The Thief of Paris
Louis Malle’s hugely enjoyable period romp stars French New Wave icon Jean-Paul Belmondo as the titular criminal, a rapscallion rogue of a charmer.
Turn of the century Paris is plagued by the crimes of skilled thief Georges Randall (Belmondo). Opening on one of his burglaries, Randall proceeds to narrate his life, from being an orphan to the discovery of his particular skillset, his relationship with his cousin Charlotte (Geneviève Bujold) and his antipathy towards the city’s privileged class, against which his crimes are an act of rebellion.
Following the commercial success of _Viva Maria! _(1965), which starred Brigit Bardot and Jeanne Moreau, Malle decided to embark another period adventure, this time an adaptation of Georges Darien’s popular 1897 novel Le Voleur. It was adapted by Juan Louis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière, two frequent collaborators of Luis Buñuel, and the influence of the great surrealist and satirist is evident throughout the film. Although it failed to ignite the box office, The Thief of Paris has come to be seen as a gem in Malle’s filmography. It’s a beautifully staged comedy drama and features an irrepressible performance by Belmondo, swapping the cool demeanour of roles in films like Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (1960) and Pierrot le Fou (1965) for a wilder, more anarchic screen persona.