Sog.: dall’omonimo romanzo di Albert Simonin. Scen.: Jacques Becker, Maurice Griffe, Albert Simonin. F.: Pierre Montazel. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: Jean d’Eaubonne. Mus.: Jean Wiener. Int.: Jean Gabin (Max), René Dary (Riton), Jeanne Moreau (Josy), Angelo Borrini [Lino Ventura] (Angelo), Dora Doll (Lola), Paul Frankeur (Pierrot), Vittorio Sanipoli (Ramon), Marylin Buferd (Betty), Gaby Basset (Marinette), Daniel Cauchy (Fifi), Delia Scala (Huguette). Prod.: Robert Dorfmann per Del Duca Films, Antarès Films. DCP. D.: 96’. Bn.
The producer Del Duca had Jean Gabin, whose career had stagnated after the war, under contract. It was the success of this film which relaunched his career. The actor got on well with Becker, whom he had known ever since Renoir’s Les Bas-fonds. He was the one to suggest hiring both René Dary and his first wife, Gaby Basset, the latter in the emotive role of the former’s partner. Jeanne Moreau had already appeared in numerous films, while Lino Ventura made his film debut under his real name of Angelo Borrini.
The real subject of Grisbi is growing old and friendship. […] Simonin is forty-nine, Becker forty-eight: Grisbi is a film about being in your fifties. At the end of the film Max – like Becker – puts on his spectacles ‘to read’. […] The beauty of the Grisbi characters, even more than those in Casque d’Or, comes from their muteness, the economy of their gestures. They only speak or act to say or do the essential. Like Monsieur Teste, Becker kills the puppet in them. These killers become no more than tom-cats facing one another. I see Grisbi as a kind of settling of scores between big cats – but high-class cats – tired and, if I dare say it, used up.
François Truffaut, Les Truands sont fatigués, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 34, April 1954; transl. in Jim Hillier (ed.), “Cahiers du cinéma”. The 1950s: Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1985