Le Trou/A-,A-
Criterion/1960/131/ANA 1.66/BW

    An outstanding prison escape procedural,. Le Trou is filmed with stunning determination. The sounds of the prison, cell doors bolting, footsteps on the concrete floors, the pounding metal against concrete, echo throughout the film, layering the tension with cold reality. There is no music. 
    The final film of French director Jacques Becker, Le Trou is a tribute to his skill and determination to tell a story with the simplicity of unadorned force. Almost documentary-like in its style, the film still retains a polished beauty. A fit closing to a fine career.

A new mate joins the workforce. İCriterion

    Prison construction necessitates Claude Gaspard's transfer to a new cell block. A fifth man added to the already tight quarters is not initially enthralling to the cell mates, but they embrace Gaspard with some trepidation. Gaspard's incarceration isn't quite in synch with the other four, but they have no choice but to include him in their plans for an escape.
    The meticulous escape process, more brute force than intellectual, drives the film relentlessly. You can feel the sweat dripping off the celluloid. Cat and mouse elements are sustained for maximum tension. Director Becker maintains an even pace that builds with each strike of metal against concrete.
     The cast is uniformly outstanding. Many of the actors are first-time performers, but they are never less than natural. Sometimes there's an interesting self-consciousness about the way they are shot. You can't put your finger on what it is about the close-up, what's going through the mind of the actor, but it is always interesting. Jean Kaurady as Roland means business. When he sweats, it's real sweat. Raymond Meunier's hearty good nature injects Monseigneur with a likeable screen presence and adds a sense of humor to the cold setting. Michel Constantin brings a gritty reality to Geo. Marc Michel  plays Claude with an odd edge that works perfectly for his character.
     A beautiful transfer from very good sources elements. A few full height scratches show up, but happily they are toward the extremes of the picture. Very consistent level of sharpness throughout the presentation. Every chink of cement is clearly defined. Grain shows in very tight patterns. Excellent blacks throughout complimented by perfect shadow detail. Fine overall gray scale range. White shadowed removable English subtitles are comfortably sized for reading and unobtrusiveness. The mono sound is very clean.




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