Criterion Year Week 17: Rififi

The Criterion Collection, the last vestige of truly collectible DVD and Blu-Ray movies in existence. These are well produced, fancy pants editions of important and interesting films for the discerning film lover.

We continue our journey through Jim's collection of movies with...

Week 17:


Spine Number: 115

Director: Jules Dassin

Genre: Heist

How much money do you need to make a masterpiece? Well, back in 1955 blacklisted filmmaker Jules Dassin wrote, directed, and had a role in one. The budget? $200,000. Roughly $1.7 million today. Most big budget films spend more on catering. Dassin himself wrote the script in six days, played the safe cracker, and directed it for a fee of $8,000. That's roughly $71,000 today. Most filmmakers wouldn't return a phone call for that much.

Rififi is an absolute landmark heist film. Lean, efficient story telling with an amazing visual aesthetic, engaging characters and one of the best heist scenes in film history. How good is it? In the book that the film is based on, the heist takes up 10 out of 250 pages. In the film it's almost a half hour. With no dialogue. And no music. Just a perfectly planned and executed heist.

This movie is so God damned cool it's almost frustrating.


Again, this is tight, elegant film making at its best. It's cool and complex, but still completely manageable. Some films make the collection and you wonder why, other make the collection, and when you see them you just wonder why it took so long to get around to seeing them.

So do yourself a favor and watch this movie, then join us in our discussion of this absolute masterpiece.


Next week:

Spine Number 119: Withnail and I

Be ready to have a drink or two for this one.

Also, check this out.

The Life Masters is now it's own show with its own site and own dedicated feed. That's right, we have two completely different shows!

Right now check it out at

It will also be on iTunes as soon as the feed is verified.
Looks like Summer Movie League has officially become Fantasy Movie League.
It looks quite fun. Here's how it works.
You have an 8 screen theater.
Every week you pick movies and have a budget/salary cap you have to stay under.
Then you compete against other theaters in your league.
It's fantasy football for movie people.

Our league is Film Thugs 2015 and the password is Porterhouse.

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Thanks for listening, and until next week...

Jim out.

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