Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Tirez Sur Le Pianiste
France, 1960. Les Films de la Pléiade. Adaptation by Francois Truffaut, Marcel Moussy, dialogue by Francois Truffaut, based on the novel Down There by David Goodis. Cinematography by Raoul Coutard. Produced by Pierre Braunberger. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Jacques Mely. Film Editing by Claudine Bouche, Cecile Decugis.
Francois Truffaut enlisted the star quality of singer-pianist-actor Charles Aznavour for his second feature, a free and easy riff that sits comfortably between his two much more emotionally inspiring masterpieces The 400 Blows and Jules And Jim. Aznavour plays a jaded dance hall pianist who has escaped into obscurity after the tragic end of his marriage years earlier while he was a famous concert pianist. His brother bursts into his place of work one night on the run from gangsters and begs Aznavour’s help, which he gives without realizing what he’s getting into. Soon our depressed hero’s girlfriend and little brother are in danger as he tries to outwit the bad guys and save his loved ones. Truffaut’s exceptional skill as director is on full display here, but the story doesn’t resonate as much as many of his other films do. He’s better off examining relationships and leaving the gangster stuff to Melville.