La Môme vert-de-gris (1953)

aka: Gun Moll
Crime / Drama / Thriller


La Môme vert-de-gris photo
FBI agent Lemmy Caution is despatched to Casablanca to prevent a consignment of gold from being hi-jacked by a ruthless gang of hoodlums. A beautiful cabaret singer, Carlotta, a.k.a. La Môme vert-de-gris, lures Caution into a web of mayhem and betrayal. Could this be Lemmy Caution's last adventure&#
© 2012

Film Review

Film poster
The previously unknown Eddie Constantine became an overnight star in France when La Môme vert-de-gris was released in 1953, one of the most popular films of that year. The French cinemagoer's appetite for all things American, in particular noirish gangster films, was rewarded by this tongue-in-cheek pastiche of the B-movie genre, custom-made for a French audience.

In his first significant film role, Eddy Constantine fits the part of the suave action hero Lemuel Caution ("Lemmy pour les dames") like a glove. The film was so popular that it spawned an entire series of similar thrillers over the following decade, culminating in Jean-Luc Godard's incomprehensible sci-fi film noir fantasy Alphaville (1965).

Excluding the Godard film, La Môme vert-de-gris is probably the best film in the Lemmy Caution series - it is much closer to the B-movie form which inspired it and is less obviously a parody than some of the later films. Although the film is slowed by some weak plotting and an excess of superfluous dialogue, it is actually rather good in places. The location work is impressive for a film of this period and the action sequences do work to create a sense of dramatic tension. Unlike most of the later Lemmy Caution films, there are times in this film where you really do doubt whether our insouciant hero will survive to the next scene. All in all, a very respectable pastiche of a familiar and much-loved genre.
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The director Bernard Borderie also worked with the actor Eddie Constantine on the films Ces dames préfèrent le mambo (1957) and Lemmy pour les dames (1962).

Film Credits

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