Dir. Jacques Becker, 1954. 94 min. B&W. DCP.
With Jean Gabin, Jeanne Moreau, Lino Ventura, René Dary
In French with English subtitles
Jean Gabin made a resounding comeback in 1954 with his world-weary but debonair performance as Max, an aging gangster whose retirement is foiled when his loose-lipped associate gets kidnapped by a ruthless mobster who wants Max’s loot from a last big heist.
While Becker defined the atmospheric shimmer, existential complexity, and underlying tension of French film noir with this instant classic, Touchez pas le grisbi is also a deeply affecting study of aging and loyalty, in which Becker navigates Paris’s louche nightclubs and underworld haunts to create a universal picture of friendship tested and honored.