Bob The Gambler is derived from American film noir, but Melville infuses the genre with French themes and social norms. The film utilizes a number of small camera capabilities, like weird angles and quick, swish pans. The film also features an early example of a "lost girl," the French variation on the femme fatale.
See sources of Cosmo Vitelli, Marty S., and many others. I love the artist who loves films or novels so much that he insists he joins and becomes part of that world - like Herzog, JC, QT. In regards to writing the mystery/thriller: the only mystery is the intentions of others; the only Thriller is the acting on one's own forecast of the future. Endless possibilities w/ these two elements for those interested.
It's been a while since I've seen this film. Most of it is fairly straightforward and even breezy at times. You can feel the spirit of the Nouvelle Vague vaguely surrounding the film, especially in some of the camera work and editing. Bob is a very charming character. The ending is my favorite type of ending. It's known as the "Greatest Heist Film Ever Made", a title that only truly makes sense once you've seen it.
A very well made heist film which focuses mostly on the planning of the heist and very little on the execution. The exploration of Bob the Gambler's character and how he relates to the criminals, dames, and cops in his life is fascinating and proceeds with careful slow development.
It's clear to see how this influenced directors like Godard and Truffaut (among others). Like an Italian Neorealist, Melville captures the dark streets of Montmarte, setting up a cool underworld atmosphere. The music carries the viewer. The quick cutting heightens tension. But, the dialogue is the best part, quick and sharp. An interesting blend of the classical and the unpolished like the New Wavers used later on.
A portrait of a time that no longer exists, a time that was both romantic and melancholy. Bob le flambeur is a comedy of manners and a tragedy with a light touch disguised as a noir. It's Montmarte at night, all the neon signs and bars. Above all you have to surrender to the film, let the music flow through your veins. It isn't always perfect, but it's that lack of perfection that makes it so amazing.
What a film. Beautifully shot. Smoothly edited. and well directed with a sophistication that we rarely see anymore, BOB LE FLAMBEUR, rocks. The film is not your usual heist film, that label somehow cheapens it, it is far more than a "Heist Film." The complexities that exist between the characters is just wonderful. It was my introduction to Jean-Pierre Melville and it left a big impression. Criterion has it. See it.