In interviews Melville suggested that Jef, a hired assassin and the "samurai" of the title, is schizophrenic, but crazy people are usually livelier than this, at least in the movies. Somewhere around the time Jef got nicked by a bullet the Siren realized there was never going to be a point where she gave two hoots in hell about him. Instead she found herself looking at Delon's face, dour and unchanging in shot after shot, and remembering the verdict of his ex-lover Brigitte Bardot: "Alain is beautiful, but so is my Louis XVI commode." Nathalie Delon (married to Alain at the time) and Cathy Rosier, both gorgeous, apparently had the same acting coach as the star. The police chief (François Périer) was the Siren's favorite. He cracks jokes and has facial expressions.
The Siren can understand the admiration for the steel-colored perfection of Le Samouraï's look. But watching Delon dart around the Metro, in fear for his life, left her as cold as Harry Lime looking down from the Ferris wheel. The Siren has resigned herself to more lonely iconoclasm, but she did find this. Merci, M. Rosenbaum, for expressing a few reservations. And apologies to Girish.
Above left (click to enlarge): Alain Delon, right three-quarters view; Alain Delon, left three-quarters view; Alain Delon looks at a gun; Alain Delon looks at Cathy Rosier; Cathy Rosier looks at Alain Delon. Special bonus: Compare the second shot with this snap of the Delons' son. Joie de vivre runs in the family.
*****The Siren likes Delon in other movies, particularly Purple Noon, Rocco and His Brothers and The Leopard. Good takes on the actor to be found at Cinebeats and Sunset Gun. Kimberly of Cinebeats is a Delon expert, having put together a very groovy fan site for him, which is archived here.