JESS FRANCO MONTH: Rififí en la ciudad (1963)

EDITOR’S NOTE: You can read another take on this film here.

Based on the Charles Exbrayat novel Vous souvenez vous de Paco, this is all about everyone in the orbit of a corrupt politician named Maurice Leprince (Jean Servais), those who want to protect him and those who seek to stop him. This is Franco’s homage to noir, with an aquarium scene that references The Lady from Shanghai as well as tips of the cap to other noir classics.

Juan (Serafin Garcia Vazquez) has learned that Leprince runs the crime in the city and is killed. His handler Mora (Fernando Fernan Gomez) goes after the criminal but is dumped in the river. He quits the force so that he can use whatever force he needs to get revenge. I mean, you throw someone through a good cop’s window and this is what happens.

There’s also a female killer — a Franco Cinematic Universe favorite — who is killing all of Leprince’s men to get revenge for Juan and wants him in her sights before it’s all over.

Franco as always struggles with action scenes but when it comes to capturing a city in the shadows and the smoke-filled jazz cabarets within, he proves to be a genius.

A year after making this, Franco would be Welles’ assistant on Chimes at Midnight.

You can buy this from Severin or watch this on Tubi.

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