“But you know, it is a curious thing – what you do yesterday
is always part of what you are today.”
David Goodis, Shoot The Piano Player, 1956
Shoot the Piano Player (French: Tirez sur le pianiste;) is a 1960 French crime drama film directed by François Truffaut and starring Charles Aznavour as the titular pianist. It is based on the novel Down There by David Goodis.
Truffaut first read David Goodis‘s novel in the mid-1950s while shooting Les Mistons when his wife Madeleine Morgenstern read it and recommended it to him. He immediately loved the book’s dialogue and poetic tone and showed it to producer Pierre Braunberger, who bought the rights. Truffaut later met Goodis in New York City, where the novelist gave Truffaut a vintage viewfinder from his brief experience as a 2nd Unit Director on a U.S. film.
Truffaut said he made the film in reaction to the success of The 400 Blows, which he considered to be very French. He wanted to show his influence from American films. He later told a reporter that he wanted to shock the audience that had loved The 400 Blows by making a film that would “please the real film nuts and them alone.”
He previously had several ideas for films about children, but was afraid of repeating himself in his second film. He told a reporter, “I refused to be a prisoner of my own first success. I discarded temptation to renew that success by choosing a “great subject”. I turned my back on what everyone waited for and I took my pleasure as my only rule of conduct.”
On the set of Tirez sur le pianiste