Often overlooked in the praise heaped – on the whole justly – on Truffauts adjacent early masterworks (The 400 Blows and Jules et Jim), some among us would contend that his lean and moody second film, transposed from the US of David Goodis’ source novel to a bleak and wintery France, is actually even better than either of those New Wave landmarks. As a disenchanted bar pianist caught up in murky criminal dealings, Aznavour proves that he’s far more than an elegant chansonnier, while the inspired framing and editing of this in-every-sense-monochrome tale provides a perfect curtain-raised to LFC’s splendid new season of “Classic Tuesdays”. Truffaut’s output can sometimes appear soft centred: this film and a handful of others (Soft Skin, Anne and Muriel, The Green Room) provide a bracing contrast.
90% – Rotten Tomatoes
7.4/ 10 – IMDB
“A superb combination of genre movie and Truffaut’s special brand of perfectly observed, humanist detail.”
“Essentially a pastiche of the Hollywood B movie, it adopted a maverick attitude towards melodrama and romance that was reinforced by an irresistible jokiness that rendered it an offbeat delight.”