What we're left with 45 years after Classe's awkwardly timed entrance into French film history are some superbly assured performances and well-drawn characters.
Classe tous risques is a taut, original gangster film told with simplicity and a compelling directness, with bare-bones exposition and a neorealist touch.
A tense tale of dishonour among thieves this is as hard-boiled and flinty as anything Hollywood was making at the time.
| Original Score: 4/5
Never wastes a minute of your time, right up to its abrupt ending: this is condensed, intense story-telling that never once loosens its grip.
This Franco-Italian production feels like a classic - with all the traditional punchings, slappings, shootings and coshings - and yet it's utterly unformulaic.
| Original Score: 5/5
A splendid showcase for the great Lino Ventura.
Sautet's characteristic restraint lacks the killer snap of Melville at his best, and the impetus rather flags as events proceed.
| Original Score: 3/5
A sombre, downbeat gem in the hard-bitten tradition of Rififi, it stars Lino Ventura as the big-time gangster fallen on hard times, whose former friends don't want to know
Sautet's shrugging ambiguity, already piquant, already piercing
It ranks among the best of the French New Wave noir films.
| Original Score: A
Doesn't quite rate lost-classic status, but it's done with a great deal of dexterity, intelligence and an appealing end-of-'50s cool.
| Original Score: B
Romantic codes of honor collide with the unforgiving doom of the gangster thriller with a fascinating ambiguity... in Claude Sautet's lean, tough 1960 crime classic...
| Original Score: B+
French directors like Melville and Chabrol did more with the basically American forms and inspirations, but Sautet (a fairly major talent) had crack nerves and an alert, humane eye.
| Original Score: 3/4
The rerelease of Classe Tous Risques makes you wonder how many other movies this good got scuttled by the French new wave.
Even though the film isn't considered a rule-breaking classic, its straight face holds up quite nicely, thank you.
...another eminently watchable example of the French noir trend of the period.
To come across Classe Tous Risques is like discovering a bottle of marvelous French wine you didn't remember you had, opening it and finding it every bit as delicious as its reputation promised.
A crisp, smart, cynical film about dishonor among thieves.
A doozy of a French gangster pic that, in its beautifully refurbished and pithily resubtitled re-release, turns out to be one of the highlights of the 2005 movie year.
[T]he young Belmondo alone is worth the price of admission to Classe Tous Risques ...