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I am an admirer of Melville […] He helped introduce film noir to the New Wave generation, and was such a lover of all things American that he renamed himself after Herman Melville. His heroes tend to drive Detroit cars that look huge on the streets of Paris; when one character in this film parks three spaces down from the car of another, how can we not notice the 20-footer and be tipped off the other guy is already there? Melville was also a fetishist of American men’s clothing styles, he said, and you will scarcely see a beret in his films. Indeed, “Le Doulos,” which means “the finger man” in Parisian criminals’ slang, is the name for the small-brimmed fedora which most of the men wear. ROGER EBERT

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