It took an experienced US director, Jules Dassin, who has lived in France some years, to give the French gangster pic the proper tension, mounting and treatment. This pic has something intrinsically Gallic without sacrificing the rugged storytelling.
Just out of jail, the hero (Jean Servais) finds his wife living with somebody else and it prompts him to return to his old racket. A big heist of a jewelry store is planned. Then there is one brilliant bit of cinema, 30 minutes of complete silence as the gang cuts its way into the shop and carries out its mission.
Dassin gives this a sharp treatment and does not neglect the Paris streets and atmosphere. Servais has the authority, under a facade of weariness, as Tony, and the remainder of the gang is well etched, with Dassin himself turning in a telling bit as Cesar, whose love for femmes gives the whole thing away. Editing is first-rate as is Philippe Agostini’s lensing. This is Dassin’s first pic in five years.