The Book and the Movie: Les Tricheurs / The Cheaters | Marcel Carné (1958)


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“Listening to that?” said the woman, pointing with a smile to the radiogram.
“That”, said Bob, “is my favourite Mulligan. Bernie’s tune. It helps you to concentrate, you know…”

Bernie’s Tune – Gerry Mulligan Quartet (with Chet Baker)


“What am i doing with them? What shall i do now with them all? In future i shall feel old…No, it’s far better not to go. It hurts too much to see a pair of lovers, people who love each other or are quite ridiculously happy. Happy, as i perhaps might have been. Rubbish! You never are. You simply think you are, and that comes to the same thing.”

Françoise D’Eaubonne, The Cheats, 1961

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Les tricheurs aka The Cheaters (1958)  
Director: Marcel Carné
Stars: Pascale Petit, Andréa Parisy, Jacques Charrier, Jean-Paul Belmondo

The Cheaters opens with a shot of two beatniks, cigarettes dangling from mouths, bopping in front of a jukebox. A Parisian college student gets involved with the existentialist beatniks of Saint-Germain-des-Prés who defy the rules of society (like stealing records from a record store!), get involved in blackmail, do some heavy drinking and participate in bizarre love triangles.


* “I had two important problems to solve: the casting, for which i had to use unknown actors again, and the music, which i couldn’ t entrust to one musisian as i did ordinarily, due to the milieu where the action takes place. ”

Marcel Carné

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“The radiogram,as usual, was on the floor. The discs lay in disorder out of their attractive, shiny covers. On Mic’ s divan, Clo was lying in the arms of a boy with a mop of hair like a bunch of tousled hay. They were doing nothing – not even  kissing or looking at each other. Staring wide-eyed into the blue they dreamed as the sapphire needle slowly glided towards the centre of the record.”

Put on the Gillespie“, whispered Clo.”

“Movement and immobility are one and the same thing. The important thing to remember is that nothing changes. It’ s always the same. 
To  reach…Ecstasy. Immobility, too,is rhythm. It allows you to go further…That’ s the real gimmick…To the further, always further…”


” I shall never forget the flames any more than  i shall forget the taste of the water, the odour of the sky, the scent of the bread – the things i thought i knew before i met you…When you undressed me your hands trembled a little while the fire bees buzzed and sparkled before us and the golden reflections danced on our bodies, transforming you into the mysterious hero of a fairy tale for grown- ups…You were the knight who had taken off his armour like a soft nut shedding its iron carapace. And round the little hut where the knight and the princess made love swirled the snow,soft and tingling, soft as cotton wool and pure…As pure as my soul at the moment when i love you…”  

Françoise D’Eaubonne, The Cheats, 1961

“What’s upset you, Alain?”
“The same thing that upset Aristarchus. Don’t make those goggle eyes at me. You know that i’ m called the “Intellectual”. But what you don’t
know is that stupid old clod of a Greek said ‘ even the Gods fight in vain against bloody stupidity’.”
“It was ridiculous to be listening to Hank’s Symphony at such a moment. The feverish throb
of the drums was like the beating of a pulse, quickened by fear and desire.”
The Jazz Messengers – Hank’s Symphony
“The cool of the night left little beads of moisture on the wind-screen which the wiper dispersed with the slow, regular movement of a metronome.”

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