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Mickey (Maurice Ronet), a small-time crook, is killed in Casablanca,
but before he dies he manages to babble something about 2 million Dollars
that are to be stolen from an international money transport to the police.
The police takes this seriously, and soon informs the FBI ... and the FBI
soon sends their ablest man: Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine), a
hard-drinking, hard-hitting womanizer.
And though even upon his arrival in Casablanca the corpses seem to pile
up left and right of Lemmy as if to warn him, he soon finds a promising
clue: It seems that dead Mickey's sister Carlotta De La Rue (Dominique
Wilms) has a relationship with crooked bar owner Rudy (Howard Vernon),
whom Lemmy believes (correctly as it will eventually turn out) to have
Lemmy does what he does best, he tries to sweettalk Carlotta and this
way convince her that Rudy has killed her brother, but this tactic doesn't
quite pay up, and after a time (and a kiss) he and Carlotta end up
throwing insults at each other, which eventually leads to Lemmy and Rudy
getting at each other's throats, though at first, Lemmy can cheat his way
out of the situation.
The next though, Lemmy's friend, the alcoholic journalist G.D.B.
(Jean-Marc Tennberg) lures him into a trap, and all of a sudden, Lemmy
finds himself captive on Rudy's yacht, and repeatedly, Rudy and his men
try to kill Lemmy, only to be held back by Carlotta, who seems to have
something even worse for him in her mind ...
Eventually though, Lemmy manages to escape and swim to the nearest
coast, and not only that, Rudy was naive enough to tell him about his
plans before the escape: He plans to hijack a plane making a delivery from
the American treasurey, force it to land in the desert, and then hide the
money on the yacht and wait on high sea until the whole affair has blown
Knowing all that, Lemmy sets out to singlehandedly take apart the whole
organisation, and is sometimes helped by a mysterious stranger - who
eventually turns out to be Carlotta, who has sided with him after all
after she got proof that Rudy killed her brother, furthermore she has of
course fallen for him, and now helps him in his shoot-out against Rudy and
his men - and of course, in the end she and Lemmy can kill Rudy, even
though they both have emptied their guns on his men ...
La Mome vert-de-gris was then successful singer Eddie Constantine's
second film - and at the same time the film that would ultimately define
his screen persona: that of the hard-hitting, hard-drinking, womanizing
lawman/secret agent who would have tongue-in-cheek written all over his
face. True, Eddie Constantine was never a versatile actor, sometimes he in
fact was incredibly wooden, but he had that certain star charisma. In this
film - like in many later films, especially when he is allowed to play his
screen persona - he dominates pretty much every scene he is in (and he is
in a lot of them), not an easy feat considering his nemesis is the
charismatic character actor Howard Vernon.
Of course, one cannot take the film as such seriously, it's a
crime/action comedy with Eddie Constantine as a parody of the hard-boiled
characters the likes of Humphrey Bogart used to play so well. And director
Bernard Borderie is certainly no refined or even subtle director, he is no
Howard Hawks or John Huston (to take the Bogart-analogy a little further),
but he knows how to keep things going at a steady pace, where to place
fist fights and shoot-outs, knows when a corpse has to pop up to keep
things going, and has no illusions of doing anything like art.
So if you want to be entertained and can forgive the somewhat stupid
story and the script's inconsistencies, you might like, even love this
film, if however you look for a serious crime-movie, let alone art, you
might be wasting your time.