Welcome to Project 77, a series in which we will examine some of our favorite films by breaking them down and analyzing what we see every 77 seconds on screen.
First up, Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1967 French Noir Masterpiece, Le Samourai.
Le Samourai: 00:07:42
For all the stars of cinema it’s the million ragged faces filling the frames who flesh out the world of these stories. Some of those faces find a way to achieve fame, like Henry Silva and Charles Bronson, but most just end up guys you see here and there who mug it up a few uncredited moments at a time.
For this second of the film we’ve frozen on a frame with the garage mechanic who Costello has employed to change the license plates on the stolen car. Like the key ring scene a few moments ago, this is another example of the audience being led behind the curtain of the criminal underworld.
This is a very famous scene for what takes place, but I doubt many people paid any mind to the person actually changing the license plates. That person is Andre Salgues, a friend of Melville’s who previously portrayed a safecracker in his earlier film, Bob le Flambeur.
Salgues took the part as a favor for his old friend despite being very ill at the time. He passed away just before the film was completed.