Gabin is Charles, an aging career criminal who’s had it with bourgeois propriety and decides to have a second go at robbing the grand casino in Cannes – he’s already done a prison stretch for a first failed attempt. He plots the caper, down to the last tiny detail, with his old cellmate, the much younger and less experienced Francis. In the grand tradition of Rififi and Bob le Flambeur, Mélodie en sous-sol is one tough, vastly entertaining movie, with the weathered Gabin and the beautiful young Alain Delon at the peaks of their respective forms. —Film Society of Lincoln Center
Director Henri Verneuil was born Achod Malakian of Armenian parentage on October 15, 1920, in Rodosto, Turkey, and his family fled to France and settled in Marseilles when he was a young child. He later recounted his childhood experience in the novel Mayrig, which he dedicated to his mother and made into a 1991 film with the same name, which was followed by a sequel, 588 Rue Paradis, the following year.
Verneuil enrolled in 1943 at the Ecole Navale des Arts et Métiers at Aix-en-Provence, where he studied engineering. He then pursued a career in journalism, working as the editor-in-chief of the magazine Horizon in 1944-1946 and as a film critic for a Marseilles radio station. In 1947, he had an idea for a short film set in Marseilles and proposed it to the famous comedian Fernandel. The comic liked it, and thus began a long-lasting partnership which produced such popular film hits as Forbidden Fruit, The Sheep Has Five Legs, and The Cow and I read more