Classe Tous Risques
|Classe Tous Risques|
|Directed by||Claude Sautet|
|Produced by||Robert Amon|
|Written by||Claude Sautet|
|Based on||Classe tous risques by José Giovanni|
|Music by||Georges Delerue|
|Edited by||Albert Jurgenson|
|Distributed by||Cinédis (France)|
Janus Films (US)
|Box office||1,726,839 admissions (France)|
Classe Tous Risques ([klas tu ʁisk], "Consider All Risks") is a 1960 French-Italian gangster film directed by Claude Sautet and starring Lino Ventura, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Sandra Milo. It was first released in the United States as The Big Risk. It tells the story of Abel Davos (Ventura), a French mobster who tries to make his way from Italy through Marseille to Paris, hunted by the police, and Eric Stark (Belmondo), who turns out to be the only person willing to help Davos. The film is an adaptation of the novel with the same title by José Giovanni.
Now widely considered a masterpiece, at the time of its release it was somewhat overshadowed by the French New Wave. It did however influence the French cinema, especially Jean-Pierre Melville's work.
French gangster Abel Davos, having been tried in absentia and sentenced to death, flees to Italy with his wife and their two children. After a successful holdup in Milan with an accomplice Raymond, they try to re-enter France by boat, but while landing at a deserted cove by night are surprised by two customs officers. After a gun battle which leaves the customs men, his wife and Raymond dead, a massive police hunt begins. Hidden with his two boys in Nice by a former associate, Abel rings Riton, an old ally in Paris, asking him and his friend Fargier to come and collect him. Riton now runs a bar and Fargier a hotel; neither wants to risk his life or reputation for a lone wanted man. However they buy an ambulance and recruit a young gangster called Éric to bring Abel and his children back in it. On the way, Éric saves a young woman Liliane, who is being attacked by a man, and she agrees to pose as a nurse for Abel, who is bandaged to conceal him.
Back in Paris, his friends tell Abel there is little more they can do for him. Éric however is sympathetic to the man's plight and, after hiding him in the building where he lives, helps him place his children with family friends. He also gets him a false passport but Abel, needing money to escape, robs the fence Gibelin. Unable to go to the police, Gibelin consults Fargier and Riton, who are both under police pressure because of their past association with Abel. They hire a private detective to find Abel's hideout, but Abel captures the man and forces the truth out of him. Realising he is betrayed, Abel starts his revenge by killing first Gibelin and then Fargier, whose wife then dies of shock. Riton, whose wife has always mistrusted Abel, co-operates with the police. As they storm Abel's hideout, Éric creates a diversion and is shot in both legs. Though Abel gets away, an epilogue says he is later caught, tried and executed.
- Lino Ventura - Abel Davos, a wanted robber and murderer
- Jean-Paul Belmondo - Éric Stark, young gangster who acts as driver
- Sandra Milo - Liliane, young woman befriended by Éric
- Marcel Dalio - Arthur Gibelin, receiver
- Jacques Dacqmine - Police inspector Blot
- Claude Cerval - Raoul Fargier, old accomplice of Abel
- Michel Ardan - Henri Vintran, called Riton, old accomplice of Abel
- Stan Krol - Raymond Naldi, accomplice of Abel in Italy
- Simone France - Thérèse Davos, wife of Abel
The Abel Davos character is based on the real life Abel Danos (alias "le Mammouth" because of his girth) who José Giovanni met in prison. From 1941 to 1944 Danos was a henchman for the French Gestapo run by Henri Lafont and Pierre Bonny. Danos was sentenced to death and shot for Collaboration on 13 March 1952.
The film was a produced by France's Filmsonor, Mondex Films and Les Films Odéon in collaboration with Italy's Zebra Film. Principal photography took place from 7 October to 8 December 1959. Locations were used in Nice, Paris and Milano.
Kenneth Turran in a review of 2006 for the Los Angeles Times wrote, "To come across Classe Tous Risques is like discovering a bottle of marvelous French wine you didn't remember you had, opening it and finding it every bit as delicious as its reputation promised." A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote in 2005: "Claude Sautet's Classe Tous Risques is the kind of French movie that makes you want to throw on your trench coat, light up a cigarette and shoot somebody. Originally released in 1960, it was lost in the frenzy of the Nouvelle Vague, which made its straightforward use of genre look a bit old-fashioned. ... It is worth seeking out, not only because Classe Tous Risques represents a missing piece of film history - a link between the great postwar policiers and the brooding 1960's gangster dramas of Jean-Pierre Melville - but because it is a tough and touching exploration of honor and friendship among thieves."