The Most Influential Crime Thriller Of All Time Gets Long-Awaited Upgrade

By Douglas Helm | Published

1967’s Le Samourai is a hugely influential and timelessly stylish film, and now there’s a definitive way to watch it. The Criterion Collection is releasing a version restored in beautiful 4K, and now anyone who missed this classic can easily watch it on modern screens. Of course, the special edition is rife with additional special features as well for fans of this moody thriller.

French Neo-Noir Classic

Le Samourai follows the contract killer Jef Costello (Alain Delon), who tries to find the employer who attempts to kill him after a hit while dodging a persistent police investigator. Jean-Pierre Melville directed the French neo-noir film from a script he wrote. The film also stars Francois Perier, Nathalie Delon, and Cathy Rosier. 

Stylish Lone Wolf Assassin

Le Samourai received extensive critical acclaim for its stylish direction and mixing of French neo-noir style with American gangster films. Alain Delon’s performance as Costello was also widely praised. The film was also massively influential, with many directors, musicians, and other creatives drawing inspiration from the work.

Some examples of films that Le Samourai has influenced include Walter Hill’s The Driver, John Woo’s The Killer, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, and most recently, David Fincher’s The Killer. Madonna even paid homage to Alain Delon’s character with her song “Beautiful Killer.” Watching the film, it’s easy to see how Delon’s stylish, lone-wolf assassin character has influenced pop culture since its release.

An Amazing Amount Of Special Features

Now you’ll be able to watch Le Samourai in 4K glory with The Criterion Collection’s 4K UHD + Blu-ray Special Edition. The Special Edition of the film includes a 4K digital restoration with an uncompressed monaural soundtrack. In the Special Edition, you’ll get one 4K UHD disc of the film in HDR and a Blu-ray disc of the film with additional special features.

The Le Samourai 4K UHD + Blu-ray Special Edition special features include interviews with director Jean-Pierre Melville along with actors Alain Delon, Francois Perier, Nathalie Delon, and Cathy Rosier. Also included are interviews with Rui Nogueira, who edited Melville’s book Melville on Melville, and Ginette Vincendeau, who wrote Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris.

Includes A Documentary

You’ll also get the short documentary Melville-Delon: D’honneur et de nuit, which delves into the friendship between Jean-Pierre Melville and Alain Delon and how their collaboration on Le Samourai came together. Finally, you’ll get an essay from film scholar David Thomson, an appreciation from John Woo, and some excerpts from the Melville on Melville book. As always, The Criterion Collection is making sure that fans have plenty of content to dive into.

Part Of The Criterion Collection

If you don’t want to spring for the two-disc special edition of Le Samourai, The Criterion Collection is also offering options to buy the Blu-ray by itself or a DVD version of the film if you don’t have a Blu-ray player. The Blu-ray and DVD are both currently available, but you’ll have to wait for the special edition 4K version to be released. If you want to watch Le Samourai in the best format possible, you can pre-order the 4K UHD + Blu-ray Special Edition now, and it will be available on July 9. 

Source: The Criterion Collection