Aging hoods Max le Menteur (Jean Gabin) and Riton (René Dary) are sitting pretty after pulling off the heist of a lifetime—50 million francs in gold bullion snatched at Orly airport. For Max, this grisbi (loot) will ensure him a cushy retirement; for Riton, it will help him hold onto his two-faced girlfriend Josy (Jeanne Moreau, in one of her earliest film appearances) who, along with Max’s moll Lola, is appearing in a new floor show at the nightclub of their long-time underworld buddy, Pierrot (nicknamed “Fats”). But Max and Riton have another thing coming. Riton has stupidly gone and boasted to Josy about the score, which Max has stashed away in a car locked up in his building’s parking garage. Josy passes the news on to Angelo (Lino Ventura, in his film debut), a young drug dealer whom Max discovers making out with Josy in her dressing room. And before Max and Riton can realize Angelo’s game, it’s too late. Made after his classic Belle Epoque romantic drama Casque d’or and before his great prison-escape picture Le Trou, director Jacques Becker’s brilliantly crafted, surprisingly poignant crime drama features Gabin in a tremendous performance that helped relaunch his sagging career and won him the Best Actor award at the 1954 Venice Film Festival.
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