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  • In French ,"passer l'arme à gauche" means "kicking the bucket".A fine title for a movie which has worn very well.This is Claude Sautet's second effort ,and while the screenplay does not equal that of his previous effort("classes tous risques") ,his firm directing , his excellent editing -which will be even better in following work "les choses de la vie"- ,his use of so-called B-movie actors (Ventura,Sylva Koscina and Leo Gordon),and above all,his honesty (the movie is now in English,now in French,sometimes in Spanish ,depending on the characters who are speaking,which is almost exceptional for the time)An excellent cinematography -numerous scenes at dawn or twilight which the black and white paradoxically enhances-,which works wonders because almost most of the story takes place on a boat and on a tiny island where the villains keep their weapons .
  • Excellent adventure yarn, great locations, moody music. The last "action-picture" from the late great french director Claude Sautet - from this he went on and did Les choses de la vie, Cesar et Rosalie, Vincent, Francois, Paul et les autres, plus the two masterpieces Un coeur en hiver and Nelly et M.Arnaud, his final movie, from 1994. By the way, he also wrote Borsalino (for Jacques Deray) and Les yeux sans visage (for Georges Franju). L'arme a gauche is not, by all means, a great movie - but compared to the contemporary crap we're fed every day it's outstanding. The plot concerns a ship stolen by gun dealers somewhere in Central America, but it's merely an excuse for 102 minutes of pure joy, given the fact that the lead is played by l'inoubliable Lino Ventura. He alone makes this little movie worth seeing - I mean, the guy was the walking definition of the term cool... Those of you not familiar with Ventura (shame on you!) must not believe that looks are everything - check out his eyes, his moves and his harsh voice in Le clan de siciliens, Ne nous fachons pas or Adieu poulet (not to mention Les tontons flingueurs) and you will agree that he was in the same league with Jean Gabin. To put it another way, one of the best actors ever.
  • kinsayder4 November 2005
    Tough guy Lino Ventura gets mixed up with a gang of piratical gunrunners in the Caribbean, along with a sexy heiress (Sylva Koscina) whose yacht they've stolen, and the heiress's ex-husband. What it boils down to is a prolonged stand-off between Ventura and the bad guys aboard the stranded yacht.

    Given his later work, it's hard to believe Claude Sautet used to make this kind of film. Nevertheless, he proves himself highly adept at the genre, setting up the action scenes with great efficiency. In one terrific sequence, Ventura is dragging the boat's anchor along the sea bed, periodically coming up for air while a marksman is taking potshots at him from the shore. Impressive, too, is the way Sautet fleshes out even the minor characters to give them more depth than you would expect in a movie of this sort.
  • Usually Lino Ventura plays a tough gangster or police detective, without doing not much besides frowning and looking pensive. But he COULD do much more, like comedy (Monsieur Gangster) and there are also a couple of films in which he had to endure stuff in a godforsaken spot somewhere on earth. I tend to think those were the films he really loved to do, for example Greed in the Sun, Le Ruffian, Les aventuriers, and this one, in which he gets his hands really dirty. He plays an experienced captain and has to do a lot of hard labor, diving deep, carrying crates, pulling ropes, pulling a heavy lever, dodging bullets, et cetera.

    The film is set almost completely on a boat and an island, which is quite remarkable. A pleasurable watch, although it is not THAT GOOD. The main problems are a few plot holes (how about opening one of those boxes!), a predictable storyline and the part of Leo Gordon, who is a bit too old-fashioned as an actor for this film. And there is not a lot of chemistry between the characters Osborne and Cournot but I am not sure if that was intended anyway.

    Predictable or not, I liked it, not only because of Ventura, whose films I almost always like (and there are plenty), but also because of his female counterpart, Sylvia Koscina, an underestimated actress who was not only pretty but also quite good in acting, and played in a lot of interesting sixties flicks in all kinds of languages, like Giulietta degli spiriti, Hot Enough for June, Deadlier Than the Male, Judex, to name just a few. But it was also a decent directed film by Claude Sautet, for whom this is NOT AT ALL a typical film (just watch for example Un Mauvais Fils to get an idea), and shows he was also capable of some easy entertainment. Even better is Classes Tous Risques made five years before this film, also with Ventura, and of course doing rough things. I rate this 7/10.