Review

  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this film several times in the early 1970's on 16mm but haven't seen it since. Remember enjoying it overall but one particular scene stuck with me. At least a couple of reviewers mentioned that Lino Ventura's character, Paris Police Commissioner LeGoff, is trying to quit smoking (with some success) as evidenced by his refusal of proffered cigarettes on several occasions. Then in a scene staged in an office with several other policemen present, the Commissioner learns that his very elaborate plan to trap and re-capture Sartet (Alain Deloin) has been an utter failure. Bitterly disappointed, he is very still with an unfocused stare. After a few seconds of silence, little or no movement, with the other characters present similarly frozen in place, he says to no one in particular, "Gimme a cigarette."

    Similar scenes and set-ups have of course been done before and since (see an exchange between Richard Widmark and Harry Guardino in Madigan). Many of us have experienced personally, witnessed or heard about individuals reacting in the same manner to a particularly stressful turn of events. I am of course trying to describe a scene last viewed over forty years ago but my belief is that it's a true example of photographic memory. It sure FEELS like it anyway.