Upon reading the press release for this forgotten classic I’m surprised that I’d never heard of it because it hits all my usual areas of intrigue.
Film Noir (can’t go wrong)
French New Wave
When you hit all that – MIND = Blown. If you’ve never been exposed to Melville please go out and buy Le Samourai. Le Samourai is one of the most influential films ever made, basically any movie you have ever seen that has a bad-ass assassin in it had taken its keys from Le Samourai (Leon: The Professional, Drive, Ghost Dog: ). Hey film geeks Jean Pierre Melville is the most influential director that you have never heard of, and somehow i glanced past his film noir (not Le Cercel Rouge). Time to take it in.
But first a synopsis…
In Two Men in Manhattan, Melville plays a journalist named Moreau who is assigned to find out why a French diplomat named Fèvre-Berthier was absent from a United Nations council meeting. With his photographer friend Delmas, Moreau suspects a female lover might be involved and follows clues from woman to woman in the night of New York City, a place that never sleeps. There also seems to be a car following Moreau and Delma
Not my favorite Melville film.
Sorry folks, but this is still a solid flick (so there was a reason that I’d never heard of this one). It is a combination of American film Noir and the budding French New Wave movement. It is much more a French New Wave than anything here. Some of it meanders about but there are parts that are really cool as well. The acting is all quite fun as Melville channels Peter Lorie a bit and Grasset just crushes his role completely.
What really grinds my gears here was that the cinematography is more or less there, despite the fact that the compositions couldn’t be blander. Had it been some unknown director who was behind this project, I’d just brush it off as the mediocrity it is. The fact that it isn’t really bad, it almost feels like a stab in the back from Melville. He had everything he needed, but decided to go put this film on autopilot.
To the Blu-Ray goes the spoils.
I was very impressed with the video and audio quality included on this release due to the age of the picture (again kudos to Cohen Media, I feel like I’m saying this more and more). The special feature is also quite nice and gives an insightful look at the film.
While it is my least favorite Melville film, it’s still quite good (however I still do have a few to watch). Hopefully this blu-ray will expose people to the genius that is Melville and show his films to a generation that has forgotten him in the shuffle of Truffaut and Goddard.
Final Thought: PLEASE RELEASE LE SAMOURAI ON BLU-RAY.
Review by Bro “B” – Ben
We received a copy of this blu-ray for our review. All opinions are our own
Two Men in Manhattan [Blu-ray] is available on Amazon.com.