Les Hommes


Les Hommes is the debut effort from Daniel Vigne who, 10 years later, found success with the medieval tale The Return of Martin Guerre. Les Hommes can easily fall into the unofficial subgenre of crime films set in Marseille along several major hits taking place in this French harbor, from Jean-pierre Melville’s Le Deuxième Souffle to William Friedkin’s French Connection – and John Frankenheimer’s sequel –, Jacques Deray’s Borsalino and Borsalino & co, Robert Parrish’s Marseille Contract as well as José Giovanni’s La Scoumoune; and if you wonder why so many gangster films are set in Marseille, this is because France’s second biggest city – where incidentally yours truly was born and raised – was for a while ran by the Mafia and a hub for drugs transiting around the world.

Mr. Vignes’ film has actually a lot in common with all these movies, besides its location, as its lead actor, the tough giant Michel Constantin, was also in Le Deuxième Souffle and La Scoumoune while supporting actor Marcel Bozuffi was in both French Connection and Marseille Contract.

Les Hommes is your typical, straightforward, gangster film, featuring plenty of mafiosos, gunfights, trafficking, betrayals, vengeance and strong friendship values. What you won’t see much of though are women – the title means men after all – and cops, which certainly makes it a macho work, a film made by men for men; so don’t expect much talks about feelings!

While this is a minor film compared to the classy Le Deuxième Souffle, gritty French Connection and glamorous Borsalino, it is a nervous, linear work that knows how to deliver thrills. Mr. Constantin who can usually be seen in supporting roles carries the film on his large shoulders, offering a phlegmatic performance in the role of a man who keeps moving forward despite knowing that fate will catch up sooner than later. A little-know film, even in France, Les Hommes should satisfy fans of old-fashioned crime films and Francophile cinephiles alike.

Director: Daniel Vigne – Actors: Michel Constantin,  Marcel Bozzuffi – Running Time: 1:40 – Year: 1972 – Country: France

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Fred Thom

Fred Thom

Editor-in-Chief/Founder/Film Critic at Plume Noire
The founder and editor-in-chief of Plume Noire, Fred Thom covers film festivals and writes movie reviews. He was born in Marseilles, France and is now living in Los Angeles, California.