Francois Truffaut's second film [from the novel Down There by David Goodis] is done with the same freewheeling, inventive quality as his 400 Blows. But with adult heroes, the plot is less clear and has a tendency to skirt its theme. Story line, too, goes off in too many directions and moods.

Francois Truffaut’s second film [from the novel Down There by David Goodis] is done with the same freewheeling, inventive quality as his 400 Blows. But with adult heroes, the plot is less clear and has a tendency to skirt its theme. Story line, too, goes off in too many directions and moods.

Charlie (Charles Aznavour) is a pianist in a little bar. The waitress, who loves him, reveals she knows he was once a noted concert pianist before his inability to forgive his wife, who had had an affair with his sleazy impresario. He is content to play in the bar until his brother brings in two gangsters whom he has doublecrossed.

The gangsters take out after Charlie and eventually slay the waitress. Charlie also inadvertently kills his boss in self-defense. He goes back to his piano and a new serving girl after it is all over.

Truffaut leaves too much that is not clear as he concentrates on individual scenes. Using a CinemaScope-like process, Dyaliscope, he still manages to give this a terse quality in keeping with the hero’s own prison he has created within himself. But the meandering script only intermittently makes its point. Aznavour is excellent as the pianist.

Tirez Sur le Pianiste

France

Production

Pleiade. Director Francois Truffaut; Screenplay Francois Truffaut, Marcel Moussy; Camera Raoul Coutard; Editor Claudine Bouche; Music Jean Constantin; Art Director Jacques Mely

Crew

(B&W) Widescreen. Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1960. Running time: 80 MIN.

With

Charles Aznavour Nicole Berger Marie Dubois Michele Mercier Albert Remy Claude Mansard

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