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FRENCH

ACTION/THRILLERS

$100,000 IN THE SUN (1964)-In French with English subs, widescreen print. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Lino Ventura star in this excellent French crime film by director Henri Verneuil. A small group of tough, truck-driving Frenchmen ply freight routes across the craggy terrain of North Africa. Along the way, they drink, carouse, scrap and double-cross one another. One of the drivers—the youngest and most personable—steals a truck, and his friends give long chase, skirting disaster...Created by filmmaker Henri Verneuil as a western with trucks instead of horses, 100 000 dollars au soleil remains a highly enjoyable action comedy with plenty of fun punchlines and a great cast. 1964 was a great year for Henri Verneuil, who also directed with Belmondo, WEEKEND AT ZUDYCOOTE.

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LE PASSAGE (1986)-In French with English subs. Inner motivation and passion - that is the core of this film and although it is very non-orthodox and also gloomy, it is worth watching. It is like you are watching the dark side of the moon /underworld /or rather deep inside yourself. Alain Delon's performance is unusual and charming, and DEATH herself is a very strong character. There is a small boy, so powerless, compared with the dark deadly figure, and the father's love is so hopeless. Each personality in the movie has some inner strength/weakness. The Grim reaper snatches Alain Delon Death controls and manipulates the whole world...all the people...uses computers ...scary! But what happens when these two personalities collide? Who wants what, who can sacrifice more? May be the HUMAN has the power and the strength, may be it is deep inside YOU too?

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RAZZIA LA CHINOUF (1955)-In French with English subs. Jean Gabin and Lino Ventura star in this noirish thriller. Henri, the Man from Nantes, comes back to his country after a successful stay in the United States, where he was working for Liski, the drug dealer. With the fame of being a tough guy preceding him, he sets himself to the task of knowing why the French operations were not so profitable - and soon he is master of all links of the organization. He can now get it honed to perfection - or destroy it. Only... the Police is following his every step! Is Henri what he says he is, or an undercover detective from the French police?

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AMAZONS (1974)-In French with English subs. This awesome Jess Franco film about a race of superwomen who are introduced to heterosexual sex by Karzan now with English subs! Amazon girl Finda helps Karzan to return to his country after a dangerous adventure. Subsequently both leave early for another trip, with Karzan's friend Mark, in the country of the Amazons, governed by masculine Armida, to take possession of a treasure guarded by the wild girls. They are imprisoned before, becoming protagonists of loves and conflicts in the following phase: lesbianism and betrayals, sexual embraces and infectious illnesses, falling in love and poisonings, but a furious reaction of the all female tribe provokes a massacre, except for Karzan , who'll become the king of the Amazons. Alice Arno and lina Romay co-star.

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CRIME ON A SUNDAY MORNING (1965)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. Jean-Paul Belmondo stars and Jaques Deray directs this excellent French thriller. An ill-assorted group of international criminals executes a tightly-planned ransom sting in Spain. Things go along swimmingly until various tensions within the group come to the fore. A somewhat predictable, but enjoyable crime melodrama, enhanced by a cool soundtrack, a sustained atmosphere of sunlit unease and a touch of incest. Geraldine Chaplin's film debut in which she gives the insanely sexy Sophie Daumier a run for her money. Based on a novel by James Hadley Chase.

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BILLION IN THE POND (1965)-In French with English subs. A great French/Italian caper film starring Jean Seberg. A sweet dreamer (Claude Rich) who works in a Swiss bank in Geneva wants to become rich ,but as he was not raised on robbery ,like gorgeous Bettina (Jean Seberg) whose mother is the brains of a gang,he's got a good idea:let the others do the job,and latch on to the loot afterward.

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LES HOMMES (1973)-In French with English subs, beautiful letterboxed print. A hell of a French gangster film with henry Silva, Marcel Bofuzzi, and Michel Constatine. The movie is about a succession of settling of scores and the revenge of a mobster who think he has been framed. It's set in the 1950's in Corsica, Marseilles and Paris and it's based on real events. France was producing a lot of crime films back in this time and this one is one of the few that really resembles more to some poliziotteschi flick than to the regular french film noir. The Corsican setting, with a culture and a local language seemingly pretty closed to italian ones maybe explains that.ly has the right temperament for the role, even though he's much too tall to be thoroughly convincing.

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MASK OF THE GORILLA (1958)-In French with English subs. Lino Ventura uses his panache to get over the absurd aspects of the story--his supposed superhuman powers (breaking his chains, à la Samson) only make us snicker. Such was this man's appeal that we can watch him do the most preposterous things (he was a wrestler, and could do his own stunts) and be entertained. Bernard Borderie, on the evidence of this film, and the half-dozen Angélique films he made, was a competent journeyman director. He never inspires but sometimes he pleases the viewer, at least when actors like Pierre Dux, René Lefèvre and Charles Vanel are given sizeable parts. He uses his actors well, and this covers up the mediocrity of the plot (missing atomic weapons secrets, again!).

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SPOTLIGHT ON MURDER (1961)-In French with English subs. Directed by Georges (EYES WITHOUT A FACE) Franju directs this excellent, moody black and white thriller starring Pierre Brasseur, Pascal Audret, Marianne Koch and jean-Louis Trintignant. When he learns his days are numbered, old count Hervé de Kéraudren decides to hide in a secret alcove and to die there, just to annoy his heirs. As a result of his body not being found, the latter will have to wait for five years until they can inherit the count's money. Very upsetting indeed, all the more as they are required to keep up the Kéraudren estate in the meantime. To collect money, nephews and nieces organize a Son et Lumière show at the manor while busily looking for the missing corpse. But, unexpectedly, they get killed in turns. Murders or accidents?

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TAXI TO TOBRUK (1960)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. Libya, 1942.  Four soldiers in the Free French Forces are crossing the desert when their jeep breaks down.  They have no other option than to continue their journey for Tobruk on foot.  On the way, they encounter a unit of German soldiers – one of whom they take prisoner, the others they shoot down.  Taking possession of the Germans’ jeep, the four French soldiers continue their journey with their reluctant prisoner.  What ensues is an odyssey that is both hazardous and eye-opening...Lino Ventura, Charles Aznavour, and Hardy Krueger co-star!

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DEEP END (1981)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. French thriller based on the novel "Deep Water" by Patricia Highsmith, starring Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, and directed by Michel Deville. The director, Michel Deville, is clearly influenced by the thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock and his French counterpart Claude Chabrol, particularly in the use of camera movements and set lighting to create tension and suspense. Vic Allen appears to accept his young wife Melanie’s flirtations with men of her own age with a generous insouciance.  He amuses himself by scaring off her potential lovers by claiming that he killed one of their predecessors.   This only increases his wife’s antagonism towards him, but Vic loves her too much to let her go.  When Melanie’s next suitor is found dead in a swimming pool, she is convinced that her husband killed him, but she has no proof.  Their psychological battle of wills has only just begun...

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GIRL WITH TWO GUNS (1965)-In French with english subs, letterboxed print. Directed by Claude Lelouch and starring a super hot Janine Magnan. A group of friends, all factory workers, decide to live their dreams and become gangsters, like in the movies. With a deaf and dumb girl as a mascot, they learn their way around, before to set up a real big job. But reality is not just like cinema...Between two muffins on celluloid where he was trying all together to be part of the New Wave and to be a bankable filmmaker, the "Chabadabada" master Claude Lelouch was sometimes managing to make an enjoyable movie. "Une fille et des fusils" is one of them. Not the whole of it (who tends at times to be too childish), but the film - an unlikely mix of gangster flick pastiche, drama, comedy, with some near documentary touches - has some great moments, an awesome cinematography and some fun filming, which is somehow, enough to make me happy.

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LET’S NOT GET ANGRY (1966)-In French with english subs. The misadventures of a former crook who sets out to recuperate a huge sum of money loaned to his friends in hiding. Georges Lautner offers a sensational parody of the film noir which exercises the talents of Michel Audiard, whose sparkling dialogue is served with relish by Lino Ventura, Jean Lefebvre, Michel Constantin and Mireille Darc.

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MONSIEUR HAWARDEN (1969)-In French with English subs. Directed by Harry Kumel. This elegant, mysteriously beautiful motion picture is based upon an authentic 19th-century diary, and the director makes his feature film debut with this work. It tells the story of a wanderer, Monsieur Hawarden, who travels with a faithful servant, the enigmatic Victorine, whose blonde, impassive features reveal nothing about either herself or her employer. They move by coach from inn to inn, and at the beginning of the film, Hawarden informs the owners of a country estate that he intends to remain there indefinitely as a paying guest. The director introduces the setting and characters with the same sort of E.T.A. Hoffman baroque melancholy that Bergman used in The Magician. The hint of secrets (unspeakable), sensual repression and imminent death are all part of this dramatic mood, and the director carries it off magnificently. One by one, all of Monsieur Hawarden’s secrets are revealed, and all the questions answered, although it seems what he desires most is a last chance to live among real people whose lives are ordered and simple. While he roams the exquisite countryside with the young son of the estate-keeper, Hawarden’s memories of a past in Vienna continually recur, with images of aristocrats, white-caped soldiers and duels.

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SOLO (197)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. Jean-Pierre Mocky directs and star in this twisted thriller. During an orgy with minor girls, some old and wealthy notables are being murdered by a small group of leftist young revolutionaries. Very soon the police are tracking down Virgile Cabral, the leader of the group. Meanwhile, Virgile's brother and only relative, Vincent, a violonist (and a thief), comes back to Paris. They have not seen each other for three years. Vincent does not believe in the revolution. He only tries to live as he wishes to live. But by looking for his hunted down brother, he has no other choice than to be involved in a fight which is not his.

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FALLING POINT (1970)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. Three men kidnap a young girl and keep her in a small house on an isolated beach, waiting for her father to pay up the ransom. But the youngest one, in charge of watching her, accidentally let the girl see his face and it becomes no longer possible to return her alive... A quite surprising crime flick. Atmospheric, almost silent with a very minimalist plot and stylish directing and cinematography. It could probably had been nothing more than another Johnny Hallyday vehicle but into the hands of director Robert Hossein, it turns into a dark, off the beaten track gem.

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THE GIRLS OF MALEMORT (1974)-In French with English subs. Monsieur Derose, his daughter Maxime, two maids, Ida and Clémence, and a handyman, Antoine, live in the castle of Malemort. Monsieur Derose is supposed to know the hiding place of a treasure and all are waiting him to reveal where it is... Don't really know in what category file that one. Exploitation is reductive but it's not really a horror movie neither. It's more an atmospheric fantasy flick, with very twisted characters and a very strange tonality.

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SERAIL (1976)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. I read about this film over 30 years ago in Cinefantastique and wanted to see it ever since! Directed by Eduardo de Gregorio and starring Olga Bulgier, Leslie Caron and marie France Pisier. Eric Sange, a young successful English crime novelist is seeking to buy a house in a French village. During a visit, he met the provocative Arianne, the businesswoman-like Agathe and Céleste, the mysterious housekeeper. Why are those three women claiming to live alone in the house? Once this first mystery uncovered, is it really the selling of a seraglio that's offered to the writer? A strange little obscure and surrealistic thriller, with half-demented characters and some very crude dialogue, directed by an Argentinean born director living in France. Don't expect too much action, this one is really all in the atmosphere, but is quite an interesting experience...

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THE SUSPECTS (1974)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. Candice Strasberg, a young American tourist, is found dead in the south of France. The possible culprits are many and the police investigates to discover what she's done during the five weeks she spent in France before to be murdered. Great French thriller starring Mimsy Farmer, Michel Bouguet, Michel Lonsdale, and Bruno Cremer.

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DEAD IS DEAD (1972)-In French with English subs, letterboxed print. Jean-Claude Brialy, Stephane Audran, Catherine Spaak, and Robert Hossein (who also directed). "In this French suspense drama, Paul (Jean-Claude Brialy) is a decent man in an ugly situation. His wife (Stephane Audran), who was crippled in their second year of marriage, has become a bitter and unpleasant virago. Though he keeps company with a lovely mistress (Catherine Spaak), the wife is still a considerable burden. When she dies in an automobile accident, he is relieved. That relief is short-lived, however, because his sister-in-law (Stephane Audran, again) comes to live with him immediately. For reasons of her own, she re-creates his wife's shrewish persona and even uses her wheelchair. At the same time, someone tries to blackmail him by suggesting that he killed his wife...

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THE NON-ENTITY (1986)-In French with English subs. Fanny Ardant, Daniel Autiel, Jeanne Moreau, Michel Piccoli, and Jeanne Yanne star and Michel Deville directs.  Four men, a journalist, a doctor, a professor and a merchant, meet up every evening in a deserted bar to play cards. One night the police arrive with the news that a dead body has been found nearby and the inspector in charge is sure that one of them did it. It is a whodunit, in an experimental vein. Plenty of krimi theory bandied about. What crossed my mind, however, was that it was more a meditation on gambling, that is until I discovered they were playing bridge. I thought - and don't hold me to this as a firm plotline - that gamblers need a certain ambivalence toward other players, that there is no "friendly game".  The four men around the card table have no names, nor do they seem at all bothered by the consequences of murder and conviction. Bridge, as far as I know IS a friendly game. Yes, I know, low stakes poker is pretty damned friendly!

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BARTLEBY (1976)-In French with English subs. Directed by actor Maurice Ronet and starring Michael Lonsdale and Dominique Zardi, based on a story by Herman Melville, this a creepy film. The narrator, an elderly Manhattan lawyer with a very comfortable business helping wealthy men deal with mortgages, deeds, and bonds, relates the story of the strangest man he has ever known At first, Bartleby appears to be a boon to the practice, as he produces a large volume of high-quality work. One day, though, when asked by the narrator to help proofread a copied document, Bartleby answers with what soon becomes his stock response: "I would prefer not to." To the dismay of the narrator and to the irritation of the other employees, Bartleby performs fewer and fewer tasks around the office. The narrator makes several attempts to reason with him and to learn something about him, but Bartleby offers nothing but his signature "I would prefer not to." One weekend the narrator stops by the office unexpectedly and discovers that Bartleby has started living there. The loneliness of Bartleby's life impresses him: at night and on Sundays, Wall Street is as desolate as a ghost town, and the window in Bartleby's corner allows him no view except that of a blank wall three feet away. The narrator's feelings for Bartleby alternate between pity and revulsion...

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IMMEDIATE ACTION (1957)-In French with English subs. Henri Vidal, Lino ventura, and Barbara Laage star in this Maurice labor euro-spy film. The blueprints of an airplane built from an ultra-secret metal are stolen from national security.  French secret service agent Walder believes that the documents are now in Switzerland, in the hands of a man named Lindbaum.  The latter agrees to hand over the blueprints in return for a large sum of money.  Another agent, Francis Coplan, is sent to Switzerland to handle the deal, but Lindbaum only has half of the documents because he was double-crossed by Kalpannen, an international crook.  With the help of Heidi, a Swiss correspondent, Coplan sets out to identify the members of Kalpannen’s gang, only to find that they have all been murdered...

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