ⓘ Le deuxième souffle (1966 film)


ⓘ Le deuxieme souffle (1966 film)

Le deuxieme souffle is a French crime-thriller film released in 1966. Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville, it stars Lino Ventura as Gustave Minda, Paul Meurisse as Inspector Blot and Raymond Pellegrin as Paul Ricci. The film was released under various English titles including Second Breath and Second Wind.


1. Plot

Widely respected in the criminal world for his ability and loyalty, Gu Minda escapes from prison and heads for Paris to see his lover Manouche and her faithful bodyguard Alban. Her admirer, restaurant owner Jacques, is shot dead by gunmen sent by club owner Jo Ricci, who then sends two men to Manouches house. Gu catches them there and gives them his trademark execution, which is a country drive in which they are shot and dumped. Commissioner Blot of the Paris police suspects the hand of Gu, who Manouche and Alban then try to smuggle to Italy via Marseille.

Before going, Gu is interested in one last job to put him in funds. An old associate Orloff sends him to Jo Riccis brother Paul, who is planning to hold up a security van full of platinum bars. It is escorted by two armed policeman, one of whom Gu kills. Commissioner Fardiano of the Marseille police catches Gu and Paul, giving them rough treatment. In an exchange which is secretly recorded by Blots team, Gu is tricked into admitting that Paul was involved.

Jo Ricci, wanting revenge on Gu for his jailed brother, also sees a chance to get Gus share of the proceeds. He works on the other two participants in the robbery, who fear Gu may name them as well. To clear his name in the underworld, Gu escapes from the hospital where he is being held and captures Commissioner Fardiano in his car. After being forced to write a confession, which admits maltreatment and clears Gu of informing, he gets Gus usual execution. Orloff then tells Gu where Jo Ricci is meeting the other two robbers and, in a final gun battle, all four are killed. Searching Gus body, Commissioner Blot, who does not agree with Fardianos interrogation methods, finds the confession, which he drops at the feet of a journalist.


2. Release

Le deuxieme souffle was released in Paris on 2 November 1966. In Paris, the film took in 647.857 admissions and 1.912.749 admissions in France as a whole. This was Melvilles highest-grossing film in France on its release and his fourth-highest-grossing film in his career.