Breathless didn't spring fully formed from Godard—it gestated here, in freewheeling gangster flicks that could make an academic cinephile like JLG want to prove that all these tropes were loaded with existential import. As for Melville, he's a proud entertainer. Why does Bob go on, when so much cries "stop!"? Maybe it's just money, maybe Melville needs a plot. Or maybe it's a metaphor for a human condition after all.