Bob Le Flambeur - Bob The High Roller

"Possibly, I will sue the police for damages." Bob

"Possibly, I will sue the police for damages." Bob

☆☆☆☆☆ Masterpiece

Bob Le Flambeur (1956) is a deceptively simple crime drama that revolutionized film making.

Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville.

Starring Roger Duchesne, Isabelle Corey, Daniel Cauchy among many others.

Melville's Bob Le Flambeur inspired and started the entire French New Wave of film makers. Study this film and you will see all the film elements that are now standard in modern films.

When I first viewed Bob, I was not all that impressed with Bob to be honest. It was just so simple and straight forward to my modern eyes. That is until I looked at the date it was made (1955). When watching a film you have to pay attention to when it was made, so you can compare it to other films made during that era and afterwards. When I'm watching an older film like Bob, I'm looking at it with a set of unspoken guidelines that modern films of my era have instilled in me. Thus, when I see a picture like Bob which was made before I was born, I see the beginning of the unspoken guidelines that modern film makers have instilled in me as audience member. Some of Bob's landmark film making techniques used today are: Bob was filmed using a hand held camera (Steven Soderbergh), uses gritty out door scenes(Martin Scorsese), violence away from camera(Alfred Hitchcock), existential ending (Paul Thomas Anderson), etc... With Melville's, Bob, you see all of these modern guidelines that film makers now use on their audiences.

The whole point of Bob is that a man (a criminal in this case) has to have a set of values, morals and ethics that he has to follow zealously to be respected by all men and women. It is such a simple character trait, but it makes Bob into a hero instead of the petty criminal. Bob's criminal and gambling traits drive and motivate every minute of his existence. The slot machine in his closet is played by him even after a losing night of gambling.

In the scene below, Bob played to perfection by Roger Duchesne and the sexy, seductive flower girl is Isabelle Corey. Isabelle steals almost every scene she is in throughout the film with her sensuality. Look at how she gazes at Roger. Corey layers an unfulfilled longing  into a simple nude scene in bed. Considering how strict the film codes were at that time I was surprised that these provocative and suggestive nudes scenes were kept in the original cut of the movie.

Anyways, I'm trying to understand why a flower scene occurs twice in this film. Bunuel gave this type of director hint to his audience in Belle De Jour - Beauty Of The Day (1967). Melville is saying something secretly to his audience. I will need to watch several more of Melville's films to see if he uses flowers again. A great movie to watch with an ending that is really amazing which ensures it will play on forever.

Trivia - Melville auditioned and rejected Alain Delon for Paolo, fearing he would steal the film.