Monday, June 29, 2009

THE SICILIAN CLAN (1969) - Henri Verneuil

In anticipation of this week's upcoming Michael Mann bank robber epic Public Enemies, I squeezed in a few old heist pics. Here's the quick in and out...

The Sicilian Clan feels like a long lost Jean-Pierre Melville flick, but a little less ice-cold, a little more lurid in its plot details and still a whole mess of fun. It's got a few of Melville's staple crew -- the always fantastic Alain Delon, basically the French Brad Pitt, a face-man who you're always a little surprised can actually, like, act and Army of Shadows lead Lino Ventura. It's also got a nifty mid-air jetliner hijack/heist that calls to mind the tense train sequence in Le Cercle Rouge.

Delon plays a convicted master criminal who strikes a deal with the Sicilian mob to bust him out en route during a routine prison transfer (drilling through the floor of an armored vehicle -- nifty though far-fetched) in exchange for giving mob boss Jean Gabin the specs on cache of jewels coming through town. The only problem is, unlike the cold-blooded Jeff in Le Samourai, Delon can't keep it in his pants and gives the boss's wife a roll in the sand. There's also haggard Parisian police chief Ventura to deal with as well as a particularly hard to kill eel.

This one's highly recommended, especially for Melville/heist fans.

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