Tuesday, 8 April 2008

LE CLAN DES SICILIANS/The Sicilian Clan (1973)

I have a real weakness for French gangster films, particularly those directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, and this film stars three of the premier icons of the genre – Jean Gabin, Alain Delon and Lino Ventura. Sadly, though, this film is not directed by Melville but, rather, by Turkish/Armenian director Henri Verneuil. Delon plays a career criminal who is arrested after killing two policemen. He is spring from custody (the best sequence in the film) by a Sicilian crime family who, in return use him in a big international caper. Except for the aforesaid break from custody this film is pretty slackly directed and played. Delon, as usual, does little to play for audience empathy – something that can be turned to advantage by the right director. The leader of the Sicilian family is played with quiet authority but little else by the great Jean Gabin who only really seems to be really interested in the proceedings in his two short scenes with Lino Ventura as the cop in pursuit. The final confrontation between Delon and Gabin is well staged and almost worth sitting through the rather dull proceeding scenes. Rating **

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