The French New Wave was just breaking when director Jacques Deray (The Outside Man, La Piscine) made his feature debut (with Le Gigolo) in 1960. Deray, however, quickly charted a more commercial course for himself. While making movies that the French public actually goes to see isn’t a crime, Deray, who specialized in thrillers and policiers, paid for his popularity by being tagged as Jean-Pierre Melville–lite. The occasion of Kino’s Alain Delon Collection allows for something of a reassessment, with its inclusion of two Delon-produced, Deray-directed films: Borsalino & Co. (1974) and Flic Story (1975). Friends and partners, Delon and Deray made nine films together, and these two suggest the range of their collaboration. Where Melville matched Delon’s blank beauty to a minimalist, zero-degree style, Deray takes the opposite tack in Borsalino & Co., a follow-up to Deray’s Borsalino (1970), which had teamed Delon with Jean-Paul Belmondo as thick-as-thieves mobsters in 1930s Marseille. The sequel opens after Belmondo’s assassination, with Delon’s natty gangster, Roch Siffredi, engaged in a bloody war against a gang of Fascist-backed Italian hoods. Deray bathes Delon in diffused light and period deco opulence, a romantic gleam that doesn’t fade even when the tide turns and Siffredi has to fight his way back from the madhouse. No such gleam softens the hard edges of Flic Story, a gritty cat-and-mouse pursuit that pits Delon’s Paris detective, Roger Borniche, against Jean-Louis Trintignant’s escaped sociopath. Based on a true story and set in 1947, Flic Story captures the tensions and ambiguities of a society still trying to right itself from the Occupation, when heroes were criminals and betrayal was the order of the day. Borsalino & Co. and Flic Story both deploy genre trappings to replay the experience of the Resistance, a theme that returns throughout Melville’s oeuvre, too. Only Deray took it to the bank. The Alain Delon Collection also includes José Giovanni’s Two Men in Town (1973).
Other recommended new releases: The Astaire & Rogers Collection: The Barkleys
of Broadway, Follow the Fleet, Shall We Dance, Swing Time, Top Hat.
The Deal, Sin City, The Wedding Date.
DVD: ABBA: The Movie; Alien Planet; ’Allo ’Allo!: The Complete Series Three;
The Andy Griffith Show: The Complete Third Season; The Ballad of Jack and Rose;
Brown Bunny; Dave Chappelle’s For What It’s Worth; The Dick Cavett Show: Rock
Icons; Epics of the Old Testament Collection: Great Leaders, Joseph and His Brethren,
Saul and David, Jacob, the Man Who Fought God; Girl Play; The Glass Shield: Special
Edition; Harley-Davidson: The Spirit of America; Hazlo por Mí (Do It for Me);
I Got Five on It; I Love Lucy: The Complete Fifth Season; Jamboree; Lazytown:
New Superhero; Little Britain: The Complete First Series; The Mambo Kings; My
Left Foot: Special Edition; My Neighbors the Yamadas; The Office: Season One;
Phil of the Future: Gadgets & Gizmos; Pom Poko; Saved by the Bell: The New Class:
Season 4; Shall We Dance; The Simpsons: The Complete Sixth Season; That’s So Raven:
Disguise the Limit; Walt Disney’s Timeless Tales (Vols. 1 & 2).

LA Weekly