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Criterion Collection: Le Samourai [DVD] [1971] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.6 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Rent Le Samourai on DVD from LOVEFiLM By Post
Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AQKUG8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,600 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Things suddenly go badly for a successful French assassin.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
If you got the excellent Optimum Melville box set you will know that Le Samourai was conspicuously absent. I don't think it's ever been officially released in UK - which is odd given that it is Melville's most famous film (there must be licensing / distribution issues). But have no fear - this Korean edition currently available on Amazon at a reasonable price is perfectly ok - in French with good optional English (or Korean) subtitles & region 2 (it played fine on my fairly basic dvd player). It actually seems to be the American Criterion edition repackaged for the Korean market, so there are also some extras including an intro from Ginette Vincendeau speaking to camera in English. Great film of course.
Note: There may be other editions from other regions floating about now and in the future - this review is for the Korean edition puchased on Amazon June 2013.
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By Tim Kidner TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 July 2012
Format: DVD
The Moodiness is provided by the surly handsomeness of Alain Delon, here, as the Assassin. His trench-coat and hat, his piercing gaze and stylised posturing make him Mean. And the steady, majestic film-noir feel of Jean Pierre Melville's direction, with its muted colours, show a mellow, underside of Paris.

As Jef Costello, Delon carries out his deed in a jazz nightclub, but there are witnesses. He is subsequently picked up by the police and everything links him to the murder, except none of those called to bear witness do so and a false alibi from the lovely femme fatale, Jane, who it seems was played by Delon's wife, as her character is accredited to Nathalie Delon and according to IMDb have had a son, Anthony.

As we subtly learn, the witnesses in the Club are all in on the crime but of course, an assassin that might expose those who commissioned it, by being no. 1 suspect, are susceptible to a taste of their own medicine, shall we say? I'll leave the plot there, as it's enough for one to imagine the storylines linking them without giving anything away.

But, it's the cool complexity and smoothness of the direction, that's a textbook study of the routine police-work, which becomes riveting, in itself. Every frame counts, the angles, the backgrounds - not so much that it gets all too much or is flashy and never upstages the coolest hit-man since Humphrey Bogart. With the looks that even Paul Newman might envy, Delon eschews a steely fragility, he doesn't show it, but we sense it's there, at times. That's the quality of the acting for you.

The music, in particular, has that haunting, 'man alone' sort of theme, by Francois de Roubaix. Very Gallic, very French - the music makes you more intent and fits perfectly.

Now, to the Korean DVD.
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Format: DVD
One of my top ten favourite films of all time - the film looks wonderful and Alain Delon as the lone hired killer has got to be one of the few times in any film where you feel any sympathy for him at the end. Paris in 1967 is beautifully invoked in light greys and greens, a perfect film in as the acting, photography and direction couldn't have been better.
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Format: DVD
Le Samourai is the ultimate in Jean Pierre Melville's essays on the gangster and his image, portraying a gun for hire-style assasin excellently played by the effortlessly cool Alain Delon. Every element of the film is near-perfect: the sparse, minimal style, the fantastic visuals - playing with stereotypical images of costumes, settings, Henri Decae's stunning cinematography, an awesome jazz score from Francois de Roubaix and an engaging noir-ish plot co-written by Melville. This film by one of France's ultimate auteurs is a clever and complex masterpiece.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
With this 1967 noir masterpiece, Jean-Pierre Melville dispensed with many of the established traits of past noirs and instead cast the ultra-cool Alain Delon as the loner hit-man 'detached from humanity’, Jef Costello, in what is a slow-moving, subtle, frequently airy and light (visually), mood-piece. It is difficult to imagine anyone else playing the central part quite like Delon, whose robotic stare and sense of remoteness transfixes us throughout, in a manner quite unlike other noir anti-heroes. Indeed, Melville’s brilliant opening set-up, as Jef first lazes abed, before ritualistically (and silently) 'kitting himself out’ with raincoat (‘collar up’), ‘razor-sharp’ hat brim and cigarette, is more redolent of the likes of Leone, Il Conformista or (even) Antonioni, than conventional hard-bitten noir. In addition to the (often) New Wave-like cinematography of Henri Decae (long-takes, mixed with hand-held footage of a bustling Paris), François de Roubaix’s jazzy score rounds off Le Samurai’s distinctly more modern(60s), European feel.

The other major feature of Melville’s tale, which is a key element in how Le Samurai creates its pervading sense of slow-build tension, is the film-maker’s forensic approach to criminal detection (in this respect calling to my mind Fritz Lang’s M). As Jef, following his initial 'hit’, finds himself being pursued both by François Périer’s calm, world-weary, ironic cop, and his anonymous employers, Melville deconstructs the detective’s 'art’, whether it be the extended (and brilliant) identity line-up scene, the meticulous installation of surveillance equipment in the assassin’s flat (shades of The Conversation here) or the equally impressive 'Metro tracking’ sequence.
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