Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Burglars/Le Casse (1971)

Unlike his contemporary Alain Delon, Jean Paul Belmondo never seemed to go out of his way to make movies designed to crack the English-language market.  Whereas, throughout the seventies, Delon could be found in a variety of international co-productions, co-starring with the likes of Charles Bronson, Burt Lancaster and George Kennedy and speaking English, Belmondo focused on movies designed primarily for the domestic French market.  Although dubbed English-language versions of these movies would still turn up, their main audience resided in Europe, where they, and Belmondo, proved hugely popular.  The Burglars (Le Casse) from 1971, is therefore something of an anomoly in Belmondo's career, as it was clearly intended to be a big international release and was filmed in English.

Loosely based on a David Goodis novel, (which had previously been filmed as a film noir under its original title of The Burglar),  The Burglars is another of those film which, for a years, wasa regular on late night TV in the UK, before vanishing again.  As I've recently discovered, it is also just about impossible to obtain an English-language Region 2 DVD of the film right now.  Which is a pity, as my memories of the film are of a well photographed all-action crime movie with international locations.  Belmondo is the leader of a group of criminals who carry out daring heista around Europe.  After a jewellery robbery in Athens, (as I recall), they find themselves pursued by Omar Sharif's corrupt cop, who is trying to relieve them of the gems.  Naturally, this being a Belmondo movie, a spectacular car chase forms the centrepiece of the film's action sequences.  Watching the trailer (which is for an old Region 1 DVD release of the film) just reinforces my desire to catch up with The Burglars again. Sadly, as such movies no longer seem to have any place in contemporary TV schedules, I'll just have to redouble my efforts to find a DVD release.



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