2 June 2011 | guy-bellinger
Fair crime movie
Just another crime movie but a watchable one. The ordinary plot concerns the efforts of Drug Squad chief-inspector Picard to put an end to the evil deeds of Saviati, a dangerous drug gang leader. He is helped in his task by a motley trio : inspector Paul (André Roanne), his buoyant assistant ; Lucienne Réville, an informer who has infiltrated the gang ; and - incidentally - by Scoppa, Salviati's former right hand man and now his rival, determined to steal the market from him at any cost. Death will take its toll before the affair comes to its resolution in a graveyard near Paris.
Michel Bernheim and Christian Chamborant's serviceable direction varies from average to fair, illustrating the banal material without particular luster. But what makes this forgettable effort acceptable in spite of everything is some of the actors and their performances, particularly when it comes to those who embody the two main villains of the piece, Salviati and Scoppa, respectively played by Charles Vanel, whose roguish and brutish manners make him both obnoxious and believable, and by Jean-Louis Barrault, who obviously has a ball slipping into the shoes of Salviati's over-excited and aggressive rival. In a less graphic style, Junie Astor and Pierre Larquey are good too as the informer and the chief-inspector. But what was the point of hiring Jean Servais to give him... nothing to do?
On the whole, "Police Mondaine" is in no way a masterpiece but not a bomb either. If you have an hour and a half to spare...