Rialto enlists in helmer's 'Army'

As John Woo preps a remake of Jean-Pierre Melville’s “Le Cercle rouge” (The Red Circle) for Paramount, the late Gallic helmer of crime classics is finally getting a Stateside release for his WWII pic “Army of Shadows,” 36 years after it was made.

Rialto Pictures, the indie distrib specializing in reissues, has picked up rights to Melville’s feature and will roll out a restored version, as overseen by “Army” cinematographer Pierre Lhomme, in Gotham and Los Angeles in April.

Lhomme most recently shot James Ivory’s “Le Divorce.”

New version of the pic, which stars Lino Ventura as a member of the French Resistance who escapes Gestapo headquarters and returns to Marseilles, also features a new translation and subtitles.

Pic is based on a novel by Joseph Kessel (“Belle de Jour”) and draws on the wartime experiences of Kessel and Melville, who were members of the Resistance.

Simone Signoret, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann and Christian Barbier also star.

Melville spent 25 years on the passion project, which he followed up with 1970’s “Le Cercle rouge” before his death in 1973.

Rialto has also rolled out restored versions of “Cercle,” as well as “Bob le flambeur,” which Neil Jordan remade as “The Good Thief” in 2002.

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