Le doulos

The backstabbing criminals in the shadowy underworld of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le doulos have only one guiding principle: “Lie or die.” A stone-faced Jean-Paul Belmondo stars as enigmatic gangster Silien, who may or may not be responsible for squealing on Faugel (Serge Reggiani), just released from the slammer and already involved in what should have been a simple heist. By the end of this brutal, twisting, and multilayered policier, who will be left to trust? Shot and edited with Melville’s trademark cool and featuring masterfully stylized dialogue and performances, Le doulos (slang for "informant") is one of the filmmaker’s most gripping crime dramas.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
  • Video interviews with directors Volker Schlöndorff and Bertrand Tavernier, who served as assistant director and publicity agent, respectively, on the film
  • Archival interviews with Melville and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny

New cover by Steve Chow

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Selected-scene audio commentary by film scholar Ginette Vincendeau, author of Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris
  • Video interviews with directors Volker Schlöndorff and Bertrand Tavernier, who served as assistant director and publicity agent, respectively, on the film
  • Archival interviews with Melville and actors Jean-Paul Belmondo and Serge Reggiani
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved subtitle translation
  • PLUS: A new essay by film critic Glenn Kenny

New cover by Steve Chow

Le doulos
Cast
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Silien
Serge Reggiani
Maurice Faugel
Monique Hennessy
Thérese
Jean Desailly
Superintendant Clain
René Lefèvre
Gilbert Varnove
Phillippe March
Jean
Credits
Director
Jean-Pierre Melville
Screenplay
Jean-Pierre Melville
From the novel by
Pierre Lesou
Cinematography
Nicolas Hayer
Music
Paul Misraki
Editing
Monique Bonnot
Production design
Daniel Guéret

From The Current

Alison Maclean’s Top 10

Canadian-born director Alison Maclean’s films include Jesus’ Son (1999) and the newly released The Rehearsal, an official selection of Toronto International Film Festival and New York Film Festival.


Jul 7, 2017
From the Melville Archives
From the Melville Archives

On the ninety-ninth anniversary of Jean-Pierre Melville’s birth, we’ve gathered a selection of essays, photos, and videos that showcase the best of the iconic director’s varied oeuvre.

On Film / Short Takes
Oct 20, 2016
Bill Hader’s Top 10

In compiling his top ten Criterion editions, Hader says, “I couldn’t pick ten . . . sorry. So I programmed Criterion double features, which is what I tend to do on Sunday nights anyway.”


Mar 17, 2011
Le doulos: Walking Ghosts
Le doulos: Walking Ghosts

It is pretty much a convention of the hard-boiled gangster picture that most, if not all, of the principal characters wind up dead by the final shot. So it ought not constitute a “spoiler” to note that Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le doulos hews to t

By Glenn Kenny

On Film / Essays — Oct 6, 2008

Explore

Jean-Pierre Melville

Writer, Director

Though remembered now primarily for his intense, spare 1960s gangster films, French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville had a startlingly varied career, encompassing wartime dramas, psychosexual character studies, and a collaboration with Jean Cocteau. Jean-Pierre Grumbach (he would eventually change his name to Melville to honor the American author of Moby Dick) fought during World War II, first in the French army and then in the Resistance; those experiences would often inspire his work to come. After the war ended, he pursued his love of film with dogged obsession. Though a lover of classical studio directors (William Wyler and John Huston among them), Melville worked mostly independently, even building his own studio. It was this fierce do-it-yourself attitude, and such startling, uncompromising films as Les enfants terribles and Bob le flambeur, that appealed to the filmmakers of the French New Wave, who adopted Melville as a godfather of sorts (Godard even famously gave him a cameo in Breathless). During the New Wave, however, Melville went his own way, making highly idiosyncratic crime films—classically mounted if daringly existential—that were beholden to no trend, including Le doulos, Le deuxième soufflé, and Le samouraï. His most personal movie was Army of Shadows, which, though misunderstood upon its initial French release in 1969, is now widely considered a masterpiece. Melville died of a heart attack in 1973 at the age of fifty-five.