I've been curious about the films of Jean-Pierre Melville. Earlier I've only seen Le Samourai, which I liked quite well. I just got a box of six of his films, from Bob le Flambeur, 1956, to Un Flic, 1972. I've now seen Bob le Flambeur, and it has some charm, but something is lost in moving the film noir genre from America to France. The robbers in this film seem to be doing pretty good. You're not quite sure why they actually pull a heist. They haven't fallen though the cracks of the American dream, like the characters in The Asphalt Jungle or The Killing. They don't have the same desperation on their faces.
Seen today the best part of the film is probably the images of Paris in the fifties. It seems to be something that Melville was interested in showing. He's taking his time introducing the characters and the streets of Pigalle. To dress Bob in a fedora and trenchcoat in these scenes underline that it's a French director playing with an American iconography. Still, it's an interesting film.
Next up is Léon Moran, Prêtre and Le Doulos, both starring Jean-Paul Belmondo.