Friday, April 2, 2021

New Year, New Movie: Razzia sur la chnouf (1955)

Today, I started watching Journeys Through French Cinema with director, Bertrand Tavernier. In the first episode, he discusses the works of Jean Gremillon, Max Ophüls and Henri Decoin. That did not make it any easier for me to decide what to choose to watch this evening. I finally decided on Decoin's Razzia sur la chnouf (Raid on Drugs), a movie I pulled from the shelf to watch back in February that features Jean Gabin, one of my favorite French actors, who is the master at playing it cool. 

The Gist

Henri from Nantes has been recruited to help improve drug distribution in Paris after running an efficient operation the US. Business begins to improve under his direction, but the police are closing in on operations. In the end, Henri proves how ruthless he can be. 

Memorable Moments


This is an interesting movie to see involving drug distribution and use in the 1950s, especially because it's not the sort of thing you'd see in American films during the period. The ending comes as quite a surprise, considering all that precedes it. If this is your first time seeing Jean Gabin, then you may not understand how his seducing a twenty something girl would seem plausible. I first saw him in Port of Shadows and enjoyed his performance, but it took seeing him in a few other movies for him to really grow on me. He elevates any movie with his presence.