|Directed by||Jean-Pierre Melville|
|Produced by||Carlo Ponti
Georges de Beauregard
|Written by||Pierre Lesou novel (credited)
|Music by||Jacques Loussier
|Edited by||Monique Bonnot|
|Distributed by||Pathé Contemporary Films|
|Box office||1,477,619 admissions (France)|
Le Doulos (French pronunciation: [lə dulos]) is a 1962 French crime film directed by Jean-Pierre Melville. It was released theatrically as The Finger Man in the English-speaking world, but all video and DVD releases have used the French title. Intertitles at the beginning of the film explain that its title refers both to a kind of hat and to the slang term for a police informer.
Le Doulos is based on a novel by Pierre Lesou. While the film comes before what are considered Melville’s masterpieces of the genre, Le Samouraï (1967) and Le Cercle rouge (1970), one can unmistakably observe several of Melville’s trademark techniques in this film.
||This section possibly contains original research. (December 2013)|
The narrative unfolds through two characters, Maurice and Silien, and consistently switches back and forth between them, leading the audience to grasp randomly for a distinct main character or hero (despite the fact that both are criminal anti-heroes). Through Maurice and Silien’s actions, the film explores just how deeply qualities such as friendship and loyalty run.
Le Doulos begins by introducing us to Maurice, an ex-con, just released from prison after serving a six-year sentence. He then murders his friend Gilbert, stealing the jewels he had been hiding, that were proceeds from a recent heist. Shortly afterwards, Maurice plans a heist of a rich man’s estate and shares his plan with Silien, who is rumored to be a police informant. Silien is later picked up and questioned by the police. The film unfolds from there, incorporating a number of plot twists revealed through Melville’s traditionally styled hard-boiled dialogue and picturesque visuals.
Silien is believed for the large portion of the film to be the man who told the police his friend Morice killed and robbed, landing Morice in jail. Morice's act of revenge is a hitman waiting at Silien's home in the country. Before the hitman kills Silien, Morice emerges telling the hitman that the hit is off, too late and Morice is mistakenly shot dead as Silien. Silien comes across Morice's body which tells him about the blinds; Silien shoots the hitman, whom plays dead long enough to fatally shoot Silien in the back. Silien grooms himself in a mirror before falling to his wounds. The friendship of the two main characters was brought on by doubt. A particular jealous nightclub owner received death when Silien put his hood out to avenge the arrest of Morice. The nightclub owner's girlfriend becomes Silien's and her testimony on paper takes Morice out of prison. Morice made a deal with a gangster in prison to kill Silien, then believing he was the rat.
|Maurice Faugel||Serge Reggiani|
|Superintendent Clain||Jean Desailly|
|Gilbert Varnove||René Lefèvre|
The 1964 review in the New York Times is very critical. It calls the movie tiresome and excessively talkative, feels it's cluttered with confusing references to irrelevant events, and considers the movie pseudointellectual and superficial:
[T]here's not much to recommend the picture, which is one of those feeble attempts to be philosophical and mordant about crime as a chosen career. Jean-Pierre Melville, who wrote and directed it, has so many scenes of mere conversation running through it—so many scenes in which plot is played in talk—that one wonders why his people need firearms. They can talk one another to death.
By way of tribute to the tradition of the French "policier" in general, and Melville specifically, in his 2004 film 36 Quai des Orfèvres, Olivier Marchal uses the name Silien for his police informant. (source 36: Film Notes by Miles Fielder)
American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino cited the screenplay for Le Doulos as being his personal favorite and being a large influence on his debut picture Reservoir Dogs
- Box office information for film at Box office story
- Empire: Features: 500 Greatest Movies of all time: #472: Le Doulos
- New York Times 1964 movie review by Bosley CROWTHER
- Becker, James. "QUENTIN TARANTINO INTERVIEW: ON THE SET OF RESERVOIR DOGS". Beckerfilms.com. Panoramic Pictures. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- Nogueira, Rui (ed.). 1971. Melville on Melville. New York: Viking Press.
- Vincendeau, Ginette. 2003. Jean-Pierre Melville : 'an American in Paris'. London: British Film Institute. (ISBN 0851709508 (hardbound), ISBN 0-85170-949-4 (paperback))
- Le Doulos at the Internet Movie Database
- Le Doulos at AllMovie
- Le doulos: Walking Ghosts by Glenn Kenney Criterion Collection