Du rififi chez les hommes (1955), directed by the exiled American film director Jules Dassin, recounts the nail-biting tale of a Parisian gangster heist gone wrong. Famed for its extended dialog free robbery sequence, it is both a classic French film ir and one of the greatest, most influential crime films. In this lively companion to the film, Alastair Phillips reveals Dassin's role as a director of socially conscious Hollywood film ir and argues that his seminal contribution to the regeneration of the thriller in post war France therefore uniquely complicated relations between French genre cinema and American mass culture. Phillips also examines the film's invative narrative construction and use of sound, its performance style and mise-en-scene, and discusses the film's legacy, showing how even today, the term 'Rififi' remains a byword for both criminal glamor and the enduring virtues of French popular classical film making.
Alastair Phillips is Associate Professor in the Department of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. His publications include 'City of Darkness, City of Light: Emigre Filmmakers in Paris 1929-1939'; '100 Film Noirs' (with Jim Hillier) and 'Journeys of Desire: European Actors in Hollywood' (with Ginette Vincendeau).