The Hole (1960 film)
|Directed by||Jacques Becker|
|Produced by||Serge Silberman|
|Based on||The Break by José Giovanni|
|18 March 1960|
The Hole (French: Le Trou) is a 1960 French crime film directed by Jacques Becker. It is an adaptation of José Giovanni's 1957 book The Break. It was called The Night Watch when first released in the United States, but is released under its French title today. The film is based on a true event concerning five prison inmates in La Santé Prison in France in 1947. Director Becker, who died just weeks after shooting had wrapped, used mostly non-actors for the film's main roles, including one man (Jean Keraudy) who was actually involved in the 1947 escape attempt, and who introduces the film. It was entered into the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.
Four long-sentence prisoners are determined to escape. Before they can start digging a tunnel, the prison staff puts a new convict, Gaspard, into their cell. They have no choice but to fill him in. At first he's enthusiastic about taking part in the getaway, but as the tunnel nears completion he discovers he will be released soon anyway, because the main witness against him has had a change of heart. Ignorant of this, Roland, Manu and Géo keep following through on their plan until it becomes evident that Gaspard has betrayed them.
- Michel Constantin as Geo Cassine
- Jean Keraudy as Roland Darbant
- Philippe Leroy as Manu Borelli (José Giovanni)
- Raymond Meunier as Vossellin / Monseigneur
- Marc Michel as Claude Gaspard
- Jean-Paul Coquelin as Lieutenant Grinval
- André Bervil as the director
- Eddy Rasimi as Bouboule
According to the 1964 press materials that are included in The Criterion Collection DVD, Jacques Becker first read of the 1947 La Santé Prison escape attempt in a newspaper. Years later, he found out that José Giovanni had fictionalized the same escape attempt in his 1957 novel The Break. Becker contacted Giovanni's publisher, Gallimard, and Becker and Giovanni collaborated on the screenplay of Le Trou.
During production, Becker hired three of the attempted escapees as technical consultants. One of the consultants, Roland Barbat (using the stage name Jean Keraudy), appears in the film as the character Roland Darbant, who plans the escape tunnel and improvises all the tools they use.
Barbat also appears at the beginning of the film as himself, working on a Citroën 2CV. (Barbat became a mechanic after prison.) He states directly to the camera that we are about to see his true story.
The scene where three different characters take turns breaking through the concrete floor of their cell is filmed in a single, nearly four minute long, shot.
There is no musical score except under the end credits.
The film has no opening credits.
- Le Trou at the Internet Movie Database
- Le Trou at AllMovie
- Criterion Collection essay by Chris Fujiwara
- Info at filsdefrance
- Short promotional film featuring interview with Jean Keraudy