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And Hope to Die (1972)

La course du lièvre à travers les champs (original title)
A crook on the run hooks up with a criminal gang to commit a kidnapping. However, things don't go quite as planned.

Director:

René Clément

Writers:

David Goodis (novel), Sébastien Japrisot
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This movie is a story about French railroad workers who were part of organized resistance during the German WW2 occupation.

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Stars: Marcel Barnault, Jean Clarieux, Jean Daurand
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Louis Trintignant ... Antoine Cardot aka Froggy
Robert Ryan ... Charley Ellis
Lea Massari ... Sugar
Aldo Ray ... Mattone
Jean Gaven ... Rizzio
Tisa Farrow ... Pepper
Nadine Nabokov Nadine Nabokov ... Majorette
André Lawrence ... Chef gitan
Don Arrès ... Mastragos
Aubert Pallascio ... Renner (as Louis Aubert)
Ellen Bahl Ellen Bahl
Béatrice Belthoise Béatrice Belthoise
Jean Coutu ... Inspector
Jean-Marie Lemieux ... Lester
Michel Maillot ... Gypsy
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Storyline

The one that runs like the hare of French title is a Tony Cardot, young French pilot, who very unfortunately crashed his plane into a group of Gypsy children not far away from Montreal. Pursued by a group of vengeful Gypsies, his way accidentally crosses that of Charley, the boss of a gang planning a big caper. Taken prisoner by Charley and his men, Tony will become involved in the affair against his will... Written by Guy Bellinger

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

From this split-second on these men are going to be very rich... or very dead! See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

French

Release Date:

15 September 1972 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

And Hope to Die See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Finnish censorship visa register # 81566 delivered on 6-3-1973. See more »

Quotes

Sugar: My name is Sugar. My husband loved to eat.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version released in Europe ran 140 minutes. Soon after, it was cut once again to 127 minutes. When it arrived in the United States, it was further cut to 99 minutes. See more »

Connections

References Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »

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User Reviews

Confusing but compelling Canadian caper
20 March 2000 | by Richard_Harland_SmithSee all my reviews

René Clément's LA COURSE DU LIÈVRE À TRAVERS LES CHAMPS/AND HOPE TO DIE is based on the David Goodis novel "Black Friday." Jean-Louis Trintignant (A MAN AND A WOMAN, THE CONFORMIST) stars as Tony, who arrives at a train station outside Montreal where several gypsies are waiting for him (a moment shot and scored like a Sergio Leone film, complete with the pan pipe accompaniment); although their comments are cryptic, we understand that a deal has gone sour, and the gypsies want Tony to settle the balance in blood. Eluding them, Tony manages to get into the city, where he witnesses the shooting death of gangster Renner (Louis Aubert), who passes him $15,000 in cash and makes even more cryptic comments, telling Tony that "Toboggan" has committed suicide, and that "Charley thinks he's smarter than the others."

Apprehended, Tony is led away from this scene by two men he believes to be cops; when they drive him out into the country, he realizes he's being kidnapped and pushes one of the men, Paul, out of the car, mortally injuring him. Recaptured and brought to an unused country hotel, Tony is introduced to an outlaw gang led by Charley Ellis (Robert Ryan), a career criminal who has spent ten of the last fifteen years in jail, and Charley's associates - Rizzio (Jean Gaven, also in Clément's LA PASSAGER DE LA PLUIE/RIDER ON THE RAIN), ex-boxer Mattone (Aldo Ray, in one of his last decent parts), the sultry Sugar (Lea Massari, from Sergio Leone's IL COLOSSO DI RODI and Antonioni's L'AVVENTURA) and the near feral Pepper (Tisa Farrow, in her second film), sister to the dying Paul. Knowing that Tony (whom he calls "Froggy") has his money, Charley doesn't kill the stranger, who soon bonds with the gang. When Paul dies, Tony gives up the cash to be allowed to join the gang to help finance his escape to Australia.

The caper is the kidnapping of a government witness - a mobster's moll who goes by the name of Toboggan. Only Charley - and Tony - know that the woman is dead - but they decide to go through with the plan, collect the reward from the underworld for delivering the witness and to get out of the country before anyone's wise.

AND HOPE TO DIE is an odd, unsatisfying but compelling little film. Released in November of 1972 with a PG rating, it has neither graphic violence or sexuality, but offers an endearing cast of supporting players. Near the end of his life, Robert Ryan (who died of cancer in 1973), breathes and spits world weariness, alternatively even-tempered and explosive - the kind of thug who creeps you out more by smiling than scowling. Jean-Louis Trintignant was in a transitional phase here between his stint as Euro smoothie (AND GOD CREATED WOMAN, LES LIAISONS DANGEREUSES) and character actor (CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS, UNDER FIRE); we never quite know what's up with Tony - although he pleads to the murderous gypsies that he's "just a bookseller," he occasionally flashes on the black and white image of a child who is either sleeping or dead - we never quite know what this means. Ray, Gaven and Massari are all great as the more seasoned gang members, and Tisa Farrow is typically awkward as Pepper, but certainly believable as the "unsophisticated" girl-child. Emmanuelle Béart is briefly glimpsed as a young child.

Francis Lai (A MAN AND A WOMAN, LOVE STORY) contributes a melancholy score that glides from ominous lower strings to pan pipe interludes and guitar melodies evoking sadness and disappointment - a recurring motiff quotes "I Love Paris In The Springtime." Cinematographer Edmond Richard had previously filmed Orson Welles' CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT and DON QUIXOTE, and would go on to shoot THE DISCREET CHARM OF THE BOURGEOISIE and THAT OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE. Second assistant director Jean-Jacques Beineix would go on to greater glory by directing DIVA (1981) and BETTY BLUE; in 1972, Beineix would also serve as second AD on the infamous Jerry Lewis film THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, and tried his hand at his own Goodis adaptation with the poorly received THE MOON IN THE GUTTER.

Clément and screenwriter Sébastien Japrisot (who had also scripted Clément's LA PASSAGER DE LA PLUIE, and wrote the novel "The Lady In The Car With The Glasses And The Gun") start this tragic story with a quote from Lewis Carroll: "We are but older children dear/Who fret to find our bedtime near," and bracket the action with scenes of children playing in the streets of Paris. We are made to identify these children with the gang members (indeed, several of them have clothing or activities that force the parallels); ultimately, it's difficult to tell if these children are the gang members when young or if it's merely a way of showing the universality of human behavior.


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