American thriller and yet encouraged spontaneous, location shooting. No one who had named himself after the author of Moby Dick, who had Melville's affection for American cinema of the 1930s, and yet who insisted on prickly French truths, could fail to appeal to the new generation. Good enough, but Melville exists in his own right.

    Bob was a turning point for Melville himself, inaugurating a Hustonian dream of tough, self-sufficient men in trench coats, fickle girls, and a maelstrom of treachery and heroic gestures. The romance was made astringent by the casual humor, the remarkable eye for honor, friendship, and double-cross, and the pleasure at a world Melville made his own, even to the extent of having his own studio. There is a haphazard grace in his pictures that stems from the deliberate off handedness with which they were made:

      "I'm incapable of doing anything but rough drafts. Each time I see one of my films again, then and only then can I see what I should have done. But I only see things this clearly once the finished print is being shown on the screen everywhere and its too late to do anything about it."

    He had a built-in breathlessness, in fact, an adopted resignation to transience and mutability that is partly an eccentric individualism and partly what Melville inherited from American mobility and obsolescence. It gives his gangster films a true supercharge—"en quatrieme vitesse"—and he transformed Belmondo and Delon into beautiful destructive angels of the dark street. But this gain was at some cost. For Melville's later films were more youthful than his earlier ones.



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jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth | margaret lockwood



jean-pierre melville dvds



jean-pierre melville videos



jean-pierre melville

dvds | videos

clark gable | alfred hitchcock | robert montgomery | robert donat | grace kelly | conrad veidt
humphrey bogart | howard hawks | frank capra | charlie chaplin | lauren bacall | fritz lang
jean harlow | greta garbo | ava gardner | audrey hepburn | edward g. robinson | john garfield
erich von stroheim | wim wenders | madeleine carroll | marlene dietrich | rita hayworth | margaret lockwood




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