Review: Magnet of Doom (France 1963)

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Moody crime film from Jean Pierre Melville? Sign me up. This is definitely one of his weaker efforts – the story about a unemployed boxer (Jean Paul Belmondo) bodyguarding a disgraced French baker on the run (Clouzot regular Charles Vanel – excellent as always) is fun, but often functions more as an American travelogue via car window.

I’m happy to see old footage of NYC, including a campaign procession for Morgenthau’s failed gubernatorial bid in ‘62 and marquees for West Side Story, Sinatra’s Hoboken birthplace, etc., but it’s not very visually distinguished. But lesser Melville is still Melville, and Belmondo is never less than charismatic.

By the way, Magnet of Doom is a bizarre title, when the actual French is closer to “The Older Ferchaux Brother” – the character played by Vanel.

 

 

 

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