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Ganoven rechnen ab (1965) Online

Ganoven rechnen ab (1965) Online
Original Title :
La métamorphose des cloportes
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Crime
Year :
Directror :
Pierre Granier-Deferre
Cast :
Lino Ventura,Charles Aznavour,Irina Demick
Writer :
Alphonse Boudard,Albert Simonin
Type :
Time :
1h 35min
Rating :
Ganoven rechnen ab (1965) Online

Three little criminals get a tip for a great coup with lots of money in it. Unfortunately they lack the starting funds to buy the required welding torch. So they persuade their successful colleague Alphonse to join their team. But the well thought-out coup fails, and Alphonse is the only one of them who ends up in jail for several years. When he's released, he's out for revenge.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Lino Ventura Lino Ventura - Alphonse Maréchal dit Le Malin
Charles Aznavour Charles Aznavour - Edmond dit Le Naïf
Irina Demick Irina Demick - Catherine Verdier
Maurice Biraud Maurice Biraud - Arthur dit Le Mou
Georges Géret Georges Géret - Joseph Rouquemoute dit Le Rouquin
Pierre Brasseur Pierre Brasseur - Demuldère dit Tonton le Brocanteur
Françoise Rosay Françoise Rosay - Gertrude
Annie Fratellini Annie Fratellini - Léone Rouqemoute
Norman Bart Norman Bart - Un visiteur de la galerie
Georges Blaness Georges Blaness - Omar
Dorothée Blanck Dorothée Blanck - Une fille à l'hôtel particulier (as Dorothée Blank)
Jean-Pierre Caussade Jean-Pierre Caussade - (as J.P. Caussade)
Marcel Charvey Marcel Charvey - Un visiteur de la galerie
François Dalou François Dalou - Un inspecteur de police
Michel Dacquin Michel Dacquin - Un barman de boîte de nuit (as Michel Daquin)

Italian censorship visa # 45655 delivered on 8-9-1965.

French visa # 30182 delivered on 13-9-1965.

User reviews



One of Pierre-Granier Deferre's first efforts,"la métamorphose des cloportes" boasts a good cast:Charles Aznavour,Lino Ventura,Pierre Brasseur and in a small part,Françoise Rosay as Gertrude who provides the men with the "tools" they need for their "job' (break-ins ).It's not a film noir,by a long shot,but an unpretentious harmless little comedy which sometimes works -Ventura in jail watching the 1960/61/62/63/64 news-and sometimes does not -Aznavour disguised as a guru:he was ahead of the 1967 summer of love craze though-.

The great pre-nouvelle vague directors (Duvivier,Cayatte,Autant-Lara et al) were no longer forces to be reckoned with and their successors -non new wave young directors that is- such as Granier-Deferre and De La Patellière - were not up to scratch.

Two Granier-Deferre's movies which deserve to be watched: "le chat" (1970) thanks to the fabulous Jean Gabin/Simone Signoret team,and "une étrange affaire" (1981) .


Of the many noir movies written by Michel Audiard during the 50s and 60s, and performed by a superlative ensemble cast numbering, at times, Jean Gabin, Lino Ventura, Bernard Blier, Françoise Rosay, André Pousse, Robert Dalban, Maurice Biraud, Jean Lefebvre, and many more, "La Métamorphose des Cloportes" is in many respects the supreme classic -- it's the last instance where gritty realism, with a rare sense of place in post-war Paris, is still balanced against the never-absent humour imparted by Audiard's chiseled scripts. Later, absurdist humour would take over in such "gangster comedies" as "Faut Pas Prendre les Enfants Du Bon Dieu Pour des Canards Sauvages" (1968) or "Ne Nous Fâchons Pas" (1966). Here, though, we still get a feel for a France in the early throes of modernization, in which Balzac's Paris in being torn down to be replaced by Marshall-Plan-funded, Gaullist-inspired tower blocks and freeways. The director is the honest warhorse Pierre Granier-Defferre, but this film is really a writers' movie: adapted from the real-life former convict (turned successful Left Bank literary celebrity) Alphonse Boudard's eponymous novel (Boudard rightly gets a credit), its screenplay is credited to both Michel Audiard and Albert Simonin, yet another famous ex-Paris mobster become a famous crime novelist. (Around the time the movie came out, Simonin also wrote a superb dictionary of 20th-century French mob slang, "Le Petit Simonin Illustré Par L'Exemple.) In other words, these guys know what, and whom, they're talking about -- and how it should all sound. Every line sparkles with made-guy wit, and a definite flavor of Jean Renoir's and Marcel Carné's universes.

Superficially, "La Métamorphose des Cloportes" is a revenge movie. Three little Paris hoods (Charles Aznavour, Maurice Biraud and Georges Géret) get tipped off about a possible burglary, but they need the help of a bigger fish (Lino Ventura) to fund their expedition. When things go south midway through their attempt to blow open a safe, they panic and run, leaving Ventura to be picked up by the cops. In the next five years he spends in jail, he vows to get even. He will, in settings ranging from Irma-la-Douce-like red-light districts to a fairground, a fake Swami retreat, and a posh Latin Quarter contemporary art gallery headed by the magnificent Pierre Brasseur, whom Ventura earlier knew as a decrepit stolen art fence. "The most elaborate swindle dreamt by professionals doesn't hold a candle to this abstract art wheeze," Brasseur pronounces, before sweeping Ventura along to an opening worthy of Tom Wolfe's best efforts.

But we're not meant to really worry about the protagonists' grisly fate. Bouncing superb lines throughout, Granier-Defferre and Audiard whisk us from Champs-Elysées hostesses bars (all gone today) to the East Paris Vincennes racecourse (now only sparsely attended for its unfashionable trotting races) to the gutted working-class wastelands behind Gare de Lyon railway station. None of the filmmakers that came afterwards, even those most aspiring to street-cred à la Mathieu Kassovitz, have been able to embed their movies so truly into the physical reality of France. The Nouvelle Vague crowd could sometimes achieve it (Godard in "Breathless" but not in "Week-End"; Truffaut in "400 Blows" but not in "Vivement Dimanche"). The actors are having a ball, too. Aznavour shows what a career he relinquished for his singing one - he manages to be hilarious and chilling at the same time when he threatens Géret's prostitute girlfriend (Annie Fratellini): "Si tu ne causes pas, je te commence à coups de lattes et je te finis au rasoir." Françoise Rosay, as Gertrude, the Paris mob's freelance "Q" (she rents out guns, crowbars and blowtorches) prefigures the glorious Aunt Léontine of "Faut Pas Prendre les Enfants Du Bon Dieu Pour des Canards Sauvages" ("Un mec qui t'emporte une brique de matériel, qui te laisse deux cents sacs et qui te donne plus jamais de nouvelles, moi, j'appelle ça une mauvaise personne.") Pierre Brasseur, a classical actor who towered over Carné's sprawling "Children of Paradise", switches effortlessly from gangster slang to upperclass sophisticate. "La Métamorphose des Cloportes" is an underrated classic deserving of a revival.


This movie is about trust, mistrust, truth, and lies.

It begins with a ragtag group of petty criminals planning, organizing, and then attempting to carry out a heist. We get the sense that their project is doomed from the start, a view held especially by their mastermind, Alphonse `The Fox' Marechal. Alphonse says his fellow thieves are birdbrains. However, he needs the money from the heist to support his lavish spending on wining and dining women.

We quickly see that Alphonse's mistrust of his team is not misplaced. His safecracking `expert' deceives him about the cost of their equipment and the value of the loot inside their target safe. The job ends up taking much longer than they budgeted, and results in their being found out by the police. Alphonse ends up being the only one caught, convicted and sentenced to prison time.

Five years pass until Alphonse is released from prison. It's payback time. He searches for the three birdbrains who double-crossed him, and for his share of their take.

This movie is overlong and would be ordinary if not for the presence of Lino Ventura. As Alphonse the Fox, Ventura is as charismatic and magnetic as any movie tough guy.

I never learned what or who is `cloportes' of the title. However, an odd scene during the title sequence at the beginning, showing cockroaches running across the camera lens, is neatly explained at the very end.

I reviewed this movie as part of a project at the Library of Congress. I've named the project FIFTY: 50 Notable Films Forgotten Within 50 Years. As best I can determine, this film, like the other forty-nine I've identified, has not been on video, telecast, or distributed in the U.S. since its original release. In my opinion, it is worthy of being made available again.


This movie is much more pleasant because of its dialogs (from Audiard) than because of its improbable story. Even the police is surrealistic. The story is basic : 3 gangsters (some of them speaking time to time a very high-society French) try to make a coup. But they need money to prepare it. They reach Alphonse, a good looking and apparently wealthy bad guy. Alphonse knows these men (One of them was at school with him) and what he thinks about them is that they are'not so smart. Alphonse has the reputation to be smart (he is "Alphonse-le-malin"). But Alphonse is not neither "smart", nor open-minded. This movie is on treachery, lies, easy going life and above all : even friends are not friends in a hobbesian world ("homo homini lupus"). But all the scenes are matter to laugh, because of the dialogs and the dark point of view on the human beings and their life is enlightened by the humoristic tone of the "bons mots" and the characters (the old guns saleswoman who tells to Alphonse : "Vendre des armes, c'est un métier d'homme !"). One finds some radical opinions against modern times (a gimmick in Audiard's dialogs) and especially against contemporary art and homosexuality. But these charges against modernity are articulated in a paradoxically way : Alphonse becomes an art salesman before becoming sold by the woman he loves.


Great sixties french film noir, the opening shot is a stunner. the ensemble acting is really marvelous, the movie oscillate constantly between comedy and drama and that's good. Like many movies from the period should be rediscovered one day on DVD.


Very good! Except for the death of Rouquemoute (Georges Géret), which is rather bland compared to the previous acts of violence by Alphonse, the Clever (Lino Ventura), this is an excellent comedy drama, with good acting all over. It is a motion picture mainly about male characters (with a funny performance by Pierre Brasseur, a bit above the others), but there are three special female parts played by three fine actresses: first, the great Françoise Rosay (once Mrs. Jacques Feyder) as Gertrude, a quiet but vibrant old lady, that somehow made me remember her cunning Cornelia de Witte in "La kermesse héroïque"; then there is lovely Irina Demick, in what could well be the most advantageous role in her whole career; and last but not least Annie Fratellini, the great French circus artist, in a funny and sad performance as prostitute Léone (a real "Irma la douce"). It took me 48 years to finally see this film, which never arrived in Panamanian shores back in its day. Highly recommendable, with the added bonus of Jimmy Smith's score.
Went Tyu

Went Tyu

"Cloportes" is a film from a very crowded genre--European heist films. With such classics as "Rififi", "Grand Slam" and "Bob le Flambeur" (and many others), it is hard for "Cloportes" to stand out from the crowd. However, it has one big advantage--it stars the king of cool French gangsters, Lino Ventura. And as for Ventura, he made several other heist films such as "Touchez Pas au Grisbi", "La Bonne Annee" and "Le Deuxième Soufflé"! As I said, it's a crowded genre!

Ventura is a big-time crook. Against his better judgment, he agrees to finance a safe cracking job--even though the guys seem like complete amateurs. He needs the money to keep living his lavish lifestyle and lets down his guard. And, because they are idiots, their ineptness result in Ventura being captured and sent to prison. He does not talk about who else was involved with the caper--he just does his time. But he's mad--not just because these guys bungled the job but because they lied in order to get his financing--and this lie resulted in him losing several years of his life. Not surprisingly, he's out for revenge.

Fortunately, unlike the other heist movies this one is a bit difference. The heist itself only occupies the beginning of the film--much more of it is focused on what happens afterwords. And, of all the characters Ventura encounters after prison, the most interesting must be the beautiful woman played by Irina Demick! Well worth seeing and with a nice twist near the end. Not among Ventura's best--but considering how wonderful he always was, this isn't an insult to "Cloportes"--it's still a terrific film.


Copyright 31 December 1965 by Les Films du Siecle—Produzioni Artische Internazionali. New York opening at the Paris: 18 April 1966. U.S. release through International Classics: 18 April 1966. Australian release through 20th Century-Fox: 29 September 1966. Sydney opening at the Embassy. 102 minutes (U.S.); 111 minutes (Australia).

French release title: Métamorphose des cloportes.

SYNOPSIS: Three French thieves make plans to rob a pawnbroker's shop, located next door to a funeral parlor.

COMMENT: "Cloportes" is really off-beat and highly original in script and direction, and comes with a top-flight cast including Lino Ventura, Charles Aznavour, Irina Demick, Pierre Brasseur and François Rosay. It's all so grippingly suspenseful, I would regard it as one of the best films of the year. In my opinion, it easily outshone most of the films that were highly publicized. Would you believe that Fox's publicity man had no idea what the title meant? I had to tell him and the other journalists at the preview screening that it meant "The Metamorphosis of the Wood Lice", a very appropriate title in view of what the thieves did to gain access from the funeral parlor to the pawnbroker's shop.


Audiard bought the rights to Boudard's Noir novel because he somewhat resented being looked down upon as a nice little colourful dialogue fiddler. Worse yet, a zinger peddler for the New Wave snobs. This attempt turned out to be a complete failure: it bombed at the box-office and fifty years after you can understand while following the clumsy effort. It would take another dozen years - and sadly the death of his son François - before Audiard understood how to rein in his buoyant one-liners and fine-tune sharp and dry words more in tune with dark and cold story lines.

The storyline here is not really interesting and the promising angle of trust and honour among thieves is simply drowned under funny lines and situations. The big failure of the movie is clearly that Audiard's lines are the most enjoyable part and they keep derailing the storyline from its natural darkness.

As many minor Audiard works this one could be best appreciated as a series of a dozen short scenes with wonderful actors, relieving you from the pain of sitting through the whole sluggish bug dance.


'Cloportes' or 'woodlice' to us Brits where I don't believe the film ever showed is a real curio. Has a super 60s 'nouvelle vague' look with splendid crisp black and white cinematography and lots of Parisian location shooting. It also has an equally cool score courtesy of Jimmy Smith but not everything sits so well here. Beginning with an almost farcical heist, this gets a bit lost and recovers as a light comedy before trying to become all meaningful. I found the mix, awkward and certainly at first difficult but now reflecting upon the film, I can't help but have some affection for it. This is partly, inevitably, because of another superb performances from Lino Ventura, ably assisted in the latter half by a strong showing by Irina Demick. Indeed the leading lady fits in beautifully with the moody b/w photography, more so than some of the others, like the appalling performance by Charles Aznavour. Can you overact without speaking? It seems so, badly miscast. But there are lovely flourishes including a most imaginative way of illustrating Ventura's spell in prison through excerpts from Movietone News clippings and a great fairground scene.