Classe Tous Risques: Criteron

January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Abel Davos (Lino Ventura) was involved in organized crime for most of his life, until he forced to go on the run and leave his life behind. For over a decade, he has been lying low in Milan, but now he plans to return to his native France. Of course, the police haven’t forgotten about him and if he is captured, a death sentence is automatic. At his side is his appointed guardian Eric Stark (Jean- Paul Belmondo), but as he soon learns, things have changed since he left. The men who were once his trusted friends have turned on him, willing to stab him in the back to serve their own needs. But Davos is a violent man who takes action without hesitation, which sparks a downward spiral. As he continues to descent into violence and danger, will he ever be able to escape or will his lifestyle consume him?

This is indeed a gangster movie, but is also a French gangster movie, so don’t expect Goodfellas. The content here is brutal and violent at times, but there isn’t the same kind of polish and glamour usually seen in mobster movies. No real flash or style to the violence, just quick and lethal. This might not evoke the same kind of reaction, but it adds realism and does evoke a reaction, just more of a gut reaction. The atmosphere is tense and ratchets up over time, so this is more of a thriller, not a standard drama. I found the performances to be good across the board, but lead Lino Ventura really stands out as impressive. As good as the movie is, it is undone by the conclusion. I won’t spoil the end of Classes Tous Risques, but suffice it to say it is one of the more disappointing finishes and the movie deserved better. Even so, the movie is solid on the whole and in this superb Criterion release, Classes Tous Risques is recommended

Video: How does it look?

Classes Tous Risques is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a great looking transfer, thanks to Criterion’s digital restoration efforts. The print still has some rough spots, but looks quite clean and allows the visuals to shine through. The image has good detail levels, as sharpness is good and softness isn’t common. The contrast is stark, which is crucial, since this is a black & white film. So in the end, another top notch transfer from Criterion.

Audio: How does it sound?

This mono soundtrack retains the original French soundtrack and while basic, sounds fine. A few signs of wear are evident, but for the most part, the audio is solid. The elements do sound thin at times, but that is expected since this is a 1960 mono soundtrack, after all. The vocals sound clear and free from distortion, while the music and sound effects are good as a vintage mono option allows for. This disc also includes optional English subtitles.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The extras kick off with excerpts from a 2003 documentary on director Claude Sautet, which offer some good insights and are worth a look. I’m sure fans of the filmmaker would have loved to have the complete documentary included, but what we do have is quite solid. This disc also includes some interviews, as well as the film’s French and U.S. theatrical trailers.

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