ALAIN DELON AND JEAN GABIN AT THE AERO

As a centerpiece of the fifth edition of its The French Had a Word for It festival of noir, the American Cinematheque presents 35mm prints of three Alain Delon crime thrillers, two of them opposite Jean Gabin as the embodiment of the term “OG à la française.”

But first Gabin plays on the right side of the law as inspector Maigret and commandant Lequévic in, respectively, MAIGRET AND THE ST. FIACRE CASE (1959) and PORT DU DESIR (1955).

Long before Dennis Hopper or Matt Damon, John Malkovich or Barry Pepper, Delon was the archetype of Patricia Highsmith’s indelible passive-aggressive villain Tom Ripley, and his star turn in PURPLE NOON (1960) brought Delon to the world’s attention. The film—beautifully directed by René Clément—screens on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday night brings the double bill of MÉLODIE EN SOUS-SOL(1962)—a highly stylized casino caper set in Cannes—and THE SICILIAN CLAN (1969), in which criminal heavies Delon and Gabin must contend with the gravitational pull of Lino Ventura. Both films were directed by Henri Verneuil.

MAIGRET AND THE ST. FIACRE CASE and PORT DU DESIR

Friday, September 6, at 7:30

PURPLE NOON

Saturday, September 7, at 4 pm.

MÉLODIE EN SOUS-SOL and THE SICILIAN CLAN

Also screening, all 7:30 pm double features:

QUAI DES ORFÈVRES and THE SLEEPING CAR MURDER—the feature debut of Costa-Gavras—on Thursday, September 5.

PANIQUE—directed by Julien Duvivier—and NON COUPABLE on Sunday, September 8.

Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica.

From top: Alain Delon in Purple Noon; Jean Gabin in Maigret and the St. Fiacre Case; Port du desir poster; Delon in Purple Noon (2); Mélodie en sous-sol poster; Delon in Mélodie en sous-sol; Les clans des siciliens poster.

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