RIP Jules Dassin

Jules Dassin on the set

Over the weekend I watched Rififi (which you may remember was top of my queue). It’s a terrific noir and a prime example of the great caper movies.

Jules Dassin, director of Rififi and many other fine films, passed away Monday. Here’s his obituary in the New York Times.

I recommend Rififi highly. Many plot elements are dated, but they make the movie come across as a period noir — no loss. The plot is gripping, but more importantly the characters are multi-layered and engaging. Certain shots are unforgettable (slight plot spoilers ahead): the umbrella coming through the ceiling, the Italian seen through the doorway, the gang gathered around the table….

One amusing part is the English subtitles. The characters are criminals, and apparently in the script (written in French) they use appropriate language. when this is translated into English, it’s sometimes jarring. ("Sit your moneymaker down" to a dancer in a cabaret, e.g.) Then again, translating their slang into proper English would be worse, so it’s churlish to complain.

Rent Rififi and enjoy. I’ll report back on its successors and imitators soon.

RIP, Jules Dassin.

(Link via If Charlie Parker were a gunslinger, which has a nice photo of Mr. Dassin.)